After 6 years of researching and writing about AA and AAA rechargeable batteries and chargers, this site continues to have the same basic advice:
Use pre-charged, low self-discharge (LSD) batteries for AA and AAA battery needs. When used with a quality charger, LSD batteries offer the best combination of long-term cost-effectiveness, quality, durability, and environmental sustainability. Once you’ve tried LSD batteries with a good charger and realize how good they are, you’ll end up using them for the vast majority of devices that require AA or AAA batteries.
If you prefer to skip the details, click to the Just Tell Me What to Buy section of this article. If you prefer to understand what you’re buying, read on.
Editor's Note: I'm pleased to introduce Jim Hyman as a new writer for FilterJoe for the battery category. With my research and writing energy mostly devoted to baseball these days, it's great to have another knowledgeable battery enthusiast on board to research and write articles with even more depth and testing than I did. Expect more battery related articles and reviews in the future from Jim, and I will continue to provide the annual battery update — Joe Golton
Over the past 5 years, I’ve written many articles about pre-charged, low self-discharge AA and AAA rechargeable NiMH batteries. Such batteries, used in conjunction with a high quality charger, offer consumers the best combination of quality, durability, environmental sustainability, and cost-effectiveness, as compared with other types of rechargeable batteries or single-use Alkaline batteries. I explained why in my original AA battery article, and more briefly review below.
This article has been replaced with a 2018 AA Batteries update, due to various changes and other developments in the AA/AAA batteries category.
In this post I update everything for 2016. I will also update this post with any significant developments for at least 11 additional months.
My Best AA Batteries post (since replaced with a 2018 AA Batteries update) included a section on low-cost chargers. That section had only a single charger, as several models I previously recommended were discontinued
Update March 13, 2017: The Accumanager 10 has been unavailable for over a year. For high quality budget charger alternatives, see this site’s in-depth review of three of the top budget chargers available in 2017, all of which were released after this AccuManager 10 review.
Earlier this year I purchased another good charger:
Update 3/12/17: A new post on this site compares this charger with two other budget chargers that have faster charging rates. The BQ-CC17 compares favorably. See Best of the Budget Chargers.
I bought a BQ-CC17 bundled with Eneloops two months ago. The rest of this post is my review of the included BQ-CC17 charger, as well as the criteria I use to eliminate other low cost chargers from consideration.
Big media loves to celebrate big breakthroughs. The Internet. The electric car. The smartphone. These truly are big breakthroughs (though not without their side effects).
Big media also loves to celebrate future breakthroughs. Revolutionary new battery technology. Private spacecraft. Quantum computing. Nanotechnology. Some day, these amazing technologies will be commonplace. Worth writing about? Absolutely!
But what about all the little breakthroughs—innovations that are here and now, improving people’s everyday lives? Big media can only cover big topics. So that leaves covering little breakthroughs to blogs or forums or niche web sites, like this one.
I like little breakthroughs, so here are a few of my favorites, ones that I use every day:
However, there have been many minor developments in the market over the past few years. Newer generations of low self-discharge batteries have been released. My favorite inexpensive battery chargers were discontinued. I’ve also heard a few questions asked repeatedly, the most important being, “When is it better to use Alkaline batteries instead of NiMH?”
This site has become a significant source of information about low self-discharge batteries and chargers, so it’s time for an update.
Shortly after my son was born, we started burning through AA batteries. I didn’t like throwing out single use Alkaline batteries. I liked even less having to frequently recharge high discharge NiMH rechargeable batteries. So I was delighted to discover and write about low self-discharge NiMH AA batteries, which work better than both alternatives.
Buried at the end of that post was brief battery charger advice and several suggested models depending on your preferred price. However, I could have been clearer on two points:
If you use a cheap, low quality charger, you may be motivated to abandon even the highest quality rechargeable batteries. You may end up with batteries that don’t fully charge, batteries that overcharge, or (in rare cases) batteries that overheat and melt.
Out of several hundred battery charger models, there are at least a few dozen good ones. However, one brand of battery charger stands heads and shoulders above the rest: La Crosse.
In this post I describe why good chargers matter, why I like La Crosse chargers so much, and why the La Crosse BC-700 makes the most sense for the most people, even though the more expensive La Crosse BC1000 is arguably the best battery charger on the market. I also describe the minor differences between the 4 La Crosse models listed in the title.