Store them in your fridge or freezer. Don’t let them run down to empty. Whatever you do, don’t overcharge them. These are just some of the tips I’ve heard to make my rechargeable batteries last longer.
It’s no wonder we look for ways to eke as much life out of them as we can – given how expensive rechargeables can be. A pack of four AAs can cost between £6 and £13 – and a charger brings the bill closer to £30.
What do you do to try to make your batteries last longer?
Problems with rechargeable batteries
Manufacturers now claim that you’ll get hundreds of recharges from their batteries. The longest claim I’ve come across is the five-year lifetime guarantee or three hundred recharges (whichever comes sooner) for Duracell’s Recharge Ultra batteries.
But even with so many potential repeat uses, more than four in 10 of the Which? members we asked had problems with theirs in the past year alone.
Older batteries lasting less time between charges than newer ones, difficulties in charging them and batteries not lasting as long as expected on one use were among the most common problems.
So if you’re looking to buy new batteries. what should you look for? Our tests have found that the best rechargeables strike a balance between long battery life on a single charge and reasonably fast recharging. Plus, they don’t leak away charge when not in use.
Oh and that tip about sticking the batteries in the fridge? Our sister publication in the US, Consumer Reports, has tried this with disposables but sadly found it made minimal difference to battery life.
Can you recycle rechargeable batteries?
When they do reach the end of their useful life, rechargeables should be recycled, like disposables, at battery recycling points. You can usually find one at supermarkets or anywhere that sells a range of batteries.
A true reusable would be made from recycled material. Energizer’s EcoAdvanced range claims it’s the first disposable battery partly made from recycled batteries. It’s just 4% recycled at the moment, but the company aims to make this 40% in a decade.
What do you do to get the most from your rechargeable batteries? Have you tried any of the tips we mentioned earlier?
What problems have you had with rechargeable batteries?
Batteries not lasting as long as expected between charges (31%, 249 Votes)
Older batteries not lasting as long between charges (30%, 246 Votes)
Failing to charge altogether (12%, 94 Votes)
I have had no problem with them (8%, 62 Votes)
Difficulty charging (7%, 56 Votes)
Leakage (7%, 53 Votes)
Batteries not fitting the charger or device properly (5%, 43 Votes)
Other problems (please state in comments section below) (1%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 431