Basic ways to identify a conventional battery and an accumulator

How to distinguish rechargeable batteries from ordinary ones Technique

If you need to figure out how to distinguish rechargeable batteries from ordinary ones, you do not need to pay attention to their size, shell color, and other external parameters, because. they are similar in these power supplies. You should focus only on the technical specifications indicated on the packaging.

Rechargeable and conventional batteries have similar external parameters.

Key Features

The main difference between rechargeable batteries and batteries is that the former can be recharged many times, while the latter are disposable. These elements have a lot in common: they are equipped with a metal case, in which there is another container containing the electrolyte.

In addition, batteries of all types are produced in the same sizes. However, they have a number of characteristics, taking into account which makes it possible to distinguish batteries from simple galvanic cells.

conventional batteries

Conventional non-rechargeable batteries are cheap (about 20-50% less than batteries) due to the materials used to make them.

The most common types of simple galvanic cells are:

  • salt;
  • alkaline;
  • silver-zinc;
  • copper-zinc.

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In saline batteries, the anode is made of zinc, and the cathode is made of manganese dioxide. Chlorides are used as electrolyte. In addition, corrosion inhibitors are often added to reduce the rate of damage to the hull. These are the cheapest power sources that have many disadvantages. They have a small charge, they are not suitable for work under high load and quickly fail when the ambient temperature drops. Even without use, they are gradually discharged.

conventional batteries
Regular batteries are not meant to be recharged.

In alkaline batteries, crushed zinc acts as the anode, and manganese dioxide acts as the cathode. The electrolyte is potassium hydroxide. This is a fairly caustic substance, so inhibitors are often added to it to reduce the rate of corrosion damage to the metal case. Additives increase the service life of the product. These batteries are highly charged. They are resistant to stress, can work effectively at low temperatures.

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Silver zinc batteries have a zinc anode and a silver oxide cathode. Alkaline solutions act as electrolyte in such galvanic cells. Most often, manufacturers use a matrix or thickened solution of sodium or potassium hydroxide. Due to the need to use silver, such elements are often made in disk form. They are installed in watches, photographic equipment, hearing aids, etc.

Copper-zinc disposable batteries are expensive. They provide a stable charge. They are used to power signaling systems, railway communications, etc. Batteries have low self-discharge and long shelf life. In everyday life, such galvanic cells are almost never used.

All these power sources have one thing in common: as they are used, the internal elements gradually degrade. This process is irreversible, therefore, after the charge has been consumed, it is impossible to restore performance.

On such batteries, manufacturers often indicate: Do not recharge. This symbol indicates that recharging is not possible.


Manufacturers write on the battery: Rechargeable. This means that the cells can be recharged, increasing their service life. Often there is an inscription on the battery, including a series of numbers and the designation mAh. This is the capacity of the element. The higher this indicator, the longer the battery will work until it is completely discharged. On conventional galvanic batteries, manufacturers do not always indicate this parameter.

Rechargeable batteries can be charged.

Often on the top film of the battery there is information about the recommended number of recharge cycles.

The following types of batteries are most widely used:

  • nickel-metal hydride;
  • nickel-cadmium;
  • lithium-ion.

They differ in service life, memory effect, capacity, etc.


There are a number of signs that help distinguish ordinary batteries from batteries: allowable voltage, size, capacity, etc.

Definition by appearance

Both batteries and simple batteries are designed to be installed in the same household appliances. The table shows the parameters that will help distinguish between these types of batteries.

Characteristics Simple batteries battery
Weight Lightweight due to primitive design Heavier due to device complexity
positive terminal

(differences are not always present)

Reduced cap diameter Large cap diameter


On simple batteries, there is often a marking of 1.5 V, 1.55 V, 3 V or 3.6 V, and on the battery - 1.2 V or 3.7 V. If there is no such information, the voltage can be checked with a voltmeter. When a galvanic battery is connected to the measuring device, the indicator will be 1.5-1.65 V, with an additional load - 1.3-1.45 V. The battery voltage is higher. If the self-discharge of the element is low, when taking measurements, you can get an indicator of 13.3 V. In this case, for a discharged battery, it will be equal to 1.25 V.

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The size is marked on all batteries. Standard finger-type galvanic cells and batteries are marked with the letters AA. Disposable little fingers - AAA. To designate a battery of this size, a numerical marker "18650" is used.

The size is indicated on the battery label.


Batteries that cannot be recharged have a capacity of 500 to 3000 mAh. Batteries are divided according to this parameter into 2 groups. The first includes elements with a capacity of 1500 to 3000 mAh. They are installed in devices with high, but short-term energy consumption. The second includes batteries with an indicator from 500 to 1500 mAh. These elements are used in flashlights, electronics and other low-power devices.

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Differences between battery types

Batteries have a lot of differences. The main one is the electrolyte material.

Lithium ion

Such elements have an aluminum cylinder. Between the graphite anode and the cathode, a separator part impregnated with lithium ions is installed. The design withstands at least 1000 charge and discharge cycles. Batteries of this type are often installed in gadgets and other devices that require a lot of energy. Lithium-ion batteries have a low self-discharge rate and remain functional for a long time.

The memory effect is weak, so even with regular discharging and charging, the capacity does not decrease.

Based on nickel and metal hydride

Batteries made on the basis of metal hydride and nickel are capable of carrying a large charge, slowly losing energy. At the same time, they have a pronounced memory effect; battery capacity gradually decreases. Nickel-metal hydride batteries have a high self-discharge rate.

Based on nickel and cadmium

Nickel-cadmium batteries are the most primitive, so they have many disadvantages. They are quickly discharged even without use and have a pronounced memory effect. At the same time, they function under high load, are heat-resistant, and can be charged with high current if necessary. Such elements work even at sub-zero temperatures.

What is better to choose - a regular battery or an accumulator

Batteries have many advantages over galvanic cells. The battery can be charged and reused. This reduces costs and reduces the rate of environmental pollution. Simple batteries are more susceptible to corrosion. The electrolyte from such power supplies may cause malfunction of the electronic device. Batteries have a more durable shell, so they are less susceptible to corrosion and leakage.

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Andrey Kozhevnikov

Blog author. 7 years of experience as a Merchandiser. Specialist in the definition of quality products. Distinguished more than 5,000 fake goods. My motto: there is no limit to perfection!

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  1. Egor

    Now, as for me, batteries are more practical, and their ability to recharge, especially if you are in nature and there are solar panels, it saves, but batteries last a long time and it is less necessary to throw them out because of this, we are fighting to save the planet

  2. Sasha Gaiduk

    The article is very interesting and useful. It is clearly and clearly written how to distinguish a battery-battery from a regular disposable one. Batteries are much more practical than disposable batteries. I personally made sure of this. In a computer mouse and a flashlight, I use only batteries-batteries.

  3. hamed

    It was an interesting and useful article about the basic methods for identifying common and unusual batteries, I learned a lot and would like to thank your site for memorizing such valuable content.

  4. Dominika Mironova

    I like lithium better, they are so convenient and just generally wonderful, how can one not love such convenient and compact ones, many of my friends underestimate this type of battery, you described it completely for the rest so that they would understand what kind it is such

  5. Andrey

    In general, everything is correct. I would just like to add that alkaline, or as they are also called alkaline batteries, allow a certain number of charge-discharge cycles. That is, you can recharge them, this is provided by the manufacturer. But their resource is small, usually 10-20 cycles, unlike batteries with their hundreds of charge-discharge cycles.

  6. Nicholas

    Very interesting, I will choose more competently, otherwise I was tired of changing the batteries in the mouse from the PC.