How to Obtain the Best Battery Life with Rechargeable Batteries

Managing all those rechargeable batteries can be a hassle, but this tip can help

You now officially have 4,372 things with Li-On or NiMH batteries that need recharging, and keeping on top of those batteries is a hassle. What’s more, how you charge and discharge those batteries greatly influences their life. Although most chargers are smart and will turn off when a battery is fully charged, there have been battery recalls due to overheating and even explosions. So, it’s not always recommended to keep something plugged in all the time…but (aside from nickel-cadmium batteries) you also don’t want to run rechargeable batteries all the way down and then charge them all the way up; what makes batteries happiest is small discharges followed by small charges.

To deal with this, I’ve created a “charging station” that cascades several AC barrier strips to provide outlets for all my devices that need recharging. You usually can’t fit too many transformers on a strip, but short extension cords (as shown above) can solve that problem.

The charging station’s default is “off.” When I take an item from it, after replacing it I turn the barrier strips on and charge everything for a while. This restores the charge on batteries that have lost some of their charge while unused. If I use a device while it’s plugged in (e.g., a Bluetooth speaker or whatever), then I also turn on the barrier strips. This way devices don’t discharge too far before getting charged up again, and they’re not left on all the time – the best of both worlds to extend battery life.