What battery should I use for my Airsoft replica? [AEG Wiki]
If you decide to buy your own Airsoft replica, it’s most likely not going to include a battery in the box. This means you will have to choose a battery for yourself, so let’s power up!
We’re going to start off by identifying two battery types on the market; NiMh and LiPo.
NiMH - Nickel Metal Hydrate
NiMH batteries are similar to your everyday rechargeable AAA batteries. They hold charge well and they can last for 1-2 years even when re-charged regularly. However, the Airsoft community is currently moving away from using these, as almost all rifles are able to run current generation batteries which are similar to the ones in mobile phones (LiPo).
NiMH batteries are going to self discharge when left alone, especially in warm environment. They should also be fully discharged occasionally, however, if you want them to have a long life span, you shouldn’t deplete them every time you play.
Quick tip – unplugging the battery from the charger when it gets hot will extend its life significantly.
Unfortunately, these batteries are not made to be charged rapidly which means if you have a fast charger they are likely to heat up before they are even fully charged. Slow charge is much healthier for these.
Also, if you hear term “Memory Effect”, do not despair. Older batteries have had problems as they memorised when you discharged them to a certain point repeatedly, causing reduction in capacity. With current NiMH batteries on the market, it is almost unnoticeable and as soon as you discharge it more and then charge it up again, it will come back to its full capacity.
LiPo - Lithium Ion Polymer
LiPo batteries hold much more charge and they last a lot longer compared to NiMH batteries. These are the current gen, thus, you should look for replicas which can run LiPo out of the box as they’ll keep the replica operational for much longer.
However, because they store more energy, it would be advisable to make sure they don’t catch fire and burn your house down! To do that, you can buy cheap heat resistant pouches to store your batteries, such as these on Amazon:
Now don’t you worry, the risk of that happening is minimal, but after series of incidents with certain mobile phones using LiPo batteries and horror stories amongst the Airsoft community, I would suggest to be precautious and sleep safe.
Unlike NiMH, there is no magic trick to ensure optimal and healthy life of the battery, just make sure you never let it fully discharge. So as soon as your replica starts running low on energy and you can hear the gears turning slower with each shot, simply go back to the safe zone and pop a new one in!
The common factor between Airsoft batteries is the amount of energy they can store called mAh. The one you’ll choose should depend on your needs and how trigger happy you are during a game of airsoft; whether you enjoy a constant stream of BBs at full auto or whether you’re more reserved and only take shots that count.
Obviously I want as much capacity as possible! Right?
Yes, but you have to make sure your battery will actually fit. The more mAh, the bigger the size of the battery! In most cases, a battery of around 1500mAh will last you a full day and should fit in most regular stocks. We also recommend buying a back-up battery just in case; there’s nothing worse than running out of power during final moments of the game and having no replacement!
Now that we know which battery type we want, we move on to finding out what voltage we can put through our motor. NiMH batteries on the market are either 8.4V or 9.6V while LiPo batteries are 7.4V or 11.1V. Make sure to read your replica’s manual to find out which is best suited.
All rifles that can run a 7.4V LiPo, will be able to run either of the NiMHs; reason being, a 7.4V LiPo is more powerful than a 9.6B NiMH.
However, only more expensive replicas with better motors and gearboxes will be able to run 11.1V LiPo batteries due to their immense power.
This is where the fun begins! With a correct tuning of the gearbox and a high speed motor, your rifle will be able to fire more than 60 rounds per second. That is 3600 rounds per minute for you weapon nerds!
There is another element to fully understanding your batteries in Airsoft. This is called the C rating. The C rating is usually next to the voltage number on the batteries and will say something between 10c to 25c. This is the discharge power for the battery.
The higher the number, the higher burst of power the battery sends to the motor. This means the gears spin faster and provide quicker fire rate and trigger response. However, this will result in the battery running out of charge quicker. So in the end it is all about what you are looking for in terms of lifetime and performance.
Make sure to double check your replica’s manual for recommended C rating as most are not ready for anything higher than 15c!
There are different appearances and styles for batteries you will come across. It is very important to ask around and visually inspect the area inside the stock of the replica to identify how much space there is available and which battery size will fit. Most of the replicas on the market have limited space for battery.
Mini Tamiya connector is the standard plastic connecting pin that comes with almost all stock AEGs. The problem with these is that the metal area of contact is small and it can cause problems with electric flow slightly decreasing your trigger response. Also since it is plastic it can break quite easily; they’re simply not as reliable as deans connectors.
Deans connector is a basic upgrade which has only one downside: having to mod connectors both in your replica and every Mini Tamiya battery you own!
Are Deans connectors worth it? – Yes!
The Deans connectors are based on large metal “T” style pieces, which lock each other when connected, thus providing a much larger area of contact. Subsequently, the amount of electricity sent to the motor is higher resulting in slight increase in fire rate and more stable and consistent current flow. Deans are made of better materials and they will last much longer than your usual Mini Tamiya connectors.
So where do I plug it in again?
In case you weren’t sure, the battery connector is usually located in the buffer tube. In order to access the connector, you’ll need to remove the rear of the stock or in some cases the full stock itself. Also, certain replicas, such as AKs, are front wired and have battery space above or under the rail. This means there is more space which is perfect for bigger NiMH batteries but it might potentially sacrifice the Rail Integration System (RIS) area for your flashy attachments.
Now you can go ahead and with confidence search for the right battery for your replica. Just please don’t lick the battery to see if it’s charged; get a level reader or a smart charger instead!