Battery Charger
The average laptop battery typically lasts about two and a half years before needing to be replaced. Over time, they slowly lose their ability to hold a charge. They can go from a life span of 4 to 5 hours when new to only a few minutes after months and years of use.

Battery Chargers

Now that you're thinking about getting rechargeable batteries there are some important things you should know first.

But first we need to go over some terms.

  • Charge - to fuel the battery with energy.
  • Discharge - to drain the battery of it's charge. This allows for a complete charge and the most reliability in the battery.
  • Test - The charger checks to make sure the battery is operating correctly and finds the charge level.

Now it's time for you to learn the difference between a fast charger (15-minutes) and a slow charger (7 hours).

Fast Charger

You have seen or heard about it before most likely. Battery charger that can fully charge your batteries in 15 minutes or 30 minutes? It sounds great because who wants to wait 7 hours for your batteries to charge. But there are some problems with them.

Pros

  • You only have to wait a very short time.
  • USUALLY cheaper than the slow/smart chargers.
  • Can charge your rechargeable batteries

Cons

  • Batteries heat up to a very hot temperature.
  • Batteries will lose their full charge at a very fast rate.
  • You're batteries will end up either exploding or lose much of their overall charge, depending on how good (or bad) your fast charger is.

As you can see, there aren't many good things to say about the fast chargers. If you're looking to keep the same pair of batteries that will be just as good in a couple years from when you bought them, then the fast charger is not for you. Fast chargers can over or under charge, causing either the battery to explode or your 2500 mAh going down to a 2000 mAh or even less. Fast chargers are only if you don't mind buying new rechargeable batteries every 6 months or so because you're batteries got messed up.

But now onto the slow chargers, or smart chargers.

Smart Chargers

Pros

  • Takes very good care of your batteries.
  • Can charge your rechargeable batteries.
  • Some have features such as discharge, refresh (discharges and charges a couple times to make your batteries new again), and test.
  • Does not overheat your batteries, and most chargers have built in fans to keep cool.
  • Some allow you to choose the charging rate.

Cons

  • Charges at a slow rate. Usually 5-10 hours.
  • Costs about twice as much as fast chargers.

Quick Tips

  • Most electronic stores carry at least one type of battery charger. The battery charger they usually are selling is a fast charger though.
  • If you are looking for a great deal on a rechargeable battery charger, or are looking for a place to buy a Smart Charger, then the internet is the best place to purchase one.

Quick Picks

  • The La Crosse Technology BC-700 Alpha Power Battery Charger is a highly rated and recommended product for charging NiMH and NiCd batteries.