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Which AA batteries last the longest?

November 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
People spend almost a billion dollars a year on AA batteries. Do you know which ones last the longest? And is it worth it to pay more for rechargeable batteries?Consumer Specialist Ric Romero teamed up with Consumer Reports to test three different types of AA batteries, and found a big cost saver and a rechargable to recommend.

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 AA batteries to find which last the longest. Testers checked out alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable batteries.

"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," said Jim Langehennig from Consumer Reports. "They cost a lot more than regular batteries, but you'll end up saving more in the long run."

Testers evaluated the AAs 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," said Langehennig.

A pack of four cost $15, plus about $15 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 of "more power for your money."

In Consumer Reports' tests, six other AA 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.

Remember it's important for our environment to recycle batteries, which contain toxic elements. Don't just toss them into the trash, instead take them to your local recycling center where they can be disposed of properly.


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