Consumer Reports tested a dozen, including big names such as Energizer, and store brands such as Walgreens and CVS.
Testers used a rack to evaluate battery performance. It was programmed to mimic a digital camera and a flashlight. The tests turned up big differences.
The Eveready Gold, the worst batteries, took only 52 shots before dying. The Energizer Ultimate lithium, the best, took 682 shots. But they are expensive, costing more than $2.50 per battery. Although lithium batteries cost more, Consumer Reports says they can be worth it for digital cameras and other high-drain devices.
Among alkaline batteries, top ratings went to the Duracell Ultra Power for about $1 per battery. Alkaline batteries don't tend to last as long, so they are better for low-drain devices such as flashlights or remotes. And for toys, Consumer Reports says rechargeable batteries are best.
Lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries should be recycled. And though many places allow you to throw out alkaline batteries, Consumer Reports says it's good to recycle those, too. You can find a recycling center near you at Earth911.com.