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The Best C-Size Rechargeable Batteries

by Justin Thomas •

My recommended C-size rechargeable battery is the EBL 5000mAh Ni-MH. These are low-discharge cells and will hold their charge for year or more.

The Details

Rechargeable batteries have made some real improvements in the last five years. Most notably, you can now get rechargeables that don’t go flat after a couple of months! The technology is called “low self-discharge” and means rechargeable batteries can hold 80% of their charge for a year. Low self-discharge batteries (LSD) NiMH cells were first introduced by Sanyo in their Eneloop AA cells in November 2005. Since then, other battery manufacturers have adopted this technology. Then in 2010, companies like Maha started releasing LSD NiMH cells in C and D sizes.

An alkaline C cell is typically rated for about 8000 mAh, but only at a very low current (around 30 mA). When used at a load of 500 mA (such as flashlight), the capacity of an alkaline drops to about half. Overall, there is no difference is power between the alkaline cells and NiMH.

The only advantage of alkaline cells is now just their shelf life (which is about ten years, with minimal self-discharge).

We recommend the EBL 5000mAh Ni-MH rechargeable C-ssize cells, which are available from Amazon. A set of four cells costs around $17.

Comments 18

    1. These are not good batteries, i have bought several packages (16 total batteries) just in case it was a bad set, and NONE provide 5000mAh. They refresh and recharge from 400 to 3800 MaAh. Don’t waste your money!

  1. i have ebl and sunlab c cell rechargeable. they are both disappointing. i had bought enough to be able to swap them out and not wait to recharge the discharged ones. so far i’ve tossed out half of them , because they won’t take a 1st, 2nd, or third charge. i have a highly rated charger that screeches when a battery is no good for charging. unfortunately i didn’t mark each battery each time i charged it, so i can’t give an exact count. ebl did try to help and sent me a few replacements, but that doesn’t come close to the losses. i need to try different manufacturers.

  2. i need help in buying c cell rechargable batteries and a recharger to go with it. i also need to ask a couple of questions about the charger. PLEASE I NEED A PHONE NUMBER TO CALL YOU WITH THESE QUESTIONS.

  3. I have a Meccano, if you are going to do this, you will need to create a custom case to house 5 batteries. Since they are 1.2 v each, Meccano is expecting to get 6 volts but when he actually gets 4.8 volts he doesn’t wake up. A fifth battery will put you at exactly the needed 6 volts and you should get excellent results. I know this because we have one too, and you are right – it chews up and spits out C cells faster than I can work to save up for them. THey don’t tell you that beforehand, do they?

    I have EBL batteries, I don’t know about these SunLabs or this site. It looks like they use metadata to try and create a recommendation site. You might want to check out candlepower forums or some of the other flashlight enthusiast forums for good info on well-tested batteries.

    The EBL’s I am using seem ok, but I have no idea if they are great or not. Right now we are using them in LED candles (lOL) since I haven’t gotten around to wiring up a 5 battery version of the Meccano power pack.

  4. awesome site! can I request that all blogs or articles include at the top or bottom the date written? that would help clarify & protect you and inform the reader

    id love to see all the info you cover on the various pages and comments here and there- all in one table with your blurbs (brilliant) like the myth busting above on memory

    thank you very much for helping sift through the marketing

  5. I work in logistics at my county fire department. We go through a slew of one-time use ‘c’ cell batteries that power the air packs our fire fighters use when fighting fires. The cost is staggering. Would these rechargeable batteries serve our needs and cut down on cost? Also how many times can they be recharged and still work efficiently?

  6. I have bought a Meccano robot for my son, and went through the traditional batteries in less than a week.
    Now looking for a long term solution for 4 “C” batteries.

    I see on Amazon the Sunlabz Ultra-Efficient NiCd 3000mAh
    http://www.amazon.com/SunLabz%C2%AE-Rechargeable-Batteries-Ultra-Efficient-3000mAh/dp/B00SJBODVE/ref=sr_1_15?srs=9543893011&ie=UTF8&qid=1448335852&sr=8-15

    and more expensive

    Sunlabz Highest Performance NiMH 10000mAh
    http://www.amazon.com/SunLabz%C2%AE-Rechargeable-Batteries-Performance-10000mAh/dp/B00SK6TFOI/ref=sr_1_14?srs=9543893011&ie=UTF8&qid=1448336265&sr=8-14

    can I get away with the cheaper sunlabz for this purpose?

    1. These are very old technology (NICD batteries) — they have low capacity, the memory effect, and are bad for the environment as they contain toxic cadmium metals. F

      From the Battery University:

      During the nickel-cadmium years in the 1970s and 1980s, most battery ills were blamed on “memory.” Memory is derived from “cyclic memory,” meaning that a nickel-cadmium battery could remember how much energy was drawn on previous discharges and would not deliver more than was demanded before. On a discharge beyond regular duty, the voltage would abruptly drop as if to rebel against pending overtime. Improvements in battery technology have virtually eliminated the phenomenon of cycling memory.

      The modern nickel-cadmium battery is no longer affected by cyclic memory but suffers from crystalline formation.The active cadmium material is applied on the negative electrode plate, and with incorrect use a crystalline formation occurs that reduces the surface area of the active material. This lowers battery performance. In advanced stages, the sharp edges of the forming crystals can penetrate the separator, causing high self-discharge that can lead to an electrical short. The term “memory” on the modern NiCd refers to crystalline formation rather than the cycling memory of old.

      I’d stick with the NiHM Batteries.

  7. The AccuEvolution C cells are not for sale on amazon anymore.

    The SunLabz C Rechargeable Batteries NiMH 5000mAh are on amazon.

    What are your thoughts on those?
    Thanks.

    1. The SunLabz cells get great reviews on Amazon and 5000mAh is an improvement on the capacity of the AccuEvolution cells.

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