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What's the best battery for two-way radios?
Most two-way radios use nickel-cadmium. These batteries are durable and forgiving if abused. The recommended alternative is nickel-metal-hydride, a two-way radio battery that has higher energy density and contains no toxic metals.
Comparing the two, nickel-cadmium two-way radio batteries have the advantage of maintaining steady high capacity and low internal resistance through most of their service life. A nickel-metal-hydride two-way radio battery, on the other hand, starts with good capacity and low internal resistance but the resistance increases after a few hundred cycles.
Nickel-based two-way radio batteries are high in maintenance. Periodic discharge cycles are needed to prevent crystalline formation on the cell plates, also known as memory. Nickel-cadmium is more receptive to memory than nickel-metal-hydride because both nickel and cadmium plates are affected by memory.
What are the charging cycles of Nickel-cadmium and Nickel-metal-hydride Two-Way Radio Batteries?
Nickel-cadmium two-way radio batteries should be exercised once ever 1 to 2 months, whereas nickel-metal-hydride two-way radio batteries can get by with a deliberate full discharge once every 3 months. Without proper maintenance, the advantage of nickel-cadmium over nickel-metal-hydride in terms of cycle life cannot be realized.
Can I use a Lithium Ion Two-Way Radio Battery?
Lithium-ion has been tested for two-way radio batteries and the results are positive. Substituting lithium-ion with nickel-based will require chargers specifically suited for this chemistry. Nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal-hydride can often share the same charger. Check our Two-Way Radio Battery Finder (link to Two-Way radio battery finder: Select manufacturer) to see if lithium batteries are available for your two-way radio.