Review: Duracell 30 Minute Battery Recharger

When it comes to batteries, I’ve been living under a rock for the past few years. Aside from a TV remote and fire alarms, the only device in our house needing batteries has been a Kodak digital camera that I stopped using three years ago. The Kodak sucked 4 AA NiMH batteries every few days.

Duracell rechargeable batterySo when Little Miss made her debut in this world and electronic baby toys began to propagate, I resurrected my old AA NiMH batteries.

Now fast forward six months. I’m walking through Costco and see 30 minute rechargeable batteries. Wha-wha-what? It turns out some companies even make 15-minute rechargers. Costco had a good deal… 4 AA batteries, 4 AAA batteries and a recharging unit that included a separate plug for use in a car cigarette lighter, all for $20. For comparison, for the same price that same day at Target I could score those same batteries, but not the recharging unit. Given my current baby monitor woes, I need to recharge 4 AA batteries every day, so this Duracell deal is a lifesaver.

Plug the batteries in, a tiny fan whirs to keep them cool, and four indicator lights eventually turn off, usually well before 30 minutes has passed. It almost makes me want to go out and buy gadgets just to enjoy the quick recharging time.

Now, when selecting a battery, it’s important to get nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) because older style nickel-cadmium batteries contain toxic metals and require "conditioning" (fully charging and discharging several times to achieve full power).

The battery power is rated in milliamp hours (mAh), and is listed on the battery as well as the store packaging. The mAh value on NiMH batteries runs from 1500 to 2700… the higher the number, the longer the run time in your power-hungry devices.

My Duracell NiMH batteries are 2300 mAh, but some Duracells are sold with a lower 2050 mAh rating – so check before buying. All-in-all, 2300 mAh on the Duracells is perfectly good for digital cameras and children’s toys. Some say that fast-charging batteries reduces their overall life, but the time savings more than makes up for any potential loss.

Hey, that brings up another thought. The last time I strolled through Toys R Us I was shocked by the shear volume of battery-operated toys filling the store walls. It made me wonder how many toy companies are owned by corporations that also own battery manufacturers. Quite a racket.

CEF90NC 30 Minute Charger with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries [This product is not the same package deal I received at Costco, and I did not see the mAh value of the batteries listed on Amazon's product page. Your mileage may vary.]


3 Responses to “Review: Duracell 30 Minute Battery Recharger”

  1. Kevin says:

    “Kind of like when you upgraded from a 2400bps modem to 9600bps and started downloading any and every file on a BBS just to enjoy the speed.”

    Oh, those were the days. When my mom and I got matching 14400 modems we were in heaven. I tell you though, if sitting on a BBS via a 2400 baud modem cant teach you patience, I dont know what will.

    September 21st, 2005 at 9:34 am

  2. AJ says:

    If you whippersnappers didn’t insist on your fancy ANSI graphics, the world would have been just fine moving along at 300 baud. It was the perfect speed for reading.

    September 21st, 2005 at 9:48 am

  3. Elliott Kim - 21st Century Dad says:

    I remember my 300 baud modem. On the BBS’s, people complained that the text scrolled by so fast when they upgraded to the 1200 baud.

    It used to irk me when my parents acted all annoyed at battery operated toys. Their reasoning was that when the batteries died, the fun stopped and the crying started.

    It wasn’t too long before I started to understand a “higher purpose” reason. Battery operated toys were seen as imagination thieves. My parents and the parents of my peers saw it that way. I tend to agree now. I harbor a hint of hesitation when it comes to battery operated toys today for my baby girl.

    Here’s one thing that annoys me. Why do all these toys take THREE batteries? Batteries are sold in multiples of 2. I agree. It is a big racket. I don’t own enough keychain penlights and clocks to keep up with the seemingly endless supply of orphaned AA and AAA batteries. A single C or D cell is pretty much useless.

    Okay, so you do the green and responsible thing and get NiMH rechargeables. Unfortunately, most of the el-cheapo chargers aren’t smart enough to charge each cell discretely. You have to charge them in pairs.

    February 3rd, 2008 at 12:51 am