If you’re a gadget geek, you know how frustrating it is to rely on disposable AA batteries. It’s as if you’re stuck in a perpetual replacement loop — not to mention, you’re also spending boatloads of money. Sure, you’ve considered rechargeable AAs, but you’ve never really gone down the path.
Today’s the day, Bucko. The upfront cost of rechargeable batteries is a bit steep, yes, but the charger and any batteries you purchase will pay for themselves in the long run. Instead of opting for a new battery pack every time a gadget dies, why not throw the dead batteries in a charger for a few hours?
The batteries below feature impressive recharge capacity and the ability to retain the bulk of their energy during prolonged storage. What’s more, depending on the brand you choose, you typically won’t need another set for an upwards of five years. And if you use gadgets on the go, consider picking up a portable battery charger as well.
Panasonic Eneloop Pro ($20)
Sanyo’s Eneloop was one of the top picks in our original 2014 list, and remains one of our favorites even though Panasonic now manufacturers the batteries. The Eneloop Pro is the newest version, and it sports a capacity of 2,500mAh. The Pros can only be charged 500 times or so, but their performance is what makes them so good. Eneloops simply work better than ordinary batteries, and perform flawlessly both 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.
Powerex Imedion ($14)
You’ve never heard of Powerex, but the company’s Imedion batteries get high marks for being a great mix of performance and value. They have nearly the same capacity as the Eneloop Pros (2,600mAh), although they won’t perform as well over time. If you need to store these batteries long-term — i.e. over a year — they should retain about 85 percent of their original charge, and you should see about 1,000 charge cycles before the batteries need to be replaced. Performance in high temperatures is also impressive.
Energizer is a household name, and the company’s Recharge Universal brand is widely available. While they offer only 2,000mAh capacity, they remain one of the cheaper options among top-tier rechargeable batteries. Tests have shown these batteries to keep up with more expensive options when it comes to performance, and unless you need the larger capacity, they make a good option for your wireless keyboard or mouse.
Duracell Rechargeable ($13)
Another widely available option is the Duracell Rechargeable. They sport a larger capacity (2,400mAh) than the competing model from Energizer, though they may not perform as well in some electronic devices. Nonetheless, we have a pair in our wireless keyboard, and they’ve not let us down over the past 18 months. Duracell stands by its product, too, and guarantees they’ll last up to five years under normal use. Not a bad deal.
EBL High Capacity ($17)
If you’re willing to take a risk with an off-brand alternative, try EBL’s rechargeables. Each battery sports 2,800mAh capacity, and you get eight in a pack instead of the typical four. The company also claims its batteries will retain most of their charge even after three years of storage. While we don’t have any experience with these batteries ourselves, reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive. Again, we did say it was a risk.
While AAs are generally the standard, many smaller devices use AAA batteries, so it is nice to have some on hand. These batteries offer up to 800mAh, and Amazon claims they can last for years on a single charge, thanks to their low self-discharge technology. The company claims that the batteries will retain 80 percent of their charge even after a year of non-use. Moreover, the batteries come pre-charged — using solar energy no less — so you can feel good about doing your part for the environment.
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