The 5 Best Rechargeable Batteries of 2023

Our top pick is Panasonic Eneloop Pro Batteries.

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rechargeable batteries
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If the last time you used rechargeable batteries, they took ages to charge and ran out of juice pretty quickly, you’ll be surprised how much better modern options are. Prior generations of rechargeables were made with nickel-cadmium (NiCd), but today’s are made from nickel-metal hydride (NiMH).

The NiMH batteries can store twice as much energy—meaning they can run a lot longer. They can also be recharged many more times than NiCd batteries, keep a charge for a longer time when stored, and can be “topped off,” whereas NiCd batteries have to be fully discharged in order to recharge them properly. Since cadmium is human health and environmental hazard, NiMH batteries are more planet-friendly and can even be recycled at end of use.

We researched the best rechargeable batteries for those household items that still need batteries, like toys, kitchen devices, massagers, and tech devices like keyboards.

Best Overall

Panasonic eneloop pro Batteries BK-3HCCA4BA

Panasonic BK-3HCCA4BA eneloop pro AA

Courtesy of Amazon

With 2550 mAH of power, Eneloop Pros can be recharged 500 times before the end of their lifespans. While that's fewer than some brands, it's made up for in performance. According to Panasonic, these batteries were engineered with a “low self-discharge” technology so they can retain up to 85% of their charge after one year—important if you keep your batteries in items that don’t get used often, like a flashlight or specialized kitchen tool.

Available with the charger and without, tests showed that they also held onto their performance despite extreme temperatures, working even at -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Available in AA and AAA only.

Price at time of publish: $25

Good to Know

All of these batteries need a separate charger, so figure that into the cost of the batteries if you don’t already have one. But considering the number of times you’ll be able to reuse rechargeables, even if you have to buy a charger, the upfront cost is likely worth it, especially if you find yourself buying batteries often. Most estimates suggest rechargeables pay for themselves after five or six uses, and all options on this list can go for 500 or over 1,000 charges.

Best Budget

IKEA LADDA Rechargeable AA Battery

Ikea LADDA Rechargeable AA Battery

Courtesy of Amazon

At half to a third of the price of the other batteries on this list, these are by far the least expensive—and so is the charger. With similar specs as the Eneloop pro with 2450 mAh capacity and promised 500 charge cycles, they are made in Japan. Since there’s only one factory in Japan able to make this type of battery—and they make the Eneloops there—some online testers have set out to prove they are the same battery underneath different packaging. Available in AA and AAA only.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best for Variety of Battery Sizes

AmazonBasics AA Rechargeable Batteries, Pack of 8

AmazonBasics AA Rechargeable Batteries, Pack of 8

Courtesy of Amazon

These batteries, which come in all the major size categories, can be recharged up to 1,000 times, making them an excellent value, and they are also designed for slow discharge—promising 80 percent charge after sitting for 2 years. At 2,000 mAh, they have less power than others on the list. They come pre-charged and ready-to-use, in recyclable packaging. Available In AA, AAA, C, D, and 9v sizes. 

Price at time of publish: $18

Best Recycled

Energizer Recharge Power Plus AA Batteries

Energizer Recharge Power Plus AA Batteries Universal

Courtesy of Amazon

Energizer’s rechargeables can be recycled, like all the batteries on this list, but they’re the only ones made from recycled batteries themselves. Four percent of the Energizers are made from old batteries, meaning they hit two of the “three Rs”: Reuse and Recycle. Running right in the middle of the pack, Energizer’s 2300 mAh should give you plenty of juice when you need it for the likes of game controllers, cameras, and toys. Available in AA and AAA only.

Price at time of publish: $14

Best for High-Power Needs

Powerex PRO High Capacity Rechargeable AA NiMH Batteries

Powerex PRO High Capacity Rechargeable AA NiMH Batteries

Courtesy of Amazon

This brand doesn’t have the brand recognition of some of the others on this list, but they’re more expensive. Powerex Pro was originally designed for digital cameras, which means they’ll be great for medical equipment and other electronics that use a lot of power all at once (known as high-drain devices).

That ability to deliver high power is due to their 2700mAh capacity (slightly higher than the Eneloop Pros). There are various stats given for how many charge cycles the batteries provide, but they don’t store as well as others on this roundup, keeping 75 percent of their charge after a year. The Powerex charger is also more expensive but does offer more ways to charge, including a fast charge option and another to extend battery lifespans. Available in AA and AAA only.

Price at time of publish: $29

Final Verdict

Treehugger’s Best Overall for a rechargeable battery is the Panasonic eneloop pro. For a less expensive option, check out the LADDA battery.

What to Look for in Rechargeable Batteries

Price: There’s not a huge difference between the major brands listed above when it comes to rechargeable batteries, so overall, you’re probably best off choosing the one that’s on sale when you look to buy (and again, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the charger).

Brand: With that said, it’s wise to stay away from off-brand batteries of any kind, whether rechargeable or disposable.

Intended Use: Disposable batteries are sometimes a better choice than rechargeable. Anything that draws continuous small amounts of power over a long time period like wall clocks or headlamps are better off with a disposable battery. Importantly, smoke detectors that require a 9-volt battery (some come with built-in, long-lasting batteries and we’re not talking about those) shouldn’t use disposable batteries—they’re not designed with them in mind.

Energy Capacity: The energy capacity of a battery is measured in milliamp hours or mAh. The higher the number, the longer it will last, or the more power available for short, high-drain use (think a camera flash).

Why Trust Treehugger

Starre Vartan has been covering sustainable consumer products for 15 years, 10 of those with Treehugger (under the MNN brand). She’s also a science writer who has covered biotech, astrobiology, animals, women’s health, and space for a variety of publications including Scientific American and National Geographic. She has personally tested compostable packaging in her backyard compost heap, a variety of solar chargers, hybrid cars, and other products meant to leave a lighter footprint. She started using rechargeable batteries in the 1990s.

Arricca SanSone updated this story, comparing features, reviews, and lifespan.

View Article Sources
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  2. Hayat, Malik, et al. "Environmental Hazards of Cadmium: Past, Present, and Future." Cadmium Toxicity and Tolerance in Plants, ch. 7, 2019, pp. 163-183, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-814864-8.00007-3