5 On Your Side

Which batteries last the longest?

Posted December 24, 2013

That fire truck just doesn’t light up the same without that thing.

Neither does the doll that makes all those cool sounds.

And that expensive baby toy? Yeah, it requires it too.

Simply put, a new toy just isn’t the same without that thing - batteries. AA batteries are the most popular, but with so many choices - and claims like "world's longest lasting" and "lasts up to nine times longer” - which batteries should you buy?

"There's a lot of misinformation and hype out there, and in the end it can cost you money if you make the wrong choice,” said Dan DiClerico, senior editor with Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports evaluated 15 kinds of AA batteries.

The Toys "R" Us Ultra alkalines gave just four hours of flashlight time and 49 camera shots.

The top-rated Energizer Ultimate Lithium kept a flashlight on for more than seven hours and 609 camera shots.

"Although they're more expensive, lithiums can provide up to five times the power of an alkaline under certain circumstances," DiClerico said.

The Duracell Quantum was the best, and it cost about half the price of the lithiums.

Another alkaline choice - Costco's Kirkland Signature - is a Consumer Reports best buy.

Lithium batteries can be worth the extra cost for digital cameras and gaming controllers - devices that need more power.

But Consumer Reports says to go with alkalines for toys that are used less often.


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  • albegadeep Dec 30, 2013

    Good points, Mon Account. I use rechargeable AAs and AAAs in most of my devices; more expensive up-front but FAR cheaper long-term. For seldom-used or trickle-use devices, alkalines are good. But remember to REMOVE BATTERIES BEFORE STORING items - most batteries will leak eventually.

  • Mon Account Dec 27, 2013

    Just remember where they'll end up. Purchase items that don't require batteries (AC option), and if you can't then try going with rechargeables.

    Rechargeables don't like to sit around unused, or used in a trickle-type setting (like an outdoor thermometer, etc.) They like to charge then be used or they die more quickly than expected. For game controllers they're awesome.

    As a last resort, head to long-lasting batteries if you can afford them. Remember: cheap at the checkout doesn't mean cheap in the long run. Bulk batteries that don't last usually don't save money in the long run.

  • diana123 Dec 27, 2013

    i buy a large package of duracell at the dollar tree,
    i'm good.