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.

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

Chargers from Nitecore, XTAR, MiBoxer, and others, will accept both types of batteries, and some can charge up to 8 batteries at a time. The XTAR (pictured) is an excellent 8-bay unit.

XTAR VC8 Smart Battery Charger

XTAR VC8 Charger

Aside from my own person preferences, the selling point of these types of chargers is their versatility. They feature a spring-loading system, and 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 fill the open space. The other advantage of multi-bay units, is being able to charge NiMH and lithium cells simultaneously.¬†That ability can come in very handy.

THE ‘2’ BAY

Other brands of chargers will charge two cells at once. There are also those that will only charge one cell at a time.

VOLTAGE MATTERS

Another point to consider when choosing a battery charger, is the algorithm of the unit. This will often be listed in the description 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 available that could potentially either damage a battery or cause the battery and unit to overheat.

KNOW THE PRODUCT

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Prior to purchasing rechargeable batteries and chargers, be aware of the potential hazards involved. Always do as much research as possible and follow instructions carefully. Perhaps talk with friends who might already own one. 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. Cheap rechargeable batteries, coupled with a cheap battery charger CAN be a very dangerous combination!!

To check out the XTAR on Amazon – click here!

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

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

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