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Any NiMH rechargeable is a bargain over disposables. Shipping prices vary by zipcode if UPS, but are usually stable if USPS.

List of Dedicated NiMH Sellers at Reasonable Prices:
  • Battery City -- Many sizes and voltages available here. Battery City has a lot of good prices, but they seem to favour large orders than small ones. They also sell Nicads. Check their page carefully for links as they are not so good at webmastering and some links are harder to find. Price Example (April 22, 2001): Saft AA 1500 mAH $2.45 single-lot Shipping: Varies. They have various holiday specials, so check both before and after certain major holidays.

  • CheapBatteries.com -- Has a large variety of low-priced NiMH batteries and different brands. It is worth checking out. Price Example (April 22, 2001): 9-volt G.I. 160 mAH $5.00, AA 1800 mAH $3.50 Shipping: exact shipping cost + $5 if order under $50. They offer to match or beat other competitors on the same product.

  • DigiKey Corporation NiMH Catalog PDF Page -- Their catalogue listings changes all the time, so you may also access the online catalogue from their homepage if this link expires. Digikey has solder-tab versions and can make custom battery packs upon request. They also sell Nicad cells on a different catalogue page. DigiKey is absolutely a top notch company; I have bought from them for over 20 years now. Some odd-shaped rechargeables are also available (rectangular?) as well as rechargeable Lithium cells. Price Example (Jan 14,2001): Panasonic AA Solder-Tab 1500 mAH $3.55 single-lot Shipping: Free (if cheque/MO mailed), $5 fee if order under $25.

  • Smallpower.com -- was formerly known as 4gdo.com (but who could remember that name?). All sizes and voltages available here and resembles Thomas Distributing in stock, shipping, and website software (probably same company under a different name). Unlike the Thomas site, this site has sales and coupon codes on its homepage (code "04379" for 3% off). Price Example (Jan 14,2001): MAHA AA 4-pak 1550 mAH $9.96 Shipping: $4.90 USPS for 4-pak example item.

  • Thomas Distributing -- All sizes and voltages available here based on three major battery brands. They are NOT the lowest-priced online seller, but they cleverly registered a lot of website names that point back to them as well as having the blessing of an easy-to-remember website name. To encourage existence of online competition, you may choose to buy at other sites that have similar prices. Price Example (Jan 14,2001): MAHA AA 4-pak 1550 mAH $9.96 Shipping: $4.90 USPS for 4-pak example item.

  • Hosfelt Electronics -- Hosfelt also sells Nicads, Lead-acid batteries, and various electronic components including high-intensity LEDs (eg, 23,000 mcd brightness). Price example: 1200 mAH $1.99 each in single-lot quantity. Price Example (April 22,2001): AA 1200 mAH $1.99 each in single-lot quantity.
    Shipping: Actual rate (ups,usps) + $1.

  • ASpencer.com -- ASpencer is a seller on eBay and some people may find that reassuring. Their eBay price might be cheaper so check auctions out. Their eBay Seller ID is "aspencer1" and a list of their current eBay auctions is available HERE. Price Example (April 22, 2001): Nexcell AA 1600 mAH $1.92 each in dutch auction (your results may vary). Shipping: Minimum $4.50, Max $7, Insurance add $1.50. No CreditCards (Paypal instead).

  • SunnBattery.com -- Sunn Battery is also on eBay so check auctions out; eBay Seller ID: "ptron1" and a list of their current eBay auctions is available HERE. Price Example (Jan 14,2001): AA 4-pak MAHA 1550 mAH $7.99 (compared to Thomas Distributing at $9.96 + $4.90 S/H). Shipping: $5 per order.

Information about NiMH in general:


Usage Hints, Workarounds:
  • You shouldn't recharge NiMH in Nicad chargers (although you can charge Nicads in NiMH chargers). NiMH cells require a more controlled constant current charging environment and do not like being continually overcharged which a Nicad charger can do to them. If you insist on using a Nicad charger (because it's the only one around), you have to manually remove the NiMH cells before they overcharge.

  • Battery longevity is affected by the charging rate. Based upon review of charging curves versus number of charging cycles, slow charging is better than fast charging. Slow charging allows batteries to have a greater number of discharge/recharge cycles before they don't accept a charge or leak. However, rechargeables such as Nicads and NiMH seem to have a finite absolute lifespan whether or not you use them a lot. For almost everyone, fast charging is acceptable because a year or two will pass before you even begin to think about replacing the battery. For example, if you buy a bunch of Nicads, you will start to see some of them leak or become unrechargeable after about 4 years, and more and more of them will stop working each year(whether or not you have recharged them lots of times). So, it makes little sense to conserve battery lifespan by buying lots of batteries and recharging them only a few times. It is more economical to buy fewer batteries and recharge them lots of times.

  • If your battery-powered appliance can recharge Nicads but you are using NiMH, make sure that the NiMH cell is not being recharged by that appliance unless the time period is short or you remove the batteries. Some appliances will recharge batteries inside of them if you use the AC adapter. An example are some of the personal CD players which were made with Nicad batteries in mind. Examine the battery compartment and if you see a 3rd battery prong on the side, you can often put a little tape over it or at least make sure that the side of the battery touched by that prong is covered by plastic. If you don't care about the life of the NiMH cell, then you might let the unit recharge the cell. You can still use a variation of the trick with NiMH cells in Nicad chargers; simply unplug the AC wallwart after you think the CD player has charged the NiMH cells enough.

  • NiMH (and Nicads) will discharge themselves over time (this is called self-discharge) and so are not good for devices that sit around unused (like smoke detectors or emergency flashlights). I use low-cost "Kirkland" alkalines from Costco for standby purposes like that. For regular flashlights that are often used, NiMH seem to be ideal. LED flashlights (single or multiple-cell) function with NiMH cells.

  • ZDNET Battery Pricing article explains why some places don't carry NiMH or sell at a good price.


Related Information:

appreciate your effort and support of fatwallet

keep those deals coming

thanks for the compusa stuff also

I can vouch that ThomasDistributing has great service. I bought my Maha fast charger their and it was shipped quickly and the product was great! Maybe not THE best price on the net, but the service is great. I might get my batteries from them next time but I couldn't resist the kodak's at buy.com with the 10 off 30 coupon <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>

I bought some of the other brands also, but the Kodak 1600mAH last the longest of anything. I wish I knew who makes them for Kodak, and find a good deal on those.

For those who just need a few batteries: both Target and Wal-Mart have NiMH batteries, now, and their prices aren't that bad (though they can't touch the on-line prices). If you need a few, though, it's cheaper than getting them shipped, plus you get them immediately. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

And, for everyone: Costco's Kirkland batteries are 100% Duracell "under the hood". Heck of a deal.

A question, or a comment, whichever: I got a Rayovac "3-in-1" charger, and I have NiMH and rechargable alkaline batteries for different uses. Either the charger doesn't do rech. alks. worth a damn, or I got defective batteries. They don't seem to get a full charge; if you take them out and put them back in the charger, they may charge for a substantial time longer (seems like the charger is calling them "full" too soon?). Just weirdness, with the result being short life.
The question would be, do "combo" chargers just suck, or what?
I don't care too much, since it does do the NiMH ones okay, but still.

Awesome post Startide!

You sure are thorough! I am in the market for a charger and batteries and this post is invaluable.

Thanks again,

Flagg

Thanks for the info about the batteries! I needed some.

Thanks a lot, this is indeed very helpful as I'm looking to get a set of the batteries and charger for my Palm.

edit: there's one interesting point I found from the link above.

I just knew that, in order to be use NiMH with Palm, there's something that I have to adjust. Can anyone explain this to me please. Thank you.

Here's the link to the page I found: Link

bump <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

>> I just knew that, in order to be use NiMH with Palm, there's something that I have to adjust. Can anyone explain this to me please. Thank you.

The reason why you need to tell the Palm that you are using NiMH is that the general public was expected to use two alkaline cells with the Palm. Hence, the "gas meter" on the Palm measures battery life with respect to alkaline batteries as the default. Alkaline cells begin their life with 1.5 volts. NiMH cells begin life fully charged at 1.25 volts. By telling the Palm that you have switched to NiMH cells, the readings on the gas meter will be more accurate.

Check out also this site, it has plenty of cool stuff for us <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

In response to an emailed question, yes, there are other sites that sell batteries such as Outpost.com, Buy.com, etcetera. However, I didn't list those as deals there are better only if there is an unannounced special or applicable coupon. That is why I didn't list a bunch more sites. The goal was to have a hand-picked list of places that sell NiMH at the most competitive prices and have good customer experience (if a seller has a rating of 4000+ ebay customer feedbacks, that should be enough to satisfy most people that the seller is legit *grin*).



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