If you use a wireless keyboard or mouse and find yourself regularly picking up another 4 pack or 8 pack of AA batteries to feed the voracious appetite of your wireless devices it is time for you to take a look at rechargeable batteries. The initial cost of rechargeable batteries is higher, but the actual long term cost is much less.
Six Benefits of Rechargeable Batteries:
- Convenience: Batteries can be recharged hundreds of times without the need to buy new ones.
- Cost: They quickly pay for themselves, although the initial cost of the batteries and a charger is higher.
- Environment friendly: many batteries (alkaline, NiCad) contain toxic mercury and heavy metals which can leach from landfills into ground water and soil. Rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries do not contain any toxic materials.
- Flexibility: Rechargeables can be used in any device that uses AAA, AA, C or D dell batteries.
- Ease of Use: Recharging is simple and non-technical.
- Low Mileage: No trips to the store for batteries. In the worst case you may have to wait for batteries to complete a charging cycle in the recharger but you can always keep a few extra batteries around for a pinch.
Recommended Rechargeable Battery Technology – NiMH / Nickel Metal Hydride.
There are a number of different types of AA and AAA batteries available but for most applications NiMH batteries are the best choice. Here’s why:
- NiMH batteries have a long life, delivering from 500-1000 charge cycles.
- They will last one and one half to two times longer than standard alkaline batteries per charge.
- They will not develop a “memory” as older NiCad batteries do and therefore can be recharged whenever you find it convenient.
- They come fully charged and ready to use.
- They work well in cold weather and come in a multitude of sizes.
Best Brands for NiMH batteries – Sanyo “eneloop”
The highest rated NiMH battery brand over a wide range of reviews is Sanyo’s eneloop brand rechargeable. Sanyo eneloop batteries are available in both AA and AAA sizes, come fully charged, are high quality and are widely available.
One problem with early generation NiMH batteries was that they would lose their charge over time if not used regularly. In a device such as a flashlight that was only used occasionally the NiMH batteries would discharge over a few months. Newer NiMH technology referred to as “NiMH Hybrid” or “low self discharge” has eliminated that problem allowing NiMH batteries to maintain their charge for months or even years. Sanyo eneloop batteries use this hybrid technology. Other manufacturers using this technology include Rayovac’s Hybrid product line.
Remember that in addition to the batteries you will need to purchase a charging unit. Best bet is to purchase a “smart” charger or one that will shut off after the batter is fully charged. Chargers that do not shut off automatically can damage batteries or at the least decrease the battery’s life span.