Sanyo Eneloop Batteries
Every once in awhile, a product comes along that changes everything. Sound familiar? Think Apple, and their catchy slogans. These are the products that help you in ways others can’t. They let you go the extra hour on battery life, protect your laptop from scratching, give new meaning to how you clean your floor, or better yet, slices, dices, and Julienne your fries!
Enter the Sanyo Eneloops, stage left.
Can a rechargeable battery system excite someone? Well, if it says Eneloop on the side, you bet it can! This mini review is more to discuss the merits of such a system, various applications which can benefit from it, and the consumer competition that already exists in this market.
Typically, consumers are forced to buy into a rechargeable system from Energizer or Duracell. These batteries come in various sizes, AAA, AA, C, D, and even 9V. While these batteries are typically good, they are not as good as a fresh set of standard cell non-rechargeable pack. This boils down to a few factors relating to battery type, and amperage.
First, with respect to the type of battery, we have a few to chose from. Alkaline is the most popular since these are typically what you will find in most stores as non-rechargeable packs. They are fairly strong, and offer a pretty good battery life overall. Additionally, there are other types such as Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), which is found in most consumer rechargeable battery packs, and lastly, Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) which is also found in consumer rechargeable batteries. I won’t go into the specific uses of each per say, but just know that for the sake of this comparison, we’ll be looking at NiMH and Akaline battery packs. A full list of battery types, with a lot of useful information can be found at Wikipedia.
Second, and an equally important aspect to batteries is with regards to the mAh (milli Amp hour), or how long a battery can hold a charge for over the live of the cells. In other words, if I’m using one battery versus another, some might last longer. The marketing guru’s will tell you it’s because of “new technology”. While technology can play a role, it all has to do with capacity in regards to the mAh rating. This information is not easily found for consumer branded non-rechargeable batteries.
Duracell AA Batteries have an mAh rating of 2850. That’s not bad overall for a AA battery. Energizer Rechargeable AA batteries as seen above come in around 2450 mAh. And finally, the Sanyo Eneloops have a 2000 mAh rating. Wait, what? You’re trying to tell me that not only do rechargeable batteries have less mAh, but are more expensive? And won’t last as long? Not exactly. This is where the marketing hype kicks in, but sifting through it is easier than you think.
Now that you know the types of batteries, and the ratings used by the industry, it’s important to realize your next step: Application. How will you use these? Are you willing to make the initial investment? Do you change batteries often? These are the questions that every consumer should ask (and more) when thinking of switching to a rechargeable system. You’ve got to understand your initial investment, and rollout depending on your application. This dictates the type of battery to use as well.
Since you’re reading this, and if you’re with me this far, then it’s time to make that decision that we’ve built up to. You’re ready to switch over to a rechargeable setup for not only items in your home, but things that you use in your profession as well. I’ll highlight some photo equipment in this review however, know that many of the benefits I list also span across other devices as well.
I’ll highlight the two systems I’ve tested, Energizer Rechargable and Sanyo Eneloop. Drum roll please, and the winner is? Sanyo Eneloops! Sorry to cut to the chase, but it’s a runaway. Factors that I took into account include initial price, initial performance, overall performance, life of the battery, and a term I’ll call additional benefits.
Many of the results came from a few unscientific tests. These included 50% “household” usage, with 50% “special application” usage, meaning, when I used them for my photography work. The household usage included things like remote controls, flashlights, phones, portable CD players, etc. Essentially these items are considered low power (with the exception of certain lighting) devices.
What you may not realize is the true difference between the three sets of batteries for household items. In fact, Alkaline batteries may prove to be better in the sense that you can get better overall performance with high intensity usage such as a flashlight. The problem then comes down to costs, and how frequently you plow through a set of batteries. Remotes don’t use that much power, and batteries typically last over time however, flashlights (the best example I can come up with) won’t always last long if you use them regularly. This is where Sanyo Eneloops can really come in handy, even more so than standard rechargeable.
The Sanyo system is built differently in the fact that it can hold a higher density of charges (cycles) before it needs to be replaced. So while the mAh as I talked about earlier is not as high, the amount of cycles makes up for that in two areas. It allows you to get 1500 recharges out of a single battery. That’s pretty remarkable in itself. Each battery can last over 3 years, compared to 6 months to a year with traditional rechargeable sets. Additionally, each battery can discharge at a higher rate (and faster) than a typical Alkaline or rechargable battery such as that from Energizer. This may not mean much for a regular user, but when you start looking into specialty applications, this allows for more flexibility when you need it. I’ll explain here.
When I use these in my strobes for photography work, they allow me to recycle my flash at a faster rate than with standard Alkaline batteries. At 1/4 power, I can cycle through with zero (0) delays. Alkaline can cause anywhere from .5s to 1.5s delays depending on the charge. That’s the difference between getting the shot, and missing it. Especially when it comes to sports, etc.
If you really want to geek out, here is a link to view technical specifications on the Sanyo batteries.
So we covered a lot of information regarding why Sanyo Eneloops are worth the upgrade.
To recap, here is a summary:
- One Eneloop battery is equivalent to purchassing 1500 Alkaline batteries.
- Recycle times are .5-1x faster than normal Alkaline, and 2-3x faster than consumer NiMh rechargeable sets.
- Lasts up to 3 years, with 70% drop off in the 3rd year. This is up to 3x longer than a standard rechargeable.
- Cost effective alternative to purchasing Alkaline batteries over a period of time.
- Awesome looking!
Not much else to say at this point. I can highly recommend these to replace your current sets of Alkaline or NiMh consumer rechargeable battery sets. If you have questions or comments, feel free to post below. Sanyo has a great FAQ section to answer most of your questions on these batteries.