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Rechargeable batteries are an investment, and for you to get the highest return, they need to last. When determining the life expectancy of your next battery, it’s important to know the type of battery. Each type of battery responds differently to various environments, significantly impacting the length of life.
Sealed Lead Acid and VRLA Batteries
Lead acid batteries were the original rechargeable batteries, first appearing over 150 years ago. The sealed lead acid battery is a new variation of the old technology. Their main benefit is the calcium added to their plates, which reduces water loss. They can also recycle gases they produce and prevent damage to the battery when the charge rate is controlled. These innovations help them meet their average life expectancy of 5 to 10 years.
VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid) batteries are closely related to SLA batteries. The main difference is they are more durable. SLA batteries last the same amount of time as VRLA batteries in normal conditions, but the VRLAs can be inverted without spilling electrolytes. This allows it to last longer for some uses than its SLA cousin.
Both types of batteries must be cared for properly to live long into their lifespans. Do not attempt to charge batteries in sub zero temperatures. Although the durability of lead acid batteries can withstand temperature extremes, they have limits. To ensure the batteries receive proper care, consult the instructions. Most instructions will detail the optimal temperature for storage, charging instructions and operation. Follow these guidelines and they will last. An example of the detailed instructions included with your battery appears in this guide for a Power Sonic SLA battery.
Nickel-cadmium batteries for are great for demanding uses. They can withstand high discharge rates while sustaining minimal damage or loss of capacity.
Unfortunately, they don’t do as well in storage as lead acid batteries. Nickel Cadmium batteries will self-discharge in storage at faster rates. Charge the batteries semi-regularly to avoid deep discharge, which damages the battery and shortens its life.
If you properly care for a nickel cadmium battery by following the instructions within the packaging, your battery should last you 10 to 15 years or 500 to 1000 charge cycles.
Although the instructions for care vary, all nickel-cadmium batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries should not be charged in freezing temperatures. Avoid temperature extremes while charging.
Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are similar to nickel-cadmium batteries, except their energy density approaches that of a lithium-ion cell battery, making them great for high current drain applications. Their average lifespan is equal to that of nickel-cadmium batteries.
Like nickel cadmium batteries, they don’t do as well in storage. They can lose as much of 4% of their charge per day, meaning they will need to be recharged periodically to avoid deep discharge. Fortunately, the nickel-metal hydride has a variation reducing instances of self discharge, known as LSD nickel-metal hydride.
Whatever type of nickel metal hydride battery you choose, keep in mind your intentions. If you need to store your battery for long periods of time, you will want to consider an LSD version of nickel-metal hydride battery, as it will be more equipped to avoid deep discharge.
Before you decide on your next battery, consider the purpose you intend for it. If you need help deciding what battery is right for your need, contact us online or give us a call at 800-521-4045. We’ll help you out.