How to Find, Use, and Dispose of Rechargable AA Batteries

A small, yellow rechargeable battery sitting upright in the grass.

Don't spend a small fortune on buying container after container of batteries. If you have a lot of electronics around the home that run on AA's, getting a few sets of rechargeable cells will be a more cost-effective alternative. Read on to learn more about these batteries and how best to use them.

Which Kinds of Batteries are Rechargeable?

Not every battery on the market falls into this category. Many kinds are still one-use that must be disposed of after they run out of juice. These include batteries that are made from zinc-carbon, usually marketed as general purpose batteries, zinc-chloride, or "heavy-duty," and alkaline varieties. Since none of these are made to be recharged, they can overheat and leak fluid if put into a charger, or in extreme cases, they can even burst into flames. Either way, these types will still remain useless after their initial charge runs out.

Rechargeable AA batteries are easy to find in stores because they are always marked as such. These are made of different compounds than ordinary batteries, specifically nickel-cadmium (NiCd) or nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and they contain a different set of chemicals inside that allows them to replenish their charge.

Charging Methods

There are many kinds of chargers on the market for these batteries, and new varieties continue to pop up frequently as the need for them arises. Most plug into the wall, although some are solar powered. They also come in various sizes, allowing to charge anywhere between four and 16 AA batteries at a time.

Quick-charging varieties do exist and these will cut the total charge time needed by quite a bit. However, it is important to note that this will decrease the total lifespan of your rechargeable batteries as a result.

Some power cells can even be recharged without the use of a charger. They have a sensor located on the side of the battery which will give several cycles of life back when pressed.


Although rechargeable batteries last much longer than ordinary varieties, they will not last forever. They will wear down under the continuous cycle of recharging until they simply can't hold power anymore. At this time, they should be properly disposed of. Many of the materials in these batteries can be recycled, so this is the best solution. In fact, several states prohibit throwing them away in the trash, so recycling might be your only option. To find a recycling location near you, visit this website.

Use rechargeable batteries responsibly in your home and you can get a lot of use out of them every time. This way, you only need to buy AA's maybe once a year instead of once every couple of months.