The Best Ways to Recharge Batteries

By Daniel Smith
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An element of going green and saving money is the ability to recharge batteries. If you recharge your batteries carefully, you will extend their life and spend less money for replacements. Many types of equipment and electronics can be powered with rechargeable batteries. Understanding the most-effective ways to recharge batteries will save you time and money and ensure you do not ruin them.

Avoid Overcharging Batteries

One of the best ways to recharge batteries is to do so only until the battery is fully charged. Most battery chargers will have indicator lights that let you know the batteries are ready. Cell phones will often display a "battery charging complete" message to let you know the batteries are fully charged. Remove the batteries from the charger instead of leaving them on for an extended period of time after charging is complete. Overcharging batteries will decrease their life. Plan ahead for an optimum time to charge batteries, and set a timer to remind you to take them off the charger. For example, do not put rechargeable batteries on a charger and then go to bed. The length of time you sleep will probably be much longer than the batteries need for charging.

Use a Smart Charger

A smart charger is a battery recharger that has an artificial brain that recognizes when the battery is full and shuts off the charger. These are excellent if you find yourself forgetting to check for full batteries or needing to be away from the equipment for extended periods of time while charging. Smart chargers are typically a little higher in price, but in the long run you save the life of your batteries and replacement costs.

Use Appropriate Chargers

Use only a battery charger that is specifically made for your type of battery. Many cell phones come with battery chargers that seemingly fit multiple styles of phones, but problems can arise if the cell phone battery types are different. It is best to use the charger that was made specifically for your make and model of phone instead of using a universal one.

Let Batteries Drain

A battery only has a certain amount of life in it. View battery charges like lunch tickets: Each time you charge the battery, you punch the lunch ticket. When the ticket is used up, you have to buy a new one. The same holds true for a battery. If the battery is only one-fourth of the way used, do not recharge it. Wait until the battery is approximately three-quarters or more drained before recharging to ensure you get the maximum number of charges from it.

Nickel Metal Hydride and Temperatures

Charge nickel metal hydride batteries in cool temperatures, because they tend to wear down quickly when they get hot. They are commonly used in laptops, camcorders and many cell phones. Ensure that you not only keep the equipment in cool areas, but you also charge the batteries in cool areas. For example, do not recharge your cell phone in a hot car while you go shopping for an hour. This will damage both the battery and your cell phone.