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Which? reveals best rechargeable batteries

AA and AAA batteries which last the distance

Boy and father playing with remote control boat

Best Buy rechargeable batteries will keep your remote control gadgets running reliably

The latest Which? battery tests have uncovered five brilliant Best Buy AA and AAA rechargeable batteries. And, for the first time, we can tell you which batteries are best at maintaining their battery life over hundreds of repeat uses.

The very best AA rechargeable batteries will power your gadgets for over 400 hours of re-use, last for over six hours per individual charge – and stay charged between uses. But the worst manage less than 100 hours before you’ll notice that they need charging much sooner than they did originally, or leak away a third of their charge when left unused.

Paying more won’t necessarily protect you from a bad battery either. We’ve tested AA and AAA batteries ranging from £3.49 to £14 for a pack of four and found that you can pay the same for a pack of brilliant Best Buy batteries and a pack of disappointing low-scorers.

We’ve tested big brand rechargeable batteries from Duracell and Energizer, alongside batteries from Panasonic, Varta and more. To find out which brands triumphed in our tests, head to our round-up of the best rechargeable batteries.

Save money on rechargeable batteries

We’ve tested 18 rechargeable batteries and found a Best Buy AAA battery that’s great value for money. Despite costing around half the price of the most expensive on test, it’ll recharge almost double the number of times before you start to notice it doesn’t last as long.

Use our rechargeable battery reviews to save money and find the best batteries for you. If you’re after disposable batteries, see our pick of the best disposable batteries.

Graph showing the difference between a good and poor battery in the long term

The best batteries charge to the same capacity repeatedly but the worst deteriorate and gradually power your devices for less time.

Which? rechargeable batteries testing

For the first time we’ve tested how well rechargeable batteries stand up to long-term use,  after 46% of Which? members told us that this was the most important technical factor for them when choosing rechargeable batteries (survey of 1,306 members, March 2015).

We charged and used each battery hundreds of times over, and measured how much of their original capacity they could maintain after repeated use. 

The best rechargeable batteries consistently deliver 80% or more of their original stated capacity for over 400 hours of use. But the worst drop to less than 60% of their stated capacity after just 100 hours of use. Use these batteries repeatedly in your games console or LED torch and you’ll soon notice they don’t last as long as you would expect them to.

Our tests replicate the most power-hungry devices you’re likely to use your batteries in, so they should last even longer in low-powered gadgets such as cameras, radios or clocks. To find out more, see our guide to how we test rechargeable batteries.

Whether having batteries that stand up well to long-term use or that last the longest on a single charge is most important to you, our rechargeable battery reviews can help.

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