For avid electronics users, relying on traditional alkaline batteries can be frustrating. Not only do the prices for a pack of AAs seem to continually rise, but their lifespan seem to get continually shorter. Thankfully, opting for a pack of rechargeable batteries is a cost-effect solution to overspending, one carrying a higher price tag while encompassing a bigger investment than traditional disposables. There’s a plethora of different rechargeable batteries on the market — from lithium-ion to the now-defunct nickel-cadmium — with nickel-metal hydride batteries (Ni-MH) representing the common solution given their capacity if nearly triple of that of nickel-cadmium batteries with an energy density nearly rivaling lithium-ion. Moreover, the batteries feature impressive recharge capacity and the ability to retain the bulk their energy during prolonged storage. What’s more, depending on the brand you choose, you typically won’t need another set for upwards of five years.
Here our picks for the best rechargeable batteries, regardless of the brand, so you can spend less time scrambling for AAs and more time wondering why you ever bothered with regular alkaline to begin with. Additionally, check out our picks for best charging cases and battery packs for the iPhone or iPad, along with our selection of the best LED light bulbs if you’re looking for other home-centric offerings.
Sanyo Eneloop — $15
Sanyo’s Eneloop rechargeable batteries are the cream of the crop for multiple reasons. The batteries can hold nearly 75 percent of their charge over the course of three years, while additionally boasting an incredible number of recharges — more than 1,500 — before the beginning to degrade. Each pack of Eneloops comes pre-charged and is compatible with nearly every electronic device, and though they’re one of the more expensive offerings on our list, the 2,000mAh batteries work flawlessly in everyday conditions and extreme temperatures. Plus, the batteries don’t exhibit any sort of memory effect, meaning you can recharge them when they’re fully or partially drained.
Duracell StayCharged — $10
Nowadays, the name Duracell is synonymous with batteries. That said, it’s no surprise the American company garnered a spot on our list given what the StayCharged are capable of. The batteries last 50 percent longer than standard alkaline batteries when used in high-draining devices such as game controllers and baby monitors, and if stored, they retain the bulk of their charge for up to a year. You can recharge the batteries up to 400 times before noticeable degradation occurs and Duracell even guarantees the batteries will last at least five years when predominantly used in high-draining devices. The latter point makes the StayCharged ideal for the avid gamer on a budget.
Powerex Imedion — $13
The brand Powerex isn’t a household name when it comes to electronics, but that doesn’t make its Imedion rechargeable battery any less impressive. Like others on this list, the battery retains most of its charge during long-term storage, preserving nearly 85 percent of its charge according to Powerex’s tests. The batteries come pre-charged and ready to use directly out of the package as well, with a recharge lifespan exceeding 1,000 charges before performance noticeably drops. Furthermore, they perform remarkably in elevated temperatures and come bundled with a free carrying case for storage on the move.
Energizer Recharge — $15
Another familiar name in the battery industry, Energizer’s offering is one of the top rechargeable options for high-powered devices such as digital cameras, video game controllers, and industrious flashlights. The batteries are known to last up to four times longer in high-powered device than the company’s commonplace alkaline batteries, while retaining the bulk of their energy for up to a year before requiring a charge. Though Energizer hasn’t listed how many specific charges the Recharge can handle in its lifespan, the company does back its product with a five-year guarantee, likely suggesting a lifetime encompassing 400 charges or so before the performance begins to degrade. Though not long on life span like Sanyo or Powerex’s models, Energizer’s Recharge remains a laudable option for frequent users of high energy devices.
Sony Cycle Energy — $18
There’s no denying Sony’s involvement in the electronics industry. Like the aforementioned Imedion and Eneloop batteries, the company’s Cycle Energy retains around 85 percent of its charge after more than a year of storage, while lasting roughly three times longer than traditional alkaline batteries. The batteries also boast more than 1,000 separate charges before performance begins to wane, and though the Eneloops still take the cake for recharge quantity, Sony’s product isn’t far off. Still, they’re the most costly option on our list as well.
What do you think of our picks for the best rechargeable batteries on the market? Do you have a better suggestion? Sound off in the comments below.