Duracell 4 Hour AA / AAA Battery Charger Review

cef14-duracellHaving owned the Duracell Ni-MH 4 Hour AA / AAA Battery Charger (CEF14UK4 model ) for a few weeks now, I thought I should write a quick review and give you my verdict. First off, I want to tell you what made me buy this exact model. I wanted a charger that actually lets the user know when the batteries are fully charged. I have owned an Energizer charger for a good while, and it has worked well enough.

But it does not have any indication for telling the user when the batteries are full, only for “charging” (constant solid red lights). So that was one main reason. The other reason was for wanting something which doesn’t take all night to charge. Some battery rechargers take 12+ hours, which is way too long for me. As well as being too slow, I also think its a bit of a safety / fire hazard.

So the Duracell CEF14 Hi-Speed ticks all the boxes. I was going to buy a “Smart” charger by UNiROSS, but after reading through a lot of reviews on eBay and Amazon, one key design fault / complaint became apparent. That is, while these Smart chargers do have a digital screen that shows the charging state, they do not indicate when the batteries are fully charged. What a silly feature to leave out of a supposedly “Smart” charger. Some of the buyers were very annoyed to discover this, after they had purchased the charger of course. I would be too if I only found out this problem after I purchased the item.

But thanks to them leaving their reviews I knew not to make the same mistake. So I thought its best to spend a bit more money and get something that is considered as more reliable in terms of indicating. The Duracell CEF14 uses LED lights to let a user know the current state of the batteries.

Those LED light indications are as follows:

No battery = Lights off.

Charging = Solid Red Lights.

Charge complete = Sold Green Lights.

Error / Bad Battery(s) = Flashing Red Lights.

So How Does The Duracell 4 Hour AA / AAA Battery Charger Perform

So far very good. I’m glad I bought this model over the hundreds of others that are out there for sale. The charging time is indeed about 4 hours for 1300 mAh AA batteries to be fully charged. If not a little longer. But the charging time will obviously differ if using lower or higher capacity batteries. But make no mistake, compared to other chargers that can take a ridiculous amount of time to charge, this one is fast.

Duracell state: “It allows you to get up to 4 hours of use in just 45 minutes of charging”. But for me, I wouldn’t want to destroy the batteries by aging them prematurely, putting them on charge for just 45 minutes, when they are definitely not fully charged within that timeframe. However, Duracell claim that their technology allows for a safe partial charge that protects that batteries from any harm. I think I’ll stick to a full charge for now.

A cool feature that this model has is Overcharge protection. The batteries that turn green (full) will automatically stop charging (or trickle) when the charger is still plugged into the mains.

One other positive that has really surprised me with this charger, is how cool it stays. It hasn’t got “hot” like some chargers do. Some get dangerously hot. In fact this one has remained just slighty warm in comparison to other chargers I have used. However, I have only had it plugged in for around 5 hours maximum at one time, because that’s all it needed before all the flat batteries were fully charged. 5 hours I hear you say, you said it took 4 hours to charge 1300 mAh AA’s. Well yes, it’s around 4 – 6 hours. But the reason for it taking a little longer is explained below.

How Reliable Is the Light Indicator System

The lights are very bright and clear, but the light indication is the one area that isn’t as reliable, or as impressive as the rest of the product. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t terrible by any means, and it works without fault most of the time. It’s just that sometimes the lights can give out a false positive. As in, one, or both sides will turn green much too fast, and I know for a fact that there is no way they are fully charged yet as they were totally flat.

Also, there have been a few instances where I plug the charger in filled with 4 AA batteries, and one side will start to flash red. This indicates some sort of error. But sometimes this can be due to the batteries being brand new and not fully broken in yet. It can take a few recharges for them to be fully woken up, as in all the cells are ready for action. Which I think was the case for me.

However, in all instances the quick and easy fix was to unplug the charger from the mains, give it a few seconds, and then plug it back in. This fixed it every time for me. So really its a small hindrance but not one that would make me hesitant to recommend this product.

This is why the batteries can sometimes take a little longer to charge, because of a few plug out from the mains and plug back in to reset the charger. Most of the time that has elapsed is taken up by when I actually discover the error. So if its been sitting there for 30 minutes in that state before I notice it, that eats away at the charge time.

Please note: I have not used any triple A batteries in my CEF14. I only bought this model for double A’s. But it can charge both types (4 in total at one time), and I suspect it would work exactly the same but charge AAA’s even quicker, or around the same time. My Duracell charger came with 2 AA’s, but some models come complete with 2 AA’s and 2 AAA’s.

Overall its an excellent little well built charger, and I’m glad I bought this one over the others. Compared to what else is out there for a similar price, I would not hesitiate to buy this exact same model again. Has worked well so far. There’s also a five year Guarantee offered by Duracell for peace of mind.

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