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What’s the best AA battery?

Web Watch had a rough childhood.

Our father was a bit of a tinkerer. A gadget-guy.  (Still is, actually.)

He loves to put things through their paces, then take them apart to see how they worked or if they could be improved upon.

For a while, when we were young, he was infatuated with battery-operated devices – like toys.  So he’d go out and buy the latest, greatest battery-operated toy (even better if it was a rechargeable battery).  And Web Watch would get to play with the toy for as long as we wanted to.

Go ahead.  Have fun with that.

Until Dad decided that it was time for him to take the toy apart and see what made it last as long as it did on that single battery charge.

Web Watch went through a lot of battery-operated toys during that time.  Sure, we got to play with all of them, but only for like a day.

If only Web Watch could point out a website like BATTERY SHOWDOWN to Dad back then.  It would have saved all of us plenty of time and frustration — and maybe we’d still have some of those toys lying around.

What the Battery Showdown attempts to show is whether cheap batteries from the discount bin are equal quality to the name-brand batteries you’ll find at your local home improvement store.

Some of the battery brands they tested were:

  • Duracell
  • Energizer
  • Panasonic
  • Daewoo
  • Ford
  • Sony
  • Polaroid
  • Varta

And even among the listed brands, there were a number of variations.  Over 25 different batteries were tested, which ranged in cost from .08 to 1.13.  They decided to focus the test strictly on AA-size batteries (but Web Watch is sure that you’ll find similar/comparable results if you tested AAA-size, C-size, or D-size batteries as well).

They tested the batteries in both low-drain and high-drain tests.  The low-drain tests typically lasted from 3-15 hours to complete, while the high-drain tests ran anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours.

For the low-drain tests, they determined the following in their Battery Showdown:

  • Worst value for the money: Duracell Ultra Power
  • Best lithium: Energizer Ultimate Lithium
  • Best alkaline: VARTA High Energy Alkaline
  • Best zinc: Daweoo
  • Best value for the money: Kodak Xtralife

For the high-drain tests — looking at the raw data that Battery Showdown presented… it looks like the exact same results as what they showed for the low-drain tests, in terms of best/worst value for the money.

What this does is prove that you shouldn’t always buy your battery based on the brand name, but stick with how well those batteries perform in your required application (whether it be a phone, camera, remote control, or flashlight).  Do some tests of your own, and maybe you’ll find one brand of battery does significantly better for your use than others.