Space Saving Packing Tip : Choosing A Battery Charger

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24/02/2009 – Space Saving Packing Tip : Choosing A Battery Charger

All “AA” battery chargers are created equal, right?  Well no, not really. Some chargers are slow, some are fast, most charging units are about the same size…however some are considerably easier to pack due to the size of their power supply.

I know what you are thinking,†Who checks out the type of power supply a “AA” battery charger uses?”  Just as you might suspect, I check out the type of power supply that is used!

For my home chargers I don’t really pay much attention to size, after all at home I have more space than in my baggage.  For any battery charger that goes on the road, I strictly adhere to my persistence in investigating the total size of the unit.   My obsessions with maximizing my space when I travel even lead me to change the camera bodies I primarily used from Canon 1D bodies to a Canon 5D/20D combo. You can see the vast size difference in the Canon 1D battery charger and the 5D battery charger in this post : 24/03/08 – Choosing Your Camera Equipment – What You Want vs. What You Need (Practicing What I Preach)

At home I use an Energizer 15-minute battery charger for convenience. These chargers allow me to quickly charge my batteries, repack then and get on to doing something else.  The problem with packing the Energizer 15-minute battery charger is that the power supply for the unit is nearly as big as the unit!

On the road I choose to use the PowerEx  1-hour Worldwide Travel Conditioning Charger. The PowerEx charger is not only fairly quick, with a 1hr charge; light weight, weighing only 4oz; but it is also extremely compact when you factor that its power supply is a ‘straight’ cord, no ‘box on the end. In fact the cord that the PowerEx charger uses is the same cord used for many camera battery chargers, my printer, the Apple Airport Express and countless other items. Since I rarely run my “AA” batteries down to much, I can generally charge a set of 4 batteries in 1-hour while sitting on the floor waiting for my next flight (totally dead “AA” batteries take about 2 hours with this charger)

The sheer difference in power supplies saves nearly 50% of the battery charger packing space, which is well worth the extra 45-min it takes to charge a set of “AA” batteries on the road.

Below is a photo of my Energizer charger side-by-side with the PowerEx charger.  It is clear to see the significant overall size difference between the two units.

Happy Flying!
–Click Image Below To Enlarge–
a battery charger and power cord


  1. It’s also worth noting the 15-min charger reduces the amount of recycles a NiMH battery will have in its liftetime.

  2. Collins,

    Given that I am not a heavy flash user and replace my batteries on a semi-schedule, the use of a 15-minute charger makes my life easier without a significant impact on the overall lifespan of my rechargeable batteries.

    This is simply knowing my equipment and how I use it. It is always important that every photography know their equipment and how to best make it work for them.

    Happy Flying!


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