How do cheap rechargeable batteries compare to alkalines.

I really hate using AA Alkaline batteries, for one thing they take much longer to put them in to the LED lights and secondly what they do to the environment. So for the price of one 6 pack of AA alkalines I can buy one NP-F550 Sony Style rechargeable battery. It appears that these batteries are used in many different DSLR video accessories like LED lights and portable monitors and so on, so I thought I would make an investment in them, well they were so cheap it really was not much of an investment.

This is not a test of the lights but more a test of the two different battery types:

  1. Konova is using the rechargeable NP-F550
  2. Amaran AL-198A using alkaline
  3. Amaran AL-198C using rechargeable NP-F550
  4. CN-160 rechargeable NP-F550
  5. CN-160 using alkaline

The Results of the Test

So it looks like you can get a good solid hour and a half to two hours using the rechargables. Pretty much the alkalines are useless after two hours as well unless you are using if for something like camping.

It appears that when the rechargeables are fully charged they are at 8.3v. when I tested the voltage after the test was over they were totally dead 0 volts.

The alkalines lasted over 3 days before completely dying.

Thanks to Emm over at Cheesycam for turning me on to these batteries. For the price they pay for themselves on the very first use.

The Only Problem

Now the only problem with these batteries is charging them, while you can use them for 1.5 hours, it takes 3 hours to charge them! Is it the cheap charger I purchased or the batteries?

Products Used In This Video

Help me make more of these types of videos by purchasing gear from the links posted on my site. It costs you nothing extra, and helps support me to make more videos.

Li-Ion Battery for Sony NP-F550 $4.71 each when I purchased them, the price almost changes daily!

Battery Charger for SONY Li-Ion NP-FM500H NP-F550NP-F570

Used in this video


  • Great Dave.

    Are the batteries Ni-Mh or Ni-Cad.

    In my experience Ni-Cad’s take longer to charge.
    You got to watch the “memory” on Ni-Cad.
    If you unplug them early they’ll think that is a he full charge level next time.

    Keep up the good work.

    Do you still have a RE power type site running? What’s the link?

  • Dave, the only rechargeable batteries I use in AA and AAA are Sanyo EneLoop batteries. Simply because they actually hold the charge. The problem with almost any type of Ni-Cd etc is that you charge them, put them in your bag and they are dead when you go to use them. They wont hold the charge for an extended period, so you have to have a charging session before each outing, yeah I remember to do that one. Eneloops hold their charge forever. That makes them a reliable product for my camera bag. Try them you will like them.

  • @Shannon thanks for the tip. I will monitor these to see how the lose their charge over time, I might have to switch to those in the future.

  • The Maha 8 Cell Professional Charger is a great way to go. Charge time is 1 hr., it can hold up to 8 AA’s or AAA’s. You can add or take out individual batteries once they are done. You can also do a refresh on older batteries to get them back up to capacity.–AAA-Battery-ChargerbrDELUXE-8-Cell-Professional-Battery-Charger-w-Full-LCD-Display_p_2559.html

    Plus you are charging 8 batteries but only using one wall outlet.

    I use the Maha Powerex 2700 mAh AA batteries with them.–8-NiMH-Rechargeable-Batteries_p_369.html

  • @Dave Thanks,

    I’ve been researching renewable energy for about three years now. (I’m in college so capital is tied up right now)

    Your video skills are getting better all the time. Maybe you could contact the people at HomePower Mag. and do a energy efficiency video series for their website. That would be cool.

  • @Dave It’s interesting that the poor performance of some units is attributable to bad power circuitry rather than to using rechargeable batteries. This happens in many devices and it is a tough problem to solve. The ones that have been giving the best results for me are sanyo eneloops.

    Also I’ve recently come across some nice Li-ion AA 1,5V (!) batteries: Energizer E2 L91, might be worth a check.

  • I’m confused! Are you saying the rechargables are better?

    Apart from the environment/reusable factor how are these better than the alkalines in the video? The alkalines lasted 3 days and the rechargables only 1.5-2 hrs.

    I haven’t got any accessories apart from the 580 EX II flash and I’m using Sanyo Eneloops which I’ve found to be great so far.