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Eneloop – The Best Rechargeable Battery?

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Hardware & Peripherals
 
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They say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. I’d like to add another to that list: batteries will always cost a fortune. This Christmas, a cousin of mine with two small children put on her office gift exchange list ”various size batteries,” because she spent so much money on batteries for her children’s toys and electronics. Batteries commonly run $1 or more per battery,and don’t last very long in power-hungry devices.

Rechargeable batteries have been around for some time, but too often the promises they made never lived up to real life experiences. The batteries wouldn’t hold a charge for long, didn’t have the capacity promised or would just stop charging after few dozen recharges.

Sanyo, the makers of the Eneloop brand of rechargeable batteries, promises to change all of that.

Eneloop promises:

  • Up to 1800 recharge cycles
  • 75% battery life after 5 years in storage
  • 2000 mAh power on AA units
  • 4c per recharge average cost
  • Universal compatibility with existing alkaline battery devices

About a year ago I picked up a set of these at my local wholesale club for $24.99 (8 AA, 4 AAA & charger) and  put the AA to the test. The AAA have been sitting in a drawer. The claims of compatibility were spot on. They worked perfectly with every device I tried, and lasted as long as Duracell Coppertop batteries.

Recharging the batteries, clear over 100 recharge cycles now, has given me no problems. The batteries charge from dead to full in 4-6 hours, depending on number of batteries and configuration AA or AAA. The charger isn’t fast. The charger integrates overheat and overcharge protections, so you can easily leave batteries in overnight to charge.

My biggest worry was, do they really hold a charge? If I’m going to replace alkaline batteries with rechargeables for devices I don’t often use, it’s important they hold a charge over long periods of time. I put the year-old AAA batteries that I charged once into one of WorldStart’s 9 LED lights and pressed the “on” button fearing the worst. Most rechargeable batteries would have long since self-discharged. To my surprise the light came on bright as day and stayed on.

So what’s my final verdict? Eneloop really does what Sanyo promised. They have officially replaced my disposable batteries in nearly all my electronics and I keep an extra set around the house for lights and other emergency situations. The only negative I can find is they don’t currently offer C or D size batteries, only adapters to use AA cells as a temporary stand-in.

-Tim

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4 Responses to “Eneloop – The Best Rechargeable Battery?”

  1. Jeannette says:

    I’m always unsure when I can use rechargeable batteries and when I can’t. Not all devices tell you and I have damaged devices in the past for that very reason. Is there any way to know for sure, when the manufacturer does not specify ?

  2. Tim Deaton says:

    This is information we can use! Thanks. We’ll be on the lookout for a bargain on these batteries and it appears they will save us a bundle. Digital cameras seem to be battery hogs and the rechargeables we have been using don’t last long (Harbor Freight – one cannot expect much from them; Energizer – a real disappointment – maybe 10 recharges).

    Thanks

  3. COMPUTIAC says:

    Eneloop batteries are the best !
    I have been using them for over a year with no problems at all.
    Replaced all my batteries with these.

    Jeannette, these can be used in place of any regular battery.

    Thank’s

    • DavidDCSA says:

      I have a wireless, optical mouse that works ONLY with alkaline batteries. This is likely due to the fact that a new, fully charged alkaline AA battery measures 1.5 volt whereas a new, fully charged NiMH or NiCAD measures only 1.2v. Apparently some devices are sensitive to the difference.

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