The end of the Energizer bunny: SIX products that don't need batteries.

by Paul Michael on 23 July 2007 11 comments

battery

Since I became a father, my household's battery consumption has quadrupled. It seems like we're always running out of batteries, or batteries go "missing" from my tools, flashlights and other household items to make their way inside one of a dozen Fisher Price toys. I swear, Duracell and Energizer have some kind of secret deal going with the big toy companies.

Anyway, I decided to take a look at a few products that have replaced batteries with something else. Be it a dynamo or kinetic energy or solar power, these are my top SIX picks of the battery-free products out there. Let's all raise our glasses to lower proft margins for the drum-banging bunny this year.

 

Dynamo Light

1:Dynamo Illuminator Wind-up LED Flashlight

Simply turn the handle for just one minute and get one hour of continuous light. Ideal for the car or the emergency flashlight in your home, and it's cheap at less than $12.

red radio

2: Grundig FR200 Emergency Radio (Red)

This one's a little harder work, giving you just 10 minutes of radio time for 1 minute of cranking. However, after reading over 100 reviews it seems as though people don't mind this fact because the thing is built like a bomb shelter. And if you consider when you need to use a gadget like this, maybe in something like a Katrina situation, I'll take some cranking work in exchange for a functioning connection to the outside world. Less than $40.

tent

3: Eureka! Solar Intent Large 6-person Tent with Interior Lighting

I'm still impressed by this piece of equipment. A six-person solar-powered tent that gives you beautiful light at night and also charges batteries for you. It's 11ft x 11ft, 6ft 6" tall and also has a window and 3 vents. It's also not much more expensive than regualr tents of the same size, coming in at $230.

Shower

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

4: Reliance Solar Spray Shower

As we're on the subject of camping, say goodbye to cold showers. This handy 5-gallon shower comes with solar panels to heat the water. Just hang it in the sun for around 2.5 hours and then enjoy a nice hot shower in less than favorable weather. At just $10, it's an affordable luxury away from home.

 

Charger

5: Rustek Athena Mobile Phone Charger

How many times has your phone gone dead on you? Well, if you're out and about this could be a handy thing to keep around. Using a dynamo it allows you to basically "wind up" your cell phone and start talking again. This one comes with adaptors for most phones and is under $25. I found others that also have lights and radios built in, but I say get something that is made for the job at hand.

 

watch

6: Men's Seiko Kinetic Bilingual calendar SKJ262

I've never liked wind-up watches because my memory sucks. If I forget to wind, I could have a dead watch on me. And I hate that. Of course, batteries are more reliable but they die aswell. So for me, Kinetic watches are the way to go and Seiko is a great name to rely on. Most come in at around the $300 mark, but I found this beauty for $120 brand new. Fossil supposedly make a Kinetic line, too.

On my travel I also discovered items like the wireless battery-free optical mouse and even a clockwork vibrator, but alas I could find no-one who stocked either. But watch this space.

Main photo (yes, I know it's not an Energizer battery) by The Stock Exchange

All product links go to Amazon, a trusted site.

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Myscha Theriault's picture

I've seen a few of these before, but never the phone charging kit. Interesting.

Have you seen the solar panels with charging adapters for various items?

Guest's picture
Soham Ghosh

Casio also has a solar line, I own one of these watches.
Tough as nails, solar powered and other bells and whistles for $80.

Paul Michael's picture

It's called Solio.

  

Joann Hong's picture

I should get one of those shower things for my house. I live in a communal building and someone is always shutting off the water heater!!

Joann Hong

Guest's picture
Meera

i got that mobile phone charging kit and it was about 4 pounds. but it does not work. the connectors dont fit all phones (like sony ericsson). plus it seems to work better with older generation nokias only. also you need to be very precise while rotating the handle. it has to be done at a particular speed and you need to maintain the speed. on a fiddly item like this it is difficult to do that. so i think it is a waste

the solar tent seems like a good idea. anyone used it before?

Guest's picture
Kathryn

Thank you so much for sharing all of the the above cool "no batteries needed" gadgetwith us. All would be great to buy for yourself or even give as a gift to a loved one who seems to already have everything to put in their household or emergency kit or for those that like camping.

Guest's picture
Eugene

Kinetic watches are great but solar powered ones in my opinion are just as good and less expensive. I've been wearing a solar powered watch made by Pulsar for about 10 years. I initially thought I would have to make a special effort to make sure the watch got enough sunlight to keep it going but I found that the watch gets enough power without me paying any attention at all to the amount of light it receives. It is also extremely accurate.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just a minor correction, the solar shower does not have solar panels (photovoltaic cells). It is simply made of dark, heat-absorbing material, so, just as a car with a black paint job becomes stiflingly hot after an hour at the grocery store, the solar shower acts as an oven heating the water inside. Furthermore, if it used photovoltaic cells, the cost for the unit would be considerably greater than $10.

Guest's picture
Guest

Six items I'll never use. Still paying homage to the E.B. My list of items that don't need batteries.

Tennis Shoes
Bicycle
Bottle of Beer
Shovel
Tylenol (tm)
Steak Knife

Guest's picture

With a toddler, I too am experiencing the rise in battery use in my household. I was excited to see that you had a list of alternative options, but disappointed that really only the flashlight would be much fun for my two year old.

Can you make any suggestions of alternative energy toys that do things battery powered toys do without the battery requirement?

Meanwhile, don't fret too much. We have swapped to a wholly rechargable battery household, so much less landfill waste.

Guest's picture
Guest

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