The Best Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries have many advantages over disposable options. For an initial elevated investment, they provide hours of power through numerous recharge cycles.
With spare low-self-discharge batteries fully charged and ready to go, you’ll never be caught without the right battery for your TV remote, clock or games controller ever again.
If you are looking to invest in your first, or a new, set of rechargeable batteries for your household devices, there are a variety of different brands to choose from.
Whilst the decision over rechargeable batteries isn’t as complex as buying a new laptop, phone or smart watch, there are still key features to consider to ensure you get the best value product for your needs.
We took a look at the best rechargeable batteries on the market right now and chose our top picks for AA and AAA batteries.
Amazon Basics AA High Capacity Rechargeable Batteries
Best for: Value
Great value for high-capacity and high performance, easily comparable to named brands. Capacity: 2400 mAhPack of 8 available for £14.49, or £27.48 with battery charger, from Amazon
These Amazon Basics High Capacity Rechargeable batteries stand up against the competition from established and well-known brands.
They have a long battery life and, unlike some of the other high-capacity batteries, they are suitable for both high and low-drain devices.
They also come handily pre-charged for convenience and can be used straight out of the packet with no waiting around.
They can be fully recharged back to 100% capacity (even after three years of use) and can be recharged hundreds of times to ensure you get your money’s worth.
Being the high-capacity variety, they retain charge for longer than traditional AA rechargeable batteries.
They also have low self-discharge, which means you can pre-charge your spares without fear of them draining before use.
This means that there will be minimal capacity or power loss.
Note that, for comparison purposes, the Amazon Basic AA Rechargeable Batteries are only available in a pack of 12, which makes them £1.57 per battery next to the Amazon Basics High Capacity Rechargeable’s price of £1.81 per battery.
The quality of these batteries is confirmed by Amazon reviewers who rate the batteries 4½ stars.
One notable review praises the low discharge rates, citing that batteries arriving with a date stamp from 6 months previous came with approximately 90-95% charge. The batteries are advertised to maintain 70% capacity for 6 months and 50% capacity after 12 months.
They are recyclable and should be recycled at your local recycling station at the end of their useful life.
If you are signed up to Amazon Prime and accustomed to or require speedy delivery, it may be best to increase the pack size.
With a brilliant 2,300 mAh capacity, the Energizer Recharge Extreme AA batteries are long-lasting with a single charge, have low self-discharge and can be recharged up to 500 times. They are a reliable choice and provide a good balance between capacity rating and cost.
They are significantly cheaper than their fellow Eneloop Pro high capacity cousins and are currently cheaper on Amazon than the Panasonic Eneloop AAs with 1,900 mAh capacity.
It is worth noting, however, as with the Eneloop Pro range, that the increase in battery capacity leads to a slightly shorter shelf life for the battery, but you will see an enhanced performance during this time.
These Energizer AAs are pre-charged so they can be used straight from the packet. They will hold their charge in storage for up to a year.
The Recharge Extreme range are also made with 4% recycled batteries, signalling that Energizer is making the effort to attempt to tackle environmental concerns.
Energizer is a well-known, reliable brand and produces a good quality product.
EBL Rechargeable AAA Batteries
Best for: Value and capacity
High capacity AAAs at a low price. Capacity: 1,100 mAh.Pack of 8 with two battery storage cases, £11.49 RRP from Amazon
These EBL rechargeable batteries can be charged around 1,200 times and have no memory effect so recharging can be done from full or partial charge. They are said to reach full performance after three to five completed charges/use cycles.
They have a capacity of 1100 mAh, the highest out of the AAA batteries we reviewed, and maintain 80% of their capacity after three years of storage/non-use.
Unlike the other batteries reviewed in this article, however, EBL batteries do not come with a full pre-charge.
They must be charged before use as they only contain a 20% charge on arrival. This is cited by the manufacturer as being for shipping safety purposes.
Given the speed of charging, this is only a minor inconvenience and only poses an issue if you require the batteries for immediate use upon purchase.
Why Buy Rechargeable Batteries
Although it may seem that all devices have sealed battery units these days, we still have items around the house that require either AA or AAA batteries.
Examples you may have in your own house are TV remotes, wireless mice, games console controllers, flameless candles, hand-held torches, strings of fairy lights, pepper or salt grinders and wall clocks.
For products that are in regular use, rechargeable batteries are cost-effective over the long-term.
The price of rechargeable batteries has decreased greatly in recent years, meaning that in around six charge cycles, they have already paid for themselves and proved themselves to be much cheaper than their equivalent disposables.
This is the case even when factoring in the initial cost of a charger.
Having the ability to recharge batteries in a few hours is convenient.
Rechargeable batteries mean that the days of discovering you don’t have any new batteries for your gadget are over – simply take out the existing batteries, charge and replace them. No need for a trip to the high street or an Amazon delivery every time devices go flat.
Also, the technology of rechargeable batteries has progressed a lot since their first days.
I have memories of having a forced hiatus, waiting frustratedly for the little charging indicator light to finally hold steady and indicate full charge.
Most rechargeable batteries are now made from nickel metal hydride (NiMH), as opposed to nickel cadmium (NiCd).
Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) is far superior. NiMH batteries hold charge for longer, can be re-used a greater number of times and can hold higher capacities.
Finally, rechargeable batteries are better for the environment.
Reduced shipping and manufacture of disposables mean you are helping to protect the planet from any extra battery-induced carbon emissions.
With an average life span of four years, rechargeable batteries dramatically reduce the number of batteries a household consumes, cutting both landfill waste, shipping containers and delivery vans.
You should always look to recycle your disposable and rechargeable batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.
Are There Times When Rechargeable Batteries Shouldn’t Be Used?
Whilst rechargeable batteries are undoubtedly the way to go for powering the majority of your battery-powered devices, there are still a few instances or devices where disposable batteries would be preferable.
Initially, and very importantly, it is not recommended to use rechargeable batteries in your smoke detector. Stick to disposable batteries for this.
Another occasion where disposables serve better is when hiking, backpacking or camping.
If you are setting out on a long trail with limited access to power points along the way, it makes sense to pack a spare disposable battery for your torch and other battery-powered items.
Avoid the extra weight and hassle of rechargeable batteries and their charger.
As disposable batteries tend to have longer lives, they are a safer bet for instances – such as exploring the wilderness – where you may not have charging facilities or access to replacement batteries or devices.
It is sometimes noted that some low power devices actually work better with disposable batteries.
This is because the charge in a disposable battery tends to drop suddenly to completely dead, rather than leaving the item, such as a wall clock or battery-powered light, operating under its intended threshold.
This could be a problem if you fail to notice your clock is running slow – though, in today’s world, few of us can say we use a wall clock as our main gauge of time.
With a bit of observation and forward planning, however, rechargeable batteries can usually work just as well for powering items like these.
A further safety note: Not all battery types are rechargeable. You should never insert non-rechargeable batteries into a rechargeable battery charger.
Tips for Using Rechargeable Batteries
- Store in a cool dry place – These are the optimal conditions to store your batteries. Refrain from keeping them in the fridge or freezer as per the myth.
- Don’t overcharge – Overcharging your batteries degrades the batteries faster and can mean that small amounts of power are leaked. This will result in the batteries not being fully charged when you come to use them. Some chargers have an inbuilt feature which stops charging once the batteries are full, but not all, and it is good practice not to rely on this feature. To avoid overcharging, it is recommended not to put batteries on charge overnight.
- Don’t mix brands – Whilst you can charge batteries from different brands together, due to differences in power hold, it is not recommended to put a mixture of battery brands into a single device.
- Recycle – Once again, do your bit to reduce landfill and ensure safe disposal by recycling your old batteries. Many supermarkets have battery recycling containers.
Key Features to Look for – What Makes a Good Rechargeable Battery?
When conducting our reviews, we looked for and compared the following features:
Number of Batteries in a Pack
We looked for batteries that are sold in an eight-pack. This is because it makes sense to have double the number of batteries you need so you can alternate whilst the others are charging.
If your device only requires two batteries, however, then a four-pack would suffice.
Is the Charger Included?
Some batteries are also available to purchase in a combo pack with a charger. Where a good value deal is available, this has been flagged and the link included.
Most rechargeable batteries are compatible with all standard NiMH chargers.
Is It a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Battery?
Chemical composition is important as it impacts battery performance.
We only considered nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries in our review because this is the newest and most effective material.
Price/Value for Money
An eight pack (or equivalent) of rechargeable batteries can cost between £6.99 and £21.90 (excluding charger).
We paid attention to price to make sure that, as a consumer, you are getting the capacity and specification you’d expect for the price.
Low self-discharge means that the battery will retain charge in storage/non-use over a longer period.
An indication of this tends to be quoted in percentage capacity remaining over a six-month or 12-month period.
High Capacity Rating in mAh (Milliamp Hours)
Batteries with a capacity of 1,900 mAh or more are recommended.
Time Charge Is Held
The longer the rechargeable batteries hold their charge, the less regularly you’ll be required to recharge them to keep using your devices. This depends on the capacity rating above.
Most rechargeable batteries are now sold pre-charged which is handy if you are out and about or simply want to purchase batteries to use immediately.
This is the number of charging cycles the battery is predicted to withstand.
When investing in rechargeable batteries, you’ll want to know that they have a long shelf-life and can be recharged hundreds, if not thousands of times.
Performance will inevitably decrease over time, particularly as the battery begins to reach the end of its useful life, but the higher the indicated cycle rating the longer the battery was designed to last.
Other Rechargeable Batteries We Reviewed
When conducting our research, we reviewed a large number of rechargeable battery brands.
In addition to our top picks, below are some of the other batteries that you could consider buying to fulfil your battery-powered needs.
The batteries are organised by brand rather than by type (AA or AAA).
Capacity: 850 mAh
Like their AA cousins, these AAA batteries come pre-charged, provide a gradual self-discharge and have minimal power and capacity loss. They have a higher capacity figure, maintaining 80% of their capacity for 12 months.
They come with a good capacity rating of 850 mAh for an AAA battery.
Capacity: 2,000 mAh
Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries come pre-charged and can be recharged up to 1,000 times with minimal power loss.
Amazon isn't currently selling them in anything smaller than a 12-pack but given the low price, even as a large pack purchase, these batteries are great value.
They have a lower capacity rating than the Amazon Basics High-Capacity range at 2,000 mAh but are similar to the aforementioned batteries on all other specification points.
Panasonic Eneloop AA
Come handily pre-charged by solar power for immediate usePack of 8 available for £19.99, or £22.99 RRP with a neat storage case, from Amazon
These Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable batteries come handily pre-charged by solar power for immediate use, making them practical and even more appealing to those switching to rechargeable batteries due to environmental concerns.
They have low self-discharge so can be stored fully charged with minimal leakage to power. Even after 10 years of storage, they should still retain 70% capacity.
These batteries can be recharged with all standard NiMH chargers up to an amazing 2,100 times.
The Eneloops provide the highest number of recharge cycles of all the rechargeable batteries we looked at.
They are slightly more expensive than the Energizer Recharge Extreme AA batteries, but make up for it with this incredibly high number of charge-discharge cycles.
It is worth noting, however, that the trade-off for this is the slightly lower capacity rating of 1,900 mAh.
Usefully, the batteries have no memory effect so can be recharged when fully or partially discharged – meaning that you never need to be caught without charge.
They are also low temperature resistant, working in temperatures of down to -20 degrees Celsius. This means you can feel confident when using the batteries on skiing or climbing trips in extreme climates.
The storage case that can be selected as an optional extra with these batteries is incredibly handy, keeping them neatly together instead of rolling around loose in your kitchen or office drawers.
Capacity: 750 mAh
The standard Panasonic Eneloop range also includes AAA batteries. Because these are AAA rather than AA batteries, they have a lower capacity rating of 750 mAh.
This is not the highest capacity offered by an AAA battery, but it is a decent capacity for an AAA.
We love the fact that all Panasonic Eneloop batteries come pre-charged with solar power. They can be employed into immediate use for your convenience, whilst being the more environmentally friendly option.
These AAA batteries have the highest recharge rating out of the batteries we reviewed and are rechargeable up to 2,100 times.
As with the AAs, their extremely low self-discharge means they can be stored fully charged for increased expediency when they are required – they’ll hold 70% of capacity even after 10 years of storage.
Like their AA cousins, they are also low-temperature resistant (down to 120 degrees Celsius) and therefore great for powering any cold-weather adventure gear.
They can be flexibly charged with all standard NiMH chargers and are a great choice for the long-term powering of all your AAA devices.
Capacity: 1,900 mAh/750 mAh
For those who want to have both rechargeable AA and AAAs in the house, Panasonic Eneloops are available in an AA and AAA multipack option with four of each battery type.
The AAs have a 1,900 mAh and the AAAs an mAh of 750.
This versatile pack is great for a range of games, toys and household gadgets – having both types of battery means you can’t get caught out.
With a low self-discharge rate – 70% of capacity should be remaining after 10 years – these batteries are a great long-term investment.
This charger has smart charge which detects voltage and stops battery charging before overflow to preserve a longer battery life.
Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA
A very high capacity and with a great lifespan from a single chargeOnly available in a pack of 4 for £13.95, or £16.86 with a handy storage case, from Amazon
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £27.90 (without case).
Capacity: 2,500 mAh
The Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA batteries have a very high capacity and with a great lifespan from a single charge, they are perfect for use in high-drain devices with a medium to high power requirement.
They hold charge brilliantly in storage so your spares can be charged up ready and waiting to go. After a year, capacity remains at 85%.
The higher capacity seems to come with a longevity trade-off, though, with the Eneloop Pro batteries lasting for an average of 500 recharges.
This is, however, a standard figure amongst lots of the high-capacity rechargeable batteries and the power and length of an individual charge cycle provided by these batteries is excellent.
Although they are the most expensive batteries reviewed, you do indeed get what you pay for.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £27.38
Capacity: 930 mAh
The Eneloop Pro AAA range comes with a capacity of 930 mAh, compared to the 750 mAh of the standard Eneloop AAA battery, so they are a good choice for higher-powered devices requiring AAA batteries as they will need charging less frequently.
Like all the others in the Eneloop range, these batteries are environmentally friendly and pre-charged with solar energy.
Note the Eneloop Pro range appears to only be sold in packs of two or four batteries.
Capacity: 2,000 mAh
The Energiser Power Plus is the world's first rechargeable AA battery to use recycled materials, as it is made with 4% recycled batteries.
The batteries come pre-charged and each battery can be charged up to a further 1,000 times. The battery charge will last up to 12 months in storage, meaning that charged batteries can be stored for use at your convenience.
Whilst the hours of power a charge provides depends on the device and intensity of usage, these batteries provide an average of 5.5 hours of activity when used in a toy and 7.5 hours of activity when used for a handheld gaming device.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £26.00
Capacity: 800 mAh
These AAA Recharge Extreme batteries come pre-charged and ready to use. The batteries can be charged up to 500 times and retain their charge in storage for up to 12 months.
They claim to last 6x longer in your devices than the standard Energizer alkaline battery.
The AAAs are made with 4% recycled batteries.
It is worth briefly noting though that, given the standard AAA capacity rating of 800 mAh, the quoted recharge figure of 500 is lower than expected and lower than that of AAA batteries from other brands.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £29.98
Capacity: 2,500 mAh
Duracell’s high performance Rechargeable Ultra batteries are good value for their high capacity rating of 2500 mAh and come pre-charged for convenience so you can use them straight from the pack.
Duracell’s DURALOCK technology prevents the batteries from losing power through self-discharge and as a consequence, the batteries retain their charge well in storage.
Unlike most other rechargeable batteries, Duracell’s Ultras come with a guarantee that they will last for five years or 300 recharges (whichever comes first). This may seem like a lower recharge figure than other makes which claim their batteries will last for thousands of charges, but remember that it is backed up by a guarantee.
Also, remember that the high capacity offer of these batteries reduces shelf-life. Comparable batteries in terms of capacity, such as the Energiser Recharge Extreme AA and the Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA, state an up to 500 recharges figure, but do not provide an accompanying guarantee.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £15.98
Capacity: 2,100 mAh
These Varta batteries are great value and are advertised as having long use cycles due to their fairly high capacity rating. They can be recharged for up to 1,000 uses and can be used to power toys and household devices.
They are rechargeable without memory effect, which means they can be charged back to full charge from any level of capacity without a detrimental impact on future battery capacity.
The batteries are supposed to have a good low self-discharge rate, with up to 75% charge remaining after 12 months of storage.
Additionally, they are protected against the damage overcharging can cause. This is useful as it is very easy to leave batteries in their charger for longer than necessary.
There is also a very high capacity 2,600 mAh option available for £11.40 for a pack of 4.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £17.74
Capacity: 1,000 mAh
Varta’s Recharge Power High Capacity AAA 1,000 mAh batteries are currently available for the same price as the regular Recharge Power 800 mAh AAAs, so I have chosen to mention the high capacity ones here.
Like their AA Varta cousins, they are rechargeable without memory effect, compatible with all standard NiMH chargers and have a good capacity offering.
Capacity: 2,800 mAh
EBL’s rechargeable AAs are particularly high capacity with very low self-discharge. They have a good charge retention rate with the batteries maintaining 80% capacity after three years of storage.
As with the AAA EBLs, these batteries can be recharged up to 1,200 times when fully or partially drained.
They required full charging before use as they only come pre-charged to 20% capacity, which is cited as being for safety reasons during shipping.
EBL AA & AAA Rechargeable Battery Multipack (With Charger)
Great value and comes with chargerPack of 8 (4 of each type) available from Amazon for £16.99
If you require both AA and AAA batteries or are seeking a charger, the above EBL batteries are also sold in a great value AA and AAA multipack complete with a USB charger. Four batteries of each type are included.
If you require a charger for your batteries, EBL also sells an eight-bay AA & AAA smart battery charger which is available to purchase for £12.11 from Amazon.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £13.98
Capacity: 2,450 mAh
These Ikea Ladda AA batteries can be recharged up to 1,500 times and come pre-charged so they can be used in your devices straight away.
The capacity rating of 2,450 mAh is excellent for the price.
To allow for direct comparison, the equivalent price for 8 batteries is £13.98
Capacity: 900 mAh
These Ikea Ladda AAA batteries, like the AA Laddas, can be charged for up to 1,500 use cycles and are sold pre-charged for expediency.
Their capacity rating of 900 mAh is good for a AAA battery.
The Ikea delivery charge bumps up the price of the Ladda batteries and delivery is only available in select locations, but these are a great option if you are already planning a trip to your local Ikea. They are well worth picking up alongside your flat-pack storage solutions.
Or purchase on Amazon for direct delivery.
At a Glance Comparison
Look at the table below to see the quick stats for the AA and AAA batteries we reviewed.
|Battery Name/Brand||Type||Pack Size||Price||Capacity (mAh)||No. of Recharges (up to)||Capacity Retention (when stored)||Extra Features|
|Amazon Basics AA High Capacity Rechargeable Batteries||AA||8||£14.49||2,400||No figure given. Rechargeable back to 100% capacity for a 3 year period||70% after 6 months and 50% after 12 months|
|Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries||AA||12||£18.89 (note the 4 extra batteries included for this price)||2,000||1,000||Maintain 80% of capacity (though no time frame given)|
|Panasonic Eneloop AA||AA||8||£19.99||1,900||2,100||Extremely low self-discharge: after 10 years of storage they should still retain 70% capacity||No memory effect. Works with all standard NiMH chargers.|
|Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA||AA||4||£13.95 (Equivalent to £27.90 for 8)||2,500||500||After a year capacity remains at 85%||Option to buy with a handy storage case|
|Energiser Recharge Extreme AA||AA||8||£18.49||2,300||500||Stays charged for up to 1 year without use||Made with 4% recycled batteries|
|Energiser Recharge Power Plus AA||AA||8||£12.49||2,000||1,000||Charge will last up to 12 months in storage||Made with 4% recycled batteries|
|Duracell Rechargeable Ultra AA||AA||4||£14.99 (Equivalent to £29 y.98 for 8)||2,500||300||DURALOCK technology prevents self-discharge||Guaranteed for the 300 recharges (or for 5 years of recharging, whichever comes first)|
|Varta Recharge Power AA||AA||4||£7.99 (Equivalent to £15.98 for 8)||2,100||1,000||75% capacity left after 12 months of storage||No memory effect|
|Ikea Rechargeable Ladda HR6 AA||AA||4||£6.99 (Equivalent to £13.98 for 8)||2,450||1,500|
|EBL Rechargeable AA Batteries||AA||8||£14.99||2500||1,200||80% capacity after 3 years of storage||Only come with 20% pre-charge. No memory effect.|
|Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries||AA||12||£18.89||2,000||1,000||80% for 12 months|
|Amazon Basics AAA High Capacity Rechargeable Batteries||AAA||4||£8.89 (Equivalent to £17.78 for 8)||850||No figure given. Rechargeable back to 100% capacity for a 3 year period||80% for 12 months|
|Panasonic Eneloop AAA||AAA||8||£16.90 (with storage box)||750||2,100||After 10 years of storage they should still retain 70% capacity||Works with all standard NiMH chargers|
|Panasonic Eneloop Pro AAA||AAA||4||£13.69 (Equivalent to £27.38 for 8)||930||500||85% capacity after 1 year||Pre-charged using solar energy|
|Varta Recharge Power High Capacity AAA||AAA||4||£8.87 (Equivalent to £17.74 for 8)||1,000||Up to 75% capacity after 12 months||No memory effect|
|Ikea Rechargeable Ladda HR03 AAA||AAA||4||£6.99 (Equivalent to £13.98 for 8)||900||1,500|
|EBL Rechargeable AAA Batteries||AAA||8||£11.49 (inc. storage case)||1,100||1,200||80% capacity after 3 years of storage||Only come with 20% pre-charge|
|Energizer Recharge Extreme AAA Batteries||AAA||4||£13.00 (Equivalent to £26.00 for 8)||800||500||Retain their charge in storage for up to 12 months||Made with 4% recycled batteries|
|Panasonic Eneloop AA & AAA Combination Rechargeable Multipack||AA & AAA||8||£18.99||1,900/750||2,100||70% self-discharge after 10 years||Pre-charged using solar energy|
|EBL AA & AAA Rechargeable Battery Multipack (With Charger)||AA & AAA||8||£16.99||2,500/1,100||1,200||80% capacity after 3 years of storage||Only come with 20% pre-charge. No memory effect.|
Whilst initially setting you back more than regular disposable batteries, over the long-term rechargeable batteries are the best option in terms of convenience, value and the environment.
It is important to consider the capacity rating and number of recharges offered for the price, but it is safe to say the technology of rechargeable batteries has significantly progressed.
All of the batteries above should be fit for purpose, however, depending upon the intended use for the battery, different criteria will be priority; capacity, recharge cycles or overall longevity.
We hope this article has helped to speed up and demystify the process of choosing the best rechargeable battery for your needs.
Please note that all quoted prices were correct at the time of writing. As prices on Amazon can fluctuate, it is recommended to check the current prices for your time of purchase.