Consumer Reports tests AA batteries

Batteries that go the distanceIn happy times (taking holiday photos) and sad (enduring winter storms), you want a battery you can trust.

We hired a lab to run new, improved tests that mimic the main uses of AA batteries: to power digital cameras and flashlights. We tested 10 alkaline and two lithium batteries. Neither type is rechargeable. (In past tests, we’ve found that rechargeables of 2,350 milliamp-hours or more are best for often-used toys like game controllers.)


In cameras.

This test mimics everyday use, zooming, flashing, shooting, and resting until batteries die. Energizer Ultimate lithium took 682 shots in our tough test; Eveready Gold alkaline, just 52.

MORE AT COnsumer Reports

In flashlights.

This test involves the equivalent of turning on a flashlight for 4 minutes every hour for 8 hours, letting it sit for 16 hours, and repeating the cycle until batteries die.

Battery life ranged from about 7.5 hours, for the Energizer Ultimate lithium, down to about 5.2, for the Eveready Gold alkaline. The best alkaline, Duracell Ultra Power, lasted about 6.7 hours.

Bottom line.

Energizer Ultimate lithium lasted longest in both tests. Lithiums are good in high-drain devices like cameras. Alkalines have shorter lives but cost less, and some perform almost as well in low-drain devices like flashlights and remotes.

Most alkalines have a shelf life of about seven years, but some claim up to 10 years. Energizer Ultimate lithium claims 15 years; Energizer Advanced, 10.

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


Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

Follow Yahoo Shopping

Latest from Yahoo Shopping