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Compare the best rechargeable batteries
Learn how to find the best rechargeable batteries for all your devices.
Regular batteries can run out quickly and often need replacing at the worst possible moment. Buying batteries over and over again is also expensive, inconvenient and bad for the environment.
Rechargeable batteries are an investment that can save you money in the long run, but you need to get ones with reliable long-term performance.
Top rechargeable batteries
|Infapower B003 AA||$9.11 (4 Pack)||AA||1,300||Up to 1,000 times|
|Energizer Recharge Extreme AA||$29.95 (4 Pack)||AA||2,300||Not available|
|Energizer Recharge Extreme AAA||$26.95 (4 Pack)||AAA||800||Not available|
|Eveready Rechargeable AA||$16.68||AA||1,300||Up to 1,000 times|
|Panasonic Eneloop AAA||$20.24||AAA||800||Up to 2,100 times|
|Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA||$46.82||AA||2,550||Up to 500 times|
|Maha Powerex Pro Rechargeable AA||$35.00(4-Pack)||AA||2,700||Up to hundreds of times|
|EBL Rechargeable D||$33.99 (6-Pack)||D||10,000||Up to 1,200 times|
Why buy rechargeable batteries?
Modern technology allows rechargeable AA and AAA batteries to hold a larger charge for longer than before and go through hundreds of charge cycles.
As such, there are a few simple reasons why rechargeable batteries are a sensible purchase:
- They’re cost-effective. While price and performance vary between brands, you’ll generally start to get value for money from rechargeable batteries after about a dozen or so uses. While they might cost more than single-use batteries up front, the extra investment is worth it in the long run.
- They’re better for the environment. Single-use batteries need to be disposed of as soon as they run flat, but rechargeable ones can be reused hundreds or thousands of times. While rechargeable batteries still contain toxic chemicals, they can be used much longer.
- They can power a wide range of devices. Flashlights, wireless mice, wireless keyboards, remote control cars, TV remotes, portable media players, kids toys — the list of high-use household gadgets powered by batteries goes on and on, so there are plenty of ways you can use rechargeable batteries around the home.
Rechargeable vs. single-use batteries
While rechargeable batteries have their advantages, there are some situations where single-use batteries are a better choice. For clocks and those devices that you only need to power every so often, such as an emergency flashlight for power outages, single-use alkaline batteries are the preferred option.
Single-use batteries are designed to kick into action straight away after extensive periods of inactivity. And because they’ll only be used sparingly and won’t need regular replacement, you can take advantage of the cheaper price tag.
What types are available?
There are three main varieties of rechargeable batteries:
Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) rechargeable batteries
Once the leader of the rechargeable-battery space, better-performing newer technology has superseded nickel-cadmium batteries. Cadmium is also highly toxic, which has prompted restrictions on its use in batteries to all but a handful of medical applications in many countries.
Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries
Most modern rechargeable batteries are made of nickel-metal hydride, which provides a larger capacity and the ability to hold a charge for longer. They’re cheaper to manufacture than NiCd batteries, and are a suitable choice for most household applications.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries
Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries have emerged in recent years and are capable of holding a higher capacity and offer a longer shelf life than NiMH batteries. However, they’re rarely available in standard sizes like AA or AAA since they often have too much power for most consumer devices — most operate at 3.7V. If you do decide to buy a Li-ion rechargeable battery, make sure it has a voltage of 1.5V or 1.2V.
How to compare rechargeable batteries
Compare rechargeable batteries based on their size, capacity, lifespan and cost.
Rechargeable battery prices vary depending on the brand and size of battery you purchase. Consider the number of batteries in a pack to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. As a general guide, a four-pack of AA rechargeable batteries will cost somewhere in the $15 to $35 range.
Don’t forget to also include the cost of a battery charger in your calculations if you don’t already own one — most are around $20 to $40.
Here are the additional key factors you’ll need to consider:
- Size. Rechargeable batteries are available in standard battery sizes including AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt. It’s always a good idea to double-check that you’re selecting the right size of battery for your electronic devices before you buy.
- Charge cycles. Check how many charge cycles the manufacturer claims you will be able to get out of a battery. Some claim up to 300, 500 or 1,000 uses, while some pricier options can be recharged more than 2,000 times.
- Low-self discharge (LSD). Low-self discharge batteries, which are sometimes also referred to as ready-to-use or pre-charged batteries, are NiMH batteries that are specially designed to better retain their charge when not in use. The fast rate of self-discharge is a common criticism of regular NiMH batteries, which lose about 1% of their charge per day, so it’s worth checking how much charge you can expect a battery to maintain during a long period of inactivity. For example, some manufacturers claim that their product will still hold up to 70% or 80% of its charge after 12 months in storage.
- Capacity. The capacity of a battery is measured in milliamp hours (mAh) — the higher the mAh figure quoted on the box, the longer a battery will last per charge. This means a 2,500 milliamp hour battery will be able to power a device for longer than a 1,300 milliamp hour battery, but it will also take longer to charge. If you need a battery for a high-drain task — for example, digital photography with plenty of flash use — a high-capacity battery is usually recommended. AA rechargeable batteries usually offer anywhere between 1,300 milliamp hour and 2,900 milliamp hour.
- Recycled materials. If you care about the environment, you may want to consider one of the several products available that are manufactured in part from recycled materials, including recycled batteries.
Which rechargeable batteries are best for me?
It all comes down to what gadgets you want to power with your batteries and how much you’re willing to spend.
To find the right batteries for your needs, make sure you compare the strengths and weaknesses of a number of products first. As an example of how to do this, we’ve compared the pros and cons of five popular rechargeable batteries in the table below:
|The good||The bad|
|Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA|
|Duracell Recharge Ultra AA|
|Energizer Recharge Universal AA|
|Eveready Rechargeable AA|
|Maha Powerex Pro Rechargeable AA|
Rechargeable batteries can be a good investment when you’re looking to save money and help the environment. Compare the number of charge cycles, lifespan and cost to make sure you’re getting a quality product at a great price.
How did we choose these products?
We performed our own online research and considered the charge cycles, lifespan, price and online product reviews to create our list of the best rechargeable batteries.
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