Energizer are the default rechargeable batteries that you’ll find in any shops — but they’re crap. They need charging before you can use them and you can’t just leave them charged up on the shelf ready for use because they’ll lose their charge so quickly. Inevitably, when the TV remote or children’s toy runs out of batteries you end up replacing it with a non-rechargeable alkaline battery because that’s all that you have available to use now. I keep a handheld GPS in my car for noting down interesting places to photograph but it’s often a week or two between uses. Energizer batteries couldn’t cope with this inactivity: I’d often turn it on to find that the batteries had discharged over time.
Enter Sanyo’s eneloop batteries. Here’s why eneloops need to be the standard batteries available in all shops (the government should really mandate them like energy-saving lightbulbs):
- The batteries are ready-to-use when you buy them.Â No initial charge required, just use them like regular alkaline batteries
- They can be recharged up to 1000 times, just like regular rechargeable batteries
- They use standard NiMH rechargers.Â No new equipment required
- They have considerably better self-discharge rates. Unlike NiMH rechargeables, eneloops hold their charge so I can leave them in the car for a few months and still expect them to work
- They function much better than NiMH batteries in cold temperatures, which is particularly important at the moment!
- They come in standard AA and AAA sizes with compatible voltages
eneloops seem to cost a little bit more than standard NiMH rechargables, and they don’t carry quite as much charge (2000mAh vs 2500mAh) but they hold on to it for longer.Â Altogether, I can’t find a reason to favour NiMH rechargables over eneloops.
Footnote: I’ve just discovered that Duracell are finally bringing to same technology to the Energizer range, so look out for Energizer ActiveCharge batteries coming to a supermarket near you!