Cheap rechargeable batteries continue to put better brands out of business. But ultra-cheap brands like UltraFire rechargeable batteries also fail to deliver on battery capacity and even risk fire and explosion!
It’s really a shame how, in an effort to make rechargeable batteries as inexpensive to the consumer as possible, reliable generic battery brands (and their retailers) have been put out of business by companies like UltraFire. Sure, UltraFire’s rechargeable batteries run upwards of 50% less than their competitors, but the question is: are the savings really worth it?
For most serious rechargeable battery users, premium brands like Sanyo Eneloop or Powerex are the only choice? But for the rest of the rechargeable battery market, solid brands like Vapex and Ansmann find it difficult to compete against the likes of UltraFire.
But before you go investing in UltraFire rechargeable batteries, you should know that many report that they seldom live up to their promises in terms of battery capacity — and occasionally they do live up their name, and actually catch fire!
I first came upon the UltraFire brand on the Dangerous Prototypes blog, which, after tricking out a £1 Lithium Ion battery charger, mentioned this in passing: “We picked up some UltraFire brand Li Ion batteries in China. Seems like a poor name for a product that does have some reputation for sudden and intense explosions.”
Who says there’s no such thing as rechargeable battery irony.
If you read through the comments on that blog post, you’ll find plenty of supporting perspectives that UltraFire rechargeable batteries are indeed volatile.
But if that report is too bombastic for you, there are plenty of other product reviews around the net that indicate that UltraFires do not live up to their billing as far as capacity is concerned. At BudgetLightForums, their review of UltraLight’s 4000 mAh AA rechargeable batteries revealed that the actual capacity is only 2600 mAh. Their summary is as follows: This battery state 4000mAh on the cell, but at the current time the maximum possible is 3100mAh, i.e. something is wrong. The specification does list a lower capacity (2600mAh), but even that is too high, as can be seen. The internal resistance is also high for a 18650 battery, this makes them unsuitable for high loads.”
I found a similar forum thread at CPFMarketplace.com, which presented some correspondence between disgruntled UltraFire customers and retailers, indicating that the mAh just doesn’t add up.
Look: if you’re dead set on saving money on rechargeable batteries, go with a brand like Vapex or Ansmann. Yes, they cost more — but at least you know that the mAh on the packaging is what you’ll actually get — and that they are not likely to explode!
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