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I can’t emphasize how much easier it will be to get through a disaster if you have plenty of rechargeable batteries and a solar-powered battery charger. You’ll be able to power lights, radios, fans, games, clocks, alarm systems, and all sorts of things that will make your life far easier. You might be thinking, “I already have extra batteries,” but what if the power goes out for several weeks or longer? What will you do when you run out of batteries? And are expensive rechargeable batteries worth it, or should you just buy more regular batteries? Let’s take a look.
Let’s say you bought a 20-pack of AA Duracell or Energizer batteries for about $15. That’s $0.75 a battery. Instead you could buy some high-quality rechargeable batteries like Sanyo 1500 Eneloop batteries. Those are about $2.30 per AA battery. It seems like a lot, especially when you’re buying a pack of 20 for nearly $60, but those batteries can be recharged 1500 times. When you consider that, it’s like buying 1500 packs of batteries for just a few bucks more! This is why I think it’s important not to worry too much about the price of rechargeable batteries because even the most expensive ones are worth it.
You could save a little money by getting some generic rechargeable batteries from Walmart or somewhere, but a word of warning: I did exactly this and the batteries tended to lose their charge after only a week or two. They worked, but I had to put new batteries in the charger every time I needed new batteries. And when the SHTF, you don’t want to have to wait 4-6 hours for batteries. Check out the rechargeable batteries on Amazon.com and pay close attention to the ratings. Also pay attention to the number of charges. The Sanyo Eneloop batteries I mentioned have up to 1500 charges whereas most rechargeable batteries can only be recharged a few hundred times.
You’ll also want to get a battery charger, but make sure it’s a solar battery charger. I have one that charges AA, AAA, C and D batteries (pictured above) and I’m very happy with it. The only downside to solar battery chargers is they don’t work as well when it’s overcast. For situations like this you’ll want to have a hand crank radio and some hand crank flashlights.
It’s a good idea to look over all your battery-powered survival gear and make a list of the types and number of batteries you’d need to keep everything running, then buy double that number. That way as soon as some batteries die you’ll have backups ready. It feels more expensive than buying regular batteries, but in the long run you’ll save hundreds of dollars.