Does NiZn Really Outperform NiMH Rechargeable Batteries?

PowerGenix NiZn Rechargeable Batteries

PowerGenix NiZn Rechargeable Batteries

NiZn rechargeable batteries claim to have higher capacity and longer life than NiMH rechargeable batteries. But for the extra cost, are they really worth it?

If you’re a digital camera, gadget, or electronics enthusiast, then you know that the rechargeable battery market never stands still — there is always a new kind of battery technology seeking to replace the status quo. For years, NiCd dominated the rechargeable battery landscape, until NiMH offered a higher quality, more eco-friendly replacement. And for quite a long time, NiMH has remained the standard for most consumer-based rechargeable batteries. Even many hybrid automobiles use NiMH rechargeable batteries.

In recent years, however, LiON batteries have come into vogue, particularly for high-profile gadgets like SLR digital cameras, some of which take AA batteries instead of digital camera battery packs. AA LiON batteries, however, are often not offered as rechargeable, meaning that camera hobbyistys and professionals alike run into the age-old problem of constantly having to invest in disposable batteries again, or otherwise using NiMH rechargeable batters for cameras that call for LiON.

A new kind of rechargeable battery technology, however — NiZn — has sought to replace NiMH rechargeable batteries as the next step toward the output of LiON. PowerGenix has come out with the first mainstream NiZn rechargeable batteries and battery charger, claiming big claims against standard NiMH rechargeable batteries. According to Steve’s Digicams, a reliable website on battery technology, “Their unique NiZn (Nickel-Zinc) batteries offer better voltage output when compared to NiMH rechargeable cells at about 1.6 volts (NiMH average around 1.2V). This means NiZn cells can deliver more than 0.4V of additional voltage (about 30% more than NiMH), whether at open circuit or under load.” As a result, PowerGenix says that you get higher power density in a smaller, lower-cost package, and in the end, they outperform NiMH rechargeable batteries.

But is this really the case?

Sanyo Eneloop AA AAA Ni-MH Battery Charger

Sanyo Eneloop AA AAA Ni-MH Battery Charger

Rechargeable battery gurus have begun to test these battery technologies side by side, and they are finding that their overall performances are quite similar. A recent test involved comparing fully charged PowerGenix head-to-head against some Rayovac NiMH rechargeable batteries. The tester noted that “The Power Genix are rated at 2500 mwh since wattage is a power reading. If you consider the Rayovacs are 1.2 volts and multiply that by their rated 2100 mah you arrive at 2550 mwh. Meaning they should be roughly equivalent.” So, given the fact that they share similar mAh, how did they perform?

Using a flashlight, the tester was able to get 97 minutes of of full brightness light from the flashlight before fading from the PowerGenix, whereas the Rayovacs provided 87 minutes. A 10-minute difference is nominal.

From a price standpoint, PowerGenix seems to be priced similarly between generic brand rechargeable batteries like Vapex and premium brands like Sanyo Eneloop. From what we can see thus far, PowerGenix’s NiZn rechargeable batteries really don’t live up to the hype, and offer little performance upgrades to your own trust NiMH rechargeable batteries.

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3 Responses to “Does NiZn Really Outperform NiMH Rechargeable Batteries?”

  1. 1 Ben Balzer Aug 9th, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Not fair! There is a big difference between 1.2V and 1.6V on a flashlight bulb. There is a massive difference in brightness. In the medical profession we often use incandescent bulbs, for ear nose throat instruments. It is not possible to use 1.2V because they are too dull and you won’t get an accurate view- you feel like you are working in the dark. If you multiply the extra minutes and the extra voltage, you get a 50% superior result with NiZn.

    Don’t forget that many products have battery packs that take 4 disposable 1.5V batteries are 5 rechargeable 1.2V. Both give 6V. NiMH and lithium can only give 1.2V due to the laws of chemistry.

  2. 2 Peter Long Nov 12th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    RE Article: Does NiZn Really Outperform NiMH Rechargeable Batteries?

    I have only just “discovered” these batteries and have yet to try them out! I was drawn to them as they may well overcome an issue that is inherit with the rechargeable cells out there which have a nominal 1.2 voltage ! Many cameras (and some other”smart”devices)that use replaceable cells have a cutout voltage which shuts the device down when the voltage reaches a certain point and this is often set at around 1.2v -1.3v for use with non-rechargeable cells. So the problem is that most rechargeable cells are already at the cutout voltage that the device will turn off at. This of course will vary with battery construction and the load that the battery is under but generally between 1.2 and 1.3 volts and your battery has reached the bottom of its useful discharge capacity. So you chuck a fully charged battery into a smart device like a camera and it works for a bit and then the device shuts down because it thinks that the battery is flat but in reality it is not. This of coarse is not a problem for devices like flash lights etc. With NiZn cells the voltage is somewhat higher and the device “thinks that the cell is fully charged and does not prematurely shut down.
    your thoughts?

    Peter Long

  3. 3 D morgan Dec 7th, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    But some devices need the extra volts I have a camera that reject the substandard 1.2v Nimh’s , which are not an acceptable replacement for alkalines 1.5v, especially on some cameras, nizn can fill this gap where products designed for 1.5v battery’s reject Nimh’s.

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