Guide to Rechargeable Tool Batteries

By: Julie Day

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

Advantages of NiCd Batteries

    Cordless string trimmer

    NiCd batteries are the most affordable.

  • Longest Life: While Li-Ion batteries may take more charges, NiCd batteries will last longer over time. So, they’re a good choice if you’re only going to use a tool occasionally.
  • Cheapest: NiCd batteries are the most affordable.
  • Recharge Fast: NiCd batteries have the shortest recharge time.
  • Stable: NiCd batteries have low internal resistance and aren’t prone to overheating. This makes them less susceptible to internal damage and the least finicky about overall use and charger technology.
  • Cold Tolerant: Of the two types of nickel-based batteries, NiCd batteries perform better in cold weather.

Disadvantages of NiCd Batteries

    Recycle label on battery

    Dispose of batteries properly.

  • Environmentally Unfriendly: The cadmium used as the anode in NiCd batteries is very toxic to the environment, which makes safe disposal of these batteries quite a challenge. Always recycle these batteries properly to prevent contamination.
  • Memory Effect: After repeated recharging, some NiCd batteries can develop a “memory” of how deeply they were discharged and to recharge only to that level, resulting in a decrease in run time. The memory effect is treatable, but it can be annoying.
  • Heavy: NiCd batteries are the heaviest of the three cordless battery types.
  • Shortest Run Time: While quick to recharge, NiCd batteries are also quick to run down.
  • Self-Discharge: Both NiCd and NiMH batteries tend to loose their charge over time when stored.

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