Ask LH: What Batteries Will I Need For The Steam Controller?

Dear Lifehacker, I am patiently awaiting the release of the Steam Controller for PC gaming and have just found out it runs on AA batteries (how annoying!) I know next to nothing about battery types as this would be the first product I need that requires them. What should I be looking for to maximize my gaming and stop me running to the shops to buy batteries in the fistful? Thank, Eager Steamer

Dear ES,

The Steam Controller hasn't been released yet and the final build could change prior to launch. Judging by the negative reaction in the Steam community, we wouldn't be surprised if Valve offered a version with a rechargeable battery pack as well. (So don't rush out and pre-order the device just yet!)

In its current guise, the Steam Controller comes with two AA batteries hidden inside the hand grips. These will come supplied with the device, although we haven't seen any info on whether they will be disposable or not. In any event, it's probably a good idea to pick up some spares.

As with any frequently-used gadget that requires batteries, you're better off buying high-quality rechargeable ones. While the upfront cost will be more expensive, you won't need to buy another battery for years. (If you're a heavy gamer who blows through a pair of batteries every fortnight or so, the savings are actually quite significant.)

Rechargeable AA batteries also eliminate the annoyance of not having any working batteries in the house. The worst-case scenario is that you'll need to wait around for them for recharge. Or you could just buy four — that way you can swap in fresh ones immediately and always have a pair on the charger.

One battery brand that we've recommended in the past is Eneloop which are manufactured by Sanyo/Panasonic. These hold their charge well when not in use and don't become weaker after multiple charges. You can buy a four-pack of Sanyo eneloop from Dick Smith for $24.98. (Naturally, you're also going to need an AA battery charger, which typically sell for around the same price.)

Cheers Lifehacker

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    The only thing that sucks about AA rechargeables is that I'm pretty nobody has invented a AA recharger that only takes up one socket.

      Not quite sure what you wrote, but I use La Crosse charger and it only takes up one slot:

        Can you really plug anything in next to that, though?

        EDIT: oops, didn't see that it has a cord. That's what I need!

        Last edited 14/09/15 2:18 pm

          Yeah, there weren't any photos of the actual plug on amazon, sorry about that.

      I have a AA NiMH recharger that uses a single USB slot and nothing else.

        That sounds amazing (although potentially slow). Can you please link me?

      Decent chargers come with a seperate mains power cable. I use a Nitecore charger -
    these sort of chargers are awesome.
    individual charge circuits for each cell. will do all AAs or all AAAs or any combination of either.

    NEVER pay full price for Eneloops! They're regularly offered for sale by Dick Smith, Catch of the Day, and other retailers. Keep an eye on OzBargain - - cause they're always in the loop on Eneloops ;) There's also much discussion at that link of eneloops vs other rechargables, and which chargers are the best, etc.

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