With the numerous options in the market today, choosing a battery for your airsoft gun can be confusing. However, making the right decision is easier when you know what to watch for.
Here’s how you can choose the right airsoft batteries for your gun:
- Pick the right battery type.
- Select the battery with the right shape.
- Aim for the right battery capacity for your needs.
- Check the battery voltage.
- Select the right C-rating.
- Check the battery plug.
The rest of the article will go over each of the above steps in more detail. Remember that you’ll only need airsoft batteries for electric-powered guns known as Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs). You don’t need batteries for gas or spring-powered airsoft guns.
1. Pick the Right Battery Type
There are three main airsoft battery types you can choose from:
NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) Battery
Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are popular amongst airsoft enthusiasts because they’re long-lasting options you can rely on for up to 2,000 charging cycles. The lifespan of these batteries makes them the perfect fit for businesses offering airsoft gun rentals and people who love auto-play.
NiMH batteries are the top-rated options for complete auto-play. You can also rely on them if you do a mix of semi-auto and full-auto play. They last longer in these use cases, delivering the best overall experience.
Maintaining NiMH batteries is easy. You can drain them completely without worrying about damaging the cells as they don’t have built-in memory. So, they’re cost-effective and safe. However, you need to use a smart charger if you go with one of these. It’s the best way to avoid reverse polarity and make sure you’re not overcharging.
A good smart charger you can go with is the Valken Airsoft NiMH Charger from Amazon.com. It offers protection against reverse polarity and short circuit.
Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) Batteries
Lithium-polymer batteries are the default choice for many airsoft enthusiasts due to the initial burst rating they provide. You should go with these if you do mostly semi-only shooting.
You’ll get more effective bursts compared to NiMH batteries. However, you should keep in mind that the charging cycle for these batteries is a lot lower. The best ones will only manage 500 charging cycles—and that’s assuming proper care, charging, and storage.
Li-Po batteries are most efficient with higher-end and mid-level guns. You should also ensure it never gets fully discharged. Ideally, you should store the batteries at 50-70%. They come in different shapes and sizes, but the battery packs are smaller, and they fit into a smaller compartment than standard NiMH batteries.
You’ll need a Li-Po-specific charger for these. Options like the Tenergy TN267 1-4 Cells Li-Po Charger from Amazon.com offer fast charging and wide voltage compatibility.
Li-ion (Lithium Ion) Batteries
Some airsoft enthusiasts love to look at Li-ion batteries as the middle ground between NiMH and Li-Po batteries. For example, they offer up to 1,200 charging cycles—more than double the number of cycles on Li-Po batteries but slightly off the number for NiMH.
As is the case with Li-Po batteries, Li-ion batteries work well for high-end to mid-level airsoft rifles. They also work well with rifles containing built-in gearboxes. These batteries cost a little bit more than Li-Po options.
However, the price is justified when you consider the number of charging cycles and the fact that there’s no risk of puffing. The batteries are stored in metal cells, as is also the case with NiMH batteries.
Use Li-ion chargers when charging these batteries as Li-Po chargers can reduce their lifespan. The MOTOPOWER MP00207A 12V Charger (also from Amazon.com) is a good option here. It offers automatic charging and protects your batteries from overcharging.
2. Select the Battery With the Right Shape
The shape and size of the battery is an important consideration to make if your airsoft rifle was designed for a specific battery shape. Some people navigate the problem by taping the batteries to the side of the gun. However, this isn’t always practical as the battery can detach in tough sessions. Exposure to the elements can also damage batteries mounted in this manner.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to battery shape. The manufacturers covered above have simplified the process by putting as many shapes as possible on the market.
Shapes you’ll find include:
- Brick. Batteries in this mold are designed for compact airsoft guns. They’re shaped like small, flat rectangles ensuring easy fit.
- PEQ. These batteries come in a battery pack and are used in airsoft guns, but they’re also popular in RC vehicles.
- Mini. Batteries in this category have a flat brick shape, but they’re smaller than standard bricks.
- Nunchuck. These batteries are designed to fit into two small tubes.
- Crane. These batteries are similar to the nunchuck pack, but there are two or three tubes of connected batteries.
- Stick. Here, the batteries are lined up to look like a stick. Batteries with this design typically have one tube instead of two.
- Large. Large batteries have two or more individual batteries lined up next to each other in one casing.
Remember, the shape of your airsoft gun should determine the shape of the batteries you go with.
3. Aim for the Right Battery Capacity for Your Needs
Like other batteries, the capacity of airsoft gun batteries is highlighted in their mAh rating. The rating measures the storage space available for a particular battery. If the capacity is rated at 1600mAh, the battery delivers 1600mA of power for one hour. Higher mAh ratings generally mean higher capacity (and more game time).
If you want a battery that can deliver for long periods, look for higher capacity ratings. A simple rule most enthusiasts use in choosing batteries is that the mAh rating roughly equals how many shots you can get off with the battery before it needs to be recharged. So, if you go with a battery that has 1800mAh, you can expect it to deliver 1800 shots per charge.
This is a rough guide as other variables can have an impact on battery life. Also, there’s no way to keep counting shots as you use the rifle. Still, it’s a good tip if you need a rough idea of what to expect. If you play Airsoft for long periods, choose a battery that has 1500mAh capacity or more. If you only play occasionally, you can go for lower-capacity options.
4. Check the Battery Voltage
The battery voltage refers to the power output from your battery. Higher volts mean your gun’s motor can spin faster. A faster motor will, in turn, increase the number of rounds your gun can fire off per second. Higher voltage can also improve your trigger response.
The voltage on airsoft batteries will typically range between 7.2V and 12.8V. However, you’re less likely to find options higher than 9.6V in the market. Going for the battery with the highest voltage isn’t always a good idea. If the voltage is too high, the internal mechanisms of your gun will wear out too fast.
Generally, most NiMH batteries will have 8.4V or 9.6V, while Li-Po batteries tend to have 7.4V or 11.1V. More expensive guns can handle batteries with higher voltage better than mid-range options.
5. Select the Right C-Rating
With more power sent to the motor, the gears rotate faster and deliver a faster trigger response and a higher fire rate. The knock-on effect is that the battery will run out a bit faster compared to a similar one with a lower C-rating. So, you’ll have to choose between performance and battery life here.
Before settling for a battery with any specific C-rating, you need to consult your gun’s user manual. The average airsoft rifle isn’t optimized to handle a battery of more than a 15C discharge rating.
6. Check the Battery Plug
Once you’ve found a few airsoft batteries you’d like to buy, it’s time to check the plug that comes with each one before making your final decision. Most batteries come with two plugs:
- One connects to the gun motor.
- The other connects to the charger.
The plugs typically have a red and black color, but the designs vary slightly. You may see other colors. The three main plug options are:
- Tamiya. These plugs are by far the most popular of the lot. They’re 14mm- wide (1.4 cm) plastic plugs designed to deliver up to 15A of electricity.
- Tamiya Mini. These look the same as the standard variant, but they’re only 10mm (1 cm) wide and designed to handle no more than 9A of electricity. They work well for narrow battery connection ports.
- Deans. These plugs are generally the most effective. They’re designed to handle more than 15A of electricity, making them an excellent option for high-performance airsoft rifles. The connectors have a sturdy design to ensure lower resistance and less heat build-up. The compact nature ensures that the connectors won’t take up too much space within your battery storage.
Top Airsoft Batteries You Can Buy Now
We’ve looked at how you can choose airsoft batteries. If you’d like some recommendations, below are some of the best you can find right now. All products are from Amazon.com.
Tenergy is one of the leading names for airsoft gun batteries. Their charger and battery comb is a popular option because, with one purchase, you can guarantee more playing time with minimal fuss. The charger and battery pack includes all the standard safety features you’d expect at this level, including short circuit and overcharge protection.
The Keenstone mini battery pack delivers minutes of continuous firing, thanks to its 10C discharge rate. Winning competitions is easier if you have a couple of these tucked away in your bag. The battery is safe to use and works well with most airsoft guns in the market right now. If you have a Tacr91 gun, it’ll fit like a glove.
The Melasta 1600mAh pack is another excellent option to consider if you have a Tacr91 airsoft gun battery. The battery also has a 10C discharge rate ensuring a higher rate of fire. The rapid charge technology means you can recharge faster (depending on the charger). You get a 35-day money-back guarantee on your purchase—a solid of the manufacturer’s trust in the premium NiMH cells.
Can One Battery Work With All Airsoft Guns?
Some batteries work with multiple airsoft guns, but no specific model works with all airsoft guns. You need to check the gun’s specifications to make sure you buy the perfect gun battery and charger.
Some airsoft guns are only designed to work with Li-Po batteries, while others only work with NiMH options.
Can Airsoft Batteries Explode in Action?
Quality airsoft batteries won’t explode while in use. However, you still need to use them carefully. Avoid exposing your battery to extreme weather conditions.
You also need to make sure they are stored in dry conditions. Most airsoft batteries aren’t designed to be moisture-resistant, so you should consider this when planning your gaming sessions.
What’s the Downside of Overcharging Your Airsoft Battery?
The downside of overcharging your airsoft battery is it can lead to leads, cell splits, and fire. Though most airsoft batteries and their chargers are designed to prevent overcharging, if you have one without the protective technology, refrain from prolonged charging sessions.
You should only charge your batteries for the recommended number of hours.
What’s the Recommended Charging Time for Airsoft Gun Batteries?
The top airsoft gun batteries all have auto-stop chargers, which means you don’t have to worry about how long it’ll take to charge a battery. However, a sure way of knowing how long to charge a battery is to divide the mAh rating on your battery by the charger’s mAh output.
If you have a 500mAh charger, for example, and a 1600mAh battery, it’ll take 3 hours 20 minutes to charge the battery.
Choosing the right airsoft batteries for your gun comes down to understanding your use case. If you’re a competitive airsoft player with a high-performance gun, choose a long-lasting battery with a moderate-to-high discharge rating.
For inexperienced players with automatic guns, most NiMH batteries are enough to get the job done.