Why Don't Children's Toys Come With Li-Ion Batteries?

Why Don't Children's Toys Come With Li-Ion Batteries?

Battery-operated toys can be the bane of a parent's existence. That notwithstanding, most toys requiring batteries don't come with batteries included. Even those that do come with batteries do not come with lithium-ion batteries. They come with alkaline. Have you ever wondered why this is?

Lithium-ion technology is clearly superior to its alkaline counterpart. Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable where alkalines get thrown in the trash after just one use. Common sense would seem to dictate that li-ion would be a better choice for any children's toy. And yet alkalines are the choice when batteries are included.

It is a Money Thing

Manufacturers shipping disposable alkaline batteries with children's toys isn't the result of a vast conspiracy to fill up landfills and leak dangerous chemicals into the soil. Toy manufacturers are no different than any other business: they are in it to make money. That is the only reason behind their choice.

They put disposable alkaline batteries in their toys because the batteries are cheap. Choosing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries instead would only add to the cost of production. They would have to pass that cost on to consumers.

Pale Blue Earth is also a business. We understand the need to control production costs. We also know that consumers want to pay as little as possible for the products they buy. A lot of the decisions we make are business decisions. It must be that way in a free-market economy.

You Can Make the Better Choice

We do not begrudge toy manufacturers for either not including batteries or packing alkaline batteries with their products. We understand the business decision aspect. But here's the thing: consumers can make the better choice. You can make the better choice. That choice is switching to USB-C rechargeable lithium-ion batteries when those alkalines finally die.

You don't have to keep buying cheap, disposable batteries month after month. In fact, if you keep buying disposables you might not actually save any money at all. You might spend more depending on the total number of batteries you ultimately buy.

If you don't understand why, consider these three key facts:

  • Disposable batteries are used once and then thrown away
  • Lithium-ion batteries can be charged 1,000+ times
  • Though more expensive, li-ion batteries don't cost 1,000 times as much.

That last fact is key to understanding why you might actually spend more over a lifetime of purchasing disposable alkaline batteries. You can trust us that the math works out. If you want to do the math yourself, that's great! You will reach the same result.

Volume Makes the Difference

The cost disparity between disposable and rechargeable batteries is rooted in volume. In other words, the total number of batteries you buy ultimately determines your cost. A heavy disposable battery user almost always ends up spending more over time.

Imagine a professional photographer who goes through a single set of AAA batteries every day. He needs 365 sets of batteries to get through a single year. He needs 1,095 sets to get through three years. But if he uses Pale Blue Earth USB-C AAA batteries, a single set will last just about three years. Do you think he will pay more for one set of our batteries or for 1,095 sets of disposable batteries?

Cost is a significant factor. You can save money by switching to rechargeable li-ion batteries. On the other hand, toy manufacturers save money by putting disposable alkaline batteries in their products. They aren't interested in long-term energy costs, so they don't invest in rechargeable batteries. That is pretty much it. Now you know.