“Damn, the RC car’s battery ran out of juice, AGAIN!”. Chances are that you’ve uttered these words at least once in your life.
Well, you’re neither alone nor delusional if you’ve ever questioned your battery’s performance. Even though batteries are inanimate objects, they do have a lifespan. Much like our mortal selves, a battery’s performance also declines with age.
So, how do you choose your closest substitute for an “evergreen” battery? That’s where we come in. Our post on the best NiMH RC batteries should help choose the perfect one.
Believe me, this post is the accumulation of a lot of sleepless nights. But you know what they say, no pain no gain! To make your life easier we’ve shortlisted our RC batteries to our top 5 picks.
We’ve even added a buying guide for RC batteries for your convenience. This will educate you on the know-hows for RC batteries.
Now, if you are ready we can get things started-
The first on our list is Tenergy’s 10-Cell 12V Battery Pack. This specific pack is one of the best in the market.
Why wouldn’t it be? It has the highest voltage setting of the bunch, clocking in at 12V. This makes it the most powerful of the bunch.
Here, this pack is made of 10 AA batteries each with 1.2 V. So, yeah, these NiMH provide peak battery performance that lasts for a long time.
However, it doesn’t have the highest battery capacity. It has a capacity of 2000 mAh, meaning its maximum discharge rate is limited to 2000 mA. Even then, it is one of the top contenders because of its other attributes.
Speaking of attributes, it has a guaranteed cell cycle for 300 cycles, which is a lot considering its 2000 mAh rating. And, it’s compatible with Tenergy’s 6-12V or 7-12V charges which have a fast charging option.
Even then, it’s recommended you use a charging rate of 1A to maintain decent battery life.
Besides, the Tenergy 12V NiMH battery has no memory effect. In simpler words, this means it’ll keep its max battery capacity of 2000 mAh. Despite charging and discharging several times.
On the other hand, its connector is a bare lead-type connector. This means it can be added directly or be used with adaptors of any kind to form a connection.
This is probably why this battery pack is the most versatile of the bunch. It supports a wide range of products, from Medical supplies to LED light kits. Not to mention its primary function of powering RC Cars and RC boats and other DIY projects.
- The versatile battery can be used for multiple products
- Ensures a lower energy loss
- Great battery life
- Bare-Lead connector’s extensions have to be bought separately
The next one on our list is the 8.4V 7-Cell Hump Pack from Venom Power. This brand is among the most distinguishable ones in the RC battery market.
Over the years they’ve produced excellent heavy-duty and durable batteries. The 7-Cell Hump Pack is right around that ballpark. So what made this battery a worthy addition to our list?
The Venom power has the second-highest mAh rating of 3000 and a pretty decent voltage rating too. This makes it a tough battery to beat.
However, it’s on the heavier side of batteries as it weighs around 12 ounces. As for its wire properties, it’s mainly silicone-based. Also, its 12 AWG silicone wire leads enable it to have high flexibility and low resistance.
Its 7 A-grade batteries can supply 3 Amps per hour after a full charge. And, it even has a cell cycle above 700 and below 1000 cycles, given its 3000 mAh rating.
One of the key features of this battery is that it comes with 3 plug adapters. These fit a wide range of plugs. It even provides a lot of options! The Venom UNI 2.0 land plug system is compatible with Traxxas, XT60, EC3, and Deans plugs.
- Has a well balanced and consistent runtime
- It’s easier to connect UNI plugs
- Has extreme durability
- Won’t swell or leak
- Doesn’t charge well with Traxxas plugs
This battery pack came in third in our list of the ultimate RC batteries. The Powerextra 7.2 V battery has the highest mAh rating of 3600.
Let’s take a look at the spec sheet-
It has a 3600 mAh rating meaning that it can supply 3.6 Amps of constant current for an hour. This is the highest level of power supply on our list. And, it’ll allow it to have high racing performance due to its high battery capacity.
Like the Tenergy 12V battery pack, this one also has no memory loss effect. This means it will not lose its initial capacity through discharging and charging.
Other than that, its 7.2 V battery comes with a standard Tamiya connector with a 16 AWG silicone wire. This makes the connecting cable more flexible than the Venom 12 AWG line.
Also, this battery has a standard fit with a lot of RC devices. These include standard 7.2 V RC Boats, Cars, Trucks, Airplanes, and Helicopters.
However, this pack is the heaviest of the 5. An added weight may lead to higher stress in the battery’s performance, which in turn increases the charge-drain rate. This means the battery will have a shorter lifespan. That’s a bummer, we believe!
- High charge storage
- Has a great battery life
- Wires can fit in tighter spaces
- Battery drains fast
- Incompatible with Traxxas and another connector
The Blomiky 4.8 V comes in at 4th place in our ultimate RC battery list. It consists of 4 AA batteries connected in a line. Like the other batteries in the list, it consists of LiMH fuel cells.
It has a 2200 mAh rating, which means you get a decent output. Moreover, it provides 2.2 Amps per hour at 4.8 V. However, its real capacity is valued at 1700-1800 mAh.
Besides, it might seem tiny and inefficient compared to the rest. But looks can be deceiving. It provides 3 times more power than a standard 4.8 V 700 mAh battery.
It has the SM-2P plug which is the smallest connecting plug of the bunch. This helps in connecting with a wide range of RC products.
A few of these include- RC Car Trucks (4×4), RC Double-E Truck Crawler and 1/18 Scale RC Truck vehicles, etc. It’s also the lightest of the batteries giving it an edge in its battery life.
- Lightweight and doesn’t cause battery stress
- Compatible with most RC modules
- Comes with a decent battery life
- High energy loss due to low voltage
Last but not least you have the GEILIENERGY 1500 mAh 9.6V battery pack. It’s the last choice on our list. However, it did beat several other outstanding battery candidates to make it here.
Here, it comes with a 1500 mAh battery meaning it’ll supply a 1.5 Amp current for an hour. This is the lowest of the bunch as it stores the least amount of charge. This also means it has the highest amount of cell cycles.
Even though it has the lowest capacity, it surprisingly packs a punch. Its 8 AA batteries produce 9.6 V, which is more than the Blomiky. It’s also on the inexpensive side of the bunch, which makes it a bargain.
It works with a wide range of RC products. These include RC Monster Trucks, Lionel Polar Express trains, Tonka Ricochet RC trucks, RC Beetles, RC Hummers, Traxx Tyco vehicles, Radio Shack RC cars, and Nikko RC cars, among others.
- Great for its price
- Decent battery life
- Durable for its size
- Low battery capacity
We’ve given you our top 5 recommendations when it comes to NiMH batteries for your RC. Even though we’ve shown you the top 5 batteries in the market, you might not be sold. This is where our buying guide comes in.
There are certain things you need to consider before buying an RC battery. These are just the basics of battery properties.
So, stick around for a while. Who knows? You might even learn something new from this.
Battery Type: LiPo vs NiMH
Now in the previous sections, all of the batteries were of the NiMH type. This tells you the make of the battery. That is, it’s a Nickel Metal Hydroxide battery.
There is another type of LiPo battery that you should know about. LiPo stands for “Lithium-Ion Polymer” battery. It uses a polymer-based electrolyte rather than a liquid electrolyte.
Okay, we’re done with science class! There are certain pros and cons to a LiPo and NiMH battery. We’ve mentioned them down below-
LiPo batteries are much lighter and come in a wider range of sizes. This adaptability can be an advantage if you’re trying to cut weight in your RC car.
They also have the highest discharging capacity of the two. To simplify this means they pack quite the punch. They’re built for short bursts of high energy, much like a sprinter.
LiPo batteries also have the highest capacities. This means they can store the most amount of charge in comparison.
Now, hold your horses, NiMH batteries have their advantages too. For starters, NiMH batteries don’t pose a fire risk when punctured. Unlike LiPo batteries, whose polymer-based electrolyte is a potential fire hazard.
NiMHs are much like the marathon runners of batteries. They’re built to last longer and have a longer lifespan, within the 1000 cycle range. In comparison, LiPo’s typically have a lifespan of around 250 cycles.
The cherry on top for NiMH batteries is that it’s simple to recharge. You don’t have to follow complicated steps to recharge a NiMH battery.
This is a particular advantage when it comes to RC batteries. These easy steps are perfect for toys, as it’s mainly made for children.
Battery Capacity: A Guide on mAh
Now let’s talk about one of the most crucial properties of batteries. Its capacity, which is usually measured in mAh (milliampere per hour).
It denotes the amount of charge you have stored inside your battery. The higher the mAh rating the more charge is stored. Ergo, the more charge/electrical current it can deliver to your RC car, per hour.
In 5-year old terms, higher mAh equals longer run time. For example, if your battery has a 5000 mAh, it means it can hold a 5 Amp charge for a full hour. For a 6000 mAh, it can hold a 6 Amp load for the same time.
However, a 6000 mAh can hold a 5 Amp load for more than an hour. And a 5000 mAh battery can hold a 6 Amp load for less than an hour.
Discharge Rating: The Mysterious C-Rated
The discharge rate or more commonly known as the Charge rate is denoted by C. This is a pretty complicated concept to understand.
C-rating talks about how much input a battery can take in or output it can give out. In layman’s terms, it talks about how much power would be drained down in an hour. This will be clear in the next example-
Suppose you have a 2000 mAh battery that runs at 1 C-rating. This means that the battery will supply 2000 mAh for 60 minutes. For a 2-C rating, the supply will be 4,000 mAh for 30 minutes.
So, the C value multiplies with the mAh value and divides 1 hour by that C-value. The C-rating printed on the battery is the highest rate the battery can operate in. Normally, for NiMH batteries for RC cars, the max discharging rate is within the 3-15 C range.
Voltage: What Does It Mean For Your RC?
Voltage talks about the potential difference between the positive and negative sides of your battery. Voltages are the water pressure equivalent of batteries. The higher the voltage, the higher the potential difference, the better.
However, it is crucial to note these ratings are there for a reason. Powering an RC car with anything other than its designated voltage may cause mishaps.
In a NiMH battery, each cell has a 1.2V power supply. So, they’re all multiples of 1.2 Volts. For example, a 7.2V battery pack has 6 batteries, and a 6V has 5 batteries.
The Lifespan of NiMH Batteries: How Long Do They Last?
The lifespan for an RC battery depends on 3 things; shelf-life, runtime, and cycle count. A proper understanding of these matters will help you take care of your batteries.
The average shelf-life of NiMH batteries is about 4-6 months. It’s determined by the “self-discharge” rate of the rechargeable battery.
A typical NiMH battery will lose 20-30% of its mAh capacity per month. If you’ve left your battery untouched for a few days the loss is around 15%.
Next, we have runtime which is completely dependent on its mAh rating. The higher the rating, the higher the runtime. The runtime is measured from when it’s fully charged to when there is no charge.
For example, the average runtime for a 4.2V 2000 mAh NiMH battery is around 12 minutes. For a 2400 mAh of the same voltage, the run time is around 12-15 minutes.
Last but not least, we have the cell cycle. A cell cycle is described when a fully discharged battery is fully recharged. That counts as 1 cell cycle.
Cell cycles are determined by two factors; mAh ratings and slow charging.
The general rule of thumb is, the higher the mAh rating the lower the cell cycle. That’s because it takes longer for an increased volume of charge to drain out.
For example, the cell cycle for a 1700-2000 mAh battery is around 1000. The longevity of a 5000 mAh NiMH battery is around 200-700 cycles.
Next, we have slow charging. Simply put, slower charging increases your battery life. Avoid fast charging for better battery health.
Slow charging utilizes the most cycles out of a battery. So it’s recommended you charge your NiMH batteries at 0.1-0.2C or 5-15C.
Question: Should I use a higher voltage battery for my RC car?
Answer: There are no restrictions when it comes to doing that. However, you have understood whether or not your RC will allow that. Go by your instruction manual too if it’s within the designated voltage range. Otherwise, you’d cause irreparable damage to your RC.
Question: Will using a lighter car increase my battery performance?
Answer: Yes, it will. A lighter car puts less strain on your battery’s output current. This makes the charge drain slower and hence increases the battery’s performance.
Question: What is the maximum charging capacity for my 5000 mAh LiPo battery?
Answer: Because the battery’s capacity is 5000mAh (5 amps), it can safely be charged at a maximum of 15 amps.
That was all we could find on the best NiMH RC batteries. You must’ve done your homework by now and made your decision. We sincerely hope you choose one of the RC batteries we recommended.
Either way, you now know how to distinguish the good from the bad. And as always stay safe and good luck with your battery hunting.