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Eneloop – The Best Rechargeable Battery?

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:

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.