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.
It’s estimated that Americans dispose of 3 billion batteries every year, according to battery recycling firmBattery 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.
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 Chargerwill 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.