It seems whenever you need a certain type of battery at home, it's always the one you're out of. When you run to the store, you find a lot of choices and different prices.
But before you buy any batteries, you need to know a few things. First, there are two types of batteries: alkaline and lithium. More to the point, not all batteries are a good value. Does paying more mean you'll get a better, longer lasting battery?
No, not according to tests from Consumer Reports. They tested 15 brands of AA batteries, including Amazon-branded batteries and Costco's Kirkland batteries, to see which ones came out on top in the past.
The prestigious magazine found previously that some lower-cost batteries are just as good or nearly as good as the most expensive brands. In fact, you'll be shocked by how you don't need to break the bank for high-quality batteries that will keep your Christmas presents humming for weeks or months.
Note: Consumer Reports previously tested batteries in two ways: They used the batteries until they died in toys for one hour a day and in flashlights for four minutes every eight hours. They no longer test batteries, however, but their findings still hold true – you can get some great batteries without having to break the bank, depending on which brand you use.
Alkaline vs. Lithium
First things first. You've probably noticed that generally speaking, lithium batteries are expensive.
You might be tempted to buy them, thinking that if they cost more they probably last longer. As it turns out, Consumer Reports has suggested in the past to use lithium batteries sparingly, like in devices that need a quick burst of power or that you don't use very often.
Note: You can store lithium batteries for up to 15 years. They don't need to be stored in the refrigerator and they don't usually spew liquid like older, carbon-zinc batteries did.
Some alkaline batteries performed as well as lithium batteries in the same previous Consumer Reports test. These batteries are typically less expensive. You may want to use them in devices you use a lot, like your TV remote control and your computer's wireless mouse.
So, which brands performed best in Consumer Reports' tests? Both alkaline and lithium batteries were among the best values.
This might surprise you. The top performers included two brands that might have the perception of being "cheap."
Costco's Kirkland Signature brand AA alkaline battery had an overall score of 80, out of a possible 100. Unfortunately, while they remain the highest-scored product in terms of branded store batteries, they have since gone up in price – Duracell raised its prices and passed them on to Costco on its private branded products, and that's what the Kirkland Signature batteries are, after all. They aren't the best deal any longer, but they still performed the best at the time of this test.
Meanwhile, AmazonBasics Performance AA Alkaline scored a 71 on the original test.
That compares to top-rated brands such as Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA (89), Duracell Quantum AA Alkaline (89) and Rayovac Fusion Advanced AA Alkaline (85).
There are other great deals you can find as well, however, on batteries that weren't included in the test. For instance, you can check out the Dollar Tree deal on four Sunbeam batters for a $1 a package, which makes them 25 cents apiece. Additionally, Tenergy batteries make for great choices.
Here's the full list of the most recent Consumer Reports test for your reference:
- Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA - CR only tested two lithium batteries and this one came out on top. It received an overall score of 89.
- Energizer Advanced Lithium AA - This one came in second with an overall score of 82.
- Duracell Quantum AA Alkaline - CR tested a total of 13 alkaline batteries and this one is the best. It received an overall score of 89.
- Rayovac Fusion Advanced AA Alkaline - Overall score of 85.
- CVS Max AA Alkaline - Overall score of 82.
- Duracell Coppertop Duralock AA Alkaline - Overall score of 80.
- Kirkland Signature (Costco) AA Alkaline - Overall score of 80.
- Rite Aid Home AA Alkaline - Overall score of 79.
- AmazonBasics Performance AA Alkaline - Overall score of 71.
- Walgreens W Alkaline Supercell AA - Overall score of 71.
- Energizer ecoAdvanced AA Alkaline - Overall score of 68.
- Energizer MAX +PowerSeal AA Alkaline - Overall score of 67.
- CVS AA Alkaline - Overall score of 62.
- Dynex (Best Buy) High Capacity AA Alkaline - Overall score of 60.
- EcoAlkalines AA Alkaline - Overall score of 59.
How to store and use batteries
When you're not using a device very often, take out the batteries. It's best to store them in a cool, dry place.
You may also want to wipe off the batteries before you put them into a toy or gadget. When you can, use the same type of battery and brand when you're using more than one AA battery.
Be careful, too. Keep batteries away from children, including tossing old ones in the trash.