How to Choose a Battery Charger

INTRODUCTION

Rechargeable batteries, of the Lithium-ion and Nickel Metal Hydride variety, and the chargers that rejuvenate them, have been a great addition to the world of electronics.  Since there’s a abundance of choice with just about everything these days, knowing how to choose a battery charger is quite invaluable.

intelligent NiMH battery charger

NITECORE i4 Intellicharger

When selecting a charger, it’s best to make certain it’ll handle the types of batteries you’ve bought. With regards to NiMH and lithium batteries, there are chargers that will handle each type individually, or both together.

THE ‘SMART’ CHARGER

lithium-ion batteries

18650 and a 16340 lithium

The NITECORE i4 Intellicharger will accept both types of batteries. This one is among several chargers that I own, and although it’s very good…I don’t recommend it as highly as others I own which only charge one specific type of battery.

Aside from my own person preferences, the big draw of the i4 is its versatility. It and others like it that have a spring-loading system, have no problem accepting both shorter cells, such as a 16340 lithium and its much longer cousin, a 18650. Chargers without a spring-load, may still accept all sizes, but might require “dummy” cells to fit the open space. The other advantage of the i4, is being able to charge NiMH’s and lithium’s at the same time. That ability can come in very handy.

THE ‘2’ BAY

Other brands of chargers such as the one pictured below, will charge two cells at once. There are also those that will only charge one cell at a time.

VOLTAGE MATTERS

charger

2 – bay lithium charger

Another point to consider when choosing a battery charger, is the algorithm of the unit. This will often be listed in the description of the unit as CC/CV. This stands for ‘constant current/constant voltage’. It signifies that the charger continuously provides the correct amount of voltage to the battery, which will prevent it from getting too hot, and will also make certain it STOPS the charge when the cell has reached its peak voltage. I cannot name names, but there are cheaper chargers in the marketplace that could potentially either damage a battery or cause the battery and unit to overheat. Most consumers will research and comparison shop their potential products. With battery chargers, it’s important to read ALL the specifications first.

KNOW THE PRODUCT

research-28785017

Prior to purchasing rechargeable batteries and chargers, be aware of the potential hazards involved. Always do a bit of research and follow instructions carefully. This will ensure years of use from both products, as well as saving money in the long run!

and finally … BUY A QUALITY PRODUCT

In the preceding paragraph, there’s a link to an article on the dangers of purchasing cheap lithium batteries. This general rule also ties-in with chargers. Bargain-priced (no-name) chargers can be hazardous if used incorrectly. Their overall quality is often questionable as well. Cheap rechargeable batteries, coupled with a cheap battery charger CAN be a very dangerous combination!! Very few merchants will be honest enough to advise that you make sure you know how to use these devices prior to buying them. It’s not THEIR house that would need a visit from the closest fire department!!

To check out the NITECORE – i4 on Amazon – click here!

Alternatively – you may visit this link for a complete selection of chargers & batteries.

Questions or comments? Please let me know in the spaces below!

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