Why buy rechargeable AA batteries?
AA batteries are one of the most commonly found types of batteries in the average household, used in everything from remote controls to electric toothbrushes to alarm clocks and much more. There are several good reasons to buy rechargeable AA batteries over regular ones. Since the batteries can be recharged, they’re reusable, unlike most batteries. This means you won’t have to constantly spend money on brand-new batteries whenever you run out. It also creates a lot less waste. This makes them especially great for high-drain electronics that otherwise run through batteries extremely quickly.
What should you look for in rechargeable AA batteries?
- Capacity: Rechargeable AA batteries last longer per charge than disposable batteries. Most rechargeable AAs have a 2,000-mAh capacity. If you want a battery that works well with power-hungry electronics, get one with an above-average capacity. (To be clear, the average raw capacity of alkaline AAs is 2,500—higher than rechargeables. But alkaline batteries drain faster than rechargeables, so their higher raw capacity doesn’t mean much. It’s like comparing old and inefficient filament lightbulbs with new LEDs.)
- Cycles: Rechargeable batteries slowly break down every time they’re used. In most cases, the time that it takes for a battery to break down is rated in terms of recharge cycles (how many times the battery is drained and recharged). If you tend to burn through batteries, then look for a set that’s rated for around 500 cycles.
- Self-Discharge Rate: As odd as it sounds, rechargeable batteries can vary widely in quality, which includes the self-discharge rate. Rechargeable batteries of all types slowly lose their charge while not in use. If you want a set of rechargeables for low-power electronics or something that’s going to sit in storage, then you’ll want to buy a brand that’s known for a low self-discharge rate.
- Consistency: Cheaper rechargeable batteries tend to suffer from inconsistent capacities and lifespans. For most applications, this isn’t a huge deal. But if you’re trying to get the best performance from your batteries, it’s best that they all match.
Do all rechargeable AA batteries come with a charger?
Some brands do, and some brands don’t. You’ll have to buy and supply your own charger separately in these cases since you otherwise won’t be able to recharge them when they’re depleted. Keep in mind that while different rechargeable AA battery chargers are technically interchangeable, different chargers are designed for different batteries with different chemistry types. Using one with the incorrect chemistry type may damage your batteries, so be sure to always use the charger that comes with the batteries or one that the manufacturer recommends.
Amazon Basics 16-Pack Rechargeable AA NiMH Batteries, 2000 mAh, Recharge up to 1000x Times, Pre-Charged
These AA batteries are compatible with all devices and can endure 1,000 recharge cycles.
Pros: These rechargeable AA batteries have a high 2,000-mAh capacity, they can endure up to an impressive 1,000 recharge cycles, and they’re built with a premium, consistent quality that you won’t always find in other brands. They also have a low self-discharge rate, which means that their charge will hold for a long time in low-power electronics (or around 2 years in storage). They’re compatible with any and all devices that use AA batteries and are available in several different size packs.
Cons: Unfortunately, these batteries don’t come with a charger included, so you’ll have to buy your own separately.
Bottom Line: These are the best rechargeable AAs for most people’s needs. They’re strong, good quality, have a good shelf life, and can be recharged more than almost any other models on the market. Just be prepared to shell out the extra money for a charger.
EBL Pack of 8 AA Batteries 2800mAh High Capacity Precharged Ni-MH AA Rechargeable Batteries
These batteries have a fantastic 2,800-mAh capacity. They're great for power-hungry electronics like cameras, lights, or musical instruments.
Pros: If you’re after rechargeable AA batteries with a high capacity, look no further. This set of rechargeable AA batteries has a massive 2,800-mAh capacity, and EBL claims that they can endure up to 1,200 recharge cycles, making them even more eco-friendly than the average rechargeable battery, especially since they’re made out of recycled materials. You also get a nice clear, sturdy battery case to hold them, and they have a nice long shelf life of up to 3 years.
Cons: These batteries come only partially rather than fully charged, so you’re better off fully charging them before use (once you buy the charger separately). And they have a fairly fast self-discharge rate, which means that they’ll drain faster when used in low-resource electronics like TV remotes and simple wireless keyboards.
Bottom Line: You’ll be hard-pressed to find rechargeable AA batteries with a higher capacity than these ones. Due to their fast self-discharging rate, however, we suggest using them in power-hungry electronics like cameras, lights, and musical instruments. That way, you’ll make the most of their capacity without getting bit by their self-discharge rate.
Energizer Rechargeable AA and AAA Battery Charger (Recharge Pro) with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries, Auto-Safety Feature, Over-Charge Protection
You won't have to spend any extra money on a new battery charger with these batteries, since they come with their own.
Pros: Arguably, the main selling point of this 16-pack of rechargeable AA batteries is that they come with their own compatible charger. Not only that, but the charger is capable of charging AAA Energizer batteries as well as AA ones. The batteries themselves can take around 1,000 charges, have a shelf life of about a year, and each charge will last up to 8 hours (depending on the device that you’re using). Another selling point is that they’re partially made (4%) of other recycled batteries, which is a lot compared to most competitors.
Cons: These batteries are definitely on the pricey side compared to most. And as handy as the charger is, keep in mind that it can only charge two batteries at a time.
Bottom Line: No need to go spend the extra money and time searching for the right charger with this pack of rechargeable AA batteries—they come with their own. True, these batteries are on the pricey side compared to most, though that can be mainly attributed to the high quantity and said charger.
Panasonic BK-3HCCA4BA eneloop pro AA High-Capacity Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries, 4-Battery Pack
These batteries are perfect for all of your outdoor devices that require AA batteries since they won't fail in extreme temperatures.
Pros: The most notable feature of these rechargeable AA batteries is their temperature resistance. Many common household batteries, standard and rechargeable alike, tend to give out when exposed to extreme heat. This pack, however, was designed to withstand such temperatures, especially colder ones—they’ll still function in weather as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of that, they have a nice high 2,500-mAh capacity, a slow self-discharge rate, and come completely pre-charged with solar power.
Cons: You only get a few of these batteries—four in a pack—with your purchase, with no larger sets available to buy. They also don’t come with any sort of charger included.
Bottom Line: While you can use standard batteries on any outdoor device that requires AA batteries, there is always the risk that they’ll overheat or stop working in extremely hot or cold weather. You won’t have to worry so much with these rechargeable AA batteries since they’re designed to withstand more extreme temperatures than most.
Duracell Rechargeable AA Batteries, 4 Count Pack, Double A Battery for Long-lasting Power, All-Purpose Pre-Charged Battery for Household and Business Devices
These heavy-duty alkaline rechargeable batteries are perfect for those devices that suck up battery power extra quickly.
Pros: A pack of rechargeable AA batteries from one of the leading names in battery-making, this pack is alkaline batteries rather than the classic sort. This means that they’re extremely long-lasting, even when used in devices that suck up a lot of power or are used frequently; Duracell claims they’ll work for up to 10 years (as long as you don’t exceed the maximum charge count). They have a capacity of 2,500 mAh and are available in several different quantity packs, depending on how many batteries you need for your home.
Cons: These batteries can’t withstand quite as many charges as some others on the list—400 compared to the 1,000 or more that most of the other batteries offer. They also don’t come with a charger.
Bottom Line: Alkaline batteries are known for their higher energy density and longer shelf lives than traditional batteries, and these rechargeable AA batteries are no exception. Even though they can withstand fewer charges, the amount of energy they pack will help make up the difference.
While they may cost more money upfront, rechargeable AA batteries come with a lot to recommend them compared to standard AA batteries. They’re more environmentally friendly, can be reused hundreds of times, and you won’t ever run out of AA batteries in your home when you need them the most.