One of the simplest ways to save money and protect the environment is to buy reusable products—and batteries are one of the easiest places to start. While reusable batteries cost more than the disposable variety, the initial investment (which typically includes the one-time expense of a charger) still usually costs less than buying pack after pack of new batteries. The average rechargeable battery can be recharged up to 500 times!
Read on to learn what sets apart some of the best rechargeable batteries from the competition, and find out which ones rank among our top picks. Each of the top picks below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting.
- BEST AA: Panasonic Battery Charger Pack with 4 AA Batteries
- BEST AAA: Duracell Rechargeable StayCharged AAA Batteries
- BEST VALUE: Amazon Basics AA High-Capacity Rechargeable Batteries
- UPGRADE PICK: EBL D Cells 10000mAh Rechargeable Batteries
- BEST HIGH-CAPACITY: Powerex PRO High Capacity Rechargeable AA Batteries
- BEST LONG LIFESPAN: Panasonic eneloop AA 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Batteries
- BEST COMBO PACK: POWEROWL Rechargeable Batteries with Charger
- BEST CHARGER ONLY: EBL 40Slot Battery Charger
How We Chose the Best Rechargeable Batteries
In making selections for our list of the best rechargeable batteries, we considered a variety of criteria. Among the most important is that rechargeable batteries need to provide ample power, extending the time between recharging. With that in mind, we chose AA batteries with at least a 2,000-mAh rating.
One should be able to recharge a rechargeable battery hundreds of times before it will no longer hold a charge, so we stuck with models with a long lifespan. Since batteries often spend a significant time in storage before they are needed, we also favored those rechargeable batteries that could retain the majority of their charge while sitting in a drawer or closet for a year or more. Finally, we considered price. A rechargeable battery can help mitigate AA and AAA battery replacement cost, so we chose those that offered tangible savings over disposable batteries.
Our Top Picks
The following list includes some of the best rechargeable batteries. They are among the most popular and widely used for a variety of electronics because these rechargeable batteries are high quality and priced competitively. Many brands with excellent options for AA sizes offer some of the best rechargeable AAA batteries, too.
The highly regarded eneloop battery may have switched manufacturers—Panasonic instead of Sanyo makes these batteries now—but nothing has changed when it comes to their superior performance. The Eneloop Pro, which comes in a four-pack and includes a charger, is the newest iteration of the eneloop batteries.
While they don’t have the lifespan of other rechargeable batteries (they can be charged about 500 times), they dominate when it comes to overall power with a whopping 2,550 mAh. They also perform well in extreme temperatures, making them one of the best rechargeable AA batteries for solar lights. And, with their ability to hold 85 percent of their charge for up to a year, they’ll be at the ready when that game controller dies.
- Capacity: 2,550 mAh
- Lifespan: 500 charges
- Sizes: AA, AAA
- High 2,550-mAh capacity
- Includes charger
- Comes in both AA and AAA sizes
- Relatively short 500-charge lifespan
Get the Panasonic rechargeable batteries on Amazon and at Walmart.
Duracell sets itself apart from the competition with the impressive shelf life of its batteries. While many rechargeable batteries will give out after 5 years in storage, Duracell StayCharged batteries are guaranteed to last for 10 years, making them some of the best rechargeable AAA batteries. Though Duracell rechargeable batteries may be on the low side for lifespan with just 400 cycles, they’ll last considerably longer than other AA rechargeable batteries thanks to their impressive 1,350-mAh output.
This long-lasting design coupled with Duracell’s well-established brand makes them a worthy option for powering a home’s collection of remote controls, bathroom scales, and battery-powered toys. Duracell rechargeable batteries will work with any NiMH charger that’s compatible with AAA batteries.
- Capacity: 1,350 mAh
- Lifespan: 400 charges
- Size: AAA
- Long-lasting 1,350 mAh
- Long storage shelf life of 10 years
- Reputable brand
- Short 400-charge lifespan
Get the Duracell rechargeable batteries at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot.
Although rechargeable batteries will save money in the long run, the initial investment can be a little steep, especially when one factors in the cost of the charger. Amazon Basics rechargeable batteries are a great budget option with minor compromises to performance. This combo pack comes with a capable four-battery charger and eight rechargeable AA batteries.
Though not on par with the top-end rechargeable batteries on the market, the Amazon Basics batteries still deliver ample capacity with 2,000 mAh and a decent lifespan of 400 charges. The compact charger fits into any standard wall outlet. It features two LED indicators that let the user know when the batteries are charged and a convenient USB charging port for a smartphone or other USB-charged device.
- Capacity: 2,000 mAh
- Lifespan: 400 charges
- Size: AA
- Comes with 8 batteries for the price of 4
- Charger included
- USB port on charger for smart devices
- Max mAh output is lower than higher-priced rechargeable batteries
- Short 400-charge lifespan
Get the Amazon Basics rechargeable batteries on Amazon.
With its ability to charge C, D, 9-volt, and AAA batteries as well as AA batteries, this charger is well suited for battery-powered electronics ranging from remote controls to radio-controlled cars to smoke detectors. The kit includes four D-size batteries, each of which puts out a whopping 10,000 mAh.
An LED display on the charger clearly shows when each battery is fully charged. The charger will automatically switch to trickle mode when the batteries are near full to ensure each battery reaches its max charge, and there’s a discharge function for refreshing batteries. The charger also includes some useful safety features that will automatically turn off the unit when it senses improper voltage, a short circuit, or nonrechargeable batteries.
- Capacity: 10,000 mAh
- Lifespan: N/A
- Size: D
- Includes 4 high-capacity D batteries
- Charger can charge 5 battery sizes
- Smart functions optimize battery charging
- LED display shows status of each battery
Get the EBL rechargeable batteries on Amazon.
They don’t come cheap, but one would be hard-pressed to find a longer-lasting battery than this set of 16 from Powerex. Each battery boasts 2,700 mAh, making it ideal for digital cameras, portable GPS devices, and other high-drain devices. While these batteries don’t come with a charger, they do include a handy carrying case for storing the batteries. This is a useful addition, as Powerex Pro batteries will retain up to 75 percent of their charge after a year of storage.
It is important to note that to reach their full charge, Powerex PRO batteries require a Powerex charger. Powerex chargers are generally more expensive than other brands, but they also offer more features, such as rapid charge and a soft mode that helps to extend the lifespan of the battery by not overcharging or undercharging.
- Capacity: 2,700 mAh
- Lifespan: N/A
- Size: AA
- High capacity makes it ideal for high-drain devices
- Good charge retention while in storage
- Storage case included
- Requires purchase of expensive charger that’s sold separately
Get the Powerex rechargeable batteries on Amazon and at Walmart.
One can expect to get around 400 to 500 charges out of most rechargeable batteries before they begin to die. Panasonic’s eneloop batteries keep on chugging well beyond that mark, making them one of the best longest-lasting AA battery offerings. These AA batteries can be charged an impressive 2,100 times before wearing out. And since the batteries can maintain up to 70 percent of their charge for more than 10 years, they’ll be around long enough to use those charges.
It’s important to note that there is a trade-off for that long lifespan: The Panasonic eneloop only has a 2,000-mAh capacity. While that’s less than comparably priced rechargeable AA batteries, it’s still ample power for game controllers, TV remote controls, and other small electronics. This pack of eneloops comes with 16 AA batteries and works with any NiMH battery charger.
- Capacity: 2,000 mAh
- Lifespan: 2,100 charges
- Size: AA
- Can recharge up to 2,100 times
- Has a shelf life of more than 10 years
- Can be recharged when partially or fully discharged without damage
- Lower capacity of 2,000 mAh
- No charger included
Get the Panasonic rechargeable batteries at Amazon, Walmart, and The Home Depot.
This combination pack includes two types of batteries with an easy-to-use charger that can charge both simultaneously. The POWEROWL includes four high-capacity 1,000-mAh AAA and 2,800-mAh AA batteries with long lifespans of 1,200 charges. The charger’s eight bays enable it to charge four AA and four AAA batteries simultaneously. LED lights indicate when each battery has reached a full charge.
In addition to its ability to charge two battery sizes, the POWEROWL charger is equipped with useful smart features, including a trickle setting that allows it to recharge batteries up to 99 percent capacity and a chip that automatically turns off the charger when it senses a short circuit or begins to overheat.
- Capacity: 1,000 mAh (AAA), 2,800 mAh (AA)
- Lifespan: 1,200 charges
- Sizes: AA, AAA
- Can charge AA and AAA batteries
- Smart chip provides safety features
- Can charge batteries up to 99 percent capacity
- No discharge feature on charger
Get the POWEROWL rechargeable batteries on Amazon.
Its ability to charge both AAA and AA batteries, coupled with a design that makes it easy to store or charge batteries, makes the EBL battery charger a great option for those with a lot of small personal electronics.
The charger consists of a hard case that, when closed, provides a compact place to store batteries and when open, lies flat to allow easy access to its 40C charging slots for 20 AA and 20 AAA batteries. In addition to the charging bays, there are also four USB outlets for charging other electronics, such as a smartphone or Bluetooth speaker. Red and blue LED lights show the charging status for each battery. While all batteries can charge simultaneously, the charger does use two power cords and therefore two power outlets to do so.
- Capacity: 2,000 mAh
- Lifespan: 400 charges
- Sizes: AA
- Includes high-capacity batteries
- Closable hard case provides storage and charging
- Additional ports for charging USB devices
- Requires 2 power outlets for charging both sides at once
Get the EBL rechargeable battery charger on Amazon and at Walmart.
With its high 2,550-mAh capacity and 500-charge lifespan, the Panasonic battery charger pack is one of the top rechargeable batteries one can buy for home use. Those looking for a more affordable option may want to consider Amazon Basics rechargeable batteries, which provide great performance at a budget price.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Rechargeable Batteries
You’re likely familiar with the range of battery sizes available, as a number of gadgets still require batteries. Battery nomenclature—how they are named and organized—is complex, but the letters on batteries also indicate their size. (For example, AA means 50.5 mm by 14.5 mm.) But the letters aren’t the only labels to look for when shopping for rechargeable replacements. Before switching to rechargeable batteries, pay attention to these additional four features.
There are four main types of rechargeable batteries for home use that differ in terms of the chemicals that produce their charge: nickel cadmium (NiCD or NiCaD), alkaline, lithium-ion, and nickel metal hydride (NiMH). Each has its strengths and is useful for different purposes.
If picking up a couple of varieties for different uses around the house, be careful not to confuse them. Never mix batteries of different chemistries in the same device.
- NiCD batteries are often used in power tools.
- Alkaline batteries are the best batteries for regularly used, low- to mid-drain electronics, like digital clocks and remote controls.
- Lithium-ion batteries are designed for smart technologies (phones and laptops) and solar panels as they can withstand extreme temperatures.
- NiMH rechargeable batteries are the most common variety for household uses. They have a high energy capacity (see below) and are excellent for high-energy electronics like flashlights, toys, and digital cameras.
A battery’s energy capacity describes its electric power over time and is measured in milliamp hours (mAh). The higher the mAh, the longer a battery will last. Disposable NiMH AA batteries have an mAh range between 1,200 to 1,900. In comparison, rechargeable NiMH AA batteries have an mAh range between 1,700 and 2,500. Do not mix batteries of different capacities within the same device, or else one will drain faster than another and negatively affect performance.
There is also a difference in capacity with AAA versus AA batteries. While most AAA batteries will have around 900 mAh, most AA batteries have around a 2,500 mAh capacity. The longest-lasting rechargeable batteries have capacities as high as 2,800 mAh.
The amount of time it takes for a battery to charge depends on its capacity (mAh). Fast-charging NiMH AA batteries can take 3 to 4 hours to charge fully. When purchasing new rechargeable batteries, they should come charged and ready to use.
Another important factor is the length of time a battery can hold a charge. Quality rechargeable batteries can hold 75 to 90 percent of their total charge for up to a year in storage.
A rechargeable battery’s lifespan is measured in the number of recharges it can cycle through. The best rechargeables on the market boast between 500 and 2,000 recharges per battery.
Be aware that NiMH batteries offer fewer recharges than some of the other types of batteries. However, they also need to be recharged less often, so they still typically last longer.
Rechargeable batteries use a charger to refresh them once they’ve been drained. These chargers range in capacity from as few as four batteries to as many as 40. They also vary in sophistication. Most models have indicator lights that change color when the batteries are fully recharged. More advanced chargers provide more detailed info, allowing the user to see exactly how much juice is remaining in a battery.
A quality charger will also switch to a trickle mode when the battery nears a full charge to prevent damaging the battery and ensure it charges fully. More advanced chargers allow the user to set different charge rates, refresh batteries by discharging and recharging them, and test the battery capacity.
Tips for Using Rechargeable Batteries
There are several ways to get the most out of your rechargeable batteries while extending their lifespan. First and foremost, don’t be chintzy on the charger. A “smart” charger will charge your batteries without undercharging them or overcharging them. Avoid using super-fast chargers, which can overheat batteries, decreasing their lifespan from 500 charges to fewer than 100.
Don’t leave your batteries in the charger for more than 24 hours to avoid damaging them. When a battery in a device is drained, remove it from the device immediately or make sure the device is off. A device that continues to drain a discharged battery could reverse its polarity, causing it to stop working. Be patient with new rechargeable batteries, as it can take three to five charge cycles for them to reach their full capacity.
- Use a quality charger
- Do not use a fast charger
- Avoid leaving batteries in a charger for more than 24 hours
- Be patient with new batteries
If you’re wondering how many times you can recharge a rechargeable battery or what the longest-lasting rechargeable is, then read on for answers to these and other questions about rechargeable batteries.
Q: Do rechargeable batteries last as long as nonrechargeable batteries?
Rechargeable batteries have a shorter shelf life than standard nonrechargeable batteries. A rechargeable battery will typically last between 3 and 5 years, while a lithium nonrechargeable battery has a typical shelf life of 10 to 12 years. An alkaline nonrechargeable battery will last 5 to 10 years. Of course, once a nonrechargeable battery is used, it cannot be recharged.
Q: How many times can you charge rechargeable batteries?
That depends on the battery’s lifespan. Most rechargeable batteries can be charged around 500 times before they will no longer hold a charge. Some long lifespan rechargeable batteries can be recharged more than 2,000 times.
Q: What are some disadvantages of rechargeable batteries?
There are some disadvantages with rechargeable batteries. Some rechargeable batteries produce less voltage than disposable batteries, which can affect performance. Rechargeable batteries also have a higher up-front cost than disposable batteries. Rechargeable battery performance also becomes unpredictable as they age and hold less and less charge.
Q: Does it matter which charger I use for rechargeable batteries?
You can use any brand to charge a rechargeable battery; however, the type of charger must match the battery. For example, a NiMH battery will only work with an NiMH charger. To maximize the lifespan of the battery and ensure you’re getting a full charge, it’s also a good idea to use a smart charger.
Q: How long can you leave rechargeable batteries on the charger?
Most battery chargers automatically set themselves to trickle once the batteries reach a full charge; however, it’s a good idea to avoid leaving the batteries in the charger for more than 24 hours to prevent damage to them that can shorten their lifespan.
Q: Which rechargeable batteries last the longest?
With a 2,700-mAh capacity, Powerex PRO rechargeable AA batteries are among the longest-lasting options we could find.