When was the last time you checked the batteries in your flashlight? Your radio? How about the battery in your smoke detector? My plan is to share this article once a month, as a reminder, to get you to start considering batteries as essential gear. This will be the time to check your flashlights, radios, clocks, and other gadgets. Get a basic battery tester like this one: Battery Tester


Let’s talk briefly about battery types. This is from my article, “Flashlights and Other Bright Ideas

There, I said it. Hope you recover from the shock. Now listen up, Sparky. Everything you thought you knew about rechargeable batteries is old news (most likely). The new Li-ion (Lithium ion), Li-Po (Lithium Polymer), and Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries available today are really amazing. They offer faster charging times, better storage life, and more charge cycles (how many times you can recharge the battery) than ever before. The Sanyo Eneloop batteries are wonderful. Look at some of the chargers from Olight, Nitecore, and XTAR. They charge a wide variety of batteries and do everything automagically! Some can also charge different types and sizes simultaneously. There are even some CHARGERS that will recharge standard alkaline batteries! Now brace yourself, I’m about to geek out for a second. This is where cool batteries and awesome flashlights meet. If you want maximum brightness and runtime from your new flashlights, look for ones that will run on both traditional batteries (AA,AAA, CR123) and the new higher voltage Li-ion rechargeable. Normal alkaline batteries are usually 1.5 volt, some rechargeable  batteries are 1.5 volt or 1.2 volt. Here is the cool part. A 14500 Li-ion is usually 3.7 volt and the same size as a AA. A 10440 Li-ion is also 3.7 volt and AAA sized. Look for flashlights that will use either and you have a win/win situation. This allows you to have more voltage from a single battery than a pair of normal 1.5v batteries. This can give you a brighter light, more runtime, a more compact light, or a combination.  You can pick up some Li-ions for daily use. You will have a much brighter light and usually longer run time and still have the ability to use alkaline batteries in a pinch. My one bit of advice from the “done it the wrong way” files… Look for Li-ion batteries marketed as “Protected”. That means they have a little circuit that shuts them off if you drain them down too low. You know, like when you accidentally turn your EDC light on in your pocket. This can damage the battery and destroy its longevity. Buy “Protected” batteries and quit worrying. 

Here are some battery care tips from Duracell:

Use the correct size and type of battery specified by the manufacturer of your device.

Keep battery contact surfaces and battery compartment contacts clean by rubbing them with a clean pencil eraser or a rough cloth each time you replace batteries.

Remove batteries from a device when it is not expected to be in use for several months.

Remove batteries from equipment while it is being powered by household (AC) current.

Make sure that you insert batteries into your device properly, with the + (plus) and – (minus) terminals aligned correctly. CAUTION: Some equipment using more than three batteries may appear to work properly even if one battery is inserted incorrectly.

Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Do not refrigerate Duracell batteries; this will not make them last longer.

Extreme temperatures reduce battery performance. Avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places.

Do not attempt to recharge a battery unless the battery specifically is marked “rechargeable.”

Some dead batteries and batteries that are exposed to extremely high temperatures may leak. A crystalline structure may begin to form on the outside of the battery.

So, are you going to go check your batteries?

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