how to save 94% using Eneloop batteries

Saving a fortune on batteries is easy using Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable batteries

Panasonic bought Sanyo back in 2009 so you will find Eneloop batteries referred to as both Sanyo and Panasonic Eneloop batteries.

I have been using Eneloop AA and AAA batteries for about 5 years now.

Technically Eneloop batteries are Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries but they are far superior to their old NiMH cousins.

I am sure many of you remember the old short comings of NiCd and NiMH batteries.

NiCd has “memory effects” which meant they lost capacity. Both NiCd and NiMH tended to lose their charge pretty quickly while just sitting around, and both just never really seemed to have the claimed capacity.

All of that changed with Sanyo (now Panasonic) Eneloop batteries.

The Eneloop batteries really deliver their rated charge. They hold 70% of their charge sitting idle for 10 years and they really manage 1000s of charge cycles.

Over the years as I ran out of my Costco purchased Duracell batteries in various sizes I put in Eneloop batteries instead.

I tend to use exclusively the AA size Eneloop. Panasonic and others sell little plastic adapters that allow you to use the AA battery in place of C and D cells.

I also tend to make sure devices I purchase these days use AA batteries. When an old LED based lamp that required D cells died I replaced it with a lamp that uses AA cells. Similarly when an C cell based flashlight died, I purchased a replacement that took AA’s directly.

Even my daughter uses Eneloops in her X-box game controller. The controller itself refuses to charge Eneloops because Microsoft wants you to buy their custom batteries but the Eneloops last long enough that my daughter does not mind changing them out on occasion.

Another interesting aside is that Duracell batteries are not what they once were in my opinion. Over the last 5 or so years my Duracell batteries have been leaking at an alarming rate. Others have noticed this same behavior.

A few years ago an 8 pack of Duracell D cell batteries still in there original package and kept in the house in a drawer had all leaked. I contacted Duracell to get a replacement and I never received a response from them.

Duracell AA batteries have also starting leaking at an frightening rate.  A set of Duracell AA batteries nearly destroyed my WII fitness pad.

Some, like myself, are suspicious that Duracell battery quality has gone down hill since Berkshire Hathaway bought Duracell from Proctor & Gamble in early 2016. There is no proof, just personal observation.

Are Eneloop batteries more cost effective that Alkaline AAs?

Duracell AA batteries are about $1 each.

Eneloop AA batteries are around $2 each.

An Eneloop charger can be had for around $14.

An Eneloop battery can replace a 1000 Duracell batteries.

Let us say you will use 1000 AA batteries over the next ten years.

So the 1000 Duracell batteries will cost you $1000. If instead you buy 20 Eneloop batteries and a charger you will be spending $60. That sure looks likes a big win.

Some will point out that everyone of those 1000 Duracell batteries came charged, while you had to pay for the electricity to recharge the Eneloops.

When you save $940 in battery costs you can afford a little electricity. And the electricity costs are tiny compared to the cost of the batteries.

Maybe you are not planning to use 1000 AA batteries. Maybe you are only going to use 100.

That still comes to $100 vs $60. Eneloop is still a win.

And exactly what do think happens to those 100 or 1000 AA batteries when the time comes to throw them away? With Eneloop batteries you are throwing away hundreds fewer batteries.

And you know what else? The more people who start using Eneloop batteries the lower cost they will become.

Do I need the Eneloop Pro battery?

There is lots of marketing around Eneloop batteries, but in the end it comes down to charge cycles and capacity.

Generally the regular Eneloop AA has a capacity of 2100ma and the Pro is closer to 2500ma. The regular Eneloop has 2100 charge cycles while the Pro is only 500.

Unless you have a very specific need for the Pro version I would stick with the standard version.

Do I need the fast charger?

You do not need the $30 fast charger. By the way “fast” is 3 hours instead of 7. All you really need are 4 spare Eneloop batteries sitting charged in a drawer. When a set of Eneloops runs low on power in some device around your house just swap them for the ones in the drawer, re-charge them, and stick the freshly charged ones back in the drawer. I find having 4 AA Eneloops and 4 AAA Eneloops in the drawer is fine.

Only buy Panasonic Eneloop batteries

Only buy the Sanyo or Panasonic Eneloop batteries and chargers. Do not buy any of the third party chargers.

Another reason to use Eneloop batteries is to reward Sanyo (now Panasonic) for the innovation of inventing a great battery and to help them continue to innovate in the future.

Please be aware that there are a lot of fake Eneloop batteries out there. Please buy them from a reputable seller and only buy Panasonic brand Eneloops. And make sure to buy the 2100 cycle Eneloop. You will occasionally run into people still selling some of the older generation Eneloop batteries. There is nothing wrong with the older generations, but if you are buying today, make sure to get the newest generation 2100 cycle Eneloop.

Zero failures

By the way, I have not had a even one Eneloop battery fail in the last 5 years. Every Eneloop I have bought is still in service providing power and being recharged.

On the other hand, over the same period I have had about 20 exploded Duracell batteries. 8 are still in their original package, and the rest failed inside devices.

How do I get started?

I would start with a standard charger and 20 AA batteries.

Put 16 of the AA batteries into devices and keep 4 in the drawer.

Do this by buying the “charger” pack with 4 AA batteries and then a pack of 16 additional AA batteries.

See how you like it. If things work out buy a few more as needed as you phase out the Alkaline batteries.

What about all the other brands of “modern” NiMH batteries?

I have no idea. Eneloop has a long track record with a battery that really delivers.

Sanyo and Panasonic deserve to be rewarded for creating a great battery.

One, I think, and my experience is, that Eneloops are the best battery out there for the price.

Two, let’s reward innovative companies by buying their products.

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