Choosing a battery for your Airsoft Gun may seem confusing due to the many options available, but it's important to keep a couple things in mind when making the final decision. A battery is only required for your Airsoft Gun if it is electric powered (AEG), gas and spring guns are exempt and you don’t need to worry about picking up a battery or charger. The type of battery you choose will be heavily influenced by the model/style of the weapon you have. When it comes to choosing a battery, one of the most important things to keep in mind is space. Wether your rifle is rear wired to the stock or wired to the front will determine the overall space you have to fit a battery in your AEG.
Quick Reference Guide:
If you are new to airsoft and have just purchased an AEG that did not come with a battery, there is a basic way to choose a battery without getting too technical about performance and logistics. For the most part, each model of AEG has a battery type most common for that style.
- For M4/M16 variants, a regular Brick or Nunchuck style battery will do the trick and the size will depends on if the battery is housed in the front handguard or rear stock. Brick style batteries are usually housed in the front handguard, and Nunchuck batteries are usually housed in the fixed stock, but this is not the case for every single rifle on the market.
- For AK47 variants, a Stick Battery is most common due to the fact most of these style rifles are wired to the front handguard or under the top receiver; but if your AK47 variant rifle has a solid stock and is rear wired you can use a Brick or Nunchuck style battery.
- Famas and SCAR style rifles are mostly rear wired and can house either a Brick or Nunchuck style battery, but the size will be determined by the amount of space each rifle has.
- UMP style rifles and other SMGs are most of the time front wired, and use a Brick style battery due to the limited space around the barrel assembly.
- Electric Pistols utilize either one time use Alkaline batteries, or specific rechargeable batteries that are included with the pistol.
- Warning: The max voltage for most AEGs is 9.6v unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Using a battery that exceeds the maximum voltage for your AEG can damage the gun and will void the manufacturer's warranty.
- Warning: LiPO Batteries must use LiPO Chargers ONLY. Using the wrong type of charger with a LiPO battery can cause battery failure and a significant fire hazard.
Some AEGs only have room for one specific shape of battery so it is important to know which shape battery your gun needs. Different battery shape options such as Brick, Nunchuck, and Stick come in various sizes and voltages making some more suited for your rifle than others.
When the individual battery cells are arranged in two columns, sometimes with one cell at the bottom of the pack depending on cell count, this is commonly called a Brick style battery. Brick style batteries that are higher than 1600 mAh are usually a larger size and can only fit in in AEGs with a large buttstock battery compartment. High capacity Brick style batteries sometimes have a Large Tamiya connector instead of the standard mini Tamiya. In that case you may need an adapter to connect the battery to your charger.
When the battery comes with the cells in two seperate column packs connected by a wire, it is called a Nunchuck style battery. These batteries are most commonly used in front wired AEGs where the battery is kept in the handguard on either side of the barrel. Nunchuck batteries can also fit in most butts/stocks of larger AEGs.
When the cells of the battery are in a single continuous column, this is called a Stick style battery. Stick batteries are most commonly used in AK47 variants that may have a folding stock which is unable to house a battery. These batteries are usually housed in the handguard or under the the top receiver of AK47 rifle variants. If your AEG has very limited space for the battery, you may be required to purchase a battery constructed with smaller cells. A Small battery will have the correct voltage for your gun but will have a limited amount of available of electricity.
It is a common misconception that the physical size of your battery affects the amount of power your Airsoft Gun has, but the power level varies greatly between batteries and it is more important to look at the Milliamp Hours (MaH) and Voltage to accurately gauge the power you wish to achieve.
The MaH level on the battery indicates how much “fuel” the battery has when fully charged, and gives you an accurate representation of the run time on a fully charged battery. Since your AEG uses electricity at a constant rate, the higher the MaH level, the longer you can operate your AEG between charge cycles. However, a higher MaH level means a higher cost and a larger overall battery which is important to keep in mind due to your AEGs size constraints. The MaH levels within the battery can range from 600 MaH to a very high 3000 MaH, to give you an idea of the options available.
The Voltage level shows the rate of fire the battery can produce, thus determining the rate in which power leaves the battery. Voltage is the “horsepower” of the battery. For example, an 8.4-volt battery will run a certain motor at a given speed, whereas a 9.6-volt battery with run the same motor faster. This may seem confusing but think of it like this; if you are using an M4 AEG with a full-auto firing Rounds Per Minute (RPM) of 750 rounds on a 8.6-volt battery, the RPM can be boosted up to 850 or even 900 rounds when upgrading to a 9.4-volt battery. But that doesn't mean you can just throw a bigger battery into any AEG to achieve a faster rate of fire safely. If your guns’ gearbox is not built to function sustainably above 800 RPM, running that large of a battery can completely break your gearbox within minutes of use. High Voltage batteries are specifically designed for Airsoft Guns that have been upgraded with a stronger gearbox and more powerful mainspring. Although your rifle may still function when using a larger Voltage battery without modifications, you are greatly risking the integrity of your AEG. The most common Voltage options for Airsoft batteries are 8.4, 9.6, and 10.8. There are also other Voltages available up to 12 volts, but are less common and only advised for super-modified guns with very strong gearboxes. Some smaller Airsoft guns have proprietary 7.2-volt batteries. Most commonly, Airsoft Station will recommend a battery within the product listing based on the gun if one is not already included with the AEG.
Battery Chemical Makeup:
The type of chemical in which the battery is made up of is the key element in performance, and determines the number of charge cycles and the speed it takes to fully charge your battery. All AEGs can handle each type of battery chemical, and are usually picked by player preference. Each battery option has its pros and cons so it's best for you to decide which key aspects are important to you. There are a couple options when it comes to the chemical makeup, the more common ones being Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Lithium Polymer (LiPo), and Lithium-Ion (Li-ion).
The original rechargeable battery for Airsoft guns is the NiCd, but has slowly been losing popularity due to the fact many users claim this type of battery has a memory and will gradually have a lower charging capacity as time goes on until the battery dies altogether. To prevent this, players must discharge the battery completely or the charging capacity will begin to decline. NiCd batteries charge very fast but produce an extreme amount of heat when charging and must not be overcharged or there is a serious risk of explosion.
NiMh batteries are perfectly suited for Airsoft use, and are specially designed to keep high voltage even during high current demands, most commonly sold in 8.4 and 9.6-volt options. NiMh batteries are proven to have less of a memory than NiCd batteries and can be topped off without risking the overall storage capacity. NiMh batteries hold more of a charge than the equal size NiCd battery and the self-discharge rate is much lower. Nimh batteries in turn have a higher voltageand a greater overall capacity. NiMh batteries take longer to charge than NiCd batteries but are much safer.
LiPo batteries may be the most popular among airsoft enthusiasts as the battery style is lightweight and available in many shapes, and are most commonly sold in 7.4-volt and 11.1-volt options. LiPo batteries distribute high energy density and produce high power in a compact package.
Li-ion batteries are also extremely popular among Airsoft players, because they are resistant to overcharging and have absolutely zero memory. However, Li-ion batteries are more expensive when compared to other Airsoft batteries but can end up saving you money in the long run by eliminating the risk of a ruined battery. Li-ion batteries are best for devices that drain batteries quickly, and feature a much larger capacity level while also being much more efficient. Li-ion batteries are not as durable as NiCd or NiMh batteries and suffer capacity loss from age alone, which is unique to this type.
Battery Connector Type:
Now that you have chosen a battery that is specific to your preference, it's time to decide how it will be connected to your AEG and charger. The type of connectors within your AEG are basically separated between old/high electrical resistance versus new/decreased electrical resistance. Adaptors are available to connect one type to another, without having to purchase a new battery with every new AEG. Switching out your Airsoft battery connector is one of the easiest ways to quickly improve the performance of your AEG. The three basic battery connector types are Tamiya Connector, Mini Tamiya Connector, and Deans Connector.
Tamiya Connectors are the most common standard Airsoft battery connector which are factory installed into almost every Airsoft gun. Tamiya Connectors are usually constructed from cheap plastic and tend to get relatively warm due to higher electrical resistance when compared to other connector types. The warmth is generated from lost voltage between the battery and gearbox, which can alter overall performance. Tamiya Connectors are 14mm wide and can handle up to 15 amps of electrical flow. Tamiya Connectors are recommended for batteries with lower voltage and motors with a lower rate of fire.
Mini Tamiya Connectors are essentially the same as regular Tamiya Connectors, just smaller in size. Mini Tamiya Connectors are 10mm wide and can handle up to 9 amps of continuous electrical flow. Each connector either has a male or female fitting, with the female fitting usually being attached to the battery and and male fitting being attached to the charger or Airsoft gun.
Deans Connectors are a much newer design and are very sought after by Airsoft enthusiasts who wish to achieve higher performance with less risk of losing important voltage. This connector upgrade features decreased electrical resistance which helps to increase your rate of fire by creating a higher cycling rate, while still using the same battery and motor. The more efficient electrical flow reduces heat build-up and prevents breakage, which is one of the most attractive features when upgrading to a Deans Connection. The gold plated prongs and much wider surface area create a nice, firm connection that will not shift around or slip out, and contribute to less electrical resistance from battery to motor. The increased rate of fire you may receive from Deans Connectors will put a greater strain on your gearbox compared to the standard Tamiya Connectors. The overall smaller size allows for more room inside your battery compartment, allowing for a larger battery upgrade. Deans Connectors are rated for 40 amps of electrical flow and are the most reliable upgrade when it comes to battery connections.