The Worktunes Connect+AM/FM (aka Worktunes Wireless) do not come with a built-in battery, so you get to choose (and replace) your battery depending on how much you use the headset.
Many other headsets have a built-in rechargeable battery.
This is convenient, but when the battery doesn’t hold a charge anymore or malfunctions in other ways, you’ll often have to toss out your earmuffs (or have them sent to a shop for maintenance).
In this post, we are looking at the performance of three different battery options:
- Rechargeable 3M Alpha 1100 Lithium battery. This battery can be recharged in the headset.
- Rechargeable AA batteries (e.g., Panasonic eneloop). These have to be charged in an external charger.
- Disposable AA alkaline batteries.
I have tested all three battery options.
Note: If you have come here to learn about the battery life for the Worktunes Connect (without radio), please check the post Worktunes Connect Earmuffs Review.
Here is an overview table with my test results (battery life, charging time) for three different battery options.
I set the phone volume to max and played sound at a Worktunes volume of 3 notches below maximum.
|3M Alpha 1100 Lithium Ion||Panasonic Eneloop AA rechargeable (Ni-MH)||Alkaline AA disposable (GP-Ultra)|
|Battery life (continuous playtime)||27 hours (26.92)||32 hours (31.92)||38 hours (37.75)|
|Time to recharge||2 hours 20 min||6 hours||Disposable|
|Total capacity in Wh||4.1Wh||4.8Wh||Not specified|
|mAh (for battery id)||1100mAh||upto 2000mAh||Not specified
|Charger||Phone adapter or other USB source connected to headset||External charger (remove batteries for recharging)||N/A|
|Remark||Most convenient||Most economical||Good backup if you have forgotten to charge|
The battery life with all three options is excellent.
The 3M Alpha 1100 (battery life 27 hours) is the most convenient option. To recharge, you only have to plug in your headset (e.g., using your phone charger) via a micro USB cable (came with the battery). With 2 hours 20 min, the Alpha is also the fastest to recharge.
I would go with this option if you are using your Worktunes full-time most days of your work week.
With two rechargeable AA Panasonic eneloop batteries, you can run your Worktunes even about 20% longer (playtime 32 hours) than with the Alpha battery. However, to recharge, you have to remove the batteries and put them into an external charger (6 hours to recharge in my charger).
Nevertheless, this solution is more economical: I got four eneloop batteries (i.e., an additional backup set) plus an EBL USB charger for about the same price as the Alpha 1100.
You can also get the batteries together with a charger that plugs directly into a power outlet. (I use a USB charger so that I can recharge with various power sources.)
Panasonic states you are getting up to 2100 charging cycles out of the eneloop. I haven’t had the Alpha long enough to wear it out, but if I had to take a guess, two sets of eneloop should last quite a bit longer than one Alpha battery.
I would go with these rechargeable AA batteries if you use your headset one or two days per week. In that case, you would have to take out the batteries every 2 to 4 weeks for recharging.
You could even power two pairs of Worktunes with this setup.
The battery compartment of the Worktunes is a bit fiddly, but I would be OK swapping out the batteries once or twice per month.
At the end of the day both battery options give you excellent battery life.
So you decide: Convenience vs. economics.
Good disposable alkaline AA batteries should give you the longest battery life.
With the GP Ultra Alkaline, for example, I am getting nearly 38 hours of continuous playtime. When you have forgotten to recharge, you’ll find it very convenient to be able to drop in some AA batteries.
But, given the rechargeable options, I would use disposable batteries only as a backup:
Even if you only change your batteries once every other month, you are throwing out 12 batteries (6×2) per year.
If you are using your Worktunes full-time for most of the year, you are looking at perhaps 60 or even more batteries per year.
Battery option 1: 3M Alpha 1100 Battery Pack
Installation of the 3M Alpha 1100 battery into the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM
The 3M Alpha 1100 battery has to be installed with the battery+ sign facing upwards. (Worktunes upright: headband at the top.)
Note: The 3M Alpha also fits headsets other than the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM: there the battery orientation may be different, so be sure to read the instructions that apply to your headset!
Note: Be careful when installing the battery. There is also a plus sign at the bottom of the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM battery compartment, but this only applies to installing AA batteries!
I got about 27 hours continuous playtime before the “Battery Low” warning voice:
I listened to FM radio (with Bluetooth connected for receiving calls) for 8 hours and 45 min, followed by music from my phone via Bluetooth for 18 hours and 15 minutes.
The volume of the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM can be adjusted in steps, independently from the phone. I set the phone volume to max and played sound at a Worktunes volume of 3 steps below maximum.
Recharging takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes. The status LED flashes blue while charging.
The Alpha 1100 battery came with a Micro USB (to USB-A) cable that fits into the headset’s charging port. A charger is not included! I am using a standard USB phone charger (5V, 1.0A) to recharge.
At times, I have also used the more powerful USB quick charger that came with my most recent Samsung phone. The charging time is the same.
(I don’t think an external charger for spare batteries is available, so you would always charge the Alpha battery in the headset.)
Because the battery can be charged inside the headset, I find this the most convenient way to power the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM. You would only have to remove the battery to replace it when it doesn’t hold a charge anymore.
Should you have forgotten to charge the battery you can always put in two AA alkaline batteries to get you through the day.
Battery Option 2: Rechargeable AA Panasonic eneloop
Battery Life Worktunes with rechargeable AA Panasonic eneloop
I got about 32 hours continuous playtime before the “Battery Low” warning voice, listening to FM radio (Bluetooth connected for receiving calls) for 13 hours and 15 min and streaming music from my phone for 18 hours and 45 minutes.
Again, I played sound at a Worktunes volume of 3 steps below maximum (with the phone volume set to maximum).
Recharging a set of two batteries takes about 6 hours in my external charger.
For this, they need to be removed; recharging these AA batteries in the headset is not supported!
The batteries could be charged faster with a quick charger, but I currently don‘t use such a charger. Having two sets, I don’t mind the time, and I believe slower charging may extend the battery lifespan.
If you want to go with rechargeable AA batteries, I recommend getting four eneloop.
This gives you two complete sets. Remove the discharged batteries and put them in the charger. Put the second set in your Worktunes.
I use an external USB charger (EBL) that can charge from 1 to 4 batteries.
I want to be able to recharge batteries using various power sources (e.g., power bank, car, solar panel, wall socket). I mostly power this charger with a USB phone adapter (5V, 1.0A) though.
If you only need to charge using a wall outlet, Panasonic also offers four AA eneloop together with an economical wall charger. (I don’t have that charger.)
Four batteries and the external USB charger together cost me about the same as a the 3M 1100 Alpha.
Since I only need 2 batteries to power the Worktunes, I expect this setup to last substantially longer than the Alpha battery. The depicted phone adapter is not included.
Panasonic states that eneloop allow up to 2100 recharge cycles, which is excellent. Moreover, the company says the batteries retain upto 70% of their charge after 10 years when not in use.
Powering the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM with these rechargeable batteries is a very economical option.
As far as I can see, the only downside of the eneloop is that you have to remove the batteries to recharge.
The battery compartment of the Worktunes is a bit fiddly, but I would be OK swapping out the batteries once or max twice per month.
This amounts to using the Worktunes one or two days per week full-time. Any more than that and I would go for the Alpha battery.
Battery Option 3: Disposable AA alkaline batteries
I am getting about 38 hours continuous Bluetooth streaming time out of a set of 2 AA alkaline batteries (GP).
So I can basically run the headset full-time for a a complete work week.
For this test, I used this particular brand because I already had these at home.
I am glad that Worktunes Connect+AM/FM can be powered with normal AA batteries: You always have a fall-back option in case you have forgotten to charge.
However, I would only consider this as a backup option, unless you barely ever use your muffs.
Suppose you use your headset only 4-5 hours a week. That means you would have to replace your batteries every other month, which amounts to 12 alkaline batteries per year!
According to Panasonic, their AA eneloop batteries can be recharged up to 2100 times. Let’s cut this in half and assume only 1000 times!
One more thing to consider for the longevity of your Worktunes
If you use hearing protection earmuffs or headsets a lot, the ear pads will likely need to be replaced much earlier than the rechargeable batteries to maintain optimal protection.
In the past, you had to directly contact 3M and ask for ear pads, but now replacement ear pads for the Worktunes Connect+AM/FM are available for purchase.
So basically all consumables for this headset can be changed without much effort by you.