Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Non-OEM Camera Batteries

Canon LP-E8 Battery Pack
Canon LP-E8 Battery Pack
T his summer, I bought new batteries for my Black & Decker (B&D) yard tools that weren't B&D brand. They cost a lot less, they had good reviews, and so far they have worked out very well. I was thinking that I should write a post about that, but since I haven't had them very long yet, I'll wait until next summer.

But that reminded me, I've been using non-OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) batteries for my Canon DSLR camera for over four years now. I bet many of you got cameras for Christmas and if you are like I was a few years ago when I bought my camera, you are probably wondering if you should get a spare battery.

Canon LP-E8 Battery Pack
Back of the Canon LP-E8 Battery Pack
Based on my previous point and shoot camera experience, I knew I wanted to have a spare battery for this camera. That's something I highly recommend. You just don't want to be caught out in the field and have a battery die on you without having a backup.

When I saw how much the Canon batteries for my camera cost, and since I had just spent a good bit of money on my camera, I was a little dismayed. In talking with a photographer friend, he recommended getting replacement batteries that aren't Canon.

Now, over four years later, I can tell you all about my experience with two different brands for the LP-E8 battery. Well, three if you count the Canon battery.

My Experience 
The first extra battery I bought was made by Lenmar and cost $14. That was about a third the cost of a new Canon battery. The Lenmar lasted about two years. Well, it was still working, but it no longer held a charge very long, so I knew I needed a new backup battery.

Packaging for the Lenmar LP-E8
Packaging for the Lenmar LP-E8
When I started looking for a replacement, I found a battery made by Photive that was just slightly more at $15, and it had slightly better reviews. I decided to give it a try, and over two years later, it's still plugging along. Since it hasn't given out on me yet, I guess I'd probably recommend it over the Lenmar.

Photive Battery Pack for Canon LP-E8
Photive Battery Pack for Canon LP-E8
I also get a comparable number of photos from each battery before it needs to be charged. My routine has been that when a battery needs to be charged, I put the other battery in and continue to rotate it in that fashion so that each battery gets equal usage.

So what is my recommendation? Actually, that would depend on how long you intend to keep your camera and whether you think your next camera will use the same size battery. My Canon battery is now over four years old and it still works. If I had bought a second Canon battery four plus years ago, would it still be working? No way to know for sure, but probably.

I'll update this post once either of these batteries needs to be replaced and let you know what my final recommendation is. To date, I've spent a total of $29 for two non-OEM batteries, so unless the second one craps out before the Canon, I made the best decision for me.

Helpful Hint
Use a permanent marker and write the date on the battery, so you can easily keep up with when you bought it.

Photive Battery Pack for Canon LP-E8
Back of Photive Battery Pack for Canon LP-E8
This is particularly great if it comes with a warranty. I had not done that on my Lenmar battery and didn't realize until later that it came with a two-year warranty. When did I buy its replacement? At 23 months. Doh! Next time, I'll also write general warranty info on the battery, e.g., 2 years.

What has your experience been with OEM and non-OEM batteries?


  1. This article was so timely for me. I got a new camera for Christmas and was wondering if I should buy a spare battery. Just like you discovered, I didn't like the cost of an OEM battery. I'm going to give the other brands a try, too.

    1. I'm so glad it was helpful. Please let me know how your non-OEM battery works out.