Consumer Reports rates best batteries

a a a a
Share this story

AA batteries are the most widely sold battery type, used in digital cameras, flashlights, radios, remote controls, toys, and much more.

To find out whether you really need to buy expensive brand-name batteries to keep your gadgets up and running, Consumer Reports tested both alkaline and lithium batteries.

How they tested

To measure how long AA batteries lasted, testers loaded them into digital cameras, a typically high-drain device, and flashlights, a low-drain device. For cameras, the test mimicked everyday use by zooming, flashing, shooting, and resting until the batteries died.

The longest-lasting lithium battery took 609 shots before dying, while the quickest to die, an alkaline, took just 49.

For flashlights, the test included turning on a flashlight for 4 minutes every hour for 8 hours, and then letting the flashlight sit for 16 hours. Testers repeated this routine until the batteries died. The best batteries in our tough test (again, a lithium) could last 7.3 hours. The best alkaline, which cost about half as much, lasted almost as long, 6.8 hours. The worst in the flashlight test (an alkaline) made it to only about 4 hours.
Rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable batteries are a greener choice than any of the tested types. In past tests, precharged rechargeables from the major manufacturers provided about 300 shots out of the box and about 400 shots on their subsequent charges.

For information about tossing or recycling batteries, go to www.call2recycle.org or earth911.com.

Bottom Line

Lithium batteries took more photos than alkaline, which have a shorter life but cost less. Use lithium batteries in high-drain devices such as cameras, and alkalines in low-drain devices such as flashlights and remote controls.

The top choices:
Lithium: Energizer Ultimate Lithium, at $5.50 for two batteries.
Alkaline: Duracell Quantum, at $2.25 for two batteries.
Best $ value: Costco Kirkland alkaline, just $.50 for two batteries.

When it came to low-drain devices, some alkaline batteries performed almost as well as lithium. For devices that are used a lot, such as game controllers, consider high-capacity rechargeable batteries. In past tests, we've found that rechargeables of about 2,000 milliamp-hours or more are best for often-used devices such as these.

Remember, most alkaline batteries have a shelf life of about seven years, though some makers claim up to 10 years. And you do not have to store them in the refrigerator to prolong life, contrary to any old-wives' tale you might have heard.
 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More DWYM
Cobalt, Saturn owners anxious for repair
Cobalt, Saturn owners anxious for repair

John Matarese reports on the wait for ignition switch repairs

Scammers using Netflix to steal from millions
Scammers using Netflix to steal from millions

A dangerous new phishing scam is targeting the sensitive information of millions of Netflix users.

Prom or bridal dress shopping online? Beware
Prom or bridal dress shopping online? Beware

John Matarese has a caution for anyone trying to save money by dress shopping onlin.e

App of the Week
App of the Week

Check out John Matarese's latest money saving smartphone apps.

IRS phone scam targeting thousands
IRS phone scam targeting thousands

John Matarese has a warning about a major tax scam this spring.

How much water is in the chicken you buy?
How much water is in the chicken you buy?

When it comes to chicken, big packs of boneless breasts look like a good deal. But look closer.

Gasoline, beef prices soaring
Gasoline, beef prices soaring

John Matarese looks into higher prices hitting just as spring arrives

"One Ring" phone scam getting worse

John Matarese warns about the "One-Ring" scam

Easy tax mistakes that could get you audited
Easy tax mistakes that could get you audited

As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, they will make mistakes that could increase their chances of being put…

How to avoid worthless home warranties
How to avoid worthless home warranties

Every spring, thousands of Tri-State homeowners buy or renew home warranties to protect themselves against costly repairs. But are all…