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Ask the Readers: Is it a better deal to buy disposable batteries or invest in rechargeable batteries?

Today’s question is from Heather:

I’m curious to know if anyone has done a cost comparison over time with buying batteries (using coupons, of course!) to using rechargeable batteries. We have three children and we go through a Costco-sized batch of batteries within a couple of months. I’m considering investing in rechargeable batteries but wondering if that would really save any money. Thoughts?

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  • Melba says:

    I’m gradually adding to my stock of rechargable batteries. With so many disasters and also the very real possibility of emps or solar flares knocking out the whole electric grid I want to be prepared. If you think this can’t happen then I implore you to do some research . Consider a solar battery charger.

  • Princess says:

    We use recharchables. Just make sure you recharge them overnight! We’ve caught ourselves running out of juice faster bc we didn’t charge them long enough. lol @Melba, thanks for the tip! I didn’t know solar battery chargers were available! =)

  • Allison V. says:

    We had a few sets of rechargables for our old digital camera, and over the years they lose their ability to hold a good charge. They got demoted to toys (we have few battery operated toys…noise-ah!). At about $10 for four Duracell AA rechargables (minus coupon savings), and countless charges, I know it has saved me money. I need to get a bunch of AAA for some other things around the house.

  • Beth T says:

    I’m realizing that my son doesn’t have a single toy that takes batteries… Also, we don’t really watch TV so I can’t remember the last time I replaced the TV remote batteries (*scratches head thinking*). The only thing in our house that runs on batteries right now is a single AAA battery wall clock and smoke detectors. That being said, Target has the $1 packs of batteries all the time in their dollar section and they last forever in these types of items. I’d suggest taking a look for them if you need cheap batteries. I used to use AA Energizer recharge-able ones and they stopped working after 3-4 charges in my old camera so I wouldn’t suggest them. It was a waste of money.

  • WilliamB says:

    Something to keep in mind is that batteries are hazardous waste – old fashioned lead-acid ones (if anyone still has them), newer lithium or other rare metals. Not all jurisdictions require them to be disposed as hazardous waste but they should.

    Usually rechargables are less expensive per use but even if they aren’t, please consider them for most uses anyway because disposing of batteries is nasty stuff.

  • Marsha M. says:

    I have an Energizer battery charger that charges batteries in 15 mins. This charger comes with an adapter to use in the car also. I did not know what a deal I had found until I went looking for another charger just for an extra. Most chargers take hours to charge. I won’t use anything but a 15 min. charger. It also charges any kind of rechargable battery. (i.e. Rayovak, energizer) It is a good idea to use cheap nonrechargable in things you hardly use (clocks, etc.)
    We have truly benefitted from rechargables!

  • Kelly says:

    As many others have written, it is quite easy to find rechargables priced cheaply. The environmental cost make these totally worth it. We’ve been using these for years, and for the things that do come with disposables, we keep the dead ones in a box to be recycled.

  • B says:

    As a photographer I have found that most rechargables aren’t that dependable. They also get very weak after 4-5 charging sessions. I am not sure you will see much savings if it is something you use often, in that you will be replacing the recahrgable batteries often.
    Also, sometimes rechargable batteries can ruin electronics if they are going bad.

  • Celia says:

    Use $1/1 Energizer coupons on the Rayovac/EverReady brand in the $ spot at Target for FREE batteries. They are an Energizer brand. I have yet to pay for them which I find frugal. The only downside is be sure and recycle or it is a waste!

  • Joy says:

    We have only used AA rechargable batteries, but they have saved us a bunch of money. I only put them in wiimotes, our Apple wireless keyboard and mouse and few other items. I don’t want to forget what toys I put them in! I’ve bought mine off of “deal a day” sites such as and . I’ve found them there pretty cheap. We have NiZn rechargable batteries right now and they work great!

  • Lacy says:

    It seems like a common theme here is toys using tons of batteries. I’m trying to limit the number of battery opperated toys for my son (he is 9 mo). He has a few toys that take batteries that we’ve chosen not to put batteries in (e.g. little people toys) He doesnt know the difference 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Rechargable bataries are the way to go, IMO. I still buy disposables when they are free or close to, but we use rechargables in things like our remote controls.

  • Bridget DeLembo says:

    We have 3 children & go thru batteries like mad as well. We’ve been using rechargeable ones for years but find that they lose their charge much quicker than disposable ones especially the more you recharge them. I don’t think they are really worth the investment!

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