Which AA Rechargeable Battery Is Best After One Year of Abuse?

Photographers need the best batteries in their gear to stay ahead when it comes to making killer work. It's for this reason that it's crucial you know the strengths and weaknesses of the many battery brands out there.

Without batteries, most photographers would quite literally be left in the dark when it came to taking pictures. Which brand you choose can be somewhat of a minefield, as there are so many to pick from. If that wasn't enough, having to wade through the many fabricated product reviews on places like Amazon and eBay can muddy the waters and add to the confusion even more so. This is why I love to see independent methodical tests done by third parties whose only goal is to find the best products out there. Thankfully for us, Project Farm over on YouTube is one of these testers who has just published his results on which rechargeable AA battery is best after one year of use.

Photographers' favorites like Duracell, Amazon Basics, Panasonic Eneloop, and IKEA LADDA all feature in the test, and a few more obscure brands are also thrown in for good measure. The video tests both batteries which have been used daily and some that have just been stored for a year. These same batteries were also tested for internal resistance, which is important for us photographers who usually rely more on spikes of power in things like our speedlights.

Todd over on Project Farm is very methodical with his approach, and each product he tests gets the same fair treatment. His videos are clear and concise, and it's great to see the results graphed out for easy comparison. I have to admit that I have stuck with the same brand of battery for many years, although after seeing the video, I am tempted to explore some of the other options out there. If you are in the market for some AA batteries or just want to check how well your particular go-to brand is stacking up, this video is for you.

Lead image by Денис Марчук used under Creative Commons.

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52 Comments

Eric Salas's picture

Eneloop batteries.

Hands down best power, cycling, and best recharge. I won’t use anything else.

Nick Viton's picture

Did you watch the video? Apparently there are better batteries out there.

Eric Salas's picture

According to their video yes but that’s where personal experience comes into play and why I choose to use the eneloops.

sure, why not ... btw, Ikea is basically rebranded Eneloop Pro .. so should be slightly better for flashes. I`m using both Eneloop (not Pro) and LADDA and I due to irregular usage I cant really tell which is better but given the price and performance I think I go to Ikea when buying next couple of them .. they are certainly not worse ..

Eric Salas's picture

All I know is that my eneloop pros are amazing and I never question if my flashes will fire or recycle in time for a photo so I stick to them.

Most people on here haven’t used batteries in flashes at multiple weddings. If we’re talking about really testing performance of batteries, I don’t see any other place more fitting.

Nick Viton's picture

If that's what it takes, then I'd suggest trying out a set of IKEA Laddas and an open mind at your next wedding to see for yourself. A set of 4 Ladda AAs is only 6.99. As Nate mentioned the IKEA Ladda is literally the same battery as the Eneloop Pro. If you know that your "Eneloop Pros are amazing" then by extension you already know that the IKEA Laddas are amazing too. You don't have to take our word for it...

Not taking the bait of being pound foolish on something as big as a wedding to test the laddas. I tried the RAV power batteries for Sony as I wanted multiple sets of backups stashed in different places. On paper they looked great and were much cheaper than Sony. They worked well for about a month and had weird reactions to the chargers. Then a firmware update basically bricked them. I still have Eneloops I bought years ago that work well with Lacrosse charger.

Nick Viton's picture

Yin, no one's talking about RAV batteries. Have you tried the LADDA batteries (aka Eneloop Pro)?
https://petapixel.com/2018/02/16/eneloop-pro-20-batteries-ikea-ladda-5-b...

As I said, I am not entrusting a valuable assignment on something that does not have a proven track record like eneloops. Used them since the 2008. I have about 70 Eneloop AA and AAA. I learned the hard/expensive way that every time I try to go cheap I pay double or miss a photo because the equipment somehow malfunctioned. I guess this article highlights an important point. You save $ because you get a 1/4 of the recharge cycles.

"Eneloops are rechargeable up to 2100 times while the new Ikea Ladda only accept up to 500 charges. This may explain the difference in price. Or it may not, as some people who tested the batteries say that they’re rebranded Eneloops Pro. Eneloop Pro batteries have a capacity of 2550mAh, are rechargeable up to 500 times and each pack of 4 costs $36.10."

https://www.provideocoalition.com/ikea-batteries-eneloops-disguise/

Eric Salas's picture

I would never “test” batteries at a wedding. No respectable photographer would test equipment in that environment.

Nick Viton's picture

You're right, let me rephrase so the point isn't missed; LADDAs are every bit as good as Eneloop Pros. They would (and have) performed perfectly at weddings. If I could, I would buy you a set so that you to test freely yourself anywhere and as much you'd like. And just so you know, I'm an Eneloop user too!

Eric Salas's picture

If I hadn’t already invested in the pros I’d be looking around but I bought 24 of those damn things three years ago and haven’t even thought twice about it since.

I’m all about saving money on gear if I can (I shoot all Godox lighting just as an example).

"Eneloops are rechargeable up to 2100 times while the new Ikea Ladda only accept up to 500 charges. This may explain the difference in price. Or it may not, as some people who tested the batteries say that they’re rebranded Eneloops Pro. Eneloop Pro batteries have a capacity of 2550mAh, are rechargeable up to 500 times and each pack of 4 costs $36.10."

https://www.provideocoalition.com/ikea-batteries-eneloops-disguise/

Panasonic Eneloop 2500 mAh - using them for years now, best there is. I have 36 sets for powering my Speedlights, sometimes set-up of 5. After intensive use they will die on you, but that takes years and I use them a lot. I check them regularly with the Ansmann energy checker. Just to cover every eventuality I always carry a few packs of Industrial Duracell alkaline batteries with me. Can't gve you better advice than this :-)

michaeljinphoto's picture

I used to use Eneloop and now I just use AmazonBasics. For most uses, I don't notice enough of a difference to warrant the extra money, but then again I'm not using them for a speedlight so there's that consideration...

Fritz Asuro's picture

IKEA LADDA!

"Eneloops are rechargeable up to 2100 times while the new Ikea Ladda only accept up to 500 charges. This may explain the difference in price. Or it may not, as some people who tested the batteries say that they’re rebranded Eneloops Pro. Eneloop Pro batteries have a capacity of 2550mAh, are rechargeable up to 500 times and each pack of 4 costs $36.10."

https://www.provideocoalition.com/ikea-batteries-eneloops-disguise/

VINICIUS YUZO ZUCARELI's picture

I used to use common Duracell or Sony batteries.

Then I found eneloop. It lasts a lot and circles super fast. Never going back, even though it costs like 4 times more.

Nick Viton's picture

I used to swear by Eneloop and Eneloop Pros. Then I discovered the IKEA Ladda.

Jon The Baptist's picture

WHICH AA IS BEST? LETS FIND OUT!

/shout mode off

I love Project Farm, one of my favorites on youtube

AA's...what are they? All kidding aside, since Godox/Flashpoint and lithium-ion batteries, I almost never use AA's. Well I do use them in my TV remote.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

If you use their triggers you'll always use AA's. :P

Yes, but I find those triggers work best with alkaline AA's. And I use not only the X2 triggers, but the flash itself (860ii on camera) as a trigger.

Jacques Cornell's picture

I use AAs in my Godox TT350s because the low power requirements when using them on-camera for fill or low-ceiling bounce balanced with ambient at high ISOs yields near-instantaneous recycle, so I don't really need the V350's li-ions. My off-camera speed lights (V860IIs), though, used closer to full power to light larger spaces or distant stages, benefit from the recycle and capacity of li-ion.

Rob Mynard's picture

I was under the impression that the Eneloop 2500ma and the Ikea batteries were the same battery (out of the same factory) just packaged differently.

Rob, you are correct. The Eneloop PRO (which wasn't tested here), is the same as the IKEA LADDA battery. Which is why the IKEA rates so very, very well. The Eneloop Pro has a shorter number of lifetime recycles but was designed mainly for flash. It had far better flash recycle times (lower resistance, as shown by the IKEA win in that category). And, of course, it had the higher capacity, which meant that it was less likely to get hot under heavy flash loads.

My own tests on the Eneloop, Eneloop Pro, Amazon Basics, EBL and IKEA LADDA had very similar results as the (much more thorough) testing done in this video.

IKEA LADDA for flash use - identical results to my Eneloop Pro's over the years, it just that (locally) the IKEA LADDA were considerably less expensive. The regular Eneloops performed well, but couldn't compete with the Eneloop Pros. Amazon Basics were very good values, they just couldn't match my Eneloop Pros / IKEA LADDAs for flash use. My EBLs started off somewhat good (but not quite as strong as advertised), but deteriorated in every way, fairly quickly (matching the test results here).

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Was surprised by Duracell, IKEA, and Black Amazon. Not really the brands that come to mind when thinking about rechargeable batteries.

The video and comments mention "Made in Japan"
Well - when I was researching batteries to use - I discovered that there is actually only 1 battery factory in Japan - so they're all made in the same place.
Whether they are the exact same item or seconds / previous year models of more expensive batteries (eneloops) is regularly discussed.

Deleted Account's picture

I tend not to abuse my material if I can help
It.
IKEA cells here for me and a Powerex charger. I had a load of Sanyo Eneloop that lasted about 5 years before giving problems.

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