Let's be perfectly honest, batteries can be expensive. Especially those AA's and AAA's that seem to power everything we use from day to day, from remote controls to mp3 players to alarm clocks and so much more. Consumers have begun to gravitate toward purchasing rechargeable batteries that you only need to buy once and then replenish when they run out of juice, instead of throwing out those alkalines that can drain your wallet after they lose their power. These types of batteries rely on chargers to refresh their power supplies and we have five of the best ones available right now. When you're looking to buy a battery charger, you have some options. Fast chargers can freshen up your dead cells in a short period of time, but many will argue that these chargers deplete your cell's power storage capacity over time because they don't actually refill the battery to its fullest recharge potential. Slow chargers take hours to fully restore your cells, but many consumers just don't like to wait. Most charging units come with four rechargeable sockets but others can hold more, and while they all accept both AA and AAA batteries, some will charge both types at the same time while others can only handle one at a time. Check out the chargers we've determined are worth your hard earned dollar, each one makes the list based on the following critieria: battery type compatibility, charge times, portability, overall functionality, added features, and price.
This multi-functional battery charger can handle AA and AAA batteries, offers multiple charging speeds and four available options for charging and discharging your cells. The unit will also prevent your batteries from over-charging and the sectioned LCD display gives you accurate readings on up to four batteries simultaneously. Read Full Review
The BC-700 will accept up to four NiCd and NiMH AA and AAA rechargeable batteries at the same time, with the ability to change the charging current and thus the speed with which your cells are recharged. The default current is 200 milliamperes (mA) which takes a little over an hour to fully charge four low-discharge batteries. Switch the charge all the way up to 500 or 700 to charge your batteries quicker, though faster charge times may not always refill the cell to its fullest potential. Some chargers are either slow or fast chargers by design, this one gives you the choice to have it either way; not many chargers are built to perform in such a fashion. This option is primarily what puts it at the top of the list; but there are three other function modes that also make this our favorite charger. There's a discharge mode that can drain all of your batteries completely so as to avoid any internal memory issues before recharging to them to their proper capacity, in addition to a test mode and a refresher mode. The first one checks your batteries for the amount of life left inside of them while the other one can do a quick top off of your cell if its partially charged. Four LCD displays give exclusive readings of each battery you're charging and the BC-700 even has an internal monitor to prevent your cells from over-heating or becoming overcharged.
With five fully adjustable modes, the Powerex MH-C9000 can charge, refresh, or recycle your AA and AAA rechargeable batteries. Much like the La Crosse at the top of our list, the Maha puts the power in your hands, almost literally as there are up to 29 current settings for refilling and depleting your NiMH/NiCD cells to get them working at their maximum capacities. The only reason this charger is not our top pick is price. It's about $20 more than the BC-700. Read Full Review
Although more expensive than the La Crosse up above, the Maha Powerex MH-C9000 offers higher functionality with more modes of operation and added features. You can charge, analyze, refresh, discharge, break-in, and cycle AA and AAA NiMH/NiCD rechargeable batteries, and the unit will monitor the temperature of these cells during their charge times or alert you if alkaline batteries are entered into the sockets by mistake. The charge mode on the MH-C9000 lets you adjust the charging current along 19 different settings, while the discharge mode will drain all power from your cells at 10 possible currents. The variety of other available function modes such as refresh, cycle, and break-in are designed to automatically charge and discharge brand new cells to help them reach their maximum power capacities and to wake up and revitalize rechargeables that haven't been used in awhile that may just need some topping off. A large LCD screen displays the mode in which the charger is functioning and the simple user interface lets you navigate menus to adjust your settings, although you may need to refer to the instruction booklet more than once to learn how to program the unit and access all of its many options.
Another four socket battery charger, this one from Energizer is designed to be a fast charger with just one charge speed. While it accepts four rechargeable batteries at a time, the indicator light alerting you of the unit's progress doesn't segregate between sockets. But this charger is also portable as it comes with a car adapter for charging batteries on the go. Read Full Review
With four available sockets, this charger from the folks at Energizer can handle AA and AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries at the same time. You can probably tell from the name this is a fast charger, boasting a fifteen minute recharge time for your cells. That's not entirely true as the instructions suggest you leave the batteries in for an extra ten minutes of time so that they cool down properly and retain a complete power charge. Still, that's not bad in terms of wait times for a quick charger at this price point. But while it does offer the convenience of short re-charge periods and portability enough to work in your car with an added car adapter; the Energizer charger presents a slight conundrum in the actual functionality of the unit. Operation is simple enough; you place your batteries into the charger and wait for the indicator light to go to solid red. This means your batteries are charging but if it blinks red, that means there's a problem. Either your battery isn't placed into the socket correctly or it's no longer any good. If you're charging four at once, it's up to you discover which one of the sockets has the offending cell and the mystery begins. Obviously, this isn't as much of an issue with fewer batteries in the charger, but you can see how this might be inconvenient. After you've solved the case, the indicator light will turn green and your batteries are ready for use.
You get four charging sockets that fit AA or AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries on the Sanyo. Four rechargeable cells come packaged with the unit, and charge time takes nearly seven hours for a complete replenishment of power. But there are some hard and fast restrictions in the functionality of this charger even if it is suitable for international travel. Read Full Review
Sanyo's eneloop rechargeables line of batteries features this four socket charger that can handle AA or AAA cells. Four AA's come with the unit, partially charged right out of the package. But this unit lacks many of the features of the other picks on our list; discharge modes and rapid charging are not available here. In fact, the charger is quite limited in that you can't charge AA and AAA batteries simultaneously. You have to choose one or the other. Also, you better need to charge two batteries at the same, since this charger will only let you charge in pairs. So if you have just one AA or AAA battery to replenish, it'll have to wait until there's another one exactly like it to go along as well. A simple LED light underneath the left and right sides of the charger blink while your cells are recharging and then stop once they're ready for use. This is a slow charge unit; so while your charge times may vary, a depleted rechargeable will take a considerable amount of time to recharge. On the plus side, the Sanyo has a worldwide voltage range and an integrated pronged plug folds into the unit for use during travel, both international and domestic.
Tenergy'sNiMH/NiCd Battery Charger can handle up to eight AA and AAA batteries at a time and keeps the rest of it pretty basic in terms of additional features. Much like the Sanyo, however, this one will also work with international power outlets. Read Full Review
The TN145 is a pretty basic slow charger than can accommodate up to eight AA and AAA batteries at once. You can certainly charge fewer than that at any given time, with variable speeds of up to three hours on AAA and around six on AA NiCd and NiMH rechargeable cells. It couldn't be simpler to use either, just plug it in, stick your batteries into the sockets and LED lights will illuminate solid red to let you know the charger is working. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell when your batteries are fully charged without using a battery tester or guessing, as the LED's don't blink or change color to let you know the cells are ready for use.