What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

Photo by Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock.com

This post comes from partner site DealNews.com.

Before you pick up another blister pack of disposable AA batteries, stop to consider whether rechargeable AA batteries may be a better value.

While they can get a bad rap, the latest and best rechargeable batteries can be just as good as their traditional counterparts. And though they’re still more expensive than disposable batteries, prices are going down.

But are rechargeables the right choice for you? Let’s go over what you need to know to get the best rechargeable batteries.

What are rechargeable batteries?

Rechargeable batteries are batteries that can be used hundreds or thousands of times, while disposable batteries need to be tossed out when they’ve been drained.

Today’s rechargeable batteries are typically nickel-metal hydride, or NiMH, and they can have as much — or even more — power than traditional alkaline batteries.

Although battery capacity varies among brands and models, NiMH AA batteries usually have 1,000 to 2,700 mAh (milliampere hours) worth of power. Disposable alkaline batteries tend to have around 2,400 mAh.

In addition to having plenty of juice, rechargeable models are particularly good at providing power for high-power devices that can chew through alkaline batteries.

Most NiMH batteries are now low self-discharge, which means they’ll hold a charge for a long time even when they’re sitting on a shelf. This has been a big problem for rechargeable batteries in the past, because you could find them dead when you needed them.

But today’s rechargeables will hold charges for a year or more. Rayovac and Energizer even advertise their batteries will stay charged for five years. You can also expect any rechargeable batteries you buy to be pre-charged and work right out of the package.

Do battery brands matter?

Brand matters, though not necessarily in the way you think. Some battery brands perform better than others, but some off-brand batteries are made on the same manufacturing lines as their brand-name counterparts.

For example, Costco’s Kirkland-brand batteries are made by Duracell, and Ikea Ladda rechargeables supposedly come off the same assembly line as Panasonic Eneloop rechargeables.

You want to buy a good brand, but sometimes generic battery brands are good brands.

How much do rechargeable batteries cost?

In most cases, one rechargeable battery costs about what four or five standard batteries cost. But even though traditional AA batteries can cost as little as 30 cents each, that adds up if you go through a lot of them.

Depending on how many batteries you go through a year, the best AA batteries may be rechargeable AA batteries.

What are the best rechargeable AA batteries?

To pick the best battery value, we’ll compare prices and features of the common AA battery. Whether you’re looking for the best AA battery or the best AAA battery, these prices should be a good guideline. So, let’s dive in to find the best rechargeable AA batteries.

Panasonic Eneloop AA rechargeable batteries

Panasonic Eneloop batteries have received good marks from several reviewers, including Wirecutter and Reviewed.

The high-end Eneloop Pro also has more capacity than most rechargeables, at 2,550 mAh. However, it’s pricey — the Eneloop Pro is the most expensive battery on this list. Both Energizer and Amazon rechargeable AA batteries perform similarly for a lower price.

Still, if you want a rechargeable battery with a long life, Panasonic Eneloops are a solid choice. And if you watch for them to go on sale, sometimes they’re priced in line with the competition.

Battery capacity: 2,000 mAh or 2,550 mAh
2,000 mAh 8-pack price: $26.98 ($3.37 each)
2,550 mAh 8-pack price: $33.68 ($4.21 each)
2,000 mAh 4-pack price with charger: $17.99

For comparison, Panasonic non-rechargeable AAs cost about 84 cents each, so you’d have to use four or five Eneloop charges before you matched the cost of a single standard battery.

However, if you consider the cost of the charger, Eneloop comes out ahead: A four-pack of 2,000 mAh batteries with a charger comes at a lower price than other charger bundles.

Energizer AA rechargeable batteries

Energizer rechargeable batteries are the top picks from Wirecutter, due to a high capacity and long shelf life.

Their top capacity is 2,300 mAh, so they have a little less power than Panasonic Eneloop Pros. But Energizer promises they’ll hold a charge for five years, so you’ll find them ready to go even if they’ve been sitting in your kitchen junk drawer.

Battery capacity: 2,000 mAh or 2,300 mAh
2,000 mAh 8-pack price: $18.57 ($2.32 each)
2,300 mAh 8-pack price: $19.99 ($2.50 each)
2,000 mAh 4-pack price with charger: $18.19

Energizer’s standard batteries are around a quarter of the price of the 2,300 mAh rechargeables, at 62 cents each. So, you’d go through four charges before saving money. They offer good performance for a modest up-front price.

AmazonBasics AA rechargeable batteries

Don’t discount AmazonBasics as a knockoff brand — these are great batteries for a great price.

You can choose between 2,000 mAh and a high-capacity 2,400 mAh model, both of which have low prices compared to similar batteries.

Battery capacity: 2,000 mAh or 2,400 mAh
2,000 mAh 8-pack price: $14.99 ($1.87 each)
2,400 mAh 8-pack price: $18.99 ($2.37 each)
2,000 mAh 4-pack price with charger: $23.98

Amazon’s non-rechargeable AA batteries are pricey compared to other models, selling for about $1.75 each.

But even though there isn’t a dramatic difference between their rechargeable and non-rechargeable models, the rechargeables are still a great value compared to other brands. They cost 44 percent less than the Panasonic Eneloop.

Duracell AA Rechargeable Batteries

Duracell’s rechargeable batteries have nearly as much capacity as the Panasonic Eneloop. But they’re also more expensive than the 2,000 mAh Eneloops and get middling reviews after real-world testing.

They’re neither the best nor the worst rechargeable batteries on the market, and if you find them at a good price, they may not be a bad buy.

Battery capacity: 2,450 mAh
2,450 mAh 4-pack price: $14.48 ($3.62 each)
2,450 mAh 6-pack price with charger: $18.81

Standard Duracell CopperTop AA batteries are more modestly priced, at 89 cents each, leaving them in the middle of the road price-wise. Like most other brands, you’d have to go through four AA charges before you saved money by buying rechargeable units.

Rayovac AA rechargeable batteries

Wondering which is the best battery in a Rayovac versus Duracell battle of affordable brands?

A low price of $1.56 per battery means Rayovac’s rechargeables have a very modest start-up price. But temper your enthusiasm, because they also have a low 1,350 mAh capacity, so you can expect a shorter battery life.

They might be a reasonable choice for low-power devices that don’t go through batteries quickly — but that also means it’ll take longer for them to start saving money. In this case, Duracell definitely is the winner.

Battery capacity: 1,350 mAh
1,350 mAh 8-pack price: $12.46 ($1.56 each)

Rayovac’s standard alkaline batteries are also modestly priced at 72 cents each, so you’ll start saving money after three batteries. Still, if you want to power remote-controlled cars and other gadgets that burn through batteries, they may not be the best AA batteries for your needs.

Ikea Ladda AA rechargeable batteries

When you’re shopping for batteries, you probably don’t think of Ikea — but its rechargeable batteries have the best battery prices on the market. Low-power rechargeable AA batteries cost just $1 each, while beefy 2,450 mAh batteries are only $1.75 each.

Their performance is on par with the much more expensive Panasonic Eneloop — possibly because they’re Eneloops by a different name. While neither Panasonic nor Ikea confirm this, both batteries are produced in the same factory in Japan and have nearly identical performance.

Battery capacity: 1,000 mAh or 2,450 mAh
1,000 mAh 4-pack price: $3.99 ($1 each)
2,450 mAh 4-pack price: $6.99 ($1.75 each)

Ikea’s non-rechargeable Alkalisk batteries are also cheaper than any of the competition at just 30 cents each, so you’d have to go through six charges before Laddas cost less than their counterparts.

Don’t forget the charger

If you’re buying rechargeable batteries, you’ll need a charger. Typically, these devices are universal, so you can charge any NiMH battery — including those on this list — in any NiMH charger.

Most models can also handle batteries of different sizes: AAs and AAAs will often fit in the same unit. Just be sure to check the details before you click buy.

Often you’ll find the best value in batteries bundled with chargers. These packages will usually include four batteries with a charger that can hold all four for around $20.

If you buy a charger separately, expect four-battery chargers to start at $10, but you can buy chargers that will hold as many as 18 batteries. They’re costly, though, as much as $40.

But eight-battery chargers are the best value — you can find them for as little as $10, just like a four-battery charger. For the best battery charger, however, expect to spend a little more, from $15 to $25.

More from DealNews:

Do you have a favorite battery brand? Let us know why by commenting below or on the Money Talks News Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed
10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed

Here’s what to watch for to make sure you don’t fall prey to some of the biggest rip-offs targeting seniors.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project
10 Ways to Nail Savings on Your Remodeling Project

Here’s how to save on your next remodeling project with discounted materials and more tips and tricks.

10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments
10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments

Here are 10 things that could mean less money in your pocket during retirement.

5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

These benefits might make you think twice about retirement.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.