Spot Fake Rechargeable Batteries

Fake rechargeable batteries can be found in markets, international bazaars and on eBay. They usually fail after a few charges, ruin your gadgets by leaking acid, and in rare cases can explode. Learn how to spot the fakes and save your money for the real thing.

Travel weblog The Longest Way Home shares that the best way to find out if a rechargeable battery is fake is to check the labels and packaging — obvious stuff like misspellings will let you know the batteries aren't legit but also keep an eye out for faded colours on the battery label (indicative of a cheap quality print job) and badly constructed packaging with loose plastic covers and a cheap quality card inside the plastic. Also watch out for spurious claims of capacity; the fake Sony battery in the photo above claims to have a 3800mAh capacity while the highest currently-available Sony rechargeable AAs have a maximum of 2500mAh storage capacity.

Phone and camera batteries can likewise be easily faked. Sometimes the third-party batteries are as good as the originals and I've bought a few from eBay with great results, but only after careful research and I don't personally buy AA or AAA rechargeable batteries from third-party sources.

How to Spot Fake Batteries [The Longest Way Home]


    The best advice is "I don’t personally buy AA or AAA rechargeable batteries from third-party sources".
    A friend of mine was working over in China for a year - this guy is about as switched on when it comes to repairing/customising electronics as i've ever met. His advice to me was that the knock-offs in China are so perfect, that it is impossible to tell the difference - other than how they function.
    Another friend of mine recently bought three Nexus S replacement batteries off eBay. I inspected these batteries myself - and they were perfect replicas externally - it was impossible to tell the difference by looking (even with the finish on the edges). All of these batteries ran for about 2h before they were flat - which is well below expected performance.
    Moral, don't use spelling and quality of packaging to assume that the batteries are real. Pick your vendors carefully, and if you're buying off eBay, test the product before leaving feedback (as my friend did).

    These vendors should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. These products are so dangerous that you would not be able to legally sell them in retail shops. Every single one would either have to be returned as "does not perform the function advertised" or from a product safety recall. They also explode in airports and on airplanes leading to very embarrassing situations. The waste caused by these fakes is a crime against the environment.

      Sadly most are probably sold online or in places where there is no protection from the law.

    Good luck with prosecuting vendors outside of Australia under an Australian law.

    Hmm, batteries that are half the price or less compared to a local store, plus they have more capacity. Wait, that seems too good to be true.

    Surely Lifehacker readers are smarter than that.

    I work at a Battery World store. Batteries are such a competitive medium that you truly get what you pay for. If you can get it online cheaper, you can almost guarantee it is fake or a factory second. Daily we see things come past that have been totally ruined by fake products, or the cheap crap sold in 'those discount stores' (where you get 50 AA's for $4).
    I'm not an owner, nor do I work on commission, so do what you like.. I know what I do...

    I recently had a similar issue with a run of perfectly faked Kingston SD cards (32GB but appearing as 12mb)...but get this...upon querying Kingston whether they thought they were duds or fakes, they requested I send them in complete with the packaging, and I received a return letter stating its unfortunate I bought fakes, but heres the real deal, and a pair of 32GB SD cards :)

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