One of the take-aways from this year’s CES in Las Vegas was the “Duh!” moment that occurred to me when I visited the Lenmar battery booth:  Replacing aging batteries in existing cordless phones and putting better ones in new cordless phones will save time and be a convenience well worth the modest expense!

Carrying the thought further, the idea is to put in better-than-original batteries.  The benefit? Longer talk times between charges. Less concern if the handset is left off the charger for a few days, maybe more.

Do you, as I, want to use your cordless phones with little regard to talk time between charges? In the old days of corded phones, we just used them.  It seems that with cordless phones, I, always mindful of the battery indicator, fearing the handset will fail due to low battery power during a call or not be able to be used throughout the day at Gadget Central during days of heavy calling.  In addition, after a year or two or three in service, the batteries in cordless phones simply begin to fail, to not last as long as when new.  The phone is fine, but the batteries fail!

We have three, yes THREE cordless phone systems in use here at Gadget Central.  In addition, we add systems as needed for evaluation of new products.

 

One of our favorites is a past-model DECT 6.0 GE four-handset system that combines a landline with Skype.  The base connects to our router keeping it signed in to Skype AND to a landline.  Why?  So I don’t have to have a computer on with Skype running in order to use this service.  With the modest-cost Skype out, this is another line that can be used for any outbound call to a landline or cell phone in the US, and with low cost international calling.  In addition, when calling on Skype Out, there is no Caller ID generated, which to some of you may be a positive privacy solution.  Each handset uses a pair of rechargeable AAA cells.  After a couple of years, there have been failures of several of the original no-name batteries shipped with these handsets.  Even when new they were not long lasting.

DECT 6.0 is the best cordless phone technology today, offering the longest range with the least interference. This technology does not compete in the same frequency range as do our wireless Internet devices at home, our routers, as well as microwave ovens.

Most cordless phone users will, of course, start by using the provided batteries in their new handsets.  Most of us will not give a thought to making an immediate change, thinking and likely finding that the performance off the charger is adequate.

Our other cordless sets include a Uniden pair using 5.8Ghz technology that use a wrapped pack of batteries with a special connector to plug into the phone.  I looked for a replacement battery pack because the originals were unreliable.  There may not be higher-performance upgrades for these battery packs.

The final of our three systems in use today is also our newest – a Panasonic two-line DECT 6.0 system capable of up to six handsets.  This KX-TG9391T system was selected as a way to see if such a system could be ideal for a home user or small office/home office user.  It was chosen over others because of a few key differentiators.  First, Panasonic has a fine reputation in these products.  I wanted to try a system with at least six handsets, the base of which could still operate on at least one line during a power failure.  This system has a corded handset on the base that will do just that.  I’ll have a review of this phone in a month or so. Find it best priced at Amazon.

However, the batteries inside are the typical NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeables, Panasonic-branded, of course, that are listed as “Min 550 mAh” of capacity.  Well, these are just not particularly powerful cells, though they have worked well during our limited tests.  I have not yet done the test with daily use not placing the handsets on the base each night.

And this brings me full circle back to the premise of putting better batteries inside for longer use off the charger PLUS renewing batteries in handsets with aging batteries inside.

Lenmar is an old and respected name with Mr. Gadget®.  I have used and recommended this brand since the early 80s, first with their replacement NiCads for the original video camcorders and portable video recorders.

While not a household name of the popularity of the big guns, Duracell, Energizer and Rayovac, Lenmar markets their own modern NiMH AA and AAA cells in strengths as good as the others and at typically lower cost.

For users of AA rechargeables, which are used in some cordless phones, too, Lenmar markets multi-packs with eight or ten cells, even 20-packs and with the higher capacities for less than the others.

For my needs, requiring 20 rechargeable AAA-size batteries in 10 handsets, I chose a pair of 10-pack Lenmar Pro1010s.  These are 1000 mAh AAA NiMh batteries that I found Google-searching online under “lenmar pro1010” for a delivered price of less than $16 each.  They ought to last at least a couple of years in this application.  It is also important to note that the “other” kind of NiMH rechargeables, the slow-discharge type that do not lose much power if left on the shelf for as much as one year, are not the best for cordless phones.  Why?  Cordless phone batteries are installed and regularly recharged in the handsets. In addition, slow-discharge NiMH batteries, also called “hybrids,” use chemistry rendering them not as powerful as those I have recommended.  I just wanted to make this distinction.

Lenmar also markets a 4-pack of these batteries. Go ahead and do your own Internet shopping for the quantity you need.  Lenmar’s 4-pack of 1000 mAh NiMH rechargeables that will work in any cordless phone using AAA rechargeables is PRO410B.

For users of AA rechargeables, which are used in some cordless phones, Lenmar markets multi-packs of their powerful 2500 mAh cells, with four (PRO415-25), 10 (PRO1025) and 20 (PRO2025).  Again, search online for best prices, which you will find are better than for the big name brands.

Now, I have the longest possible off-charger use in all our cordless handsets– all Powered by Lenmar.  Our older GE phones perform longer off-charge than when new!  Our new Panasonic cordless phones are expected to be able to be left off the charger for days, perhaps more than one week before needing to be recharged, even with fairly heavy use.  I’ll let you know of comparisons with the original almost half-as-powerful batteries in a follow-up report.

When shopping for a new cordless system for home or office, consider this:  Choose a system that uses standard AA or AAA batteries.  Replacements for any reason will be much less expensive and will likely perform better.

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