Do Eneloop batteries need a special charger?

Not really. But it depends on what kind of charger you are talking about. I made a list of some of the best battery chargers for NiMH batteries, and they are great for Panasonic Eneloops as well.

However, not every brand and every charger will do a good job. The charger needs to be a ‘smart charger’ so it knows when to stop charging. Time-based chargers are not recommended at all!

But if you can’t afford a advanced charger like the one linked above, get a good Eneloop charger.

Do Eneloop Lite batteries need a special charger?

They can be charged in your average Eneloop charger unless the charge current is too high.  

I recommend you double-check the charge current of your (Eneloop) charger. For AAA Eneloop Lite, the charge current shouldn’t be higher than 500mA. For AA (Lite), the charge current shouldn’t exceed 1000mA. 

But.

You shouldn’t use these chargers for Eneloops:

Can I use my Duracell/Energeizer charger?

Eneloop batteries can generally be charged with any kind of NiMH battery charger. Duracell, Energizer and no-name. But to keep things simple, you better stay away from these 2 kinds of chargers:

Ultra fast chargers and Dumb chargers.

Ultra Fast chargers use a very high current to charge your batteries. This means that the current will exceed the maximum charge current advised by Panasonic by about 2-3+ times. Check the PDF product sheets for the fast charge currents on the Eneloop lineup page per battery model.

A side effect of charging at a high current is heat. One thing that NiMH LSD batteries in general don`t like is heat. Especially Eneloop PRO cells do not like to be charged hot. This will reduce their life cycle! 2 Examples of the 15-minute chargers which you should be staying away from or only need in a great emergency.

Dumb chargers charge batteries for a set amount of hours. Often they will only charge batteries in pairs. This is not recommended.
Eneloop lite AA have a minimum of 950 mAh, and Eneloop Pro AA have a minimum of 2500 mAh.
Imagine a charger charging at 100mA for 16 hours, this would exceed the capacity of the Eneloop lite. And not enough for filling up an Eneloop Pro. Fortunately, they use a rather low charge current and therefore won`t damage the batteries as much.

Eneloop batteries are one of the best rechargeable batteries in the world.
You can buy them in the following countries:

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