Review: Tenergy 9V battery charger

Tenergy 9V battery charger
Tenergy 9V battery charger

In my quest to live a more sustainable life,  I’ve transitioned to rechargeable batteries wherever possible (read more here), and have finally tackled the remaining piece of that puzzle – rechargeable 9V batteries.  I found these to be surprisingly rare, and settled on one of the few options from Amazon, the charger and batteries from Tenergy.

I suppose there’s not much to say about the batteries…and that’s a good thing!  As for the charger, well, it works and charges the batteries, but I was disappointed by the quality.  Tenergy used cheap white plastic that lets a lot of the light through, giving this charger a pink glow when charging (as the attached photo shows).  It doesn’t cost much more to use a more opaque plastic in manufacturing, yet this is something companies need to really fight for when dealing with Chinese manufacturing, at least from my experience.  You can spec out an awesome Lexan from Sabic (formerly GE) that will block like like this, but the factories will want to substitute a cheaper, more readily available one….which I suspect is what happened here.  It doesn’t affect the charger performance so it’s not really a big deal, it’s more of an annoyance of mine to see products built less than optimally.

If you’re looking for something like this, you can find the charger here at Amazon, and a 10-pack of the batteries here.  Don’t think you need a 10-pack?  Take a walk around your house and count the number of smoke detectors you have (should be one per bedroom plus in the common areas of the house), and the CO detectors.  You might be surprised at just how many 9V batteries you need!

Review: Earthbox self-watering planter

Read the marketing literature, and the EarthBox sounds like a revolutionary approach to growing plants.  I was skeptical.  The truth is, it’s a self-watering planter with a very nice amount of attention to detail.  For example, they provide the right amount of fertilizer to use.  A plastic cover to reduce evaporation.  A nice fill tube and overflow hole.  Little stuff like that, but you know what?

It adds up to something great.

I’ve owned two of these.  The first, while I was living in California, produced a tomato plant over six feet high.  The second, in Colorado, has done a fantastic job of growing peas, beans, and cucumbers in a water-scarce climate.  I love it and can always count on the EarthBox to take care of the plants, giving them the right amount of fertilizer and water while I sit back and do nothing.  It’s available for about $50 at Amazon, in both organic and non-organic versions.  It’s large and heavy once you fill it with dirt and water, but still fits in nicely on a deck or patio, where hopefully you can keep the local wildlife away from it.

Which brings me to the one drawback…animals.  A raised bed is easily covered with deer netting to protect your crops, but this standalone planter doesn’t lend itself nearly as well to that.  That six foot tomato plant I mentioned?  It produced countless tomatoes.  I ate ONE, just one measly tomatoe from that whole plant.  The rest were enjoyed by squirrels, who were rude enough to eat the tomatoes before they were ripe enough for us to harvest for human consumption.  So, when planning a garden, be sure to look around your backyard…the EarthBox will help your plants grow fantastically well, but who’s going to enjoy the fruits of that?