What constitutes a high quality rechargeable battery? This is not as simple as some may think. As the public becomes more aware of the “green” value of rechargeable batteries, there is a growing list of new battery brands popping up. It reminds me of the “natural foods” phenomenon that occurred when the major food brands were challenged about the nutritional value of their products. Suddenly, every cereal, bread, snack, etc., starting touting the label “all natural.”
And so it goes with the rechargeable battery industry. . .
Here a few ways to tell if you’ve got high quality rechargeable batteries:
1. Check who’s using them. The professionals that rely on high quality rechargeables have been using the best brands for quite some time. They’ve already done the research by trial and error.
2. Check the warranty. Is there a performance guarantee outside the 30-day refund? (Some brands won’t even provide the 30 days.) Professional grade rechargeable batteries will offer a two-year guarantee on the ability for a nimh rechargeable battery to hold a charge. That doesn’t mean that the battery will always be able to be charged up to 100% capacity for two years - as this will vary greatly by frequency of use and the drain applied to the battery. The warranty has more to do about internal shorting of the battery and it’s ability to continue to be used for more recycles.
3. Check the label. Just like everyone in the supermarket is reading the nutritional value of the foods they consume, your batteries should provide a bit of truth to “what’s inside.” Recently, the European Union forced battery manufacturers to provide the “minimum capacity” on the package of rechargeable batteries and on the battery itself. (EU Battery Directive 2066/66/EC) This is a step in the right direction as you will now see the differences in what the stated “maximum capacity” is and the minimum capacity. If it differs by more than 10%, you going to see a lot of “re-labeling” occur. Some brands out there that have been purporting AA’s at 2900 mah actually reflect a minimum capacity of 2400 mah or less.
All though you’ve heard it before, I’ll say it again. You get what you pay for. Competition is the battery field is fierce. This is good for consumers with one caveat: Always compare apples to apples. In a slow economy, price is king - however - saving $1 on a 4-pack of batteries that you’ll need to replace 3-4x times sooner makes no sense at all.