There are various types of two-way radio batteries that are designed for use in two-way radios. Some batteries are suited for consumer-type radios, like walkie-talkies, and others are built for use in larger commercial radios. The three main types of two-way radio batteries are nickel metal hydride (NiMH), nickel cadmium (NiCd), and lithium ion (Li-ion), which can be rechargeable. Each has a variety of benefits over the other as well as disadvantages that can affect battery life and the performance of the radio. In general, all batteries degrade over time and it is important to know which battery is best for the radio being used.
Typically used for a two-way radio system are NiCd types of batteries. They are generally inexpensive, tend to last longer than other battery types, and often have a higher capacity to allow a radio to operate for a longer time. The high power of two-way radios is also supported by this type of battery, in contrast to conventional batteries. One down side to the NiCd battery is that if it is recharged before the power is fully drained, then its capacity decreases.
An NiMH battery does not last as long with each charge but stores a little more energy than a NiCd battery. Instead of toxic cadmium, an alloy that can store hydrogen is included. While there are some benefits of the NiMH over batteries with cadmium, these two-way radio batteries still decrease in charge capacity if powered up before fully drained. There is also a decrease in voltage as the battery nears full discharge, so the user must pay careful attention to the power level before charging it.
When charging Li-ion batteries, however, the power does not have to be fully drained to get a complete charge every time. These are generally more expensive than the other two types of two-way radio batteries, but maintenance costs in the long run may be less. Separate chargers are needed as well, and other disadvantages include a loss of capacity over a yearly period. Most kinds of batteries will lose capacity over time because of the internal chemical reactions that occur even when they aren’t used. The capacity and how long different kinds of two-way radio batteries last is often indicated by manufacturers online; it is generally a good idea that there is a money back guarantee in case the battery doesn’t perform as expected.