There’s a new battery in town. It’s an improved ‘best’ new rechargeable battery (AA-size & AAA-size). It’s made by the same manufacturer of the previous ‘best’ rechargeable battery (Panasonic Eneloop), who has increased their battery performance such that their new ‘Pro’ version AA & AAA now holds more energy capacity than ever before.
I have been using Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable batteries for many years in some of my electronic gadgets including flashlights, portable AM/FM Shortwave radios, 2-way handheld communications radios, and more…
The previous version of their batteries (still available) have been working out well and NONE of them have ever failed me.
I am excited that they have built on their reputation with newer battery technology, enabling a higher energy storage capacity packed inside their AA & AAA’s. I believe that the ‘trade-off’ for this extra capacity is very minimal, and I’ll explain why…
Here are some specifics, and a few thoughts on where these rechargeable batteries will shine…
First, here’s the Panasonic Eneloop ‘Pro’ rechargeable battery that I’m talking about:
Why The Panasonic Pro battery is better
Better, or best, is often subjective and subject to criteria. Pertaining to rechargeable AA or AAA batteries the major criteria include storage capacity, number of recharge cycles, and charge capacity as it sits on the shelf over time.
The only criteria that the new ‘Pro’ version battery gives up a little is charge cycles, while they are advanced in capacity and charge shelf life.
Battery Storage Capacity
The ‘Pro’ version of the Eneloop AA and AAA are improved in their energy capacity. This is the biggest improvement and the one which makes this particular battery a great choice for applications where this may be more important (high drain devices).
(2000 mAh) Previous Eneloop AA battery
(2550 mAh) Pro Eneloop AA battery
The new Pro Eneloop will store 28% more energy capacity. The first benefit that comes to mind are my flashlights (most of them use AA batteries). An increase of 28% life is pretty significant and is a tempting attribute for some of my high drain devices. Particularly for use-case scenarios where I might not always be near a battery charger (e.g. away from home, out in the field, etc..).
Charge Capacity Shelf Life
The Panasonic data is not exactly complete here. One specification is the 10-year charge capacity while the other is 1-year charge capacity. They list it as follows:
(70% charge – up to 10 years) Previous Eneloop AA battery
(85% charge – up to one year) Pro Eneloop AA battery
With that said, most of us who use rechargeable batteries do not have them sitting on a shelf much longer than a year without having used them and having recharged them, so the fact that one version of Eneloop will hold it for 10 years may not be too important. All of my rechargeable AA or AAA batteries are typically cycled within a year or much sooner, so the fact that the newer ‘Pro’ version will hold 85% charge up to a year is an added benefit.
Number Of Recharge Cycles
(2100 charge cycles) Previous Eneloop AA battery
(500 charge cycles) Pro Eneloop AA battery
The Pro Eneloop charge cycle specification is quite a bit less. However, when you think about it, how often will you actually likely recharge a given AA battery over its life?
Even if you recharge a battery once a week for its given application, that’s 52 times a year, which is a 10-year product life for the Pro version (~500 charges) !
Additionally chances are that you have a number of extra rechargeable batteries in your inventory which will further reduce the total number of times that you will charge them over time (battery rotation).
So in my opinion, 500 charge cycles seems like plenty to me…
I happened to come across the new Eneloop Pro version recently, and I felt compelled to let you know about it. Plus, I will be buying some for my flashlights!