Though we have moved into the era of advanced battery options like rechargeable and lithium-ion batteries, our AA alkaline batteries are still as useful as ever. These micro cylindrical power champs help us keep running most of our daily electronic appliances like grooming appliances, irons, clocks, remote controls, flashlights, toys, kitchen gadgets, and more. These batteries have their own share of advantages that make them quite indispensable in our daily life, even though we always have other options evolving.
What’s an alkaline battery?
Alkaline batteries are the most commonly used batteries for battery-powered devices. There are different kinds of alkaline batteries, like, AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and micro coin or button cell batteries. The most commonly used ones are the AA alkaline batteries, and you’ll find most brands selling these, like the Anker alkaline AA batteries, along with AAA batteries being the next in popularity. AA batteries are best suited for high-drain applications. Dealing with the chemistry of an alkaline battery, the alkaline battery is made from a zinc anode (positive end) and a magnesium cathode (negative end). It uses an alkaline electrolyte which is either a potassium or sodium hydroxide. This helps in dispensing the electrical charge from the battery. These batteries are primarily disposable, i.e., meant for one-time use. Recently, some rechargeable options have also come up in AA batteries.
Advantages of using alkaline batteries:
There’s a reason (actually more than one) why alkaline batteries are popular and common in our daily life use. Here’s a list of why they are the go-to options for most battery-powered devices:
High energy density compared to other batteries
Alkaline batteries have a high energy density, almost double that of other batteries like zinc carbonate and Leclanché cell. They produce the same amount of charge while lasting a longer time. Rechargeable alkaline batteries can have up to 4 times more energy than an equivalent nickel battery of the same capacity.
Long battery life and shelf life
A foremost advantage of alkaline batteries is their long shelf life. They can last unused for 8-10 years with only about a 5% loss in their energy capacity per year. They also give a long-term performance compared to chloride electrolyte batteries. E.g., the Anker alkaline AA batteries have a long shelf life of 10 years. You’ll get a pack of 2 or 4 AA alkaline batteries in the market, and these can be great for keeping as a backup power source. They are great for maintaining stocks and will not run out of power for not being in use.
Environment-friendly and medically safe option
These batteries do not require special safety disposal measures like lead-based or acid-based batteries. So they’re an environmentally better choice. There are no major health risks associated with alkaline batteries. Major battery manufacturers produce mercury-free batteries, so the impact on the environment is greatly minimized.
Using them in electrical series and wide circuits
These batteries can be used for producing high voltage by connecting them to a series. They can form different circuit configurations according to the required electrical output. This is why some devices like cameras can use 4 to 6 batteries for operation, and they give optimum energy output.
Functions in low temperatures
Alkaline batteries perform much better than other battery chemistries under cold, harsh conditions.
The risk of leakage is less
Alkaline batteries are less prone to leakage, especially if their storage conditions are well-maintained, i.e., storing in a dry, cool place.
These batteries are common in use and are easily available, which makes them an ideal option for power backup or use in devices.
A good option for potting
Alkaline batteries are primary batteries and are pretty much the ideal option for potting. Potting involves filling an enclosed space with a material to provide shock resistance and act as a barrier to abrasive compounds and moisture. The batteries are disposable, unlike rechargeable ones, so they do not experience internal temperature changes, heating or gassing. So, they find potential use in potting applications.
Using alkaline batteries:
Alkaline batteries are the most commonly encountered batteries at your home, be it your kid’s toys, your TV remote or the emergency light for campfires. They are economical and mass-produced for their many advantages. However, alkaline batteries are also manufactured for military and commercial purposes. At home, these mini power cells can give you the much-needed power output or backup for a myriad of household devices. Some of the commonly used home appliances that use alkaline batteries are:
- Portable radios
- TV remote controls
- AC remote controls
- Gaming consoles
- Alarm clocks
- MP3 players
- Wireless mouse
- Digital cameras
- CD players, etc.
For high-drain devices, alkaline batteries can last from 2-4 months. For medium to low-drain devices, the batteries last longer. While choosing an alkaline battery, make sure it’s from a reputable manufacturer with a long shelf life and good output, like the Anker alkaline AA batteries.