Anyone converted to rechargeable batteries in their household? And liked it?

imwjl

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Posts
14,343
Location
My mom's basement.
Certainly can't qualify as "liking" the results. I switched to them about 10 years ago for a lot of field business gear. The batteries were okay, but the problem really was the quality of the chargers being very poor. Few things got under my skin worse than taking out batteries that were freshly cycled in the charger only to have half of them be dead. This was especially true for chargers that could handle 4+ batteries at once.

I gave up on them and never looked back.
Choosing poor chargers and putting down the category doesn't make a lot of sense. My personal use parallels what we've found at work. The rechargeable batteries save time, save money, and have a better footprint on the planet aspect.

Chargers from well known brands have generally been good but we've also done well purchasing stuff that gets lots of good crowd-sourced reviews.

Poor quality chargers goes beyond these products. With around 200 mobile and tablets at work and some who have corporate charge cards we found buying cheap no name junk is often waste but have first tier brand chargers that rarely fail. I don't ever recall the Apple USB chargers failing for 10+ years so have bought some of the rigs that line up 8+ of them with slots to hold and charge devices.
 

Milspec

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Posts
8,880
Location
Nebraska
Choosing poor chargers and putting down the category doesn't make a lot of sense. My personal use parallels what we've found at work. The rechargeable batteries save time, save money, and have a better footprint on the planet aspect.

Chargers from well known brands have generally been good but we've also done well purchasing stuff that gets lots of good crowd-sourced reviews.

Poor quality chargers goes beyond these products. With around 200 mobile and tablets at work and some who have corporate charge cards we found buying cheap no name junk is often waste but have first tier brand chargers that rarely fail. I don't ever recall the Apple USB chargers failing for 10+ years so have bought some of the rigs that line up 8+ of them with slots to hold and charge devices.
I can only speak from what I experienced. We ran dive lights, forensic lights, gas meters, etc. with rechargeable batteries from Panasonic on the advice we were given. It was a crap shoot every time we pulled them off the truck. Six chargers....only 1 was reliable.

Cordless tools weren't a whole lot better after 8 months either. This was over 10 years ago though, so maybe things have greatly improved (sure couldn't be worse), but it would take a lot to convince me to return to that platform.
 

imwjl

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Posts
14,343
Location
My mom's basement.
I can only speak from what I experienced. We ran dive lights, forensic lights, gas meters, etc. with rechargeable batteries from Panasonic on the advice we were given. It was a crap shoot every time we pulled them off the truck. Six chargers....only 1 was reliable.

Cordless tools weren't a whole lot better after 8 months either. This was over 10 years ago though, so maybe things have greatly improved (sure couldn't be worse), but it would take a lot to convince me to return to that platform.
That's a classic gapminder post. I didn't think someone making a purchase now would be considering 10 year old technology though 2005-2008 is when we started using a lot of the rechargeable batteries in the enterprise (stores chain) and ski area. That was scale way beyond my personal use and we never looked back because it all worked well.
 

Milspec

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Posts
8,880
Location
Nebraska
That's a classic gapminder post. I didn't think someone making a purchase now would be considering 10 year old technology though 2005-2008 is when we started using a lot of the rechargeable batteries in the enterprise (stores chain) and ski area. That was scale way beyond my personal use and we never looked back because it all worked well.
Well, I would certainly hope that they wouldn't, but my comments were simply stating my personal experience and answering the question posed. I didn't see any stipulations about time frame. Still, I will never go back regardless of how far things have progressed. Just left a terrible impression for me. Time is a very crucial thing in a business, having to spend it recharging batteries didn't work for me when the alternative is instant and reliable.
 

imwjl

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Posts
14,343
Location
My mom's basement.
Well, I would certainly hope that they wouldn't, but my comments were simply stating my personal experience and answering the question posed. I didn't see any stipulations about time frame. Still, I will never go back regardless of how far things have progressed. Just left a terrible impression for me. Time is a very crucial thing in a business, having to spend it recharging batteries didn't work for me when the alternative is instant and reliable.
You should do what works for you and satisfies you. The way my day job competes with giants and is so competitive and measured plus the scale is why I will give suggestions for things we've found or figured out as work well.

:)
 

Blrfl

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 3, 2018
Posts
2,677
Location
Northern Virginia
If we're not doing time constraints, I used these and, based on that experience, have to conclude that rechargeables are terrible.

1679700196971.png


That kit is about 40 years old. :)
 

jrblue

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 14, 2010
Posts
3,683
Location
Santa Barbara
Yes. No.
I have decent luck with some products that come with built-in rechargeable cells, but those using generic rechargeable AAA and AA batteries, nope.
 

bobio

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Posts
3,184
Age
59
Location
Here
Yes and No.
Tools, plenty of cordless power tools.
My vehicle, hybrid.
My music gear, mostly rechargeable.
Flashlights, mostly rechargeable.
Most everything else, whatever battery is the cheapest.
Have 9 smoke alarms in the house and they all have ultra cheap 9 volt batteries in them.
We have probably 10 media remotes, they all have ultra cheap AA or AAA batteries in them.

The smoke alarms and the clickers are once a year maintenance items and the cheapo batteries have no issues lasting that long.
The rest get frequent use and would require frequent battery changes, the rechargeables have saved me some money there.
I guess my point is, frequently used items get rechargeable, the rest get the cheapest battery I can find.

As to the smoke alarms, it is a wired system and if even one of the batteries drops below a certain voltage, they ALL chirp.
As I said before, even the cheapest batteries I have found have absolutely no problems making it through my 1 year cycle.
 
Last edited:

Telecastoff1

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Apr 28, 2009
Posts
2,064
Location
Mistake Lake
We tried that route years ago, and was just frustration trying to keep devices running. Charging times took so long, we decided it just worth it. Maybe things are better now, who knows?
 

metalicaster

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Posts
2,361
Location
Sherwood Forest
I make it a rule not to buy any product with built-in batteries. If it won’t run on rechargeable, replaceable AAAs, AAs, PP3s etc, I don’t want it.

Proprietary battery? Special tools required? Don’t want it. I’ll buy one with a power cord.

That rules out quite a lot low/mid-range consumer electronics, but it’s mostly just crap with a 2-year landfill latency anyway.

Resist the smartphonification of everything.


I find lithium rechargeables to work well. A full charge lasts perhaps 80% of the life of a disposable but that’s no great problem when not generating waste.
 
Last edited:

radiocaster

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Posts
10,577
Location
europe
Pretty much. Only have remotes and clocks. Works pretty well, less so in one clock, but is still less annoying than buying batteries.
 

imwjl

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 21, 2007
Posts
14,343
Location
My mom's basement.
Maybe it should be pointed out that products popular in recent years are not the same as earlier rechargables in the AA and AAA formats. NiMH is different than NiCd and the rechargeable alkaline batteries. In about a 10 year window cost to make NiMH has dropped significantly. It is in part why we have a new world of electricity storage. Also, there are recycling options contrary to a lot of fallacies that get spread.
 

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
36,283
Age
63
Location
Maine
Curious what devices you buy 18650 batteries for?
Aside from reading that there are 4000 of them in a Tesla which I do not own, what would I put them in?
Taking apart Makita battery housings and replacing those cells?
 

NTTD

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Posts
30
Age
42
Location
The Great Basin
My neighbors garage caught on fire from a rechargeable vape pen battery. No thanks.
I hope you don't have a cell phone, laptop, tablet or anything else that uses modern rechargeable lithium batteries.
That vape pen likely used some knockoff 18650 lithium batteries. In that case you want to be selective about the brands of batteries you buy.

The AA, AAA etc. replacement batteries we're talking about here are NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) are a completely different chemistry and don't catch on fire.
 

NTTD

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Posts
30
Age
42
Location
The Great Basin
Curious what devices you buy 18650 batteries for?
Aside from reading that there are 4000 of them in a Tesla which I do not own, what would I put them in?
Taking apart Makita battery housings and replacing those cells?
Many modern flashlights use 18650 cells. Otherwise they are mostly used in battery packs like you alluded to with your Makita reference.

The tough thing in that case one really cant just swap out the batteries. Because lithium batteries are so power dense (and therefore possible fire starters) hand tool batteries are governed by a circuit in the battery pack.
The protection circuit keeps track of battery condition, life, and charge cycles.
It's my understanding that it's fixed, so even if you could manage to get new cells in there the protection circuit would still think the batteries are at end of life and not allow them to be charged.
 

Wrighty

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 17, 2013
Posts
6,689
Age
68
Location
Essex UK
Yes……………and no. Years ago Mrs Wrighty and I, fed up with buying Duracells, swapped all of the batteries in the kids’ toys to rechargeables. Bought two ship sets and enough chargers to charge one set. Waste of time, a pre-cursor to the EV problems. Toy worked for 15 mins, batteries took 2 hours to fully charge.
 

NTTD

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Posts
30
Age
42
Location
The Great Basin
Yes……………and no. Years ago Mrs Wrighty and I, fed up with buying Duracells, swapped all of the batteries in the kids’ toys to rechargeables. Bought two ship sets and enough chargers to charge one set. Waste of time, a pre-cursor to the EV problems. Toy worked for 15 mins, batteries took 2 hours to fully charge.
Years ago I had a cordless Makita drill that could barely drill through wood let alone metal.
I have one now that has so much torque if it catches in metal it strongly wrenches my wrist.

Operative phrase being "Years ago".

The batteries now last almost as long as alkaline, and can be recharged 100's of times with little loss of life.
Even setting aside the environmental debate, it's a great idea because they're just plain more economical.

EDIT: formatting
 
Last edited:
Top