Almost every portable device uses some battery to make them useful off the power socket. And while there are numerous battery types out there, only two – NiMH and Lithium-Ion batteries – hold the high echelon. There’s, of course, a reason why they’re the most sought-after, and perhaps, their uncanny power-retention prowess gives them the advantage. However, a few nuances may divide opinions or cook the preferences for either of them. This article lists the two in a “battle of the titans” comparison to help you decide the most ideal.
Comparing the two, nothing else comes close. These batteries are the most used in laptops and smartphones and store power even without connecting devices to electricity. But while they all serve a similar purpose, it’s good to know what they are and how they work.
Nickel Metal Hydride batteries use an alkaline electrolyte and have a positive plate made of nickel hydroxide. Their negative plates are usually hydrogen-absorbing alloys or intermetallic compounds with fine fiber separators. They also have a self-resealing safety vent and a metal case and sealing for enclosing its components. These batteries are a mainstay in powering most electronic devices, including camcorders, laptops, and smartphones.
Safety – Nickel Metal Hydride batteries contain less active material and won’t blow or explode when short-circuited or overcharged. They’re a preferable choice in low-speed processor systems that may overheat devices.
Compatibility with devices – most Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are standard size and are available as AA, AAA, D, C, and 9V. That makes them versatile for use in almost every device.
Incredible power density – these batteries have a high energy density averaging about 2200 milliampere-hours (mAH). That makes them high-capacity and best for large devices.
Lengthy charging time – these batteries take more than ten hours to charge, and fast-pacing them can damage them.
Fast self-discharge - Nickel Metal Hydride batteries tend to discharge even when you don’t use them. And worse still, the discharge rates usually increase as you use them.
Unreliable – these batteries are usually unreliable for low-load devices due to their fast discharging ability. Hence, they may need constant replacement.
Lithium-Ion batteries use reverse systems. They have negative and positive electrodes, and lithium ions move from the former to the latter when charging. The process usually reverses when discharging, creating an endless cycle. Like Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, Lithium-Ion batteries are also popular in laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and numerous other devices.
Fast-charging – Lithium-Ion batteries only take about three hours to recharge compared to NiMH batteries, which can take up to ten. That makes them ideal for portable laptops and mobile devices.
Reliable – unlike NiMH batteries, Lithium-Ion batteries are more valuable and dependable in low-load devices. They have a discharge rate even when not used and can retain power for long.
Temperature tolerant - Lithium-Ion batteries can withstand warmer environments and work optimally in low temperatures compared to NiMH batteries.
Petite but high voltage output – While they’re tinier than NiMH batteries, a single cell can deliver up to 3.7 volts compared to the 2.3 volts that NiMH batteries offer.
Low safety – although they have circuits to prevent overheating and blowing up, these batteries aren’t safe in warmer conditions. Their active ions can react and develop heat, making them vulnerable to blows.
Not entirely compatible – most Lithium-Ion batteries are specific to particular devices and not versatile as NiMH batteries.
Since battery performance determines how useful they are, Lithium-Ion batteries should bag the day. They have the edge over NiMH batteries in most categories and have a longer lifespan compared to NiMH batteries. Although they aren’t as safe as NiMH batteries and are specific to particular devices, they offer the best functionality and are incredibly useful.
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