Battery Types Explained

What’s the distinction between lithium-ion, NiCad, and NiMH batteries?

Lithium and lithium-ion batteries are sometimes mistaken with the older NiCad batteries used in power tools and other household appliances. With NiCad batteries, you had to run them till they died. Lithium-ion batteries feature advanced technology that allows for numerous (shallow) charges and should not be discharged completely.

What’s the difference with lithium and lithium-ion battery life?

The primary distinction between lithium and lithium-ion batteries is that the latter are rechargeable. Lithium batteries employ lithium in its pure chemical form, while lithium-ion batteries use lithium compounds.

What is the difference between a Lithium-Ion battery and a NiCad or NiMH battery?

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) is the new standard for portable energy in consumer electronics and laptop batteries. Li-ion batteries provide similar energy output to NiMH batteries but weigh approximately 20% to 35% less. This can have a major impact on products such as cellular phones, webcams, and laptop computers, where batteries account for a large portion of the total weight. Another reason for the rise in popularity of Li-ion batteries is that they have no “memory effect.” They are also environmentally beneficial, as they do not contain harmful compounds such as cadmium or mercury.

What is the difference between NiCad and NiMH batteries?

NiCad (Nickel Cadmium) batteries are best known for the memory effect. To ensure that these batteries function properly, they must be completely drained before recharging. If you charge these batteries while there is still electricity stored in the cells, the battery will reset itself, and will only retain the amount of electricity stored from the last charge. Many electric toothbrushes, power tools, and other consumer products still use NiCd battery chemistry. If you have equipment that uses NiCad batteries, having a fully charged spare battery to put in when recharging your depleted battery will save you both time and money.