Nickel-cadmium battery (NiCad)

The first nickel-cadmium battery was invented by Waldmar Jungner in 1899. At that time, lead-acid was the only direct competitor that was physically and chemically robust. Jungner offered several advantages over the lead-acid battery, but the materials were expensive and use was limited. In 1932, active materials were deposited in a porous, nickel-plated electrode. And after 14 years, the first production in the US began in 1946.



Fast charging of a nickel-cadmium battery

Because the battery is robust and can be charged ultra-fast with little stress, this chemistry soon gained a high popularity and the battery is still used for its good charging performance; the long shelf life (can be stored in a discharged state) and simple storage and transport.


The battery gives good performance at low temperatures and is economically priced. This means that NiCad often has the lowest price in terms of costs per cycle. The battery is available in a wide range of sizes and performance options. At Elfa, we can, in fact, make custom battery packs from NiCad batteries.


Memory effect

Standard NiCad needs proper care to achieve a long life. nickel-cadmium batteries can have a “memory effect” when discharged and charged hundreds of times to the same state of charge. The battery seems to remember the previous energy delivered and once a routine is established, it doesn’t want to give anymore.


Partly banned

As of January 1, 2017, the sale of Nkkel cadmium batteries for small appliances, such as portable power tools, is no longer allowed in Europe. The special exemption issued for this purpose expired on 31 December 2016. The reason why NiCad batteries have been banned for consumer use is because they contain the highly toxic cadmium and therefore the batteries are very harmful to the environment. It is therefore very important that these batteries are recycled properly. NiCad batteries used for the applications listed below fall outside this regulation and may still be sold:

  • Medical uses
  • Safety uses (including alarms and emergency lighting)
  • Batteries for industrial and professional use


Upsides of NiCad batteries:

  • Robust, long cycle time with good maintenance
  • Battery that can be charged ultra-fast with little stress
  • Good charging performance
  • Long shelf life; can be stored in a discharged condition
  • Simple storage and transport; not subject to legal audit
  • Good performance at low temperatures
  • Economically priced: NiCad is the cheapest in terms of costs per cycle


Downsides of NiCad batteries:

  • Relatively low specific energy as compared to newer systems
  • Memory effect; requires periodical full discharges
  • Cadmium is a toxic metal. Cannot be disposed of on waste dumps
  • High self-discharge; must be recharged after storage

Example of a NiCad battery

Elfa offers various NiCad batteries that may be of interest to you. Consider, for example, the NiCad batteries from the brand Arts Energy, such as the ArtsEnergy VNT DU NiCad pack 2,4V 4Ah SBS faston right. This rechargeable NiCad battery pack from ArtsEnergy is specially tailored for Elfa customers.


Batterijpack van NiCd


ArtsEnergy VNT DU NiCad pack 2,4V 4Ah SBS faston right


This battery pack is characterized by its compactness and robustness. The new strategy of Arts Energy is marked by their offering of various technologies, the connectivity of their products, and customized solutions, which is central to their approach.





Comparison with NiMH

As mentioned earlier, NiCad batteries also have some drawbacks. Disadvantages of NiCad batteries include relatively low specific energy, the memory effect requiring periodic full discharges, the toxic nature of cadmium, and high self-discharge.


An interesting alternative is NiMH batteries. NiMH batteries, for example, have a 30-40% higher capacity than NiCad batteries. They also suffer significantly less from the memory effect and are more environmentally friendly as they do not use toxic materials. Finally, NiMH batteries experience less self-discharge than NiCad batteries.



Varta NiMH batterijen


Varta’s NiMH batteries


At Elfa, we also have NiMH batteries from various brands, such as the rechargeable NiMH batteries from Varta, with a voltage of 1.2V and a capacity of 3Ah. These are known for their efficiency, durability, and high-quality materials. The Varta brand is based in Germany and is globally recognized as one of the top battery manufacturers.


However, NiMH batteries also have a disadvantage. They are unsuitable for use in environments and countries with extreme heat or cold. Therefore, it is preferable to store these batteries in a cool ambient temperature (>1 and < 25 degrees Celsius). The battery loses its charge at low temperatures, and at high temperatures, the battery may become damaged.



Our range of NiMH batteries



Questions about NiCad batteries?

For questions about nickel-cadmium batteries, feel free to contact us. The most convenient way is to fill out the form below. We will then get in touch with you.

Unfortunately, Elfa only supplies to business customers. Therefore, we kindly ask you to have your electrical installer contact us. This way, we can still assist you. Thank you for your understanding.

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