Rechargeable Batteries Test

PowerGenix NiZn Rechargeable

PowerGenix NiZn Rechargeable


Charger and 4 AA batteries – $30

4 AA batteries – $15

3.5 Stars

+ High voltage

+ Long battery life

+ Adapter for C and D cells

+ Quick Charge

- Too much voltage for flashlight

- Too big for some uses

Because they’re based on a different chemistry make-up than the other rechargeable cells in this group, PowerGenix NiZn Rechargeable batteries set the pace for long life--but there’s a snag. These cells are slightly thicker and produce so much power that they can burn out a flashlight’s bulb. Clearly, they’re not for all uses.

These batteries use the chemical interaction between nickel and zinc and can store more energy than nickel-metal-hydride, nickel cadmium or lead acid batteries.The batteries come pre-charged and deliver 1.79 volts. That’s 15 percent better than disposable Duracell batteries and 22 percent higher than the three rechargeables reviewed here that use nickel-metal hydride technology.

Rated at 2,500 mili-amp hours of power, the NiZn cells zoomed to the top of the class of long-lasting rechargeable batteries. They ran the CD player for more than 14 hours, three-times longer than the Energizer Rechargeables could. 

On the downside, they burned out bulbs in two flashlights I tried: the Husky light I used for testing, as well as a Mini-MagLite, but worked well in an LED flashlight. The company representative I spoke with said the company plans to add a warning to the packaging.

Plus, the cells measure .01-inch thicker than Duracell disposable batteries, making them a tight fit in some gadgets. The Rayovac cells also suffered from this problem.

During charging the NiZn cells and charger are quick and quiet. The charger holds up to four AA or AAA batteries and it’s impossible to put them in backwards.  You can charge one, two, three or four cells at once, unlike some of the others which require charging in pairs. Unlike the Rayovac charger which doesn’t tell you when it’s done, the NiZn charger’s red light turns green when the cells are ready.

It took 1 hour 24 minutes to juice up a pair of AAs, four times longer than the Energizer’s quick charger. They came out of the charger warm, but much cooler than the Energizer cells. This is much shorter than the 7 hours and 40 minutes that the Rayovac charger required. The NiZn charger uses 4 watts and will cost less than 3 cents a year in electrical costs.

The charger itself weighs 4.3 ounces, and is in between the heavier Energizer and lighter Eneloop device. Like the others, it has a fold open two-prong plug, making it perfect for travel.

Rated at 1,000 charge cycles, the NiZn batteries can outlast most of the other rechargeables, making the $30 investment for a charger and 4 AA cells go down easier. A pack of four extra cells costs $15. They come with a 1 year warranty.

Bonus: if you mail in the product’s packaging and a copy of your receipt, the company will send you a pair of holders to use the rechargeable AA cells in devices that require “C” and “D” cells. Looking for the longest-lasting rechargeable batteries for electronics around? Look no further than PowerGenix’s NiZn cells. Just don’t put them in a flashlight.

Brian Nadel

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.

  • It's worth noting that Kill-A-Watt type meters may not give reliable numbers at extremely low power consumptions.

    After some extensive testing that I looked at from my work I went with PowerEx batteries for myself. They've got a 2700 mAh capacity, and they held up at high current (> 10A). They weren't the cheapest ($19/4 pcs)

    It's also worth noting that NiMH batteries all have the same chemistry, and can be charged by a standard NiMH charger.
  • How does this article not point out the BIG difference between the regular nimh batteries and the new hybrid cells? The hybrid batteries, like the eneloop, will hold their charge when not in use. Regular nimh batteries will lost their charge quickly, even when not in use ( this is what allows them to ship the hybrid batteries pre-charged ).
  • Fibrizo
    Sanyo Eneloops Are The Best Rechargeable Batteries. I Have Ever Seen.
  • does anyone know if the chargers can be mixed-and-matched? I used a set of the rayovacs for a year with my digital camera, and they no longer work well. I am going to get eneloops now -- can I use my old rayovac charger?
  • Shadow703793
    benbagginsdoes anyone know if the chargers can be mixed-and-matched? I used a set of the rayovacs for a year with my digital camera, and they no longer work well. I am going to get eneloops now -- can I use my old rayovac charger?Generally, you can do it. I'v been using an Energizer recharger on my Sanyo's.

    Just a little tip: Keep an eye out on Amazon deals for Sanyo rechargeable. I got a 48 pack for under $20 during a sale (with out charger).
  • I forget the total price for my Eneloop's but it was under $40 for four AA's, Four AAA's, a charger, and both a C and D converter at Costco.
    They last ten times longer in my Digital Camera Compared to Disposables.
    They are the best.
  • cadder
    There are a lot of differences from battery to battery.

    First the technology. Throw-away Alkalines have good capacity, reasonably good shelf life, and good voltage to start with but their voltage goes down a lot as they are used which is what causes flashlights to start going orange and dim after you use them a little while. NiMH and NiCad will usually maintain their voltage a little better until the end. LiIon is the best here but I don't think you can buy LiIon rechargeables in AA size. Also Alkalines don't work very well when cold, and their voltage will drop a lot under real heavy load. NiMh will maintain higher voltage and put out more current at the same time.

    Different brands of NiMh have different capacity ratings, in milli-amp hour (mAH), and even at the same capacity they will vary in actual use just like these tests showed. NiCad is the worst for self-discharge, but NiMh is not too bad. They will work OK for devices that you use reasonably frequently but not for a flashlight that you put in the closet and use once a year. Alkalines will work better for this, but if you leave the device for several years then when you get ready to use it the batteries might have leaked and ruined the device. Use Lithium throwaways for this.

    I haven't used the NiZn. I wonder what their voltage characteristics are under load.

    NiCad and NiMh usually require different chargers but some chargers have a switch for this. I don't know if the NiMh and newer NiMh can use the same charger. Unfortunately the good battery chargers can be pretty expensive. Slow chargers tend to be the cheapest but a good fast charger can be a lot more convenient.
  • kravmaga
    Something the review also omitted is that eneloops are known for exceptional performance retention after 500+ cycles of use whereas some other competing low self-discharge cells will degrade much faster.

    I have also heard of nutty people discharging them at more than 12C inside home-built portable aircraft landing lights with no damage where cheaper cells literally melted down.
  • NewJohnny
    I'm the guy adding +1 to all the eneloop comments, for good reason. These are almost perfect batteries. True, the voltage is a little lower, but like mustang1068 pointed out, they retain a charge of 80% after 12 months of no use. I have them in all the game console controllers and kids toys.
  • starryman
    Hey great article minus the missing conclusion... I have both the Sanyo Eneloop and the Energizer rechargeable batteries with real world use for over a year. The Energizers are a pure waste of money. I bought 5 packs of 4 packs of the Energizers and have two of the chargers. After 3 months of use 6 of them stopped charging. Then 6 months later about half of them burned out. I noticed the Energizer batteries get realllllly hot when charging. The battery life on them drop significantly after 20-30 charges. The fast charging seems to kill them. The Eneloop batteries still work but the discharge rate sucks. I have a Canon 480EX camera flash and the Eneloops can't keep up. After 4 successive shots, it pauses for about 4 seconds. The Energizers can push out 9 successive shots before a pause but only good for maybe 60 shots and discharges to 20% if not used. Regular Alkaline batteries will give me 14 successive shots and give about 200 flash shots. Plus I can have them in the flash for months without worrying about them discharging to nothing. So at this point both the Eneloop and Energizers just sit in a tub and everyone once in awhile I have to pull out an Energizer that begins to corrode. At this point I've gone back to Alkaline batteries at Costco which is 48 AA for about $12. With Alkalines they have the perfect balance of longevity, discharge, and cost. I may try out the PowerGenix NiZn though... I just worry that it may toast my $400 camera flash.