The Best C-Size Rechargeable Batteries Of 2015


In A Nutshell

Currently, the best rechargeable C-size batteries are made by SunLabz. These batteries are low self-discharge NiMH (Nickel Metal-Hydride) cells, and they have a high capacity of 5000 mAhs (milliamp hours).

The Details

Rechargeable batteries have made some real improvements in the last five years. Most notably, you can now get rechargeables that don’t go flat after a couple of months! The technology is called “low self-discharge” and means rechargeable batteries can hold 80% of their charge for a year. Low self-discharge batteries (LSD) NiMH cells were first introduced by Sanyo in their Eneloop AA cells in November 2005. Since then, other battery manufacturers have adopted this technology. Then in 2010, companies like Maha started releasing LSD NiMH cells in C and D sizes.

An alkaline C cell is typically rated for about 8000 mAh, but only at a very low current (around 30 mA). When used at a load of 500 mA (such as flashlight), the capacity of an alkaline drops to about half. Basically, the advantage that alkaline cells have over NiHM cells, is that they have a shelf life of about 10 years, with minimal self-discharge.

We recommend the SunLabz cells, which are available from Amazon. A set of four cells costs around $17.

Comments 5

  1. Leonard Chenette

    I work in logistics at my county fire department. We go through a slew of one-time use ‘c’ cell batteries that power the air packs our fire fighters use when fighting fires. The cost is staggering. Would these rechargeable batteries serve our needs and cut down on cost? Also how many times can they be recharged and still work efficiently?

  2. JT

    I have bought a Meccano robot for my son, and went through the traditional batteries in less than a week.
    Now looking for a long term solution for 4 “C” batteries.

    I see on Amazon the Sunlabz Ultra-Efficient NiCd 3000mAh

    and more expensive

    Sunlabz Highest Performance NiMH 10000mAh

    can I get away with the cheaper sunlabz for this purpose?

    1. web master

      These are very old technology (NICD batteries) — they have low capacity, the memory effect, and are bad for the environment as they contain toxic cadmium metals. F

      From the Battery University:

      During the nickel-cadmium years in the 1970s and 1980s, most battery ills were blamed on “memory.” Memory is derived from “cyclic memory,” meaning that a nickel-cadmium battery could remember how much energy was drawn on previous discharges and would not deliver more than was demanded before. On a discharge beyond regular duty, the voltage would abruptly drop as if to rebel against pending overtime. Improvements in battery technology have virtually eliminated the phenomenon of cycling memory.

      The modern nickel-cadmium battery is no longer affected by cyclic memory but suffers from crystalline formation.The active cadmium material is applied on the negative electrode plate, and with incorrect use a crystalline formation occurs that reduces the surface area of the active material. This lowers battery performance. In advanced stages, the sharp edges of the forming crystals can penetrate the separator, causing high self-discharge that can lead to an electrical short. The term “memory” on the modern NiCd refers to crystalline formation rather than the cycling memory of old.

      I’d stick with the NiHM Batteries.

  3. Mac

    The AccuEvolution C cells are not for sale on amazon anymore.

    The SunLabz C Rechargeable Batteries NiMH 5000mAh are on amazon.

    What are your thoughts on those?

    1. web master

      The SunLabz cells get great reviews on Amazon and 5000mAh is an improvement on the capacity of the AccuEvolution cells.

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