NiCad vs Lithium Ion Battery

By understanding the difference between lithium ion and nickel cadmium batteries, you'll be able to make better informed purchasing decisions, and you'll also be able to use the batteries in your existing devices far more efficiently. This will save you money.

In previous years, it was believed that nickel cadmium batteries (NiCad) were the best batteries available for wireless devices. However, lithium ion batteries (Li-ion) have since taken over. A Li-ion battery is smaller, requires less maintenance and is safer for the environment that NiCad batteries. Because their chemical makeup differs, the batteries have differences in maintenance requirements, size and weight, environmental impact and cost. We'll put them to the test on each of these points.

NiCad Vs. Li-Ion - Operation, Battery Maintenance and Lifespan

Both batteries of the same voltage will give you the same amount of power. However, how long it will deliver that power is another issue entirely. On a single battery charge, li-ion batteries will outperform NiCad. Another big advantage of lithium ion batteries is that they experience virtually no self-discharge and can be stored for months without losing their charge. This means you can buy them in bulk, saving money, and not have to worry about them not working at a later time.

One issue with NiCad batteries is that they have a "memory effect," which means the battery will remember where in their charge cycle they are when you started recharging. This causes the voltage to drop to that point. For this reason, you should wait until a NiCad battery is fully discharged before recharging it. Li-ion batteries don't have this problem, and they can be used in a wider temperature range. However, they're more fragile and require circuit protection for optimal performance. NiCad batteries will last for 1000 or more cycles before losing their capacity, while Li-ion is somewhat less than that.

Li-ion Versus NiCad Batteries - Size, Weight and Overall Performance

In general, lithium-ion batteries are lighter and smaller than NiCad batteries, making them especially ideal for use in smaller portable devices. Performance is about equal.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries and Lithium Ion Batteries - Environmental Impact

Nickel Cadmium is considered a hazardous waste product, so even if you use rechargeable batteries, there is a significant environmental cost when those batteries need to be replaced. The chemicals will eventually seep out, and for this reason, they shouldn't be thrown out with regular trash, but rather recycled at a licensed facility. Lithium ion batteries do not contain hazardous toxins.

Costs of NiCad Batteries and Li-ion Batteries

You'll find that Li-ion batteries are usually 2 to 3 times more expensive than their NiCad counterparts. However, their size and weight, the ability to store lithium ion batteries long-term and other factors such as eco-friendly construction may outweigh the added cost.

Whichever batteries you end up using, the information and helpful tips in this article will help you to get the most life out of them.