Rechargeable Battery Charger Buying Guide: Tips and Featured Models

but more sustainable thanks to their longer useful life. Rechargeable Battery Charger Buying Guide: Tips and Featured Models.

Rechargeable Battery Charger Buying Guide: Tips and Featured Models
Rechargeable Battery Charger Buying Guide: Tips and Featured Models

Cameras, remote controls, watches, toys, flashlights, recorders ... a simple glance around the house brings us back to the reality that there are many devices that require batteries to function, an advantage over batteries because we can replace them easily but also with the hassle of having to buy them periodically. Halfway between one thing and another are rechargeable batteries, more expensive than traditional ones - especially if we take into account that a charger is required - but more sustainable thanks to their longer useful life. Rechargeable Battery Charger Buying Guide: Tips and Featured Models.

And it is that having them ready to be used simply involves inserting them into the charger and connecting to the power. Now, does one charger matter than another? What should we take into account when buying a battery charger? Here are a series of buying tips.

What to consider when buying a rechargeable battery charger?

A recommended option from a compatibility and cost point of view is to buy a charger and batteries at the same time. However, this does not have to be the case. The type of battery charger that best suits your needs will depend on how many batteries you have to charge, how often and how quickly you need them. Depending on these parameters, the investment will vary considerably.

A look at the stack: chemical components

From an initial investment point of view, rechargeable batteries are more expensive than disposable ones, but being reusable they are more environmentally sustainable and last longer.

Rechargeable batteries are made of chemical elements such as Nickel - Cadmium (NiCd), Lithium - Cadmium (LiCd), Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), Lithium ions (Li-ion) and finally lithium ion polymer.

Taking into account the memory effect of Ni-Cd batteries - which reduce their useful life when charged when they have not been completely emptied - and how polluting cadmium is, the first two types of batteries have given way to those that are only lithium or NiMH, which also have no memory effect, so their charge cycles are higher. In our selection of featured models you will only find compatible chargers for batteries of this type.

Battery size and quantity

In the market we can find chargers ranging from 2 capacity units to 8, although the vast majority are 4. In any case, more important than the number is to know if the charger is capable of charging each slot individually - or what It is the same, that you can charge only one battery even if the device has capacity for 4 - or if you have to do it in pairs.

Battery chargers in general are compatible with AA and AAA batteries, as is the case with the models we have listed below. If you need to charge special 9V batteries or devices such as tablets and mobiles, for this purpose there are also models with a USB port.

Smart chargers

The chargers that best watch over the life of the batteries are the smart chargers - also known as delta-V -, which monitor the voltage of each battery and stop charging when they complete the charge. In this way, overheating, overloading or the batteries not reaching 100% of their capacity are avoided.

There are other types of chargers that, without being considered as intelligent, keep the batteries always charged since they foresee that they discharge naturally when they are not used, estimating how much energy they have lost and replenishing it with small charges. However, they do so as a guide, regardless of the age or condition of the battery. This method doesn't prevent overloading, but it does at least ensure they're in optimal condition when you want to use them.

The most basic charging option provides constant power until you unplug it. In this case you run the risk of removing them without being fully charged, reducing the autonomy of the device to which you embed them. On the contrary, if the loads of more reduce its useful life and they overheat. These types of chargers are the cheapest but the useful life of rechargeable batteries will be much shorter.

Charge indicators

While the simplest chargers have a light to indicate whether the batteries have been completed or not, the more advanced ones have digital displays to show the charge status and other parameters such as the estimated time. Straddling each other is a chromatic indicator that indicates the progress of the load by changing color.

Loading speed

The faster a battery charger charges, the more expensive it is. Proactive users often anticipate their charging needs and leave the batteries charging overnight, so a slow charger would be more than sufficient. Also, some chargers that are designed to be left overnight and turn off after that period of time.

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However, there are chargers capable of completing a charge cycle in just a couple of hours and there are even chargers on the market capable of charging 100% a set of batteries in 15 minutes, according to the manufacturer.

However, the capacity of the battery will also have to be taken into account - which is measured in mAh like mobile phone batteries -: those with more capacity will obviously require more charging time, but will also provide greater autonomy. These batteries with higher amperage are indicated especially for devices that consume a lot of electricity such as flashes.


The most complete battery chargers include protections against electrical accidents that protect the integrity of the charger itself and the batteries, prolonging their useful life. Safety features include timers, temperature control, protection against overvoltages and short circuits, reverse polarity - if we put the batteries backwards -, among others.

Featured Models

Hama Eco - Battery charger

  • The best: price, simplicity, allows you to charge AA / AAA batteries.
  • The worst: no electrical protection, no smart charging, trickle charging, no end-of-charge indicator.
  • The Hama Eco charger is one of the most basic models on the market, in fact probably the most interesting thing is its price: 5.73 euros on Amazon.

However, it allows charging up to 4 AA or AAA batteries at the same time, although in pairs. It is made of plastic without much detail except that of an LED light to indicate that the charge is taking place properly, but does not indicate when it has finished. Taking into account the intensity it provides, you will have to leave your batteries charging overnight.

Amazon Basics

  • The best: with USB port, overload protection, simplicity, allows to charge AA / AAA batteries, price.
  • The worst: no smart charging or screen.

Very similar in design to the previous model is the Amazon Basics charger, which also has an LED light to indicate charging in pairs of batteries, although this does inform both the correct charge and the end of it. This charger is much faster, achieving charging speeds of less than 4 hours and stopping the flow of current when the charge has finished.

A very interesting feature is the USB port that it has on one side, which although it is quite slow, allows a mobile phone or tablet to be charged at the same time.

Panasonic Eneloop Smart Fast Charger

  • The best: individualized, easy charging, intuitive control.
  • The worst: no screen, price.

Although its Panasonic BQ-CC51E basic charger is one of the most popular on the market, this Panasonic Eneloop model is fast and intelligent, being capable of charging a couple of batteries in an hour and a half.

It has a color strip that provides information on the degree of battery charge in an intuitive and individualized way that, although it does not provide quantitative information on the state of charge, it does give a quick idea. It is possible to charge the batteries one by one and not in pairs as in basic models.

Varta LCD Plug Charger

  • The best: well-known brand, individual charging, with display, USB charging port, batteries included.
  • The worst: it has no smart charge.

The Varta LCD Plug Charger charges batteries individually, reporting the status of the charge through the display. Allows you to charge batteries of up to three different types and devices via USB. Its design is very compact and load control is simple and intuitive. Batteries are included.

Duracell Expert Charger

  • The best: full charge in 15 minutes, compact, well-known brand
  • The worst: no smart charging, no screen, price.

The Duracell Expert Charger does not have a display or smart charging, but rather a charging mode capable of providing 4 hours of battery life with approximately 5 minutes of charging. However, to charge two full AA batteries - the Duracell 1300 mAh AA NiMH type - it will take about 15 minutes. In addition, batteries are included.

Its control is simple by means of an LED light that informs the state of the charge and although it is compact, it is quite bulky.

Powerex MH-C800S

  • The best: with display, individual charging, 8 batteries at the same time, variable speeds.
  • The worst: price and bulky design.

Although the most common is to find chargers with 4 battery slots, the Powerex MH-C800S has up to 8 slots to charge 8 batteries at the same time, although the charge is carried out and displayed individually. Its LCD screen displays an intuitive graph of charge status, which stops upon completion.

The most remarkable thing about this charger is that it has three charging modes: the fast one that costs from 1 to 2 hours, the slow one that goes from 2 to 4 hours and an additional rejuvenation mode, for damaged batteries.

Panasonic Eneloop Pro

  • The best: well-known brand, individual charging, USB port, LCD screen
  • The worst: price

The Eneloop Pro charger is indicated for the most demanding users, since this battery model is recommended by Panasonic for devices with high energy requirements as it has a capacity of 2,500 mAh each, such as cameras, flashes, keyboards and wireless mice, among others.

This charger is capable of charging each battery individually and intelligently, stopping when it reaches 100%. The status of the charge can be monitored via the display, which also details the expected time.

EBL 808

  • The best: includes 8 rechargeable batteries
  • The worst: no LCD screen

The EBL 808 charger is one of the cheapest and, at the same time, one of the best sellers on Amazon. Allows you to charge 2, 4, 6 or 8 rechargeable batteries both AA and AAA Ni-MH.

This charger has an AC 100-240V AC 50 / 60Hz input and a 2.4V output. Also, stop charging when the voltage reaches 3.4V