Thanks to new technology, modern NiMH rechargeable batteries now have higher capacity and last longer than alkaline batteries. That's why smart consumers all over the world are turning to NiMH rechargeable batteries in all the common sizes: AA, AAA, D, C and 9V. Each one replaces 1,000 throwaway alkaline batteries, yet can be recharged for the cost of a little electricity (mere pennies) instead of spending $1 - $2 for each disposable alkaline battery.
Getting the most out of your NiMH rechargeable batteries, however, requires having a good battery charger. Today's best chargers do much more than simply recharge the batteries; they can also test the battery capacity, "refresh" batteries to bring their performance up, and break in new batteries to maximize their capacity right from the start.
I searched the entire battery industry to find a NiMH battery charger for AA and AAA batteries that I could openly recommend. It took a year of searching, and almost everything I found out there was junk. Some battery chargers actually HARM your batteries. The "quick charge" chargers are the worst. Some of them burn up your batteries with too much current, permanently reducing their life. I've seen quick chargers destroy NiMH batteries in just a few months.
The truth is that quick charging batteries destroys them and reduces their capacity. The best way to charge a battery is with slow current -- the slower, the better. I recommend 200mA (milli-amps) for all NiMH batteries except 9V, which should be charged at 50mA. Blasting batteries with very high current in order to "quick" charge them will overheat the battery and permanently alter the internal chemistry in a way that reduces total capacity. So avoid quick chargers. They're mostly just a marketing gimmick.
Finding a high-quality battery charger
Quality NiMH battery chargers are hard to find. I searched the market for well over a year to find one that I could recommend. Most of what I found was very disappointing. Typical chargers on the market suffer from serious drawbacks such as a lack of safety features, a lack of battery analyzer functions, hard-to-read displays, difficult operation and poorly-written manuals.
But I persisted in my search and finally found what is clearly the best consumer-level battery charger available in the marketplace today. It's called the WizardOne MH-C9000 and it's made by Maha Energy (Powerex). It features an incredible backlight display that resembles the brightness of a plasma TV screen. It has advanced, independent circuitry for charging, discharging, capacity testing and refreshing any capacity of AA or AAA NiMH batteries.
Full disclosure: I liked this battery charger so much that I bought hundreds of them from the manufacturer and now sell them at www.BetterLifeGoods.com , where you'll also find Powerex NiMH rechargeable batteries that work with the charger. To maintain my journalistic integrity on this product, I'll give you both the pros and cons of the MH-C9000 later in this review (see below).
Offers features simply not found on other battery chargers
This charger makes your rechargeable batteries last longer and perform better, so you get more out of your investment in any NiMH battery you own, regardless of the manufacturer.
With the Wizard One MH-C9000 charger, you can:
• Charge any NiMH AA or AAA battery simply by inserting it and walking away (no button pressing required, but if you want, you can also control the charge current).
• Analyze any NiMH AA or AAA battery to determine its actual capacity in mAh (milli-amp hours). This is like testing how much fuel is in your gas tank. It reveals the actual power capacity of the battery and tells you how long it will last when you use it.
• Break-In any NiMH AA or AAA battery to raise its capacity ceiling and maximize real-world performance. Can also be used to "wake up" seemingly dead batteries and revive them back to their peak performance.
• Discharge any AA or AAA battery to find out how much power it was storing. This lets you test both NiMH or Alkaline batteries to see what their true capacity really is.
• Cycle any NiMH AA or AAA battery to "exercise" it back to its maximum performance.
For each of these modes, if desired, you can select the charge and discharge rates, giving you total control over the treatment of each battery (this charger has advanced, independent circuitry to control each battery separately). For example, you can select charge rates from 100mA all the way up to 1000mA, in increments of 100mA. Or, you can just let each mode run on automatic, using default settings.
Advanced safety features protect your batteries AND your home
The WizardOne MH-C9000 comes with outstanding safety features built right in. It senses both voltage and temperature changes, and it automatically shuts off any battery that behaves outside normal, safe parameters. If the battery temperature gets too hot during charging, for example, the MH-C9000 immediately cuts off the current to it, preventing it from getting any hotter and forcing it to cool off. How many chargers do you know if with that kind of safety feature? (Most battery chargers operate on a "charge and pray" principle, meaning they just slam your battery with a certain amount of current for a certain period of time, regardless of what's happening with the battery temperature or voltage.)
But the MH-C9000 features truly advanced safety circuity. The charger's "Refresh" mode, for example, automatically rests one hour between charge and discharge cycles in order to keep the batteries at a low temperature (which also preserves battery life). And just to make sure each battery is safe to charge, the WizardOne MH-C9000 analyzes each battery's internal circuitry with an "impedance check" that rejects non-rechargeable batteries (so you don't end up trying to charge batteries that should never be recharged in the first place).
From my extensive research on battery chargers, I have not found a safer charger on the market. In fact, most of the cheaper battery chargers you'll find in retail stores are downright dangerous. Did you know that many low-cost chargers have no temperature or voltage sensing abilities whatsoever? That's a recipe for a fire hazard. If you're going to charge batteries in your home, especially at night or when you might be away from your house during the day, be sure to use a battery charger with advanced safety features that can prevent fires.
How this charger can save you real money in battery costs
Here's something that very few people know about batteries:
• Today's best NiMH rechargeable batteries actually out-perform the most popular Duracell and Energize alkaline batteries!
It's hard to believe, but true. I've done the tests. I bought fresh packs of Duracell, Energizer and other brands, then tested them in a $600 battery analyzer that was calibrated with another $300 worth of electrical equipment. The results astounded me:
• Cost to buy a new Duracell Coppertop "PowerPIX" battery: $2.24 • Actual discharge capacity: 1792 mAh (tested at 270ma discharge rate)
In other words, a quality rechargeable battery provides more power than a Duracell Coppertop for less than 1/100th the cost!
(You can reproduce these same results on the MH-C9000, by the way. Test the batteries yourself and see!)
Using alkaline batteries, in other words, is an enormous waste of money and natural resources. Throway batteries are bad for the environment. If you care about saving money, or protecting the planet, or conserving natural resources, NiMH rechargeable batteries are clearly the only way to go. Even if you're not concerned about the environment, throwing money away is still a bad decision for financial reasons. Why spend two bucks on a fully-charged battery when you could spend two cents?
It's like this: If you drove up to a gas station selling the exact same gas at two pumps, but the pump on the left was two cents per gallon and the pump on the right was two dollars per gallon, which gas would you buy for your car?
It's a no-brainer, right? You'd fill up at two cents per gallon. That's what NiMH rechargeable batteries offer you: super cheap power, plus the ability to refill the battery 1,000 times before needing to toss it. Over the life of the battery, using it for 1000 cycles, you'll spend about 2000 cents, or $20 in electricity, compared to a whopping $2,240 you'd need to buy 1,000 Duracell batteries.
Think about it: $20 vs. $2,240. How much would you prefer to spend on batteries?
Buyer beware: Not all NiMH batteries are created equal
But don't think that all NiMH batteries are the same. Most of the batteries I tested were lying about their capacities. (Powerex, Sanyo and Sony were the best three overall.) Some batteries that claimed to perform at 2700mAh only performed at 1900mAh!
A lot of NiMH batteries are just plain bad quality. They'll wear out after only a few dozen cycles instead of delivering the 1000 cycles you should expect from a quality NiMH battery.
That's why I've put my reputation behind only one brand of battery: Powerex. These batteries (which we also sell at www.BetterLifeGoods.com) are among the best I've found in the industry (and I've searched resources across Asia, the U.S. and Europe). Their 2700mAh AA battery is made in Japan and comes with an astonishing five year warranty. That's the best in the business! Plus, they're RoHS certified, meaning they adhere to strict guidelines on the reduction of hazardous materials. Click' target='_blank'>http://www.betterlifegoods.com/ProductDetail... here to view / purchase our Powerex AA batteries..
The MH-C9000 is now the charger I use at home. It has replaced my La Crosse BC-900 and an entire bank of cheap chargers from Duracell, Energizer and Sony that I'm giving away to Goodwill.
Review summary for the MH-C9000 WizardOne battery charger from MaHa / Powerex
Advantages: • Status display screen is simply amazing. Extreme brightness is achieved from a luminescent background surface that lights up evenly across the entire display (looks like a mini plasma screen).
• "Analyze" feature lets you test the actual capacity of your NiMH batteries. This is invaluable for knowing which batteries are still performing well vs. those that may be nearing the end of their life.
• Multiple safety features greatly reduce the risk of fire or battery damage. Voltage and temperature sensors work together to monitor the status of each battery and disconnect any battery that isn't operating within a normal safety range.
• Easy-to-use interface lets you quickly choose the function you want. Controls are intuitive and responsive.
• Handles both AA and AAA NiMH batteries without you having to manually choose the type. Auto-sensing technology determines battery type and charges accordingly.
Drawbacks: • Doesn't charge 9V, C or D batteries. Only handles AA and AAA. • Only charges 4 batteries at a time, not 8 like some chargers do. • Does not come with a 12V car adapter. • Expensive. Costs twice as much as typical battery chargers.
Overall: The WizardOne MH-C9000 is a high-end http://www.naturalnews.com/battery_charger.h... charger for users who want advanced features (such as the ability to "analyze" battery performance) and a great deal of control over the charging, discharging or cycling of their NiMH batteries. It's a high-end charger that tells you exactly how much power your batteries are carrying, helping you weed out good batteries from bad ones. Although the price is much higher than most chargers, the MH-C9000 brings a combination of features and display technology that simply isn't available yet from anyone else.
Where to buy: The WizardOne MH-C9000 battery charger is available at www.BetterLifeGoods.com
PowerEx batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V) are also available at www.BetterLifeGoods.com
Full disclosure: Better Life Goods is directly affiliated with NaturalNews. All sales help support NaturalNews operations and provide funding for the Consumer Wellness Center non-profit.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.