High capacity, longer lifespan, less waste, and long-term savings. What’s not to like about rechargeable batteries?
I’ve used them in everything from photography equipment to LED flashlights to radio controlled cars.
So which is better – Eneloop or AmazonBasics?
Read on. I’ll explain which is best depending on what you’re using them for.
Some believe certain AmazonBasics batteries are rebranded Eneloops, but that does not seem to be the case.
In batteries from the two brands with similar capacities (mAh rating), Eneloops tend to produce less heat. This is due to better efficiency from their lower impedence.
Those differences aside, battery life is similar between both brands. That goes when comparing both the standard and high-capacity versions.
High Drain Devices
Some equipment draws a lot of power. Battery life can be compared in minutes rather than hours.
- Camera flashes
- High-power LED flashlights
- Radio controlled cars
Using alkalines would mean frequently buying and disposing of batteries. Rechargeables can save you a lot of money over time. They also avoid a lot of landfill waste.
Avoiding low quality rechargeables is important here. Lousy batteries won’t live up to their capacity ratings.
AmazonBasics High-Capacity are my recommendation if you want long battery life at a good price.
Using a Speedlite flash? I would look to the Eneloop Pro. These batteries let you fire multiple flashes faster, known as a quicker flash recycle time. They aren’t cheap. But, they have a great reputation for their dependability.
Medium Drain Devices
Replacement costs can add up even if batteries last for hours in your electronics.
Here are some examples of electronics of medium-power devices:
- Wireless mice and keyboards
- Game controllers
With regular use, rechargeables will pay for themselves. You can even swap batteries between electronics that only see occasionally use.
Low Drain Devices
Certain household items can last for years on the same battery.
- Remote controls
Using rechargeable batteries in low power devices doesn’t make much sense financially.
Reducing waste is the only practical use for rechargeable batteries in low drain devices.
Amazon’s high-capacity batteries are some of the best out there for the money.
Battery life is about as long as it gets. They hold their charge well while being stored. Cold whether is not a problem for them.
The high-capacity version is rated at 2400mAh compared to 2000mAh for the standard. That gives you about 20% more battery life.
The cost is only slightly higher than the standard Japan-made AmazonBasics batteries with the black label and green top.
With battery life nearly as good as Eneloop Pros and half the cost, I consider AmazonBasics High-Capacity to be the best value.
First things first, Eneloop Pros are expensive.
Eneloop Pros cost nearly double what regular Eneloop and AmazonBasics batteries do.
They have a very high capacity rating at 2550mAh, and can be stored for years while maintaining most of their charge.
Eneloop Pros are a very reliable and long-lasting choice. For that reason, if you truly depend on your batteries, the extra cost may be worth it to you.
If you’re a professional photographer looking for the best rechargeables for your Speedlite or other camera flash, they’re an excellent choice. I’ve been using Eneloops in my Nikon Speedlight for nearly a decade. They still hold a charge well.
For typical use, I’d save the money and choose the regular Eneloops over the Pro. They’re still very dependable and have solid battery life.
Which Charger to Pick?
Before I knew any better, I figured all battery chargers were basically the same.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
For starters, a good charger should have battery detection to automatically shut off once cells are fully charged. Trickle chargers should be avoided – if you forget to unplug them, your batteries could be ruined.
I highly recommend a charger with individual cell charging. This means you can charge one battery in any slot.
Why have individual cell charging if you only plan to charge in pairs? Batteries are never at exactly the same charge level. A charger that groups in pairs will end up over-charging whichever battery started off with more capacity. That leads to overheating and reduced life.
The AmazonBasics charger, unfortunately, charges in pairs. I’d skip over this model.
Panasonic makes a great line of chargers. They’ll work with Eneloops, AmazonBasics, or any other brand of battery. They handle individual cell charging and have auto shutoff.
If you’re ok with a longer charge time – up to 7 hours – I’d go with the Panasonic BQ-CC17. It’s a great deal with the included four AA Eneloops.
For fast charging, look to the Panasonic BQ-CC55. It can charge two cells in as low as 1.5 hours or four in 3 hours. It has color LED’s to indicate if the charge level of each cell is low, medium, or high.
Either of these chargers is lightweight, compact, and has a foldable power plug. This makes them easy to pack in a bag.
If you need a larger charger, the 8 cell Powerex MH-C800S is a good choice. It has all the necessary safety features. It charges fast at 2 hours or less.
Size C & D Rechargeable Batteries
You might have noticed that most rechargeable batteries sold are either AA or AAA.
There’s a few reasons C and D rechargeables are harder to come by:
- Not as commonly used
- Larger size, so they require big charger
- Most people aren’t willing to buy 3-4 rechargeable battery types
Instead, adapters can be used to convert AA cells to C or D.
I recommend this set of C & D spacers from Panasonic. They’re compatible with any brand of rechargeable or alkaline AA battery.
Something to keep in mind: by putting smaller AA cells into the adapters, battery life will be a lot shorter than with the full size versions. Keeping extras around to swap out helps for higher-powered electronics.
For value, it’s hard to beat AmazonBasics High-Capacity rechargeable AA’s and AAA’s. Battery life and performance are excellent. The price is reasonable as well.
If you want the absolute best longevity and reliability, consider going with Eneloop Pro batteries.