Tech

6 ways to spot the very best AA rechargeable batteries

Sometimes, it seems like every time you open an office drawer, there are at least a couple of AA batteries rolling around in there.  That is, until you really and immediately need a fully-charged one (or 4) for your critical operations.  Whether it’s a wall-clock, a flashlight, a media remote, a mobile device, or something else entirely, it’s never a wise business move to find yourself short of something so critical.

Smart businesses, of course, are always one step ahead of even the smallest obstacles to uninterrupted operations – which is why they’re likely to have some AA rechargeable batteries and a charger handy.  Fully compatible with your disposable batteries, only a tad more expensive but with the potential for hundreds upon hundreds of full discharge/recharge cycles, the latest generation of standard rechargeable batteries are cheaper, more reliable and longer-lasting than ever before.

Now it’s just a matter of picking the right ones for you … which is always the trickier part.  But hopefully, with our guide to spotting the best AA rechargeable batteries on the shelf or on the screen, you’ll be all powered-up in no time:

  1. Capacity?

Let’s start at the obvious place – how much electrical charge your new AA rechargeable batteries can hold at any one time.  It’s measured in mAh, or milliamp hours, and it’s just about always not far from the product description or packaging.  For higher-drain devices, it’s a crucial metric, so keep an eye out for 1,200-3,000 mAh, and avoid the more AAA-like 500-100 mAh.

  1. Pre-charge?

This is a good feature for the busy organisation – because you may want to chuck those AA rechargeable batteries in the drawer so that they’re ready to plug in without going near that charger.

  1. Type?

Another crucial distinction is the fundamental technology type, even though AA rechargeable batteries of any type should at least be compatible with your AA battery devices.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd): A good affordable choice, offering fast charging and good durability, even though you may need to be careful about not recharging before it’s fully discharged.

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries: Newer technology, bigger capacity, more flexible for charging, longer shelf-life and capacity maintenance … and a smarter choice for the more battery-dependent operation.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion): You’ll be familiar with lithium batteries from your mobile phone, but bear in mind that they’re the least common in standard sizes like AA.  Another factor to understand is that they’re not a like-for-like replacement for disposable AA batteries, as they’re more than double the standard 1.5V.

  1. Brand?

We’re not going to get into Brand A versus Brand X in this piece, except to say that the obvious discount brands should be ranked much lower in your priority order than the more reputable ones.  While you can sometimes find a discount gem, the prices are normally lower for a simple reason – lower quality.  Drop that quality low enough, and your devices can actually be harmed – and all you’ve saved is a dollar or three.

  1. Charge cycles?

Another area in which discount options will hurt you is in the expected approximate number of full discharge/recharge cycles.  This is normally not enthusiastically advertised by the brand itself, but that’s especially the case if the rated cycles are not particularly impressive.  And while most AA rechargeable batteries can be recharged hundreds of times, the best will still be churning out the power after 1000+ or even 2000+ cycles.

  1. Shelf capacity?

Overall capacity is one thing, but how well will your rechargeable batteries perform out of the drawer after a period of storage is quite another.  AA rechargeable batteries are known to be less impressive in this way than their disposable counterparts, but this is changing over time.  Now, the best options will only lose a few percent or two of total charge over an extended month-by-month duration, which is a huge step when compared to just a few years ago.  These quality products will also better withstand less ideal storage conditions such as temperature.

Not all rechargeable AA batteries are created alike!  The best of the best, however, are specifically tailored with the end-user in mind, particularly for profit-making enterprises that rely on quality, reliability, performance and longevity.  To select the perfect ones for your requirements and budget, we cannot overstate the importance of research, which may involve getting in touch with an expert.  Good luck!

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