* Prices may differ from that shown
The Maplin Super Universal Battery Charger is available from Maplin exclusively for only £12.99. When I received this as a gift about a year and a half ago, I think it cost around £20 so that's quite a big decline in cost. At the current recommended retail price of £12.99, I think this product is really very well priced.
There are lots of battery chargers available on the market these days, and there are plenty that cost half what this one does too. However there really aren't that many which are capable of charging up as many different kinds of batteries as this one is. It's capable of the following:
Recharges 2 or 4 AAA, AA, C or D-size or 1 to 2 9V size NiMH, NiCd or Hybrid rechargeable batteries at a time
Powered by the supplied AC 230V mains adaptor when used in home or DC 12V car adaptor when used in a vehicle
''Negative delta V'' detection switches off charger immediately the batteries are fully charged
Overcharging prevented by timer protection
Automatic charging current selection for different size batteries
LEDs indicate when charging properly and when batteries are ready
As you can see from the product information, this charger is able to deal with pretty much every kind of common household battery there is. This makes it ideal for use by a family with lots of different gadgets and toys to power, or even a couple who just make use of a variety of different technology items. I find it particularly useful for charging my AA batteries in as I regularly need them for my mouse, digital camera and television remote controls. I then occasionally need the AAA batteries for one of my DVD remote controls and the occasional toy, and the C and D batteries are sometimes needed for bigger gadgets or the grandson's toys. I've never bothered to buy a 9V battery to recharge as I have rarely any use for them, but I can see the space in the charger to fit them and can't see any reason why they wouldn't charge in here just as efficiently as all the other kinds of batteries do.
What I like the most about this charger, besides the fact it can power such a large variety of batteries, is that it's so simple to use. I can charge the batteries in groups of either two or four for smaller batteries, or one or two for larger batteries as the charger is basically split into two sides inside (not that you can really see this externally). When one side is charging, a red light switches on to show they're charging, and this will turn green when they're fully charged. There's a light on either side of the charger so you can keep track of both sides individually.
The only problem I've had with this is that after about a year of use, the power pack became loose and I find now that I need to jiggle the lead sometimes when I put batteries in it to get the power lights to come on. I've had this problem with power packs in the past on various electrical items though, so I really don't feel that this is down the charger. If I was badly affected by it, I could just use a power pack off something else or buy a new for a few pounds.
Over all this item has lasted me well. It's reasonably priced, very versatile, easy to use and quite compact too. It sits neatly underneath my computer, and I just plug it into a nearby socket when I want to use it. It's lightweight to handle and it looks quite stylish even. Plus the batteries are still coming fully charged after eighteen months of regular use. Obviously that comes down partly to the machine and partly to the batteries (also Maplins). I've used other chargers in the past, but this is definitely the one for me.