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Last update: January 2023

Best Battery Chargers for NiMH batteries

Disclaimer: Amazon pays me a referral if you buy any of the products through my links.  At the end of the month, I pile up all the money on the bed and roll around in it.

These chargers offer good performance and features for a reasonable price. They handle any brand of NiMH batteries.

Application Cheapest Price
or Good for Travel
Charge lots of
batteries at once
Charge AAA, AA C, and D sizes (not 9V)  i Test or  recondition

Panasonic Advanced
AccuPower IQ312 12-slot
Recommended Charger
comes with 4 AA batteries

Sizes & quantity handled
AA, AAA:  1-4
AA, AAA:  1-16
AA, AAA, C, or D:  1-4
AA or AAA:  1-4
Can charge a single battery
  (i.e., you don't have to charge in pairs)
Charge different sizes at the same time
Charges each battery separately
How charging cycle ends (see below) Smart Smart Smart Smart
Recondition option (see below)
Fully charges high-capacity
NiMH C's & D's
100-240V, and 50/60Hz (works with worldwide electricity)

Built-in, flip-down plug.  No separate power brick to worry about.

Works with non-eneloop batteries.  Every NiMH charger handles every brand of NiMH batteries.  Don't think this charger is eneloop-only just because the package says "eneloop".
I have an earlier version of the 12-slot AccuPower and have had no problems with it.
For C or D size, it's more convenient to get upsize adapters.  (You put an AA battery in a C- or D-size shell.)

This model takes 9V but doesn't know when to stop charging.  (It's smart for other sizes.)  To charge 9V, get a sep. 9V charger for Li-ion/Lithium or NiMH cells, and see my page on charging 9V batteries.
A reader turned me on to this one, and I haven't tried it out myself yet; I'm trusting the hundreds of Amazon reviews, which are far better for this model than other high-end chargers I used to list.

Smart vs. Dumb Chargers

Smart chargers manage each battery separately and know when to stop charging it.  Dumb chargers either try to push the same amount of energy into all the batteries for a certain amount of time, or forever until you take them out if the charger lacks a timer.  This means your batteries will always be over-charged or under-charged.  Overcharging can also damage batteries, reducing their capacity or cycle life.  So I strongly recommend only smart chargers, which aren't much more expensive than dumb chargers anyway.  All the models listed above are smart.  Unfortunately some manufacturers call their chargers smart even if they're really not (e.g, EBL's model 802).  Here's more on that and other issues in my article on charging tips.

Testing Battery Capacity

High-end chargers (like the BT-C2400) can test a battery's capacity.  To measure the capacity the charger runs the battery down to about 1.0V and measures how much energy came out of the battery while doing so.  The LED readout will then tell you what the capacity of the battery is in mAh.  Most chargers that have a test feature also have a refresh / recondition feature to restore some of that lost capacity (like the BT-C2400).

Refreshing / Reconditioning batteries

Refreshing and reconditioning are two different words for the same thing:  restoring a battery's capacity.  Batteries lose capacity for all kinds of reasons, and refreshing them often fixes that.  To refresh, the charger slowly discharges the battery (measuring its total energy output while doing so, to see what its capacity was), then recharges it, then discharges and measures the output again, repeating the process until subsequent charges don't get the battery any fuller (or maybe up to some limit, like 10 cycles).  For refreshing, I like the BT-C2400.

Specialty Chargers

Solar Chargers.  If you have access to grid electricity, use it.  You'll get a better charge, and the cost to charge each cell will be a fraction of a penny.  Use a solar charger only when you don't have access to grid electricity, such as when camping.  For those situations, you can get a solar-powered NiMH / NiCd charger from C. Crane, but since batteries charge poorly when they're hot, I'm not sure how well a solar charger will work.  You'd also have to guess at when they're done, so you'd likely overcharge or undercharge them.  Finally, if you're charging high capacity D's, it could take several days. 

Button Battery Charger.  As of 2018, I can't find a high quality, reliable battery button charger.  BTW, this site will tell you where to recycle button batteries in your area.

Alkaline Chargers.  Not recommended.  Capacity and voltage drops each cycle, you can get only about 10 (crappy) cycles out of the battery, and they're more likely to leak, ruining your device.  Covered in more detail on a separate page.

Older or "no-longer-recommended" models

No longer recommended

Travel / cheap

Radio Shack #23-339.  Discontinued.  I'd listed this as the pick for the cheapest charger, but these days there are tons of good chargers under twenty bucks.

Maha Powerex 204GT.  Has to charge in pairs.  Newer chargers let you charge 1, 2, 3, or 4 batteries, manage them independently, and are cheaper than to boot.

12/16 slot

  • AccuPower IQ216. No longer available. (Removed 10/2/22)
  • AccuManager 16-slot.  No longer sold. (Removed 7/2020)

Charges C/D sizes

  • RayHom LCD (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V).  No longer available.  (Removed 10/2/22.)

Tests & Reconditions

  • Ansmann Powerline 4.2 Pro.  I got one in 2021 and I like it, but the BT-C2400 is much cheaper and appears to be just as good.  Only downsides are that the minimum charging current is 400 mA (I'd prefer 200 mA for AAA's to charge more slowly and get more capacity), and it seems to be more aggressive in rejecting "bad" batteries than it should. (Removed 2022.)
  • Powerex MH-C9000PRO.  It's a good charger, but it's $10 more than than the Ansmann I recommend above, and it's more aggressive at rejecting batteries than the Ansmann.  The Ansmann in turn rejects more batteries than the LaCrosse chargers, but the buttons on the LaCrosse chargers go bad after a few years.  (Removed 3/2021.)
  • LaCrosse BC-700 + BC-1000.  I have two of these.
    1. The buttons became unresponsive after a couple of years.  Happened to me on multiple models.
    2. On Amazon, 13-17% of the reviews are only 1-star.
    3. It sometimes grossly under reports mAh capacity.  Sometimes after a refresh cycle it will report "0 mAh", when in reality the battery has plenty of juice in it.
    4. It won't recognize batteries with very low voltage.
(Removed 7/2020)

Universal chargers

Rayovac PS3.  I listed this for those who wanted to charge 8 batteries, and it was a convenient model, because it also handled rechargeable alkalines for those willing to put up with the hassle and risk.  But it's been discontinued and replaced with crappier models like the PS3D which charge only four cells at a time, and don't handle NiCds or rechargeable alkalines at all.  And even were the original still available, it had only four independent channels, so you could charge only 1-4 batteries independently,  charging more than four would mean that some batteries would have to be charged in pairs, which gives in inferior charge.  Here's a scathing review on Amazon of the newer PS3D.

La Crosse BC Series

Many people considered these to be the gold standard, but I wasn't so impressed.  I had two and the buttons became unresponsive after a couple years, and they don't even seem to be available any more anyway.  Competitors have come out with similar chargers that appear to be more reliable, like my recommendation at the top of the page.  I'm keeping this section just for reference.

 There's not a huge difference between the 700, 900, and 1000 models.  Here's the rundown:

    • Common to all models, pro:  LED readout, manages each battery separately, smart charger stops automatically when full, tests battery capacity, reconditions old batteries, choose charging current (for slow or fast charge).  Very compact (3" L x 5.1" W x 1.5"); not as tiny as a travel charger, and it has a separate wall plug rather than a flip-down plug, but it's definitely possible to travel with.
    • Common to all models, con:  Won't charge batteries that have dropped below 0.5V (but see below for a trick to revive such batteries), can't charge C or D sizes.
    • BC-700.  Lacks the 1000mA charging option of the BC-1000, but you normally shouldn't be charging batteries that fast anyway, and the BC-700 is usually cheaper, but on the day I'm updating this page, it's a lot more expensive, for some reason.
    • BC-900.  No longer available.  The BC-1000 is the replacement.  Note that the BC-9009 was the same thing as the BC-900, just in a different color.  Some BC-900's had a problem with seriously overheating (melting, ruining the charger), which has apparently been addressed in the BC-1000 (and which was never a problem in the BC-700).
    • BC-1000.  The biggest difference over the BC-900 is being less likely to overheat.  But the cheaper BC-700 is good enough for most users.  The BC-1000 lets you select a charging current of 200, 500, 700, or 1000mA, and when only channel 1 or 4 are used, up to 1500 or 1800mA.  It includes four C-size and four D-size adapters (you put AA's in them to make a fake C or D battery), and comes with four AA and four AAA rechargeable batteries.

Here's NLee's review of the 700/900/1000 series.  And here's a programming guide for the BC series from Candlepower.

Maha (La Crosse's competitor) claims that the BC series overestimates capacity by about 8% when running a capacity test. (source)

Powerex Maha MH-C9000 WizardOne

As of July 2020 I noticed this charger is no longer available, but I'm keeping this section here for historical purposes.  It was the main competitor to the BC-1000, and compared to that charger:


  • More (and higher) options for charge & discharge current
  • Can often revive dead cells (with very low voltage) that the BC series doesn't recognize (though you can use my tricks to revive dead cells yourself)
  • Discharges down to only 1.0V (vs. 0.9V for the La Crosse models), which preserves cycle life.  An artifact of this is that the Maha will show a lower capacity when testing than the La Crosse (about 5% difference).
  • Can measure remaining capacity with the discharge program (which is really useful only if, say, you're writing articles on how much capacity a battery retains after sitting idle for six months)
  • Poor interface requires lots of keypresses to get anything done.  NLee says charging 4 cells at 2A requires 48 keystrokes!  That's why I bought a La Crosse instead of the Maha.
  • Doesn't fully charge eneloops, unless you leave them in the charger for a while after the charger says they're done. (NLee)
  • You can't pause the cycling on the display, or even make it advance to the metric you want.  It constantly cycles between capacity, current, time, and voltage on its own, at its own pace (of 8 seconds per cell).  Besides being annoying, it means you have to wait to get the data you want.  Getting, say, the voltage for all four cells could take a while.

Here's NLee's comparison of the two chargers, and here's a spec comparison.  An excerpt of NLee's review:  "Compared to the La Crosse BC-900, this model is a lot bigger.  In theory it charges faster than the BC-900, but takes so many keystrokes to set up the fast-charging that it's not worth the bother.  It shows the status for only one cell at a time, cycling through them all by itself—you can't hit a key to see the next cell's status, and it takes nearly a full minute to cycle through all four cells.  (The BC-900, by contrast, shows all four cells' status simultaneously.)  On the plus side, it can revive dead batteries that the BC-900 can't, but that's not a huge advantage since you can revive dead batteries yourself with the instructions below."

Chargers I recommended in WIRED magazine

I think my first-ever paid writing gig was to review battery chargers for WIRED magazine, waaay back in 2001.  Actually, they just took my recommendations, threw all my prose out the window, and rewrote the whole thing themselves in WIRED-speak.  Still, every writer is thrilled when they finally get published in a major magazine, even if there's no byline.  (And I hope it goes without saying that all those chargers I recommended nearly twenty years ago are now hopelessly outdated.)

Other chargers

These chargers aren't my recommendations.  I'm listing them here mostly so that if I run across them again in the future, I don't have to go digging for specs and features.

  • Delkin Devices DD/AA-QKCHGR (2007).  A travel charger with four independent channels, but at $45 this is way more than the one I recommend.
  • Duracell:
    • Value Charger CEF14DX4 (2008).  Not smart, shuts off after a certain amount of time.  See "Smart vs. Dumb Chargers" for why this is bad.
    • Mini CEF-20 (2007).  Smart charger, 100-240V AC, but charges only 2 cells at a time...slowly (280mA each for AA, 110mA each for AAA).
    • Mobile CEF23 (2008).  A good charger, but for a travel charger there are much cheaper, and for a workhouse charger there are much better, and this model was discontinued anyway.  A nice feature was that it powers USB devices, in three different ways (from the AC adapter, inserted batteries, or the car adapter).  It's smart, charges 1-4 batteries independently (each with its own status LED), and takes 100-240V input.
    • Go Mobile CEF26 (2009).  Universal AC, charges in pairs only.
  • Energizer Value Charger (2010).  Not smart, and requires charging in pairs.  The older version was manual, and the newer one is timer-based.
  • GP Recyko Value Charger (2010).  Dumb charger (charges forever until you remove the batteries).  Must charge in pairs. 
  • Kodak K6200 (2001). Smart, 4-cell, 4-channel travel charger, with 100-240V input.  But it's been discontinued, and its replacement the K6600, charges only in pairs, natch.
  • Panasonic BQ-390 (?).  Smart cutoff, independent channels, but only 1 status LED.  100-240V input.  No longer available.
  • Rayovac Easy Charger (2010).  Confusingly, there are two different chargers sold with this name.  One is dumb, and will try to charge the batteries forever (damaging them).  Both models charge only in pairs.
  • Sanyo Eneloop Chargers:
    • MDR02 (2003).  Smart charger, charges each cell separately, but accepts only 2 batteries at a time (not 4).  100-240V input voltage.
    • NC-MQN04U.  Charges only in pairs.
    • NC-MQN05U.  Charges 1-4 batteries individually (smart).  Discontinued.
    • NC-MQN06U & MQN06W (2009).  Charges only in pairs, and charges slowly.  The -06U has a fold-down plug and the -06W uses an AC cable.
    • See all the Sanyo Eneloop chargers
  • Sony Cycle Energy BCG34HLD4KN (2003).  Smart, charges each cell separately, 100-240V, but pricey at $24.
  • Targus Digital TG-LCD2700 (2003).  A good, smart, 4-cell, 4-channel travel charger, with 100-240V input and 12V input via a car adapter.  But it's been discontinued.
Other 8+ SLOT CHARGERS (charges up to 8 batteries unless otherwise noted)
  • Lenmar Pro78 (2004).  Timer-based, with a 2000mAh limit.  Requires charging in pairs.
  • Maha Powerex MH-C800S (2001).  Smart, eight independent slots, worldwide power supply, LCD shows status of each battery, can choose between soft or fast charge mode, refresh option.
  • Tenergy TN157 (2011).  Smart cutoff, eight independent slots, refresh mode.
  • Tenergy T-6988 (2008).  Smart, ten independent channels.  Input is 110VAC or 12VDC.  Costs more and charges fewer cells than the one I recommend.
  • Titanium MD-1600L (2011).  Charges 16 cells at once...independently.  Smart cutoff.  Also charges USB devices.  Can operate with car adapter.

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