A battery’s power and capacity directly influence the Rate of Fire (ROF), performance, and durability of an Airsoft Electric Gun (AEG). If you want your automatic electric gun to deliver an unparalleled airsoft experience, you will need to use the best battery and accompanying charger.
Even the best airsoft guns will perform terribly if you use a bad battery. Luckily, it isn’t hard to learn what to use.
AEG Airsoft Battery types
When selecting a battery for your AEG, you have a couple of battery types to choose from. Each cell type has its own perks and downsides, so you will have to pick carefully.
Nickel cadmium (NiCad)
Invented in the late 19th century, these are the earliest version of rechargeable batteries. They utilize metallic cadmium and nickel oxide hydroxide as electrodes and have the following advantages over other types of rechargeable cells.
- Decent performance and cycle life at low temperatures
- High discharge rates
- Fast charging
- Almost entirely obsolete
- Can develop “memory” reducing the capacity of the battery over time
Despite being very robust and safe for airsoft electric guns, these disadvantages have rendered the performance of NiCAD batteries almost obsolete when compared to other batteries in the list.
Nickel metal hydride (NiMH)
Like NiCAD cells, NiMH batteries have nickel oxide hydroxide as the positive electrode but use a hydrogen-absorbing alloy in place of cadmium at the negative electrodes. However, they have a significantly higher energy density than NiCAD batteries, meaning a well-designed NiMH battery can have up to three times the capacity of its standard NiCAD counterpart of the same size.
- Unnoticeable memory effect
- Discharges slowly when not in use
- Fewer toxic metals & more environmentally friendly
- Doesn’t charge as quickly as other battery types
- Bulky and large
Today, NiMH batteries are also falling out of favor in the airsoft community. LiPo batteries, similar to those in other consumer electronics like phones, are becoming more and more popular.
The rechargeable batteries of lithium-ion technology use a polymer electrolyte in place of a liquid electrolyte. This property gives it lots of advantages over other battery types, making it the ideal battery for an AEG.
They are the current generation of rechargeable batteries and often are a higher power improvement over the NiMH battery type. In addition, they are built to have longer lifespans than many other type of batteries.
- Longer lifespans than other battery types
- High discharge rates means more overall power at a small size
- Faster to charge
- Are generally smaller in size and fit better in most AEG battery compartments
- Requires their own type of charger
- Can be more expensive
- Requires some special care when storing
The good news is, the wider airsoft community seems to agree that the perks of using a LiPo battery in your AEG far outweigh the downsides. The writers at Airsoft Core almost all use LiPo batteries in both 7.4v and 11.1v form and can safely say that these are best airsoft batteries.
11.1v vs 7.4v Lipo Batteries
The two most common voltages for LiPo batteries used in airsoft are 11.1v (3 cells) and 7.4v (2 cells). The voltage of the battery affects how much power is delivered to the motor, which in turn affects the rate of fire and trigger response of the AEG.
So, more power means a faster rate of fire & faster trigger response.
An 11.1v battery provides higher voltage than a 7.4v. Often, players compare a fully charged 7.4v LiPo to a 9.6v NiMH, which is about right.
So, 11.1v means better performance at the cost of higher wear and tear on your gearbox, and so more maintenance is required. Go with a 7.4v if you prefer to increase the longevity of your airsoft gun.
The “C rating” refers to the maximum safe discharge rate of the LiPo battery. It is expressed as a multiple of the battery’s capacity, usually denoted as “C”.
For example, a 1000mAh battery with a discharge rate of 20C can safely provide a discharge current of up to 20 times its capacity, or 20,000mA (or 20A).
A battery with a higher C rating can deliver more power to the gun’s motor and provide a faster rate of fire, while a lower C rating provides less.
Most of the airsoft LiPo batteries available range between 15C to 25C. We recommend either 15C or 20C if you’re first picking up LiPos as a faster discharge puts more wear and tear on your motor and gearbox.
LiPo Chargers – Why do you need them?
NiCAD and NiMH batteries charge best using the pulse charging method, so you can use the same charger for both. However, LiPo batteries are significantly different and thus, must be charged using a LiPo compatible charger.
There are a few key features and considerations to keep in mind when choosing a LiPo battery charger.
One of the most important is the charging rate, which is typically measured in amps. The charging rate should be matched to the capacity of the battery being charged. For example, a 1000mAh battery should be charged at a rate of 1A or lower, while a 5000mAh battery can handle a higher charging rate of 5A or lower. Charging a battery at a higher rate than it can handle can cause overheating, damage, and even a fire.
LiPo battery chargers may also include additional features such as a display that shows the charging progress and voltage, the ability to balance the cells in a multi-cell battery, and safety features such as overcharge protection and thermal shutdown.
What is mAh for airsoft batteries?
mAh (milliampere hour) is a way to describe the capacity of a battery. The main thing to know as a user is that it described how “big” the battery will be. A higher mAh rating indicates that it’ll be a larger battery than one that is smaller. Now, mAh is relative to the type of battery. So, a LiPo battery may have 2000mAh but still be physically smaller than NiMH battery with 1600mAh.
Airsoft Battery Configurations
The configuration of an airsoft battery means the shape at which it fits into the weapon. Your AEF may only support one shape, so you need to know which one your gun uses. The most common configurations are the stick, crane stock, brick, and Nunchuck.
The cells are arranged back to back in a row and usually have specific gun models that they fit in, like in top receivers of AK47s with folding stocks.
Similar to stick configuration, this method arranges the cells in wings. So a 3 cell battery might have 1 section that is 2 cell and another that is 1 cell, or all 3 cells separated. This most often go into cramped battery compartments like inside of a RIS.
Nunchuck or Crane Stock
This shape resembles the nunchuck martial arts weapon. The batteries come in two separate columns connected by a wire and are usually stuffed inside the forearm on either side of the AEG barrel or inside of a crane stock.
Block or Brick
In a brick battery individual cells are arranged in a big rectangular shape, hence the name. This configuration usually takes a lot of real estate and is often used in butts of large rifles where there is enough room.
Types of Airsoft Connectors for Batteries
AEGs batteries use a special connector. It is wired directly to the batteries, connecting them to your gun during action and their charger when recharging.
Generally, you will be dealing with either one of the following connector types; Tamiya, mini-Tamiya, and Deans.
Designed by the Tamiya Corporation, these are the most common connectors in the airsoft world. In Tamiya connectors, the red (positive) wire runs to the terminal with a square profile, while the black (negative) runs to the terminal with a half-circle, half-square terminal. Both genders of the connector follow this profile, and the male pins are in a female housing with the female sockets in a male housing.
- Connectors are large and easy to see
- Not common in airsoft
These connectors are similar to the Tamiya but have a smaller footprint. They usually measure 10mm across and handle up to 9 amps of flow.
In general, these connectors are much smaller than the standard tamiya connectors, and so the maximum voltage you can gain from them is limited.
- Most common connector & easy to troubleshoot
- Most airsoft batteries are prebuilt to use this connector
- Can be the weak point in low resistance wiring
Deans connectors hit the market much later and cost more than the Tamiya connectors. They also have a much smaller and improved design, making them a popular choice for those looking for a higher performance level.
Deans connectors use sprung flat tabs, a change from most connectors that use “bullet” style pins. Therefore, they have a much consistent connectivity pressure and don’t easily lose their contact pressure over time.
- Provides more contact & reduced resistance compared to Tamiyas
- Can provide a performance increase
- Connections are more firm and less likely to be loosened over time
- Many airsoft guns & airsoft batteries aren’t prebuilt to use this connector
Types of Airsoft Battery Chargers
As stated earlier, the type of your airsoft battery will influence the type of charger you use. There are three common types; the standard wall charger, smart charger, and LiPo charger.
Standard wall charger
Standard AEG chargers are the most common of all. Sometimes they come with a built-in timer to prevent overheating, but many of them don’t. All batteries placed in a standard wall charger usually charge for the same length of time (for as long as it is plugged in usually). This is quite risky as it often leads to overcharging or undercharging in some batteries, ruining the cells.
These are the most advanced types of AEG chargers and are quite intelligent. A smart charger can custom charge each battery to the required degree; if a cell is ½ full, the charger will only replenish the empty half, and if another is ¼ full, the charger will only receive the missing ¾ of power. This means that when using an intelligent charger, the risk of ruining the battery due to overcharging or undercharging is minimal. Also, you won’t have to worry much about the charge status of your AEG battery.
However, this technology comes with a much higher price tag than that in other airsoft battery chargers.
This is the special charger for LiPo batteries, which charge using a CC/CV (Constant Current/ Constant Voltage) charging system. As a result, a LiPo charger keeps the charge rate or current constant until the battery reaches its peak voltage, which it maintains while reducing the current.
Many Li-Po chargers also have a built-in ability to balance. Balancing is essential as it equalizes each cell’s voltage in a battery pack, ensuring that each cell discharges the same amount. This is crucial to the performance and safety of a LiPo battery.
For more information on safely charging your airsoft batteries, read our guide here.
What battery & charger combo does the Airsoft Core writers use?
Most of us own and use 11.1v LiPo batteries in various configurations with deans connectors. We choose between 12c to 20c with most of our batteries being 15c.
The configuration depends on the AEG we are using and how we aesthetically want to store the battery.
- For example, in some of our front-wired M4’s with rails we have to use thin & narrow LiPos in the butterfly configuration. This allows us to place the battery in the RIS, wedged between the outer barrel & the rails.
- In another example, we use a giant brick of a battery (400mAh) inside of our Classic Army M249 wired to the rear.
Our goal is to have the biggest battery we can for the space we have. This is where it is helpful to visit a physical airsoft store so you can test fit the battery in your gun.
We’ve found that most of the brands are approximately the same, so we don’t favor one brand over another. Here’s a list below of brands we’ve used and would recommend for your airsoft gun (although keep in mind that 11.1v LiPos will void most warranties). So, we also have included some 7.4v’s that we use.