At just $9.99 for 8 pieces, BTY AA rechargeable batteries seem like the best buy in the battery world. But a preponderance of test and reviews reveal that don’t even hold 10% of their capacity after just 2 or 3 charges.
When it comes to finding the best deal on rechargeable batteries, many consumers look for the highest capacity (mAh) they can get at the lowest price. And at first, that would appear to be a smart way of shopping. The only problem, however, is that what a rechargeable battery brand prints as the capacity on their batteries and what they actually offer users are often two completely different things.
We recently took a look at the UltraFire brand of rechargeable batteries, which actually have been known to catch fire while in use or being charged. Today, we’re looking at some of the data, testing, and reviews of the BTY brand of rechargeable batteries.
BTY is a popular brand of cheap-o rechargeable batteries on sites like eBay, where you can easily find a set of 8 AAs with a promised capacity of 2500 mAh, for only $9.99. If you’re going to trust the packaging, then this would quite literally be the best deal in all of rechargeable batteries — 2500 mAh is a high-capacity AA battery, and a $9.99 price tag means that you’re paying a little over $1 per battery.
However, in my wide sweep of reviews for BTY, I have yet to come upon a single test or review that indicates these batteries even come close to the capacity they promise for the money.
Take, for example, this thoughtful eBay review of a set of BTY AAA rechargeables, rated at a very high 1000 mAh. The reviewer explains that:
I was in a hurry and ordered twelve cheap AAA batteries, rated 1000mAh, without checking for reviews and was really unhappy, when I found out after a week or so that those batteries are fake. They are branded “BTY” and came from Hong Kong. After few days of trying to ‘revive’ them using my PowerEx Maha MH-C9000 Charger/Analyzer, the maximum capacity reported was 190mAh which is more than five times less than the promised 1000mAh!
To be sure, it’s always possible that the reviewer simply got a bad batch of these batteries. However, there are other reviews of BTY rechargeable batteries that corroborate this review. Take a look at this video review, which plainly shows the reviewer unpackaging a brand new set of BTY AA rechargeable batteries rated at a heavy-duty 3000 mAh — which is higher than Vapex’s 2900 mAh AA rechargeable batteries that are value-priced at AUD$14.99 for a 4-pack, or Sanyo Eneloop’s premium 2000 mAh AA rechargeable batteries priced at AUD$21.99 a 4-pack.
However, what you see isn’t what you get:
The reviewer goes on to explain that “After three cycles charge/discharge (200mA/100mA) with charger LA CROSSE BC-700, actual capacity averaged – 210 mAh.”
No, he didn’t forget a zero — that’s 210 mAh. Just to give you an idea of how bad that really is, Ansmann’s 4-pack of AA NiMH rechargeable batteries for garden solar lights rate at 800 mAh each.
The evidence against BTY isn’t only on discussion boards and YouTube however. There’s a great blog post on Dan’s Data that takes apart BTY — both figuratively and literally. In Dan’s review of twelve 2500 mAh BTY AA rechargeable batteries, his findings were interestingly similar:
I didn’t, to be fair, actually expect these AAs to really have a capacity of 2500 milliamp-hours . . . These BTY cells were much worse than I expected, though. I knew something was up as soon as I opened the package; the BTY cells are way too light. They weigh about 18 grams each, versus 29 grams for an old Sanyo 2500mAh cell, and 30 grams for a Sanyo Eneloop LSD AA. They’re substantially lighter than the old worn-out 1650mAh off-brand cells still mouldering in the bottom of my Battery Drawer. My Maha C-808M charger (yours, Australian shoppers, for $AU183.15 delivered from Servaas Products) didn’t like the look of the BTYs, either. It did charge them, but flashed its “battery fault” error at the end, possibly because the charge cycle was over so quickly.
Dan suspects that BTYs might not even be NiMH, but rather the kind of cheap NiCDs that can be had today for pennies on the dollar.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for with rechargeable batteries. Whilst Sanyo Eneloops may not sport the “3000+ mAh” that BTYs do, the fact is, Eneloops will actually deliver close to the mAh that they promise — and for a heck of a lot longer than 2 or 3 charging cycles. If you’re serious about your electronics, don’t trust them to cheap, flaccid rechargeable battery brands like BTY.
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