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Pros and Cons of USB Rechargeable Batteries

Posted by Tom Bishop on
Pros and Cons of USB Rechargeable Batteries

We are on a quest to serve as a catalyst in getting the world to shift away from using single-use ‘disposable’ batteries with the introduction of our USB rechargeable batteries. We are fully committed to the rechargeable model, knowing that it is the future of powering electronic devices. Today, we want to talk about the pros and cons of rechargeable batteries.

As much as we know that USB rechargeable batteries beat single-use alkaline batteries on many fronts, no technology is perfect. Rechargeable batteries have their pros and cons just like anything else. However, upon comparing rechargeable batteries with their single-use counterparts, we think you'll agree that rechargeables are the superior battery.

The Pros

USB rechargeable batteries offer four distinct advantages over single-use alkaline cells:

1. Better value

A single pack of USB rechargeable lithium ion batteries from Pale Blue Earth can replace up to 4,000 alkaline batteries. That is the nature of battery recharging. For every one alkaline battery you throw away, you can recharge a USB lithium-ion battery a thousand of times. That means far fewer battery purchases over your lifetime.

2. More Environmentally Friendly

USB rechargeable batteries are friendlier to the environment for multiple reasons. First, you are throwing fewer batteries into landfills because each battery lasts longer. Second, the need for fewer batteries translates into fewer resources required to manufacture those batteries; fewer chemicals, less mining, less packaging, less transportation, and of course, less waste.

3. Performance

Voltage: Lithium ion chemistry gives a constant output voltage of around 3.7V. This means there is more voltage available to power your device. Then, for example, voltage is stepped down to 1.5V for an AA or AAA battery and the voltage remains at 1.5V from start to finish. With other batteries though, the voltage declines as you use the battery and with decreasing voltage, many devices will drop their performance as  well (think, your flashlight will get dimmer over time).

Weight: Lithium ion batteries are considerably lighter than alkalines. If weight matters to you, for example if you use them in a headlamp, you’ll find this weight savings to be very beneficial.

4. The Convenience Factor 

This fourth and final advantage of rechargeable batteries cannot be overstated: Convenience. USB rechargeable batteries are extremely convenient because you never have to run to the store for replacements. They charge fast, so even if you get caught with an urgent need, you can just plug them in for a quick charge.

Rechargeable batteries are convenient in that they can be recharged via any USB port. Plug them into your computer, power bank, solar panel, or a USB port in your car. Any USB port capable of charging other electronic devices is suitable for USB rechargeable batteries. 

Our batteries are so convenient that we believe the USB rechargeable model is poised to change the user experience forever. Mass adoption is just around the corner.

The Cons

Likewise, there are a number of cons our industry is working hard to overcome:

1. Higher Price Point 

Though USB rechargeable batteries cost less in the long run, their in-store price point is considerably higher. Rechargeable batteries can cost up to ten times more at the cash register. A higher price point can be a bit discouraging if you are not thinking about the long-term savings rechargeable batteries offer.

2. Battery Performance Deterioration

All batteries’ performance tend to degrade over time and use and exposure to heat and use cycles. They also lose their charge slowly if not used regularly. Rechargeables tend to lose their charge when not in use faster than single use alkalines. This means it is important that they stay charged and in service, although modern lithium-ion batteries perform quite well in this area. On the other hand, alkaline batteries can sit on the shelf for years without significant deterioration. 

3. State of Charge Indicators 

Another disadvantage of rechargeable batteries is that they don't always trigger low battery warnings on electronic devices that have been designed for older battery technologies. This is not a fault in the batteries themselves. Rather, the problem lies in how devices measure battery voltage as a proxy for charge state. With lithium ion batteries, the output voltage is 1.5V from start to finish, but some devices expect to see a voltage decline that alkaline and NiMH batteries have. Many product companies are re-writing their firmware to work better with lithium batteries so this problem should become a thing of the past in the years to come.

It's Your Choice

Now you know the pros and cons of USB rechargeable batteries. You ultimately choose which batteries are best for you. We want to encourage you to give some thought to our rechargeable lithium-ion batteries as a replacement for single use alkalines. You will find that rechargeable batteries are super convenient, better for the environment, and very easy to use.

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