Batteries can be expensive, particularly if you have lots of different gadgets around the house that require them. The Simple Dollar founder and money saving expert Trent Hamm tallied up the amount of money his family was spending on batteries each year and found that the annual cost amounted to about $77. That may not seem like much money at first glance, but the cost definitely adds up over long periods of time.
You can free up almost all of the money that you’re currently spending on disposable batteries simply switching to rechargeables. Hamm made the transition and now his family only spends less than a quarter on batteries each year. Modern rechargeable batteries are much more efficient than the ones that were available years ago. Not only that, they’re also much more eco-friendly compared to alkaline batteries. Some battery manufacturers are even beginning to make use of recycled materials.
Here are the best rechargeable AA batteries you can buy:
The best budget rechargeable AA batteries
Panasonic’s Eneloop brand rechargeable AA batteries combine a low price point with a decent array of well-rounded features. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced rechargeable battery option it might be what you need. According to Eneloop, these batteries are immune to the effect of “lazy battery syndrome,” in which repeated partial charges reduce a rechargeable’s capacity over time. The capacity is low compared to other rechargeables, though.
- Retains full capacity over time. Eneloop claims to have found a way around the memory effect that causes some rechargeables’ capacity to decline when used in certain ways.
- Good deals on bulk orders are available. The 24-pack provides a low cost-per-battery price point.
- Comes pre-charged. You can use these rechargeables right away without having to power them up with a charger first.
- 2100 recharges. The recharge cycle count is higher than average.
- Performs well in cold temperatures. They can perform well in temperatures as low as -4 Fahrenheit.
- Low capacity compared to other rechargeable batteries. Rated at just 2000 mAh Eneloops can’t hold as much energy as other rechargeable brands.
In a nutshell
When it comes to pure value, Panasonic Eneloop batteries are hard to top. The per-battery price point is very low, especially when you buy in bulk. Because Panasonic’s engineers have found a way to neutralize the annoying “memory effect” that plagued the rechargeables of yesterday, you don’t need to use the batteries until they are completely drained every time.
The most eco-friendly rechargeable AA batteries
Given Energizer’s emphasis on advertising (the company spent $70 million on advertising last year), it’s kind of hard to understand how Energizer Recharge is so inexpensive. You don’t even have to buy hundreds of them to pick up a bulk discount, either. One reason for the low cost could be the recycled materials used in production. Despite the low price, the specifications are competitive. Capacity is slightly low compared to some recycled batteries but reusability is above average.
- Eco-friendly. These rechargeables are the only ones we’ve seen that are partially made out of recycled materials.
- Inexpensive price. The per-battery cost is low in comparison to other brands..
- Tested for use in toys and video game devices. According to Energizer, one full charge supports five and a half hours of handheld video game use and eight hours of toy operation.
- Ready to use right away. Since they’re charged at the factory you can insert these batteries into any device and start using them as soon as you want.
- 1000 recharges. These batteries meet the industry standard for reusability.
- Retains electricity for up to a year. Since they don’t require frequent maintenance, you can use them for emergency devices and other infrequently used electronic equipment.
- Five-year shelf life. If you wait to start using Energizer Recharges, you can store them for a long period of time.
- Capacity specification is on the low side. The 2300 mAh capacity specification might explain the low cost.
In a nutshell
Energizer Recharge batteries have good stats and a competitive price point. The most unique thing about them, however, is the fact that they are made out of recycled components. No other rechargeable battery brand can claim this. Currently only 4 percent of the materials used have been recycled, but every effort counts when it comes to energy conservation.
The best AA rechargeable batteries for high drain devices
Panasonic Eneloop Pro
Devices like GPS receivers and cameras are notorious energy hogs. If you use those kinds of devices, you may be better off using rechargeable batteries. Ni-MH rechargeables like Panasonic’s Eneloop Pro don’t heat up as quickly as standard alkaline batteries when used with high drain devices. The Eneloop Pro’s special super lattice design makes them even more effective in this respect
- Unique super lattice design. The highly durable super-lattice alloy material contained inside the shell helps the Eneloop Pro withstand repeated use.
- 2550 mAh capacity. Eneloop Pros hold more energy than most rechargeables.
- First charge performed at the factory. Like most rechargeable battery manufacturers, Panasonic pre-charges their batteries at the factory so you can use them right away.
- Can withstand sub-zero temperatures. Even at temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit, Eneloop Pro rechargeables can function normally.
- High energy retention specification. These batteries can hold 85% of their energy after a year, which is high relative to similar products from competing brands.
- Expensive compared to other rechargeable batteries. The per-battery cost is high, even when you order in bulk.
- Only 500 recharges. Other brands last longer because they support a greater number of recharge cycles.
In a nutshell
Wireless microphones, fans and portable televisions consume energy at a very high rate compared to devices like LED flashlights and remote controls. Experts agree that rechargeable batteries work better in these kinds of high drain devices. Panasonic’s Eneloop Pro rechargeables are specifically designed for this purpose. They hold more energy than competing batteries and the super lattice feature prevents degradation.
The best high capacity rechargeable batteries
When it comes to sheer capacity, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal on rechargeables than the EBL 2800. 2500 mAh seems to be the standard when it comes to capacity, but the EBL 2800 can hold 2800 mAh of electricity. The sticker price is competitive, as well. The 20-pack offers excellent value compared to other rechargeable battery brands.
- 2800 mAh capacity. They can hold more energy than any other rechargeable battery brand we’ve seen so far.
- Inexpensive compared to other rechargeable batteries. The per-battery cost is very competitive, especially if you buy the 20-pack.
- Solar charged at the factory. Rather than use up electricity from the power grid, EBL uses sunlight to provide the initial charge.
- 1000 recharges. EBL 2800s can be recharged 1000 times before they wear out.
- Comes with a case. The container that comes with batteries is sturdy and suitable for long-term storage.
- Retains charge over a long period of time. EBL claims their batteries will retain 80 percent of their power after three years.
- The initial charge is only 15 to 20% of the battery’s max capacity. While it is nice that the batteries do come pre-charged, a full charge would be even more convenient.
In a nutshell
The EBL 2800’s core competitive advantage is in its name. Most rechargeable batteries max out at around 2500 mAh, but the EBL 2800 holds 2800 mAh. Given this, you might think that EBL 2800s are pricey compared to other brands but that isn’t true. The per-battery price point is quite low, especially if you take advantage of bulk order deals.
The most reliable rechargeable AA batteries
Durcell’s company history dates back all the way back to 1924. The brand’s commitment to consistency and quality has helped it survive and thrive for all those decades. No other battery manufacturer stands behind its products with a promise to replace or repair any damages caused by leakages.
- Guarantee against leak damage. No other rechargeable battery brand that we’ve seen has issued an offer to replace or repair any damage caused by battery acid leaks.
- The company is involved in a large variety of different charities. Duracell has partnered with Toys for Tots, Children’s Miracle Network and several other charitable organizations.
- 2500 mAh capacity. When it comes to capacity, Duracell rechargeables are ahead of the curve.
- Initial charge provided by Duracell. You can use them right off the shelf without having to wait to charge them up first.
- Ten-year shelf life. If you put them in storage after you buy them, they’ll remain ready to use for a full decade.
- They’ll wear out after just 400 recharges. Other rechargeable batteries last a lot longer.
In a nutshell
No other battery brand can match Duracell’s guarantee. If any of their batteries damages your device, Duracell will replace or repair it for you. Duracell Rechargeables stand up quite well against the competition in terms of specifications. The fact that Duracell is involved in many different charities is another reason to consider this classic battery brand.