NiCad vs NiMH

NiCad vs NiMH

Fed up with all the talk about nicad vs nimh batteries? Don’t know which one is best for you? Let’s discover the distinction between these rechargeable energy sources. Learn which battery type offers improved performance and more dependable results. Make an informed decision now!


Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel Metal-hydride (NiMH) are two types of rechargeable batteries. They are used in consumer electronics such as cordless phones, digital cameras, power tools and toys. Although similar, there are differences between the two types.

NiCd and NiMH are secondary batteries. This means they can be recharged when the power is lost. When recharging, the cells rearrange to create new energy. Both types offer higher energy storage than other rechargeable batteries or disposal versions, such as alkaline batteries. Neither battery type contains hazardous materials that may cause environmental risks.

Before purchasing a battery, you will need to know which will give better performance based on your needs.

Advantages of Nicad

NiCad batteries have benefits over NiMH batteries. They offer higher current ratings, making them better for high performance tasks. Plus, they hold their charge longer when not in use and are less prone to leak or corrode.

The memory effect in NiCads is less than in older tech like NiZn. So these cells can always work at top performance – no need for special cycling or maintenance. Many models have a reconditioning capability built into the charger, making prolonged battery life easier.

Also, Nicad batteries cost less per milliamp-hour than other rechargeables. Used and maintained correctly, they provide a very economical source of power.

Disadvantages of Nicad

Nicad batteries are less desirable than NiMH in many applications. They can suffer from the “memory effect” which disrupts their charge-holding ability. To avoid this, they must be fully discharged and recharged multiple times. Also, Nicads need deep-cycle charging often, which shortens their cycle life.

Additionally, their voltage drops as time passes, reducing efficiency. Lastly, lead, which is a major part of Nicads, can be toxic; thus, consumers should be careful when disposing of them.

Advantages of Nimh

NiMH batteries are the ideal choice for portable devices like cell phones and cordless tools. They offer higher energy density and their charge lasts longer than NiCd batteries. Plus, there is no memory effect caused by frequent charging and discharging. This means the battery life cycle lasts longer before needing replacement.

Furthermore, NiMH cells require no maintenance and are recyclable, with low environmental impact.

Disadvantages of Nimh

Nimh batteries have some drawbacks when compared to nickel-cadmium. They are typically more expensive. Additionally, they don’t work in cold climates below -20°C (-4°F). Storage life is shorter too; only 80–90% of its charge remains after 6 months at 25C (77F). Recharging needs to be done fully, or else the battery can suffer from an electrical memory effect weakening its performance. Lastly, they deteriorate faster due to their higher energy density when overcharged.

Comparison of Nicad and Nimh

Nickel cadmium (nicad) and nickel metal hydride (nimh) batteries are rechargeable. They provide an efficient and cost-effective power source for many applications. To decide which type is best, compare energy density, recharging cycles, self-discharging rate, memory effect, weight and environmental impact.

  • Energy Density: Nimh offers higher energy density than nicad. Therefore, they provide more power in the same size and weight.
  • Recharging Cycles: Nicads can handle 500 charge-and-discharge cycles before performance deteriorates. For nimh, it is 1000 cycles.
  • Self-Discharge Rate: Nicads quickly lose charge when idle. Nimhs only lose charge after months or years of storage.
  • Memory Effect: Nimhs are not prone to the memory effect like nicads. Therefore, they need less maintenance.
  • Weight: Nimhs are heavier than nicads due to an additional chemical material.
  • Environmental Impact: Both types contain toxic metals. However, NIMH has less overall environmental impact due to its energy efficiency. Both pose risks if not disposed according to care guidance.

Applications of Nicad and Nimh

Nickel Cadmium Rechargeable Batteries (NiCad) and Nickel Metal Hydride Rechargeable Batteries (NiMH) have been around for yonks. But, tech is evolving, so their uses need to too. So, let’s take a look and decide which one suits us best.

Nicads are often used in portable devices such as drills and toothbrushes, and in industrial areas like transport, telecoms and medicine. They can be used for short-term power outages or overloads if mains power fails.

Nimhs are popular amongst hobbyists, who use them for higher power levels and longer runtimes than other rechargeable batteries. They’re also commonly used in remote control cars, digital cameras and other devices that need energy during charging cycles. Other uses are electric bicycles and motorized toys. Nimh batteries make up over half of the rechargeable battery market due to their cost-effectiveness and durability compared to Lithium Ion and Lead acid batteries.


To sum up, nicad and nimh rechargeable batteries both have their pros and cons. Nicad is more cost-effective but has limited charging options, and memory effect can reduce its capacity. On the other hand, nimh is pricier but has a higher energy density and can be charged using any charger without memory effect.

When deciding which battery to buy, consider your needs and budget. Rechargeable batteries usually cost more upfront, so think about the value of having long-lasting batteries over disposable ones. In the end, the choice between nicad and nimh will depend on how you plan to use them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the difference between Nicad and NiMH batteries?

A1: Nicad and NiMH batteries are both rechargeable batteries. The main difference between the two is that NiMH batteries have higher energy density, meaning they can store more energy in the same amount of space. NiMH batteries also have no memory effect, meaning they can be charged and discharged without any adverse effects.

Q2: How do Nicad and NiMH batteries compare in terms of power?

A2: NiMH batteries have higher power capabilities than Nicad batteries, meaning they can deliver more power in a shorter amount of time. This makes them more suitable for high-drain applications such as power tools and electric vehicles.

Q3: What is the lifespan of Nicad and NiMH batteries?

A3: The lifespan of Nicad and NiMH batteries depends on how they are used and maintained. Generally, Nicad batteries last for up to 1,000 charge cycles, whereas NiMH batteries can last for up to 2,000 charge cycles. Additionally, NiMH batteries tend to retain their charge for longer periods of time than Nicad batteries.


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