Are $5 IKEA LADDA Batteries Identical to $20 Eneloop Pro Batteries?

Do you use Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries in your photo equipment? You may be able to get the same performance at a much lower cost. This interesting 7-minute video from Matthew Eargle of AirborneSurfer looks into whether these relatively expensive batteries ($20 per pack of 4) are actually identical to the much cheaper IKEA LADDA batteries that cost just $5 per pack of 4.

Noticing that all of these rechargeable batteries are made in Japan, Eargle guess that there must be some overlap in the supply chain. There’s probably not that many battery factories pumping out different batteries for all sorts of different companies, and instead it is more likely that there is one factory that white labels its batteries for companies to slap their names onto.

The original Eneloops were made in Takasaki, Japan. The factory and Eneloop were owned by Sanyo, but Panasonic later bought the brand in 2009. Fujitsu, on the other hand, currently owns the factory. This single factory is the only one capable of producing these low self-discharge nickel-metal hydride batteries, and it supplies many brands such as Amazon, Fujitsu, Panasonic, and… IKEA.

Using his homemade battery tester, Eargle discharged both an Eneloop Pro battery and an IKEA LADDA battery. He found that they both had pretty identical discharge patterns, and when recharged things were even more similar. The IKEA LADDA had a capacity of 2301.56mAh, and the Eneloop Pro had a capacity of 2300.59mAh.

Overall, Eargle found a difference of less than 0.05% between the two batteries. Statistically speaking, they are extremely likely to be the same battery based on these tests, he concludes.

So when you find yourself needing more rechargeable batteries for your gear, keep in mind that spending more money might not actually get you a better product.

(via AirborneSurfer via SLR Lounge)