The best rechargeable batteries
- The best rechargeable batteries are high-quality, ready to use out of the package, hold charge after months in storage, and are economical in the long-term for powering various devices.
- The AmazonBasics Rechargeable Batteries are our top pick because they are affordable, come with a one-year warranty, and have demonstrated consistent quality and performance.
There's no getting around the fact that the best rechargeable batteries are much more expensive than single-use lithium or alkaline batteries. Sometimes the cost is three or four times as much. This in itself might be enough to turn some of you off the idea of using rechargeable batteries. And, if you are just buying cells for a low-drain device, such as a remote control you rarely use or clocks, then it makes financial sense to choose a single-use option since you would not recharge the batteries enough to recoup the additional initial investment.
On the other hand, if you are a photographer, RC race car enthusiast, or regularly use devices that require a lot of battery juice, then rechargeable batteries are worth the cost. With most brands, you will make back your extra upfront cost after five charges. Not only that, but you'll be helping Mother Nature.
In our guide, we are focusing on AA and AAA batteries because these are by far the most popular rechargeable battery sizes. Many of the brands we cover also offer their batteries in C and D sizes. In fact, Eneloop even offers C and D spacers that make it so you can use AA batteries in devices that require C and D batteries.
We also focus on nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) low self-discharge (LSD) batteries. Just about all rechargeable AA and AAA batteries use NiMH because of its large capacity, and LSD batteries are the best because they hold the charge for longer when your device is not in use.
Battery capacity is measured in milliamp hours (mAh). And, most standard rechargeable AA batteries are rated for 2,000mAh and AAAs are 800mAh with slight, generally insignificant differences between brands. This is why many of the experts recommend simply paying attention to the per-battery costs and going with the cheapest name-brand cell. You should avoid knockoffs and discount brands. They rarely deliver quality and could potentially harm your devices and charger.
If you want to prolong the life of your batteries, choose the "slow" or "gentle" charge mode on your charger and avoid fast charging. Also, if you have a charger that features a "conditioning" function, use that every 10 to 15 charging cycles. This is a slow process that charges and discharges your batteries to erase any use "memory" that could reduce the permanent capacity.
While researching the best rechargeable batteries, we looked at thousands of buyer and expert reviews and ratings of several brands. Our guide features batteries that are affordable, deliver on their capacity ratings, and will withstand hundreds of charge cycles.
Here are our picks for the best rechargeable batteries you can buy:
- Best rechargeable batteries overall: AmazonBasics Rechargeable Batteries
- Best rechargeable batteries for frequent use: Panasonic Eneloop 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries
- Best eco-friendly rechargeable batteries: Energizer Rechargeable Batteries
- Best high-capacity rechargeable batteries: AmazonBasics High-Capacity Rechargeable Batteries
- Best affordable rechargeable batteries: Tenergy Rechargeable NIMH Batteries
Updated on 03/06/2020 by Joe Osborne: Added new language for 2020. Updated links for accuracy. Added new links to related buying guides to help readers make a more complete purchase decision.
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