Which rechargeable batteries are best?

So many objects we use around our homes or elsewhere in our daily lives are battery-powered. Keeping them operating with disposable batteries can cost a shockingly high amount of money over time, especially if the devices chew through batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a wise investment in these cases as they can drastically lower your costs, plus they’re more environmentally friendly.

The best rechargeable batteries are Energizer Recharge AA Rechargeable Batteries. They come from one of the best names in batteries with quality to show for it.

What to know before you buy rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable battery benefits

Rechargeable batteries have two major benefits and two minor benefits.

  • Major benefits: The most important reason to use rechargeable batteries is to save — save money and help save the environment. Rechargeable batteries can potentially save you hundreds of dollars over their lifetime. They also contain fewer chemicals and use fewer resources.
  • Minor benefits: The minor benefits are pure convenience. You don’t have to worry about running out of batteries and forgetting to buy more, and you don’t need to bother with constantly taking a box of batteries somewhere to be recycled.

What’s included

Rechargeable batteries typically come in packs of varying amounts and sometimes with a matching charger. Packs can be as small as two or as large as several dozen.

What to look for in quality rechargeable batteries

Battery types

There are four types of rechargeable batteries: nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), nickel-zinc (NiZn), lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-cadmium (NiCd).

  • NiMH batteries are the most common. They can be used hundreds of times before they start to die and have high capacities that make them perfect for high-draw devices. However, they can self-discharge if left unused and don’t work well for devices that require more than four batteries.
  • NiZn batteries are a common alternative to NiMH batteries. Higher voltages make them better for objects like flashlights, but this high voltage also means they have a shorter lifespan. They also need a specialized charger.
  • Li-ion batteries are typically used in high-draw devices such as power tools and, in fact, aren’t available in standard battery sizes at all. They have such a high voltage that they can damage devices that require low voltage batteries.
  • NiCd batteries were the original type of rechargeable battery. You may still find them offered, but they should be avoided due to their toxicity and overall poor performance.

Milliampere hours

The milliampere hours of a battery measure how much charge it can hold, with higher mAh meaning higher-capacity batteries. Higher mAh batteries may last longer, but they also have longer recharge times. Different battery types should have different ranges of mAh.

  • AAA batteries should have 600-1,300 mAh.
  • AA batteries should have 1,200-2,700 mAh.
  • C batteries should have 2,500-6,000 mAh.
  • D batteries should have 5,000-8,000 mAh.

How much you can expect to spend on rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable battery costs vary based on the quality and number included. You can typically find packs of four for under $30, packs of eight for under $45, packs of 16 for under $50 and packs of 24 for under $60.

Rechargeable batteries FAQ

Can I use rechargeable batteries in any device?

A. Yes, so long as the batteries are the appropriate type. That said, rechargeable batteries are better used in high-draw devices such as handheld vacuums than low-draw devices such as clocks. The reason is that rechargeable batteries discharge a small amount of power each day to maintain themselves. For example, rechargeable batteries may only last three months in a clock rather than the six-plus months a disposable battery would last. Try to maintain a good balance of disposable and rechargeable batteries.

How long do rechargeable batteries last?

A. Rechargeable batteries typically last for one or two years, depending on how often they are charged and emptied. The more you charge and empty them, the shorter time they’ll last.

How do I properly dispose of old rechargeable batteries?

A. Like disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries contain harmful, toxic substances that shouldn’t be disposed of with the rest of your trash. Instead, they should be taken to a location, such as an electronics store, that will recycle them properly.

What are the best rechargeable batteries to buy?

Top rechargeable batteries

Energizer Recharge AA Rechargeable Batteries

Energizer Recharge AA Rechargeable Batteries

What you need to know: This large set comes from a leading battery brand.

What you’ll love: These batteries are NiMH with 2,300 mAh.  There are 12 pre-charged batteries in the box, so they can be used immediately. They are reliable and can hold their charge even when not in use, so they can be left on standby once charged.

What you should consider: A few consumers had issues with some batteries failing to hold a charge. They are expensive, and no charger is included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top rechargeable batteries for the money

Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries

Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries

What you need to know: These are excellent bulk-order budget batteries.

What you’ll love: They come in pack sizes of four, eight, 12, 16 or 20 and have 2,000 or 2,400 mAh.  Some packs also include a charger. They can be recharged up to 1,000 times and left charged and unused for up to two years.

What you should consider: There are some reports of batteries failing to hold a charge or be adequately recharged. They are slightly larger than usual, so they may not fit in tight spaces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Duracell Rechargeable Batteries With Charger

Duracell Rechargeable Batteries With Charger

What you need to know: This is an excellent starter kit.

What you’ll love: The charger can fully recharge up to four batteries at once in 1-2.5 hours, depending on the battery, and it can recharge any NiMH battery, not just Duracell. An LED indicator shows when the batteries are fully charged and has auto-shutoff to prevent overcharging.

What you should consider: Some purchasers reported needing to recharge the batteries more often than anticipated. There are only two AA and AAA batteries included with the charger.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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