Rechargeable Battery and Alkaline Battery

Thread Starter


Joined Dec 9, 2020

I'm a total beginner about this, so could someone help explain this.

AA size Alkaline battery manufacturer never mentions mA as part of their specifications, rather it is a pure Voltage.
Whilst all rechargeable battery manufacturer/brands will list Voltage and mA as part of their specification.

Armed with a multimeter, I measure both types of batteries in terms of Voltage and mA.

Lo and behold,
The multimeter is able to display both Voltage and miliAmpere of the Alkaline battery;
Yet with rechargeable battery, only the Voltage registers.


Question 2
1. Say for AA size, why is the Rechargeable batteries voltage always lower than alkaline battery, 1.2V vs 1.5V respectively?
2. Why do alkaline battery manufacturer almost never mention mA as part of their specification?
3. Why do rechargeable battery mA is not detected by multimeter?

Thank you


Joined Aug 7, 2020
Are you confusing battery capacity in milliAmp-hours (a measure of the energy stored) with output current in milliAmps (either the instantaneous output current or the maximum output current)?

You can’t measure milliAmp-hours on a multimeter, you need a multimeter and a clock.


Joined Sep 17, 2013
.... and you risk damaging your multimeter if you try to use it to measure the maximum current capability of a battery.


Joined Mar 14, 2008
Never connect an ammeter directly across a battery, as that shorts the battery and may damage the ammeter.

Both types of batteries are rated by their voltage output and mAh (or Ah) storage capacity.


Joined Oct 2, 2009
If you want to know the mAh rating of a AA size battery you can look up the specs from the manufacturer or for any generic battery.


Joined Jul 10, 2017
The terminal voltage of a cell depends on the chemicals used in it to store the energy. The typical voltage of different types of cells is:
Alkaline (carbon/zinc) =1.5V
Ni-Cad = 1.2V
Ni-MH = 1.2V
Li-Ion = 3.6V
Lead-acid = 2V


Joined Aug 21, 2008
You can estimate useful life by using the discharge curves such as those shown below. Notice that service life depends on the current and the duty cycle. These curves can be found in the datasheets of many batteries, both rechargeable and primary cells.

You can get to Energizer datasheets for cells at the URL below.

The datasheet for one Engergizer AA cell is attached hereto.


Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
I recently bought Duracell Ni-MH batteries and a charger for a low price at Costco. The AA batteries are only half the mAh they used to be and are now made in China! Energizer Ni-MH batteries have the same 2500mAh capacity as they always had, and are still made in Japan maybe made by Panasonic who make the excellent but expensive Eneloop batteries.