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Are rechargeable batteries really worth the extra cost?

When to use them, when not to use them
Carbon Monoxide Alarm Getty 021904
Posted at 10:23 PM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 07:12:54-04

Whether you're shopping for new batteries for smoke alarms or toys for the upcoming holiday season, you might be surprised how pricey batteries are getting.

Angel Larkin is thinking of making the switch to rechargeables.

"I think they would be helpful, and save money," she said.

Dylan Smith, a manager at a Tru-Value hardware store, Woods Hardware, expects rechargeables to be hot sellers this holiday season.

"We are actually out of the chargers right now," he said, "because they are so popular."

If you are trying to decide between a standard battery and a more expensive rechargeable battery, price is important, as they can cost twice the price of a standard Duracell or Energizer.

But just as important is how you are going to use it, and how much you might save in the long run.

When to buy rechargeables

Shanika Whitehurst of Consumer Reports says rechargeable is the way to go if you're constantly swapping out batteries on children's toys.

That's because toys are drawing large amounts of power in shorter spurts.

"They go through batteries, they eat through batteries, especially double A's and Triple A's," she said. That is the ideal scenario for a rechargeable battery.

She also recommends rechargeables for wireless devices, like a gaming controller or computer mouse.

When not to buy rechargeables

But Consumer Reports says for items that consume energy at a lower rate, it's often better to stick to single-use batteries.

Devices that work better with single-use batteries include:

  • Smoke detectors
  • Flashlights
  • TV remotes

"Regular batteries are made to be able to discharge over longer periods of time in those devices," she said.
What abut the cost?

Consumer Reports says rechargeables, while more expensive initially, can be reused 500 to 1,000 times.

Shopper Kevin Anderson is sold on them.

"You figure the life of the batteries, you are going to get quite the return," he said,

So while you're paying more upfront for rechargeables, you're stocking up a lot less often. And that way you don't waste your money.

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