An overview of the different battery chargers
Given the improvements in rechargeable battery technologies, it's little wonder they're making a major resurgence in the marketplace. Rechargeable batteries reduce the consumption of nonrenewable resources and are much better for the atmosphere and the environment, helping reduce acidity in the air, the emission of greenhouse gases, and air and ozone pollution. They also produce far less waste because they're reused over and over again. Investing in quality battery chargers ensures you get the most life out of your batteries and maximizes their potential to help the environment.
There are many different types of battery chargers, from small and compact 12-volt battery chargers and units designed for everyday AA and AAA batteries to specialized products such as solar battery chargers and car battery chargers. This article will focus on battery chargers for the smaller gauges used in common household electronics, tools and appliances.
Features to Look For in Battery Chargers
Timed chargers are the simplest and, usually, the least expensive option. They are typically sold alongside rechargeable batteries on store shelves and are very economical to use. However, you have to be careful about overcharging batteries and reducing their lifespan. Generally speaking, the longer a timed charger takes to recharge a battery, the better it is. Fast chargers can cause batteries to overheat.
While they are more expensive, smart chargers will help you extend the life of your rechargeable batteries. They let you top up batteries that haven't yet fully discharged and feature tools that let you monitor the battery's charge level. Additional features in higher-end smart chargers also include reconditioning capabilities, charge capacity gauges and the ability to fully discharge then recharge a battery.
When you're shopping for a battery charger, make sure you check to see which battery technologies the unit supports. NiMH battery chargers and lithium battery chargers, for example, are not interchangeable.
If you do a lot of traveling to foreign countries, you will want to get a battery charger that has an adaptable power source, as you'll find the feature very convenient if you travel to places that use different power voltages than North American countries. Finally, be sure to charge your batteries exactly as directed. This will help you get the absolute most out of them and prevent loss of battery life.