February is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on electronics, home theaters, romantic gifts and more.
We also came across a fair number of reviews claiming the batteries weren't fresh when purchased; that is, either dead on arrival or useless within a short time. In all fairness to manufacturers, though, it's impossible to know how the batteries were stored between the date of production and the date of arrival in your home; improper storage can adversely affect battery longevity. And while battery reviews bemoaning the consequences of careless storage on the part of consumers are rare, we did read conflicting advice about the utility of keeping batteries in the freezer. A batteries review on Green Batteries says sub-freezing storage helps preserve the capacity of alkaline batteries in hot climates and slows the self-discharge rate of NiMH batteries regardless of climate. Energizer and Duracell, however, caution against storing batteries in the freezer and say the extreme cold and humidity can corrode or otherwise damage the seals and casing. Sanyo, on the other hand, says storing pre-charged NiMH batteries in freezing temperatures is a good idea.
Batteries Longevity.For high-drain devices used intermittently, Sanyo Eneloop batteries are the clear winner. Battery reviews by experts and users alike sing the praises of these pre-charged, rechargeable NiMH batteries for their performance in Bluetooth headphones, digital cameras, power-hungry toys, and the like. Battery reviews on Amazon of the newest AAA 800mAh Eneloops say they easily outlast the competition; one post notes that a cordless phone stays charged when left off its dock for long periods compared to just a day with other brands. Batteries reviews, also on Amazon, are equally effusive about the earlier-generation Eneloop. One user says eight AAA Eneloops with 2000mAh each keep the controller for his hobby cars and planes going through a full day of competitive racing and another reports two AA Eneloops powered his camera through half a dozen 4GB memory cards and an hour of video recording before needing a recharge. In a comparative test of 11 brands, the expert at Stefanv.com determined that Eneloop ranked first for voltage fresh out of the package and was in a very tight race for the top spot immediately following a recharge. Test results also confirmed the company's claim that Eneloop's rate of self-discharge diminishes over time. This reviewer is upfront about his preference for Sanyo batteries, and users posting comments on this site echo the sentiment.
Next on our list of preferred NiMH batteries are the Sony Rechargeables AAA with 900mAh. Most battery reviews report decent power and longevity per charge with a variety of applications. One user writes on Overstock that these batteries outlasted the competition when used in an MP3 player, and a batteries review on Rechargeable Batteries says they last a week in a low-drain baby monitor that runs six hours a day. A few battery reviews hedge, however, and insist the actual capacity of the Sony AAA Rechargeables is less than what's specified; one consumer says a high-drain camera burns through a charge in less than 45 minutes.
In the alkaline segment, Duracell CopperTop batteries win kudos for their performance in low-drain devices such as clocks, smoke alarms, and portable radios. Field tests conducted by PC Mag found the AA CopperTop fared well when set in a flashlight (more than five hours of constant use) but slipped when used in a high-drain digital camera during a matchup against three other alkaline brands and three high-performance batteries intended for high-drain applications. (At risk of sounding repetitive, it's important to match the battery with the device at hand.) PowerStream likes the CopperTop for low-current uses and reports it slightly beats out a comparable battery from Radio Shack in terms of capacity (amp hours) and electric potential (voltage). Consumers appreciate the overall value -- i.e., price and longevity -- and one batteries review posted at J&R notes relief at not having to change batteries constantly. The claimed seven-year shelf life of the CopperTops earns a shout-out from consumers, although we read a few reports about dead batteries fresh out of the package.
The other alkaline battery that made our list is the Rayovac AA, considered by users to be a value buy. Price pops up frequently in users' batteries reviews of the Rayovac -- it's hard to beat $10 for pack of 30 -- as do claims that they last at least as long as Energizers and Duracells. That assessment is not universally shared, however; a review posted on Expotv says Rayovacs have a shorter lifespan than the other two but the lower price compensates. A consumer posting on Epinions concludes that Rayovac quality has improved significantly since the writer's youth.
Consumers have little enthusiasm for Energizer's Rechargeable D battery. According to battery reviews, they're turned off by what they describe as insufficient power and limited ability to hold a charge. Battery reviews on Amazon say the 2500mAh seems low for a D cell, and the charge drains away after a day or so of sitting around. Consumers seem surprised at, and disappointed by, the performance of a rechargeable battery bearing the label of such a well-regarded brand name; by contrast, battery reviews for rechargeable AA and AAA Energizers are strongly positive. On Walmart, battery reviews note that the D cell's practical use seems limited to low-capacity devices, such as flashlights and foam cutters, and the rechargeable technology is its only saving grace.
Sony Rechargeable 900 mAh Review
Rayovac Alkaline Review
Sanyo Eneloop Pre-Charged Rechargeables Review
Duracell CopperTop Alkaline Review
Game on! Grab some deals before kickoff this sunday! Here are our favorite Super Bowl deals and sales.
January brings deals on linens and electronics -- and, in much of the country, winter weather that can disrupt power. ...