I have previously tested the original AmazonBasics NiMH Precharged Rechargeable Batteries (in black wrappers) back in 2011. Recently I purchased a set of those new AmazonBasics NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries (in white wrappers), because people kept asking me: "Are those rebranded 1st-gen Sanyo eneloop batteries?" Based on my observations so far, the short answer is "NO". But wait, don't leave yet!
I measured the capacities of those AmazonBasics AAA batteries, using my La Crosse BC1000 charger. Here are my findings:
- Right out of the package, the average remaining charge is 562mAh, or 70% of the rated '800mAh' capacity.
- After one recharge/discharge cycle, the average capacity jumped to 797mAh.
- After another 2-3 more cycles, the average capacity leveled off at 821mAh
The above behavior is consistent with my previous test results for original (1000-cycle) eneloop,2nd-gen (1500-cycle) eneloop and 3rd-gen (1800-cycle) eneloop cells. Note that just as in this case with AmazonBasics cells, all eneloop cells are charged to around 70% when they left factory.
Based on electrical characteristics, I believe that those white AmazonBasics cells are indeed rebranded Sanyo eneloop cells. But it is impossible to tell whether they are in fact 1st- or 2nd-generation eneloop. This is because to the end-user, there are no measureable performance differences between 1st, 2nd or even 3rd-generation eneloop cells beside their cycle life claims.
Because of the '1000-cycle' claim, most people would jump to the conclusion that white AmazonBasics cells are equivalent to 1st-gen Sanyo eneloop. My closer examination, however, suggested that they are more likely to be rebranded SECOND-generation eneloop instead.
Please refer to the picture I uploaded to 'Customer Images' section. Look closely at the positive terminals of those three types of batteries, and you'll notice the difference in their so-called 'vent holes' (the name is misleading because those openings are not actually used for venting):
In the case of AAA cells:
- First-gen eneloop AAA cell has triangular-shaped vent holes
- Second-gen eneloop AAA has vent holes with rounded tops
- White AmazonBasics AAA has vent holes with rounded tops
In the case of AA cells:
- First-gen eneloop AA cell has triangular-shaped vent holes
- Second-gen eneloop AA has no vent holes
- White AmazonBasics AA has no vent holes
Therefore based on their mechanical aspects, I have to say those white AmazonBasics cells are most likely rebranded 2nd-gen Sanyo eneloop cells.
Why would Amazon intentionally sell rebranded 1500-cycle eneloop cells as just 1000-cycle? The answer is Price Differentiation. Manufacturers often de-spec a product when it is sold under different brand at a lower price. Otherwise it will erode the market for their higher-priced brand.
What if I'm wrong and those AmazonBasics cells are 'only' 1000 cycles? Well, you could find out the difference in... TEN years. So for now, just pick whichever brand is on sale and be happy.
I wasn't really expecting these to be much different than the name brand batteries and it turns out they are really great! To do a thorough and scientific comparison I constructed a de-charging rig that consisted of a 5 ohm equivalent resistance and an analog to digital converter. I discharged the batteries at a rate of approximately 0.25 watts (the rate did vary some with discharge state). I collected 5 voltage readings across the test rig per second and averaged those down to 1 reading/second to reduce variability. I've attached the results as customer images, but the rundown is this:
Eneloop Batteries, 2000mAh (slightly used through <10 discharge cycles)
Battery 1 - Capacity 1928 mAh
Battery 2 - Capacity 1966 mAh
Amazon Batteries, 2000mAh (<3 discharge cycles, new)
Battery 1 - Capacity 2016 mAh
Battery 2 - Capacity 2006 mAh
Overall these batteries seem to be nearly identical in their discharge behavior and capacity to that of the name brand with about $0.25 price difference at the time of this review. I'll be buying these for sure and possibly updating after several hundred charge cycles.
Precharged is the only way to go, With Amazon Basics being best. Here's why
When shopping for batteries you generally have a choice of Alkaline, Traditional NiMh, the precharged (sometimes called hybrid) NiMh, and Lithium. Currently if you want rechargeable batteries that only leaves the precharged and traditional NiMh as being readily available. While you may be tempted to buy the traditional kind due to its somewhat lower cost and higher capacities marked on the label, please look further. I have compared several currently available AA batteries, A La Crosse 2600mAh traditional, and the following precharged; Amazon Basics 1900 mAh, Sanyo Eneloop 1900 mAh, and Duracell 2000 mAh. (Used La Crosse BC-9009 battery charger/analyzer)
You probably have heard that traditional NiMh batteries self discharge (in my experience about 5% the first day and then about 1% per day) and may be tempted to say, that's OK, I will use them within a day or so of charging. (After six months or so this type is just about discharged) If its for a flashlight that's OK, however if its for an electronic device, there is a much more important characteristic I want to point out. Electronic devices and cameras especially will cut off when they detect a VOLTAGE below a certain minimum (Pentax, Canon, Nikon AA cameras), in my experience anywhere below 1.15 and 1.25 can be detected as a dead battery.
I have tested all of the batteries above and plotted the results (see the customer image). The HIGHEST rated capacity La Crosse (2600 rated vs 2330 tested) would report as dead @1.15 volts after only 175 minutes or less than HALF its rated capacity (1090 mAh effective vs 2600 rated). My highest rated Amazon Basics AA would reach that cut off point at 330 minutes, or almost twice as long! (1885 mAh effective vs 1900 mAh rated). The Eneloop and the Duracell were second and third best.
So in conclusion even if you use them right after charging, in electronic devices the precharged battery is the only way to go. Amongst precharged batteries the Amazon Basics AA for me tested out even better than the previous champ the Eneloop.
Add On for the AAA batteries which I also got (Amazon combined the reviews). These also tested excellent. After 3 conditioning discharge and recharge cycles I got capacities ranging from 795 to 817 mAh. In this case the comparison was 1000 mAh Duracell, 1000mAh La Crosse and 900 mAh "Digital" brand. All were conventional kind. The Digital drops to 1.27 volts in a week and tests at just over 500mAH, or only 55% of rated. The Duracell is really bad for self discharge dropping to only 1.22 volts in a week at 700 mAh. The La Crosse dropped to 1.29 volts in a week and tested at 800 MAh. So not an exact comparison, but the Amazon Basics were at 1.31 volts after a week, and tested at highest capacity, for both effective and actual. Five stars.
I've been using NiMH batteries since I got my first digital camera, and I've been using NiMH since the Sanyo Eneloops became widely available. I've used them in my digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 950), with my LED flashlights, with my external camera flash, and with my handheld GPS receivers. Even though they are not meant for low drain devices, the low self discharge batteries can usually be used in wireless mouse or a clock. And the low self discharge nature means that I can charge up a set and keep them as spares for months without worrying that they'll be flat when I need them.
So the question is, how do they compare against the king of low self discharge batteries, the Sanyo Eneloop?
Fresh out of the packaging, and after two recharge cycles, they compare very well - I did not do a scientific test of timing how long they last, but using it in my GPS receiver on hikes, they last about 10% - 20% longer than my 1 year old Eneloops. Not only that, according to the GPS receiver's battery meter, the voltage drops slower than the Eneloops. The Eneloops are older, so that's not a big surprise, but I'd say the performance is at least equal to, and possibly better than, the Eneloops when they were brand new. I've only used them for a month, so that's hardly enough time to test how they hold up over time. I have Eneloops that I've been using for almost 6 years now (Amazon records show that I ordered them on December 18, 2007), and although they do exhibit some capacity loss, they still have enough capacity to be useful. Will these last as long? Will their capacity hold up? Time will tell.
I also purchased some of the older black and green AmazonBasics pre-charged NiMH AA, but I haven't had a chance to use them yet. I'll update the review with a comparison when I do. But they're currently the same price, so there's no reason to get that over this if the price is the same.
Update on the Black and Green AmazonBasics - they're definitely inferior to these. They don't appear to hold a charge as well as the new white ones.
The only difference in the paper specs between this and the current generation of Eneloop batteries, these state a 1000 cycle lifetime while the Eneloops state a 1500 cycle lifetime. For my application, this is not significant, as I only need to recharge them every 1 to 2 weeks. If you need to recharge them daily, they would last about 2.5 years, compared to 4 years for the Eneloop. If they only need to be recharged once a week, that's 19 years. I'm 100% sure the chemistry of the cells will break down way before then.
My Eneloops typically arrive with about 75% of the charge. These arrive with close to 100% (according to the battery meter of my GPS receiver) but that's because it is a new product and have not been sitting on the shelves for long. Mine didn't have a manufacture date stamped on it either, probably because they are review samples.
The batteries are supposed to be pre-charged with solar energy. I treat that as a gimmick. There's no way for me to verify the claim, and in the overall scheme of things, makes no difference. The energy it takes to manufacture these far outweigh the little amount required to charge them once.
I've been giving advice regarding batteries on online forums for years now, I'll just give a summary here. Almost all devices will take NiMH in place of alkaline batteries. Even though the voltage is 1.2V compared to 1.5V, when a battery supplies current to a device, the voltage will drop. The larger the current, the more the voltage drops. The voltage drops more for alkaline batteries because they have a higher internal resistance. When used in a camera flash, for example, you will find that not only will the NiMH last longer than alkaline batteries, the flash takes less time to recharge after it has been fired, because the NiMH can supply more current.
Does it make economic sense to use rechargeable batteries? Do the math yourself. You need a good charger (such as a LaCrosse BC700, BC1000 or Maha PowerEx MH-C9000 - about $50) and enough batteries for at least 1 set of spares. It paid for itself several times over for me, but everybody's situation is different.
on October 29, 2013
Use these for outdoor solar walkway lighting. They last throughout the year and work very well with the solar lights.Usually change them yearly when i change the smoke detector batteries and carbon monoxide detector batteries
on March 16, 2014
Bought these batteries to replace continual buying of AA batteries. Used them in my battery powered amp and two in my guitar pickup. Batteries did not seem to last as long as regular batteries, but then, they are rechargeable. No difference in performance from regular AA batteries.
on December 25, 2015
The short answer is; amazingly well.
Well I bought an 8 pack of these in April 2015, and in Dec 2015 I placed 4 of them in my La Crosse BC-700 charger and one battery showed "null" in the display, indicating it wasn't going to take a charge.
This was a surprise given that those particular 4 live in my Underwater Kinetics flashlight, which is used only a few times a week for short duration. Meaning, the batteries had only gone through a handful of charge cycles.
I thought what the heck, can I get a warranty adjustment one ONE failed battery. Amazon is a little weak when it comes to locating warranty returns on their own branded products (which is very different time window than a normal product return). But after emailing Amazon support (by clicking HELP at bottom of page, then NEED MORE HELP) and describing the issue, I got back a quick, courteous, no-sass reply apologizing for my trouble, along with a notification that a replacement was preparing to be shipped out at no charge (either for the battery or the shipping).
What's not to love?
I've been using the AmazonBasics brand of AA rechargeables for years and have been 100% satisfied with them. The AAA version has the same top-end quality. Works well, holds a charge and, if they are anything like the AA version, I'll be able to get years of use out of them. I'll update the review should that not be the case.
My initial use has been to replace some AAA size Panasonic batteries in my cordless phone. A 4-pack of the Amazon brand was less expensive than a 2-pack of the Panasonic brand, and they seem to have very similar specs. The batteries work just fine in the phone, and are able to be recharged using the Panasonic phone base station. Zero problems, and I'm getting days of usable standby life when I forget to put the handset back into the base.
Excellent batteries at a great price. Highly recommend.
on January 12, 2014
I agree with other reviewers that these batteries seem to be re-branded Eneloop batteries.
Eneloop batteries are great high-quality batteries in my experience, which make these AmazonBasics a good solid choice.
That said, most of these AmazonBasics do not perform at the stated specifications. I ordered 2 packs of AA's and 2 packs of AAA's. For the AA's only 1 out of 8 achieved the minimum 1900mAh while the other 7 were below in the 1800mAh range. For the AAA's 2 out of 8 achieved the minimum 750mAh and the others were below in the 700mAh range. All tested out of the box with a La Crosse charger.
So these AmazonBasics are clearly lower quality Eneloop's, which are still good batteries though.
Overall these are a good choice for lower demanding usages, but I will continue to buy Eneloops for higher demanding applications.
Gave 3 stars because even though they are good batteries, Amazon should make sure AmazonBasics branded items meet their specifications, these do not.
on March 2, 2015
I bought these Amazon batteries during one of the BF lightening sales, thinking that I was saving money by going with these instead of buying the Eneloop rechargeables to use in our Xbox One controllers. Although they work, I find that the controllers drain theses batteries much faster than the Eneloop rechargeables or regular non-rechargeable batteries. So, they work as far as the purpose that I bought them for; to save money on buying non-rechargeables, I just wish that the charge lasted longer and I didn't have to swap them out so often. The round-robin swap out that we have works good for always keeping charged batteries in the controller's; as soon as the Xbox console notifies that the batteries are low, we take the batteries out and place them in the charger and replace them with charged batteries. I'm happy that the controllers only takes 2 batteries to operate; if they required more (say 4), I would have returned theses batteries and purchased the Eneloop or had to buy 2 sets of these rechargeables, which I was only allowed to purchase 1 set during the sale.
I would only recommend these batteries for using in very low power, rarely used devices, like a TV remote or maybe even wall clocks. BTW, these batteries don't last long at all when used in Mag-lites, I haven't tested them in LED flashlights yet... If I hadn't waited so long to return theses, I would return them and purchased the Eneloop rechargeables, which last about 2 days longer when compared to the Amazon batteries and being used in Xbox One controllers.