AA Batteries

December 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
People spend almost a billion dollars a year on double-a batteries. But do you know which ones last the longest? And is it worth it to pay more for rechargeable batteries? Keeping up with all the batteries you need for your child's toys can drive you over the edge. But help is on the way. Consumer Reports evaluated 17 double-a batteries to find which last the longest. Testers checked out alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable batteries.

Jim Langehennig, Consumer Reports, says "If you have a device that you use a lot, or uses a lot of power, like a digital camera, you may want to spend more money on lithium batteries or rechargeable batteries. They cost a lot more than regular batteries, but you'll end up saving more in the long run."

Testers evaluated the double-a's using digital cameras. They turned on the camera, zoomed in, zoomed out and zoomed in again. Then they turned on the flash and took five pictures in a row waiting 30 seconds in between each shot. They did this over and over until the battery went dead.

"A good choice for a rechargeable battery was the Duracell 2650," says Langehennig. A pack of four cost 15 dollars, plus about 15 dollars for the recharger.

Alkaline batteries, which cost less, are a good choice for flashlights and remotes, items you don't use that often. But Rayovac's batteries come up short on its advertising claims.

In Consumer Reports' tests, six other double-a batteries lasted longer, including the least expensive - Kirkland signature batteries sold at Costco. They cost just 20 cents a battery. But you do have to purchase them in packs of 48.

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