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Gear & Apps

Powerex Pro AA Batteries Vs. Eneloop | A Practical Review For Photographers

By Justin Heyes on January 24th 2018

Becoming better and less expensive in the last several years, Rechargeable batteries have paralleled the development of the electronics that they power. With many gadgets on the market today you hardly see a battery as many times it is sealed behind a mixture of glass, aluminum, and screws.

The only time, it seems, that batteries come to the forefront is when they don’t behave properly or are dead. The ubiquitous nature of rechargeable batteries has almost made them an afterthought.

Maha has made batteries under the Powerex brand for years now. The company’s Imedion batteries have been raved in in the past for being a great mix of performance to value.  As technologies and terminologies changed, so have Powerex. The ‘Powerex Pre-charged’ and ‘Powerex Pro’ lines happen to be the latest development from Maha.

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With a 2700 mAh AA capacity and an ability to hold a charge up to 75% for one year of storage, Powerex Pro batteries seem perfect for photographers who are need of long-lasting dependable power for devices without a built-in Li-ion battery.

Performance

Let’s be pragmatic, the traditional review method doesn’t fit for rechargeable batteries, as ‘usage may vary’. So, I was in a bit of dilemma when I was handed a collection of Maha Powerex Pro AA rechargeable batteries and how to approach ‘reviewing’ them.

Regarding practical high-drain uses, most photographers will use AA for their collection of speedlights and radio triggers, so those were the focus of testing. The test consisted of a set of Powerex Pro AA batteries against Eneloop AA in a Flashpoint R2 Manual Flash (Godox TT600), as well as, the Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 TTL (Godox V860II-N) with, I might add, interesting results.

Batteries Tested:

Each set of AAs were cycled twice and charged with the Powerex MH-C801D 8-Cell Charger, then left sitting for a week. The Godox V860II-N was charged to full and left to sit. Letting the batteries sit gave them time to cool and to reflect real-world use. Each flash was fired at full power with the test button in rapid succession and waited for the flash to recycle.

The Maha MH-C801D charger was used because it has the ability to restore batteries to their optimal performance level by repeatedly charging and discharging them. (Also, it has intelligent charging technology and overcharge protection.)

In the test, the Eneloops were the worst performer taking 2.9 seconds to recycle to full power after 20 full power flashes, the Godox V860II-N took almost two seconds to full recycle, while the Powerex recycled as if only one flash was fired, coming in at 0.9 seconds. It is interesting to note that the Eneloop AA test batteries were very hot to the touch after testing, while the Powerex Pro test batteries held ther cool.

For a low-drain test, I placed each AA battery in a LED Flashlight and timed how long it took until no light was emitted. Both the Eneloop and the Powerex Pros lasted a little over 2 hours and 10 minutes. The Powerex Pro did last a few minutes longer, but that should be expected to its slightly bigger capacity.

Conclusion

Powerex Pro Rechargeable AA Ni-MH Batteries are built for performance and optimized for high drain devices, provide increased runtime, and have improved low-temperature performance down to -4°F (-20°C).

At a typical 10-hour wedding I would go through multiple sets of similar Eneloops. The cells would overheat from use and I would receive overheating warnings on my flashes. After using the Powerex Pro AAs exclusively for a wedding season, it is difficult to return to AAs that have changed manufactures more than Rihanna has had albums (Eneloop). Highly recommend.

You can pick Powerex Pro AA batteries in either a 4- or 8-pack from B&H and if you don’t have a smart charger the Powerex MH-C801D 8-Cell Charger is definitely worth a look as well.

*All Product Images were made using Powerex Batteries
About

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Charles Henderson

    Sadly, I’m another who was initially very interested in this AA battery comparison until I saw you’d used the standard white Eneloop batteries.

    I’m a current Eneloop Pro user and find them very good, but they are getting old now and I’m in the market for refreshing them. I’d previously heard that Powerex Pro are very good. I was glad to see the inclusion of the li-ion battery in the comparison.

    As a person who has tried both Pro and non-Pro versions of Eneloop, there definitely is a big performance difference between the two.

    Sadly, in my opinion, this review misses out on a great opportunity to provide real insight to the different battery brands – currently there is a lot of personal conjecture but little (to none) real evidence/testing comparing the brands. 

    Please, please repeat, but use black Eneloop Pro batteries instead of the standard white Eneloops.

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  2. Alain Cognito

    OMG Justin… This is biaise …

    Powerex pro : 2700mAh
    eneloop Standard : 1900mAh

    Hello, this is earth for a reality check !

    Not only you don’t compare the same products… But you don’t even see the real information here…

     with 1900mAh the eneloop are compeeting with the Powerex pro …
    131min vs 137 min ! ( From your OWN testings )

    So with +-40% difference the eneloop is only performing  4% less than the Powerex Pro… That means… A smaller Battery is better than the Powerex… Ipso Facto : the Powerex pro is no good …  

    “In the test, the Eneloops were the worst performer taking 2.9 seconds to recycle to full power after 20 full power flashes”
    -> No wayyyyy…. at 1900mAh vs 2700mAh !!! what a discovery !

    This is a sponsored Artcile… There is no way to go that far from reality ?!

    If you have a sense of professionalism please compare real products together and stop providing false info and PLEASE : UPDATE your Article ! … As a Photographer this is the most anoying things I can see online. As worst as people telling to use Alkaline batteries in Cobra Flashes because rech batteries are “not worth it”

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  3. Adrian Gojan

    Powerex is no good. Eneloop its ok,

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  4. lee christiansen

    Another important consideration are the amount of recycles these batteries will allow before performance starts to fall off.  (ie what is the life cycle of the battery). 

    White Eneloops have a much higher recycle count than the Eneloop Pros, and I’d suspect more than the Powerex Pros.

    I too would have like to have seen a comparison with the Eneloop Pros.

    The faster recycle time of the Powerex was impressive and given that I often use my speedlights at lower powers when shooting events at ISO 1600/3200 , I wonder if they’d keep up with a 3fps burst shooting rate?

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  5. Nick Viton

    “Similar Eneloops” would be the Eneloop Pro.

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  6. Vangelis Medina

    Ok, try eneloop pro for a fair comparison.

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  7. Rodney Turner

    Great review. The Maya charger has revitalized my Eneloop batteries plus it has other great features.  Have you tried the Eneloop Pro series?

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