Summary List Placement
- The best rechargeable battery chargers are simple to use and don’t overcharge your batteries, preserving their lifespan.
- The Nitecore D4 Charger is our top pick because it doesn’t overcharge, has a large display, and can auto-detect a wide array of batteries.
- Also check out our guide to the best rechargeable batteries you can buy.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
It’s estimated that Americans dispose of 3 billion batteries every year, according to battery recycling firm Battery Solutions. But rechargeable batteries can be reused 1,000 times or more, which is better for the environment and your wallet in the long run.
However, rechargeable batteries can become damaged over time with the wrong kind of charger. For example, don’t pick a charger based on charging speed alone. High-speed charging can severely shorten the lifespan of your batteries. Instead, look for a charger that offers “gentle” or “slow” charging.
If you are concerned about having to wait for the charging to complete before using your device again, consider buying a couple of sets of batteries for the device. Some chargers also have a “conditioning” function. This cycles your batteries through discharging and recharging in order to help them reach their full capacity and lengthen their life.
“Smart chargers” can also stop charging your batteries once they are full as opposed to less effective “dumb chargers,” which tend to charge for a certain amount of time.
While researching the best rechargeable battery chargers, we examined thousands of expert and buyer reviews and ratings of several models. Our guide features chargers with a track record of versatility, durability, and performance.
Here are the best rechargeable battery chargers:
- Best battery charger overall: Nitecore D4 Charger
- Best 8-cell battery charger: Powerex 8-Cell Smart Charger
- Best battery charger for vaping: XTAR VC4 Charger
- Best charger for AA and AAA batteries: Panasonic Cell Battery Charger Pack
SEE ALSO: These are the best rechargeable batteries of 2020
SEE ALSO: The best charging stations and USB charging hubs of 2020
The best overall
The Nitecore D4 Charger can charge an array of battery types, while displaying the charge progress on an easy-to-read LCD panel.
Pros: Large display, charges a broad range of battery types, automatic battery detection
Cons: Only displays the progress of one battery at a time, charge time increases when charging four batteries
The Nitecore D4 Charger is great because it can automatically detect and charge Li-ion, LiFePO4, Ni-MH, and Ni-Cd (AA, AAA, AAAA, and C) batteries. This device can charge up to four batteries at a time, and the large LCD screen displays the progress of the charge for each of the batteries using a five-bar indicator.
For specific batteries, you can press the Mode button on the side to get more detailed charging progress and parameter information, such as charging time, current, and voltage.
When the charge is complete, the “Chg. Finish” indicator comes on and the D4 automatically stops charging, an important safety feature. The bundle comes with the charger, a wall plug, and four EdisonBright AA NiMH rechargeable batteries.
The most common complaint is that recharging slows when there are four batteries charging.
The best 8-cell battery charger
If you frequently use AAs and AAAs in your electronics, the Powerex MH-C800S 8-Cell Smart Charger will keep your batteries juiced and extend their life.
Pros: 8 charging slots, features conditioning cycle
Cons: Expensive, only charges AA and AAA batteries
The Powerex MH-C800S 8-Cell Smart Charger is manufactured by Maha Energy, an organization that focuses solely on charging and battery technology for both consumer and industrial sectors.
The MH-C800S can charge between one and eight NiMH or NiCd AA or AAA batteries. The LCD screen uses three bars to show the charging status of each battery. There are three charge modes: rapid charge (one to two hours), soft charge (three to four hours), and conditioning, which can take a full day.
Wirecutter previously recommended the Powerex charger for people who need eight charging slots on one outlet. The reviewer appreciated the accurate charging, that you can monitor the progress, and it’s easy to use. However, he didn’t like that the default mode is the faster 1-A charging, which isn’t as conducive to extending your battery’s lifespan as the Soft charge.
The best battery charger for vaping
At a relatively low price point, the XTAR VC4 Charger is able to charge a wide range of battery sizes and types.
Pros: Charges several different battery types, cost-effective, USB power input
Cons: Doesn’t come with a USB wall adapter, it takes some work to fit AAA batteries in
There are a couple of features that set the XTAR VC4 Charger apart from other devices in our guide. First, it doesn’t plug directly into the wall. The charger features a USB charge cable, which you can plug into just about anything with a USB port. I use a multiple-port USB wall adapter. Another unique feature is that the slots are large enough to fit D-cell batteries. It’s fairly rare to find a unit that can handle NiMH cells ranging from AAA to D.
XTAR sent me the VC4 for free to test out, and for the most part my family has been happy with it. I use it for charging NiMH batteries for a variety of devices, including my sons’ toys, and my wife uses it for her vaporizer’s 18650s.
I’ve found that it’s a real pain trying to get the AAA batteries in there just right to get them to charge. Other sizes seem to work fine, though. The display is easy to read and gives helpful information that even a layperson can understand, but it can be finicky when you first insert the batteries.
The best for AA and AAA batteries
If you are mainly in need of a good charger for AA and AAA batteries and don’t need a fast charge, consider the affordable Panasonic Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger Pack.
Pros: Uses slow charge to extend battery life, simple to use, inexpensive, comes with batteries
Cons: Only charges AA and AAA batteries
The Panasonic K-KJ17MCA4BA Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger Pack is unique in its simplicity. You just pop in one to four AA or AAA batteries (any combination will work) and wait for the charging light to turn off. The batteries charge at a slower 300 mA speed, which is great for extending their lifespan. And, when charging is complete, it automatically shuts off.
There are four different packs that vary based on what batteries come with it. There are the packages that come with four AA or four AAA batteries. The Power Pack comes with 8 AA, 2 AAA, and 2 C-size and D-size spacers. You simply put an AA battery in the spacer when you want to power devices that require C or D cells. The Super Power Pack is essentially the same as the Power Pack, only it has 12 AA and 4 AAA batteries along with the spacers. The charger is the same for all four packages.
The Panasonic Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger was previously the top pick on Wirecutter. The reviewer liked how simple it is to use and that you can charge just one battery, rather than having an even number in the slots. For the typical NiMH AA battery, he found it took about seven hours to reach a full charge.
Check out our other related buying guides
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