We have reviewed 5 of the best rechargeable AA and AAA batteries in 2018. Why is it that we never seem to have batteries when we need them? We’ve all gone through the process of setting up a new gadget or giving a gift to a kid in our life, only to realize that we don’t have the right kind of batteries handy. If you tend to be a procrastinator, like I am, you can let smoke detectors beep for days before remembering to get new batteries for them, which is why keeping a good rechargeable battery like Panasonic Eneloop 4th Generation AA.
With a temperature-resistant body, pre-charge, and eco-friendly construction, we think this is a great buy for most of us looking for the best rechargeable batteries that can be used right out of the box. Take a look through our Top 5 Picks to find the rechargeable batteries that will keep your electronics humming along smoothly.
While they’re a bit pricier than some, the Panasonic Eneloop 4th Generation AA arrive pre-charged and still hold their charge after years, making them great in a pinch. They have a solid stand-by charge, so they won’t “leak” power when unused. Overall, these are a good choice for long-lasting rechargeable AAs.
Top 5 Rechargeable Batteries
|Panasonic Eneloop 4th Generation AA||2000 mAh||Up to 2,100 Times||Check Price|
|Energizer Rechargeable AAA Batteries||800 mAh||Up to 700 Times||Check Price|
|Duracell Rechargable AA||2400 mAh||Up to 300 Times||Check Price|
|Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries||2000 mAh||Up to 1,000 Times||Check Price|
|Rayovac AA Rechargeable Batteries||1350 mAh||Up to 1,500 Times||Check Price|
1. Overall Best Rechargeable Batteries Pick
Panasonic Eneloop 4th Generation AA
The Eneloop 4th Generation is out pick because of it’s extensive shelf life, with users reporting that it can maintain a solid charge for several months with casual use without a charge, which makes them a good pick for seldom-used devices like emergency flashlights.
You don’t even have to use a Panasonic brand charger, which is nice if you just want to buy the batteries and not a charger as well. They arrive pre-charged, which is awesome if you don’t want to wait a lot of time before you start using them.
We liked that these batteries never seem to leak, which is an important feature since battery links can ruin expensive electronics in no time flat.
These rechargeable batteries are also our top pick because they only take about an hour to recharge. Since they’re only a 1.2-volt, they may not be appropriate for power-hungry devices, like a motorized toy, that need a whole lot of power, but they’re more than enough for the average user.
Even if you are using these batteries in electronics that suck a lot of power, like a headlamp or gaming controller, they seem to be almost infinitely rechargeable, which is the main reason to switch to rechargeable batteries after all.
Finally, these come with a convenient carrying case for storing the extra batteries when they’re not in use, which will preserve the charge a little bit longer and keep you from losing your valuable batteries.
Pros and Cons
- Endless Recharging
- Doesn’t Leak
- Quick Recharge Time
- Relatively Low Voltage
2. Best AAA Rechargeable Batteries
Energizer Rechargeable AAA Batteries
While most household electronics require AA batteries to work properly, sometimes you need AAA for special purposes. The Energizer Rechargeable AAA Batteries are a favorite of gamers, since they hold enough juice to keep wireless controllers going for hours and can be recharged hundreds of times.
While these hold a somewhat smallish charge level than AAs– only 800 mAh – since most AAA devices use three batteries this should be plenty of power.
You might not want to stock up on infinite packages, since the charge only lasts about one year in storage, but that’s more than enough for backup use for most of us.
On the environmentally-friendly side of things, we liked that it’s made of 4% of recycled batteries, on top of feeling good about buying rechargeable batteries.
These batteries are rated at 1.2 volts, but they keep power going for a long time. You’ll probably get the best charge out of using an Energizer-brand recharger, since it prolongs the batteries’ lives by charging with a low, consistent current, so that’s something to figure into your budget when switching to rechargeable batteries.
Overall, the Energizer Rechargeable AAAs provide plenty of power, a decent shelf life, and low power leak for anyone with AAA-powered devices.
Pros and Cons
- Long Shelf Life
- Good for Gaming Controls
- Make of 4% Recycled Batteries
- Low Power Leakage
- Lower mAh
- Best with Energizer-Brand Charger
3. Best Rechargeable Batteries for High-Drain Devices
Duracell Rechargable AA
While a lower-mAh battery is fine for remotes, flashlights, and kids’ toys, higher-drain electronics like keyboards, cameras, and some gaming controllers suck a lot of power and need a higher-powered battery if you don’t want to be recharging these guys every few days.
You can only recharge these batteries up to 300 times, which is less than some of the other varieties that we reviewed, but the 2400 mAh means you shouldn’t have to charge them extremely often.
Batteries can affect the performance of certain high-drain devices, like Xbox controllers or external flashes for digital cameras, so if you need a high-pattern battery these might be a good pick for you.
The shelf life was decent on these batteries, and they usually arrive partially charged, though you’ll probably want to give them a good bout in a charger just to make sure.
Charging time isn’t super quick – it usually takes a few hours. We thought these batteries held an impressive amount of their original charging capacity though, at about 70-80% three years in, which is nice if you don’t want to have to replace your rechargeable batteries too often.
While these might be more juice than you need for a low-drain device, they’re great for powerful electronics or devices that get a lot of heavy use, and they are available at a pretty low price point compared to other models with a similar mAh capacity.
Pros and Cons
- Good for High-Drain Devices
- High mAh
- Arrive Partially Charged
- Lower Recharge Times
- Takes a While to Charge
4. Best Inexpensive Rechargeable Batteries
AmazonBasics AA Rechargeable Batteries
Amazon Basics has relaunched their rechargeable battery line several time, but even if you’ve tried their brand in the past and haven’t loved it, their newest offering of rechargeable AA batteries can compete with the better-known name brands like Energizer and Rayovac.
First of all, we liked that these batteries are sturdy. If you’re going to be recharging batteries for 5-10 years, you don’t want the components to start peeling apart, which can damage your charger and electronics, not to mention reduce the energy transferred by the batteries.
These came in at an impressive 2000 mAh and up to 1,000 recharge times, so they could probably last you ten years in your TV remote or five years with heavy use in a camera or game controller. We also liked that they came pre-charged, although it’s only about 70% so it’s not the best reflection of what these batteries are capable of.
It’s nice that you can use different brands of chargers with the Amazon Basics batteries, which might be a nice feature for you if you already have a battery charger lying around.
They have a relatively low self-discharge rating, keeping about 80% of their charge after three years. They do seem to need a charge slightly more often, however, so that might not be great if you tend to forget to charge your batteries.
Overall, we think that the Amazon Basics Rechargeable Batteries deserve a spot at the table with other familiar brands.
Pros and Cons
- Rechargeable 1,000 Times
- High mAh rating
- Low Self-Discharge Rate
- Need Recharged Slightly More Often
- Only Available Online
5. Best Rechargeable Batteries with Warranty
RAYOVAC AA RECHARGEABLE Batteries
Though all the rechargeable batteries we reviewed scored well for battery life, we really liked that the Rayovac rechargeable batteries come with a 5-year warranty. Though with a purported ability to recharge up to 1,500 times, you should be able to exceed that 5-year mark.
These batteries are appropriate to use with high-drain devices, like game controls and cameras, and their 1350 mAh capacity is nothing to sneeze at. It might actually be a little more power than some of your regular devices are used to.
We wish that these had a bit of a quicker charge time, as they take about 12 hours to fully charge. You shouldn’t have to do that too incredibly often though, so as long as you have a backup set in your charger you should be fine.
As with other rechargeable batteries, they really work best if you have a charger of the same brand, but really any smart charger should work. These had a good shelf life, losing only about 20% of their charging capability over time.
If you need to order a lot of rechargeable batteries for power-hungry devices like drones, video game controllers, kids’ tablets, and cameras, you might want to stock up on some of these rechargeable batteries.
Pros and Cons
- Charges Up to 1,500 Times
- Good for Power-Hungry Devices
- Long Shelf Life
- 5-Year Manufacturer Warranty
- Takes a Long Time to Recharge
- Best with Rayovac Charger
Should You Switch to Rechargeable Batteries?
Umm, yes. Rechargeable batteries last way longer than alkaline batteries and need to be replaced far less often, so they’re a great pick if you have lots of devices in your home that eat up the batteries constantly.
They minimize the amount that you need stored at any one time, since at most you just need a few backups recharging so that you can keep everything running smoothly. This is important since a lot of battery chargers still take anywhere from two to twelve hours to charge your batteries, and a slow, steady charge will ultimately extend their life, too.
Some of the key reasons to switch to rechargeable batteries:
- They’re Cheaper in the Long Run
- They’re Environmentally Friendly
- They Last Longer While in Use
- They Provide More Power
- They’re More Convenient
If you’re like me, you like for your electronics to just work when you want them to, without last-minute trips to the store to buy batteries. Arguably the best thing about rechargeable batteries is that as long as you remember to charge them, you’re good to go, no matter how much power you use.
Are Rechargeable Batteries Really More Cost-Effective?
While there is an initial financial investment in the charger, rechargeable batteries themselves are not all that pricy these days.
If you replace your alkaline batteries gradually with rechargeable batteries, then you can spread out your cost over time and with any luck, not have to buy batteries at all for at least five years, and maybe even as long as ten.
Sometimes people just look at the higher price of a pack of rechargeable batteries compared to a pack of alkaline, and that keeps them from considering it.
Continuously buying alkaline batteries, however, can represent a significant chunk of your annual budget that often goes unnoticed, since it’s just $5 here and there.
One in-depth comparison report, however, recorded that even with the additional start-up cost of the battery charger, you will save money on the switch to rechargeable after the first year. From the second year on, rechargeable batteries represent money in your pocket.
Most of us tend to look a little more closely for a good deal when we’re making one largish purchase, like rechargeable batteries and a charger, so you’re more likely to save money here versus just throwing packs of batteries into the shopping cart every time you’re at Target.
Plus, don’t forget the time and money spend trekking to the store to buy all those disposable batteries!
What Do I Need to Know About Rechargeable Batteries?
Since you aren’t just throwing these guys away after a week or two of use, you want to know how they function to choose the best ones possible.
First of all, their energy output is measured in milli-Ampere-hour, commonly called mAh. This measures roughly how much power a battery can transmit over the course of an hour. Generally, higher numbers means more power, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect how long your battery will last.
Batteries use up more power depending on how power-hungry the device is that’s using them. Generally, some low-demand devices are:
- Kids’ Toys
- Electric Toothbrushes
Some higher-demand devices include:
- Digital Cameras
- Video Game Controls
- Remote-Controlled Cars
Certainly, the amount you use a device will increase the amount of mAh power it uses over time, but a wall clock, for example, will never drain a battery as fast as a Wii controller.
How Long Will Rechargeable Batteries Last?
Some other terminology that’s helpful to understand with rechargeable batteries relates to how long the charge lasts and how long the battery itself will last. Since the battery life varies widely depending on what kind of device you use it in and how much you use it, brands can’t just label their batteries as lasting 2 years or 10 years.
A charge cycle is one complete depletion of a battery and then the complete recharge of it, and one way that battery manufacturers describe their battery’s lifespan is by listing the number of charge cycles. The higher the number of charge cycles, the more times you can recharge your batteries before you have to discard them.
Batteries will lose some of their charge over time if they’re just sitting inside of your device or on a shelf, and this is called self-discharge. Usually this is just a slow-leak, so you don’t have to worry about your battery losing life dramatically quickly, but it will vary the amount of power left in your battery if it’s just sitting on a shelf after a full recharge.
At the end of the day, the three items that tell you the most about battery life are:
- Charge Cycle
The amount of time they take to recharge varies widely and mostly depends on the type of charger you have. Make sure that whichever batteries you’re buying are compatible with the charger you have or plan to buy.
While “quick-charge” models are nice, they tend to reduce the overall lifespan of your batteries by a bit, so keep that in mind if overall longevity is the most important thing to you.
Are Rechargeable Batteries Really Better for the Environment?
We’ve all heard that switching to rechargeable batteries will be better for the environment in the long run. For any household item, the fewer units that you can discard, the better, so on that score alone rechargeable batteries are a good pick.
While it’s bad enough to just toss plastic bottles in a landfill, alkaline batteries are full of all kinds of gross materials that can poison water and soil and be harmful to various kinds of wildlife.
More alkaline batteries tend to end up in landfills, which can end up polluting human habitations as well.
Rechargeable batteries last for many years and use far fewer units, so you are more likely to take the time to recycle them properly than to just casually toss them in the trash when you’re done with them.
Even better, many stores now have drop-off boxes where you can leave your old rechargeable batteries so you don’t even have to worry about taking them to the recycling center yourself.
Some Tips for Using Rechargeable Batteries
To use rechargeable batteries, you need a battery charger. There are a whole lot of models out there, but in general most brands of rechargeable batteries work best with a charger from their own brand.
If you plan to stick to one brand exclusively, it’s probably worth it to get a charger of that brand. If you like to buy whatever is on sale or test out a lot of different brands, then a good universal charger might be the way to go.
Before you go on a shopping spree and buy enough batteries to last you until doomsday, you should know that rechargeable batteries work best when they get some consistent use.
Just leaving your batteries in a box on a shelf will degrade their power capacity slightly due to the self-discharge that we discussed above.
Some users also reported getting better use out of their rechargeable batteries if they completely drain the battery first, by using it in a power-hungry device, and then charging it back up to full.
Many brands of rechargeable batteries claim that they sell their batteries pre-charged. While it’s nice to be able to immediately pop the batteries into your electronics and use them right away, most of the batteries come with only about a 70% charge, so you won’t necessarily be able to get the normal amount of use out of them as you will once you charge them fully at home.
Finally, make sure you aren’t storing your rechargeable batteries in extreme temperature conditions, as that can damage them and even cause chemical leakage.
While we liked the Eneloop the best for its crazy-long recharge cycles and general powerful use, all of the rechargeable batteries that we included on our Top 5 Roundup will make your life a lot easier and prevent you from having to replace batteries constantly.
Most of the top brand names in batteries these days have comparable features on their batteries, so much of the choice boils down to what kind of device you plan to use the batteries in – a higher mAh rating will be better for high-demand devices whereas if you’re just looking for something for your TV remote, then you’re probably safe with just about any reputable brand.
Since rechargeable batteries are more cost-effective, use less energy, are more convenient AND better for the environment than alkaline batteries, why wait to make the switch?