Are Rechargeable Batteries Really Cost Effective?

At my house, we use a lot of AA batteries. Not only do several of our son’s toys use the batteries, but so do both of our baby monitors, our Wii remotes, our television remotes, and several wall clocks. Not only that, my wife’s breast pump runs on AA batteries as well, enabling her to pump in places where an outlet isn’t available (like on a long car ride when our children are asleep).

I did a count recently around our house and found that there are 36 AA batteries in use around our home (plus ten more in the breast pump, but I won’t count these for this purpose). Some of these are replaced frequently (even as often as monthly), like those in the Wii remotes and in my son’s self-propelled school bus toy – others are replaced rarely (less than annually), like the ones in the wall clocks.

My estimate is that in an average month, we replace 10 AA batteries

Because of our heavy battery usage – 120 AAs on average in a year – we were interested in finding an alternative to this expense, and we found that an investment in good rechargeable batteries up front will save significant money over the long run.

Let’s walk through this step by step. In order to do a fair cost comparison, I’m going to use prices from Amazon.com – a bargain shopper will be able to find better prices on specific items, but by using the same source, we can do a fair and valid price comparison.

Annual Cost of Non-Rechargeable AA Batteries

Since in a given year we burn through 120 AA batteries in our house, we obviously buy them in bulk in the largest packages we can. We’ve also tried many, many different brands of AA batteries and we’ve found that for our use, we almost always get the best bang for the buck from e2 Titanium batteries. They don’t have the longest life among the ones we’ve tried, but my wife and I have both observed that they have a very long life for the dollar.

So what do these batteries cost? You can get a twelve pack of e2 Titanium batteries on Amazon.com for $7.77. Since we use 120 per year, these batteries cost us $77.70 per year.

Startup Cost of Rechargeable AA Batteries

In order to effectively use rechargeables for our AA battery usage, we need to replace all 32 batteries with rechargeables, with four batteries to spare so that we can swap in fresh ones immediately and then put the empty ones on the charger. We’ll also need to invest in a charger.

After researching rechargeables, I found that almost every source recommended using eneloop rechargeable batteries because they don’t become weaker after many recharges and, more importantly, they hold their charge very well while just sitting there. I’m also investing in a quality battery charger that will last forever. Since I want these batteries to be a seamless replacement for our old AAs, I’m willing to buy the best.

eneloopAs a result, I selected GE/SANYO eneloop AA batteries, which are available for $11.20 for a set of four on Amazon. Since I need 36 batteries, this is a startup cost of $100.80 for the batteries.

For the charger, I followed recommendations and selected a La Crosse BC-900, which not only charges batteries, but actually completely discharges them before beginning a charge, extending the number of recharges that you can get out of a battery significantly.

Unfortunately, there’s another big cost here – $47.94.

The startup cost for our rechargeable battery use is $148.74.

I recognize that I could cut some corners here and reduce the cost by buying other rechargeables or a lower-end charger, but the goal is to make the transition from disposable AAs as seamless as possible.

Maintenance Cost of Rechargeable AA Batteries

I put the charger on my handy Kill-A-Watt to see how much electricity is actually used in a recharge – and I was surprised. The battery recharger ate up 0.02 kilowatt-hours per AA battery recharged. Since I would be recharging 120 AA batteries in a given year, the recharger would eat up 2.4 kilowatt-hours per year. With electricity costing $0.10 per kilowatt hour these days, that means the charging cost per year for the rechargeables is $0.24.

Comparing the Two

Let’s look at this year by year.

In the first year, we would spend $77.70 on non-rechargeables. Simultaneously, we’d spend $148.74 on startup costs for our rechargeable batteries, plus $0.24 for recharging, giving a total cost of $148.98 for the rechargeables. Ouch – after one year, the non-rechargeables are way ahead, being $71.28 cheaper.

In the second year, though, the rechargeables get their revenge. The non-rechargeables cost $77.70 again, giving us a total cost over the two years of $155.40. The rechargeables just add another $0.24 onto the pile, making for a total cost over the two years of $149.22. Thus, after two years, the rechargeables are $6.18 cheaper, even after that huge initial investment.

Each year after that, the cost investment in the rechargeables is $0.24, while the non-rechargeables cost $77.70 – an annual savings of $77.44.

Over the long haul, the rechargeables are clearly a good investment over the long term.

Let’s look at it another way. In the examples I used above, the rechargeable batteries cost $2.80 each and the non-rechargeables cost $0.65 each. Beyond that, there was also the startup cost of the charger itself – I used a very high-end charger in the example. The best way to spread out that cost fairly is to divide the cost of the charger by the number of rechargeable batteries you purchase. So, for that $47.94 charger above, my cost per battery for my 36 batteries was $1.33, giving me a total cost per battery of $4.13 per battery. At that rate, I have to charge up those batteries 7 times to match the cost of the disposable batteries. For me, that will take just about two years on average (some will be charged more often, some less, but that’s the average) – after that, this will turn into a great investment.

What’s Better For Me?

Let’s look at the numbers in general.

The more AAs you use in your home in total, the higher your rechargeable startup cost will be.

This is because you’ll need to buy more high-quality rechargeables to rotate into the mix as the old ones wear out. You might want to just get rechargeables for the items you use often in order to reduce this number, but it’s really worthwhile to just get rechargeables into all of the places in your home where you use AAs.

On the other hand, the more batteries you use up each month, the quicker the startup cost will be recouped and you’ll be profiting from the investment.

If you have a lot of heavy-use items that go through batteries like a child goes through candy on Halloween night, then this number is rather high and it’s worthwhile to dive into rechargeables.

The best way to determine if this is worthwhile for you is to keep track of how many AA batteries you replace over a long period and how many AA batteries you have in your home.

The easiest way to count batteries is to buy a giant jumbo pack of the AAs and write the date of purchase on the back, then note the day you use up the last of the batteries – this will give you a good idea of how many AAs you use in an average month.

Here’s a thumbnail calculation: divide the number of batteries you waste in a given year by the number of batteries total in your home (plus a few for backup purposes).

For us, that would be 120 divided by 36, or 3.3. That’s how many times you’ll recharge (or replace) an average battery in a year, and the higher it is, the more you’ll get out of a battery charger. My suggestion is that if your number is over 2, look seriously at getting high quality rechargeables into rotation. If it’s more than 4, you should definitely get good rechargeables in rotation.

I’m personally convinced that any household that has even a single device that uses a high quantity of batteries should look seriously into rechargeables. It takes some time to overcome that initial investment, but after that the savings is quite nice – it’s basically batteries for free.

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  1. Frugal Dad says:

    Interesting analysis. I’ve often passed on the rechargeable batteries thinking the upfront investment would not be more cost effective than buying offbrand batteries for kid’s toys, etc. My son loves trains and those things eat batteries like candy! I think I’ll look into the products you describe.

    As an aside, not having to constantly dispose and replace regular batteries is much better for the environment, so this may be a win-win all the way around.

  2. Ben in Indiana says:

    I made the swith to rechargables for our Digital Camera 3 years ago when I realized I was using at least 8 batteries a month. The best part is knowing that if they run down there are 4 fresh batteries on the charger ready to go.

  3. Nick in PA says:

    I know this probably isn’t the most “green” solution but I having been buying AA and AAA batteries at the local Dollar Tree (99 cent store) for years. At $1.06 for an 8-pack of disposables it has been the most economical solution for me. Also, I have tested their longevity compared to more expensive brands of disposables and found that they last just as long if not longer.

  4. Saving Freak says:

    The real key is to get the rechargeable batteries on sale. I have seen them as low as $1 per battery on Amazon, buying a pack of 20 AA. Also in the future you will not need to purchase a charging station. So the future cost of replacing the batteries is lower. This makes them much more cost effective over time. Plus if you make your child recharge them instead of giving them a new pack of fresh ones you get a break from the annoying toy they are using.

  5. Allie says:

    Great post Trent. I’ve been looking into this for awhile but haven’t made the switch yet.

    I checked out the charger you have listed. It won’t ship for 1-3 months but there’s a newer (and cheaper) model available for shipment immediately.

    It’s great to save money while also helping the environment.

  6. We have some of each. The problem I find is that the rechargeable one aren’t ready when we need them. If we were better about charging them immediately I could see it work…. especially now, with all the kids’ toys! Great analysis.

  7. Kevin says:

    Also take into consideration that the non-rechargeable batteries will go up in price with inflation (and the sinking value of the dollar) every year and the rechargeable ones would be purchased once in 2008 dollars. Of course this may be offset by the ever-increasing cost of the energy to recharge them so I’m not sure what my point is.

  8. Costco offers a Eneloop starter kit – 8 AAs, 4 AAAs, 2 each of C and D adapters, a charger, and a hard plastic storage case. The price hovers around ~$25, which makes it an excellent deal compared to Amazon if you use both AAs and AAAs, and even better compared to non-rechargeables.

  9. jim says:

    I think the environmental considerations are also significant since many people don’t dispose of batteries properly (I know I didn’t until I knew better). I think it’s a good decision not to have those chemicals leech into the ground in landfills.

  10. JasonY says:

    Any idea how long the rechargables will last? I had some several years ago and they started leaking or not holding their charge very well after only a couple of years.

    Jason

  11. Nick says:

    I’m a professional photographer and go through a crap load of batteries in my flash. A couple of years ago I switched to powerex batteries. http://www.mahaenergy.com They work great and last forever. Sorry for the shameless plug, but its one of those “duh” products that just works and I don’t have to worry about.

  12. Tirzah says:

    I just heard about rechargeables that charge out of a usb port on your computer called usbcell the sell on Amazon for about $20 for two, but you wouldn’t have to buy a charger which is nice.

  13. Becky@FamilyandFinances says:

    I’ve thought about getting rechargables, but it doesn’t seem to make sense for the 4 or 6 batteries my husband and I go through each YEAR. It’s good to know they are cost-effective for heavier users. We’ll probably switch over once we have kids’ toys to keep runnning :)

  14. Jaime says:

    Hi Trent,

    Have you looked into getting a Nyko Wiimote Charging station? My boyfriend bought me one of these, and so far I’m loving it.

    Amazon sells them at a decent price: http://www.amazon.com/Nyko-87000-Wii-Charge-Station/dp/B000LFJNF2

    Anyway, just thought you might be interested!

  15. Seth says:

    A great resource to buy rechargeable batteries is on Ebay. I bought a 16 pack for my digital camera three years ago for less than a dollar apiece and they still work great!

  16. Stacey says:

    Great post! I love using rechargable batteries for my digital camera. I use this camera for my newspaper job, and the battery cost was killing our budget.

    We were using 4 e2 batteries a month, at $10 for each 4-pack. We bought a Energizer e2 battery/recharger kit for $20 a few months ago, and it’s working great!

    I figured that I’ve already made up the difference in price, but that’s because we only needed to replace 4 batteries. :-) Yikes, I can’t imagine using 36 batteries at a time! That will probably change when we have kids…

  17. MN Scout says:

    One thing to keep in mind is the speed of the charger. My Energizer 15 minute warns in the manual that the quicker charge will make the batteries last for less charges — lowering their lifespan. Another side effect that I noticed was that the batteries would more quickly lose there charge I have now stopped using this charger, and replaced it with an 8 hour charger, and bought all new batteries. The batteries hold their charge now, and I haven’t seen the super short lifespan problem.

  18. Charles says:

    Trent,

    To make this deal even more attractive, get the 8-pack of batteries off Amazon. They’re only $19.99/ea. bringing the total for just the batteries down to $91.16 (four eight-packs, one four-pack).

  19. Sean says:

    Rechargeable batteries are pretty much a necessity for the Wii. Those Wii-motes eat batteries like you wouldn’t believe.

    I must have gone through a dozen battery changes before I bit the bullet and bought rechargeables (wow, alliteration!). They were worth every penny.

  20. Lance says:

    Great stuff here! I use rechargeables only for my digital camera, but will be looking into using them for other devices we have now. We seem to go through a lot of batteries, so this is a great idea to move as much as possible to rechargeables.

  21. Scott says:

    A second for powerex batteries and chargers.

    I got my first charger.. wow must be almost 8 years ago. I’ve been using the same set of 8 batteries that came with it for all that time and only now are the batteries getting so weak that I need to swap out my wireless mouse batteries every few days (which is hardly a hassle).

    For $50 now I could get another (better) charger and another 8 batteries which have higher mAh (2700 vs 1850) and thus an even longer lifetime. The trick is to have one extra battery for every slot on your charger and make sure you have a charger that only trickle charges once a full charge is completed. That way you can safely leave your batteries on the charger and simply swap out your dead ones.

    I can’t imagine how much I’d have otherwise spent on disposables.

  22. Dwight says:

    “Each year after that, the cost investment in the rechargeables is $0.24, while the non-rechargeables cost $77.70 – an annual savings of $77.44.”

    You forgot to account for the rechargables running out of rechargeability. They do have to be replaced every once and again…

    I would never recommend it to anyone, but regular batteries CAN be charged in a regular recharger… My cheap-o energizer recharger even shuts off when they are charged…

  23. kb says:

    How about a similar analysis about the environmental/chemical waste generated by each method?

    Could Trent or another reader put this together?

  24. Bruce says:

    I’d like to point out that for low-drain devices like wall clocks, TV/stereo (but not Wii!) remote controls, smoke detectors, and the emergency flashlight/radio it still makes sense to use alkaline batteries as they hold a charge for years when not in use and lose power at a much slower rate than rechargables when drained slowly. If I have a fire, I don’t want a dead rechargable in my smoke detector! Otherwise I’ve been using rechargables for years in everything else and its really the financial and environmental way to go.

  25. We have been using rechargables for about two years now, and I do prefer it over regulat batteries.

    I even found that they are more conveneient. Running out of regular batteries a couple of times of year and doing without until I remember to buy them at the store is way worse the having ot recharge for a couple hours.

    I have noticed that some of the batteries longevity are getting shorter, even name brands like Duracell. Some will need to be replaced after about 3 years.

    I have been being Juice brand off ebay and been quite happy.

  26. stngy1 says:

    Nice analysis. Since I haven’t read every post, I hope I’m not repeating others:
    1- you can recharge regular batteries, to some extent.
    2- get a charger that can handle different sizes as your needs can change over time
    3- rechargables don’t last forever

  27. Anitra says:

    We bought some rechargables and a cheap charger around the time we got the Wii (Fall 2006). I think we’re now using them for all our wireless controllers (Wii, Xbox360, and an old Gamecube “Wavebird”). We try to hold back 2-4 batteries at all times, so that we can always swap them out when needed.

    As much as we use the Wii, the batteries and charger paid for themselves within the first few months.

    That said, one of the neatest projects I remember from my early teen years was building a solar-powered battery charger (it held 4 AAs). Charge your batteries for free! :)

  28. Paul says:

    As a Ham radio operator I have had a lot of experience with rechargable batteries and can tell you that the MOST important part is the charger. A bad charger will kill your batteries LONG before they would have gone bad in a good one. Most cheap chargers throw lots of power at the battery to charge it fast this heats up the battery and damages it. IF your charger is making your batteries warm or HOT get a new one fast.

  29. Adam says:

    Remember, you can start off just buying the charger and a dozen or so batteries to replace the batteries in the devices that run out the fastest, and buy the rest over time as needed. This spreads out your startup cost.

    Another alternative would be to only put rechargeables in the high-drain devices, and keep buying alkalines for the rest. If you do the analysis device-by-device, you will find that your Wii remote recoups the cost of the upgrade very quickly, while the wall clock batteries are replaced so infrequently that you will never recoup the cost.

  30. MES says:

    We use a mixture of regular and rechargable batteries. Rechargables go into toys and other things that need to be replaced often, but the TV remotes and wall clocks get regulars. Works out pretty well as long as we remember not to accidentally toss the rechargables in the trash.

    Has anybody noticed that certain things do not run well on rechargables? For instance, our baby swing got really wonky with rechargable batteries – it seems like certain functions needed more oomph than those batteries could consistently provide. A set of regular batteries would run the swing for a couple months, then all functions were lost at once when the batteries died. With the rechargables, we were replacing much more often because after a few days it might swing, but not play music.

  31. Darin says:

    To commenter #5:
    I also saw that the charger Trent mentioned (La Crosse BC-900) was on backorder and there was a cheaper model available.

    There are some comments there on Amazon recommending NOT to get the cheaper version. Also the more expensive version comes with some batteries and when you factor that cost in there isn’t much of a difference. It’s just the pain of waiting up to 3 months.

  32. Tim says:

    dwight, as you said, recharging regular batteries isn’t recommended and can be a serious fire or chemical hazard.

    one thing that isn’t included is that rechargeable batteries, especially NiMH batteries, degrade in capacity after multiple uses and rechargeable batteries have limited recharges. as they used and charged more often, you have to charge them more often, thereby increasing the cost. this is especially true for electronic items that seriously use up the juice like cameras etc.

  33. Let’s not forget the time value of money in this analysis. It looks like you break even after two years assuming you are still getting a good charge from your rechargable batteries and assuming you don’t lose any of them (my wife has been known to throw away old toys without removing the batteries). Thus, it appears to be a push for 2 years. That being said, it’s definitely superior for the environment to recharge rather than buy new batteries (by a long shot!).

  34. Tyler Riti says:

    1. Matched cells — In a device that uses two or more cells (batteries) together, you’ll prolong the duration of the charge by using cells that have similar capacity. This means fewer charge cycles on those batteries which extends their life and reduces the number that you’ll have to recycle and replace. Problem is a cell’s capacity (measured in mAh — milliampere hour) decreases over time. The LaCrosse charger can tell you the charged capacity of a battery so that you can match similar batteries in your devices. This brings us to…

    2. NiMH longevity — This will be prolonged if you use a *quality* charger that does a slow charge like the LaCrosse model mentioned in the article. That one in particular can even do a full refresh (several cycles of a slow full discharge/full recharge). When a battery’s capacity drops too low, I’ll put it on a refresh and it’ll nearly be good as new. It takes a long time to do a proper refresh (several days) but the LaCrosse will do it automatically and since each charging bay is independent of the other, you can be refreshing one cell while charging three others. I’ve even resurrected a dead NiMH battery once using a paperclip trick mentioned in the Amazon page for the charger. Click on the user submitted pictures for illustrations and directions.

    3. Self-discharge — A fact of life with NiMH batteries. Get the Sanyo eneloops or Rayovac Hybrids which are low self-discharge batteries. We use them all the time in our remotes (and Wiimotes). Sure they don’t last as long as alkalines but they last long enough (on the order of several months) and they’re easily swapped out with fresh cells from the charger. Takes all of 30 seconds. They have lower total capacity than other batteries (2000 mAh vs. 2700 mAh) but what good is a high-capacity battery if it’s half-dead after sitting in a drawer for a week?

    4. Smoke detectors — Moot issue. Eneloops don’t come in 9v size and the LaCrosse charger only fits AA and AAA cells. Just buy regular alkaline 9v batteries and use those.

    5. Emergency flashlights — Loosely related to smoke detectors above. Use alkalines. Last thing you want to do is fumble around in the dark, putting fresh batteries into a flashlight because the cells inside self-discharged to empty over the past year and a half. LED flashlights are cheap, extremely bright, last forever on alkalines, won’t burn out for tens of thousands of hours, and the bulb won’t break if it gets dropped.

    6. C and D cells — Ever wonder why rechargeable D-cells are so lightweight (and why they have the same capacity as NiMH AAs)? Manufacturers just take an AA cell and put it in a D-sized shell. You can do the same thing. There are adapters that you can buy that fit a AA cell and turn them into a C or D size cell. This means you can standardize in one size cell (bulk purchase to make things cheaper) and one charger.

  35. Margaret says:

    Does anybody else need to factor in “lost batteries” into the rechargeable costs? Maybe it’s just me with my screwdriver wielding little boys.

  36. George says:

    Good analysis. My kids go thru batteries like water.

  37. Alison Scott says:

    For all those who find their rechargeables are never ready to go, I offer the following solution. My 7 year old son is pretty rubbish at doing chores without being asked, and is addicted to video games. One of his chores is to make sure there are batteries in the chargers (we have 2 chargers, each for 4 AAs; I guess we run through a dozen or more batteries a week). If no charged batteries, he doesn’t get to play Wii when the batteries run out. Since we started this policy, we’ve had a continuous supply of charged batteries without prompting.

    Wii Fit arrived yesterday; that’s another four batteries.

  38. Michelle says:

    Another little-known option is to ask any photo processing department for the batteries they get from disposable cameras. Every disposable has AA batteries to power the flash – but when the film is out, the batteries are still essentially brand new. They are removed from the camera when the photos are processed. Ask the one-hour photo department at a store you frequent to save their batteries for you – I’ve gotten bags full of perfectly good AA (and sometimes AAA) batteries free this way.

  39. Andy says:

    There is a whole ‘nother consideration here.

    Rechargeable NiMH batteries start at 1.2V when fully charged, and retain that same voltage until it suddenly drops off when they’re just about used up.

    Many alkaline batteries start at 1.5V, but long before they’re used up, come down to 1V relatively quickly under high drain (but are OK under low drain). But rechargeables keep constant even under high drain. This means that the rechargeables allow your camera to work for longer, even if their total capacity is lower.

    The detail on this may be a little off, but this is my understanding.

    This site has some good illustrative graphs: http://www.dcordes.freeuk.com/cells.htm

  40. Joyce Jarrard says:

    The Non-Financial Aspects of Batteries (and Birds)

    One beauty of NOT having rechargeable batteries –when a child’s noisy and irritating toy finally dies, you can say, “Oh, I’m sorry, we’re out of batteries!”

    Several years ago, I used rechargeables with my sons’ educational toys, (Speak & Math, Speak & Spell, Touch & Tell.) After instruction on the plus and minus directionality of battery loading, we let them put the spent batteries in the recharger. After many successful months, Whoops! We had an accident, that could have been worse. The charger required all the slots to be filled or it wouldn’t work. The kids had misplaced a battery, and substituted an alkaline battery. It exploded (without noise) and ruined part of the paneling in the kitchen, on the wall behind the charger. We were just glad that no one was hurt, and our house did not catch on fire.

    So, that’s my cautionary tale — if you let school aged children put batteries in the charger, tell them that non-rechargeable batteries will explode, and could be very dangerous to all. (Little boys and big boys do like to see things explode!)

    This reminds me of an anecdote. Years ago, it was the tradition to throw uncooked rice at a wedding, not bird seed. Eventually, someone must have discovered bad things happened to birds who ate uncooked rice. I heard that “they’ll swell up and explode.” A young man commented with enthusiasm, “I’d pay money to see that!” I still chuckle about that every time I throw bird seed at a wedding. (Apologies to the bird lovers.)

  41. Rob in Madrid says:

    Just a note on rechargables make sure there at least 2000 mAh I have no idea what all that means except they hold the charge much much longer. It’s written on the side of each battery.

  42. J. says:

    FYI the chargers I’ve gotten in the multi-packs from Sam’s / Costco have always heated up the batteries considerably, which commenter #28 says is really bad.

  43. kristy says:

    The Wii manual specifically states to use regular alkaline batteries – however, I did a quick search, and on the Wii chat boards, a lot of people do use rechargeables. One person suggested the warning might be because rechargeable batteries get hotter than regular ones, and thus, there’s more of a chance of damaging the device?

  44. M3 says:

    Jason seemed to have the same results I did…rechargeables didn’t last as long when fresh, and quickly degraded. I don’t know if it was our charger or our batteries (all Energizer Rechargeables), but it got to be quite frustrating. I wish you luck!

  45. Sharon says:

    Or, you could buy an alkaline battery recharger and save all the money on the rechargable NiCad batteries.

  46. Esther says:

    Ditto on the lost batteries issue. Or rather, the “I put the rechargables in all the flashlights we rarely use except when hiking, and now can’t find any” issue!

    My advice? Keep the rechargables for the stuff you use a lot and that use a lot of juice. For flashlights, clocks, and other low-energy or rarely used items, keep one 8-pack of AA’s from the dollar store in the house.

  47. Baz L says:

    Rechargeable batteries are a no brainer I think. I first started using them about 3 years ago. Apart from lost ones, I still have batteries from my first purchase.

    Yes, they eventually keep charge for shorter periods, but this is a VERY gradual process. It hasn’t yet gotten to the point of annoyance where I need to toss any of them yet.

    One thing though. They don’t keep a charge well when NOT being used. Maybe that’s the prob for a lot of people? I usually don’t keep any charged and waiting. I got myself a 2 hour charger, so I’m never really in desperate need where I can’t, either wait two hours for a full charge or swap out from another device.

  48. Lenore says:

    Trent, this kind of article is VERY helpful to your readers, and you do them extremely well! It’s not easy to find detailed and unbiased consumer reviews from someone you trust, especially with an environmental perspective. I lucked into a battery charger at a yard sale last summer but have only bought 4 rechargeable batteries because I was on the fence about whether or not they’re worth the investment. You’ve convinced me to save money and quit adding needlessly to the landfill. Thanks!!!

  49. Tameson says:

    Great post, now if we could just stop loosing them we’d be all set.

    I would like to point out that rechargables, even high quality ones have a shorter life than regular batteries so for things that are really important, like your thermostat or your alarm clock backup it’s to your benefit to use regular batteries. In fact there is a disclaimer molded into the plastic on the inside of our new thermostat that mentions this. Just thought I’d pass it along.

  50. Lady Tawodi says:

    I keep two sets of rechargeable batteries for my digital camera. One is always on the charger, one is in the camera. I switch them when I need to.

    I’ve only had to replace those sets once in the last 4 years. I’d say that’s a good investment.

  51. Golfing Girl says:

    FYI…Your wife’s breast pump should have come with an adapter for the car, which should save a lot of batteries–if not, it would probably be worth purchasing the adapter.

  52. Green Grant says:

    I see a few people commented on rechargeable batteries losing their charge quickly or not working well in remote controls. The new generation of low discharge batteries (Sanyo eneloops and Rayovac Hybrids are the ones I’ve heard of but others might exist) help with these issues. I use the Rayovac Hybrids in all of my remote controls and gadgets (and some smaller flashlights) and they work great.

    Be sure to recycle your alkaline and rechargeable batteries when they no longer work. You may have to find a hazardous waste disposal facility in your county. Earth911.org has a search form to find a local facility.

  53. Micah says:

    I only use rechargeable batteries for things that go through batteries quickly. Camera, toy trains is pretty much it. Remote controls and other similar devices don’t need to be replaced so often so I don’t usually use rechargeables in them. This way I only have 12 rechargeables that I rotate through my camera and son’s toy trains.

  54. Bill says:

    For emergency use items, like a flashlight, lantern, portable radio, that use AA or C size batteries, consider using AA lithium instead (w/ a size adapter for C applications)

    AA lithiums have a *very* long shelf life – well over 10 years.

    I’ve found they will not leak like ALL the brand name alkaline batteries I’ve tried recently (most generics are also made by brand name firms)

  55. Michael Z Rork says:

    This may be due to the fact that A) My rechargeable batteries are old… at least 6 years at this point and B) I didn’t buy the “high quality” batteries, just the standard cheap rechargeables at the grocery store, but I’ve found that non-rechargables last MUCH longer than the rechargables per charge.

    While it’s likely cheaper to use rechargables, and I will continue to do so, your devices will lose power much more often than if you used standard batteries.

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