There are many kind of rechargeable batteries in the market which are enough to confuse you while buying one of them. While explaining the technical differences of different batteries I will try to give you enough explanations to remove your confusions about the batteries related to your specific application. If you want to get the reactions occurring inside the batteries then this is not the right place for you.
We will discuss these 4 kinds of batteries in this article one by one.
Nickel Cadmium Battery:
These batteries have the applications at harsh places where you can’t go and check the batteries regularly. It means these batteries require less maintenance. They are as much reliable that in space, they use NiCd batteries with satellites. These batteries have high charge and discharge rates. High charge rate means you can charge it rapidly by giving it more charging current as compared to lead acid batteries and high discharge rate means you can draw large currents from them. But during charging it should be charged completely, it means it needs complete charging and discharging cycles to maintain a good life. Its cost is less than Lithium ion batteries but more than lead acid batteries. But these batteries are not environment friendly as Cadmium is very poisonous element and in some countries they are not allowed to use.
Summary: If you want to use the battery at far place from living like a solar panel fitted at distant and Unattended then you should consider this kind of battery.
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery:
These batteries are improved version of nickel cadmium batteries. They have 2-3 times more capacity with the same size NiCd. They have relatively less self discharge rate than NiCd.
These batteries do not give the advantage of high charge and discharge rate. To charge this kind of batteries you should take very good care of them. This kind ofbatteries is available in mostly AA pencil size cells and they have more cost than NiCd batteries. Moreover these batteries are environment friendly and got very light weight. Due to these reasons companies are using these batteries in hybrid cars.
Summary: Use these batteries in small gadgets like toys and cameras etc where you can't have space but can afford a little bit high cost.
Lead Acid batteries:
In cars, motorcycles and UPS systems these batteries are on the top due to their cheaper cost. These batteries can endure inrush current (large starting current of motors) due to which they are best for use in self start of cars. These batteries like slow charging, rapid chargers can reduce the life of these batteries. You can enhance the life of lead acid batteries by carefully designing the chargers giving controlled current to the battery while charging.
They are in more bulky size as compare to other batteries and are not environment friendly due to lead and acid using in it. Moreover lead acid batteries require high maintenance in such a way that you have to check its acid level once in a month. If their acid level is low you have to fill it with diluted water which you can get from battery shop or from the rain.
Note: Never fill it with tap water/mineral water because it reduces its life drastically.
Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (dry batteries):
Maintenance free lead acid batteries are also available in the market which you can called as sealed lead acid battery. These batteries have only one advantage over simple lead-acid battery that they are maintenance free but cost of these batteries is on high side. But still these batteries have less cost as compare to NiCd batteries.
Summary: These batteries are best in the places where size does not matter but cost matters a lot. For example UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems require a lot of power to bear all the load of your appliance. To get over the problem you will need a big battery with high AH capacity. With the increase in AH capacity the cost rises too much. To compensate this cost you will need a cheaper battery with other good qualities, this is the time where lead-acid batteries come.
Lithium ion (Li-ion) Batteries:
Batteries present inside your laptop and cell phones are lithium ion batteries. These batteries are maintenance free and do not require complete charging and discharging cycles. It means you can disconnect your cell phone any time while charging and you can connect any time as well. But at the same time these batteries require proper protection circuits to avoid over charging and ‘deep discharging’ as well. These batteries are most sensitive to temperature. Their protection circuit must also have temperature sensors and protection accordingly.
Summary: Use these batteries where you don’t care about cost at all and all you need is space.