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Which? reveals the best vs worst AA disposable batteries

Our tough battery tests have discovered that the best AA batteries last more than two and a half hours longer than the worst in your most power-sapping devices. And up to seven hours longer in devices like games consoles. Our latest tests included AA batteries from 15 different brands including Duracell, Energizer, and Panasonic, as well as own-brands from the likes of Aldi, Amazon, Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and more.

We know that Which? members use batteries in a range of different devices, so we test batteries in three different scenarios to identify which batteries last the longest in your devices. We’ve also discovered that price is no indicator of quality – we’ve discovered bargain Best Buys, as well as expensive Don’t Buys. Best Buy batteries[1] – check to see which AA and AAA batteries make the grade

Which?

AA disposable battery reviews

Our tough lab tests revealed a big difference between the best batteries and the worst.

Put a set of one of our Best Buy AA disposable batteries in your most power-hungry devices, such as a camera or torch, and they will last nearly two and a half hours longer than the worst. Put them in a medium-drain device, like a games console, and you’ll get nearly seven extra hours. It’s important that you choose the right battery for your device.

As our graph above shows, Best Buy 1 is great in higher-powered devices, but you wouldn’t want to waste it in a low-drain device, like a clock, as it doesn’t last as long as its rivals. Want to see detailed results of our tests so you can buy the best battery for your needs? See our full table at best AA batteries[2].

Don’t forget to recycle your batteries

Which? members are pretty good at recycling batteries, our latest survey found.

Some 65% of you always recycle your disposable batteries, and a further 11% do so often. However, 9% rarely recycle batteries and 7% said they never do so. Batteries chucked in the bin can end up in a landfill, where the chemicals they contain could leak into the ground.

No one needs to find recycling a chore, and the good news is that recycling your batteries has never been easier. Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose all have collection points in their stores – ask if you can’t immediately see them. Any retailer selling more than a pack of AA batteries per day (over 32kg of batteries sold per year) has to have a collection point (the rules are different for car and industrial batteries).

Your council website should also list your local household waste recycling centres. Many town halls, libraries, schools and charities will take them too.

AA batteries on test

The full list of tested batteries is below – click product names to read our reviews: Need to buy AAA batteries?

Discover the best AAA batteries[3].

References

  1. ^ Best Buy batteries (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ best AA batteries (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ best AAA batteries (www.which.co.uk)

New Fairy bottle made from 100% recycled plastic

A new recyclable Fairy washing-up liquid bottle is launching next year, which the manufacturer says aims to tackle the problem of plastic waste. The innovative bottle will be created using a mixture of ocean plastic collected from beaches around the world, and post-consumer recycled plastic. Keep scrolling for the details.

Best Buy washing-up liquid[1] – see which products top our tests

The new Fairy Ocean Plastic bottle

In a bid to raise awareness over the issue of ocean plastic, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is planning on selling a Fairy washing-up liquid bottle made from 100% recycled plastic. The new bottle will arrive next year, with the UK launch seeing 320,000 bottles go on sale. In a press release, the group highlighted its commitment to recycled plastic, revealing that it diverts 8,000 tonnes of plastic from landfill every year for use in transparent bottles.

So how will the new Fairy bottle be created? Plastic that washes up onto the UK’s beaches will be collected by volunteers, ground into pellets and then transported to P&G. From there, the material is transformed into Fairy Ocean Plastic bottles.

The bottles are fully recyclable, so their plastic will continue to be reused when you’re finished with them.

Earlier this week, Lisa Svensson, Global director for Ocean UN Environment, described the problem of ocean plastic as a ‘planetary crisis’. She added: ‘In a few short decades since we discovered the convenience of plastics, we are ruining the ecosystem of the ocean.’ We’ve seen other big-name brands addressing the issue of ocean plastic in the past few months, too.

Earlier this year, Adidas unveiled the EQT Support ADV sneaker, which is knitted from yarns made of recycled plastic waste.

Washing-up liquids in our test lab

While our range of Best Buy washing-up liquids will obliterate fat from your dishes, dreaded Don’t Buys will see you scrubbing harder than you’d like.

To see which washing-up liquid brands we recommend, head over to our full washing-up liquid test results[2].

Otherwise, head over to our washing-up liquid reviews[3] page to see every product we’ve tested.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy washing-up liquid (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ full washing-up liquid test results (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ washing-up liquid reviews (www.which.co.uk)

Cheap vs pricey washing machines: Is it worth paying more?

At Which?, price has no bearing on how we rate a washing machine – but that doesn’t mean that we’re oblivious to it, either. Sometimes you see two washing machines priced so wildly differently you can’t help but take note. Our latest reviews include a Miele washing machine machine for more than GBP1,400, and a Beko for just GBP250.

Should you splash out or save for the best washing results? Our washing machine reviews[1] will help you make the most sensible decision. Read on to compare what you get for your money from a washing machine priced at the top of the market versus one for a fraction of the price.

Miele WKF 322 – GBP1,430

Miele has a reputation for putting out slick machines priced a little higher than average.

The price of the Miele WKF 322 is undeniably some way above that, though. In fact, the average price of a Best Buy washing machine[2] is roughly half the GBP1,400 you’ll be paying for this one. So, what do you get for all that extra outlay?

  • Cotton capacity: 9kg
  • Synthetics capacity: 4kg
  • Max spin speed: 1,600rpm
  • Energy label: A+++
  • Number of programmed cycles: 12
  • Wash temperatures: Cold, 20?C, 30?C, 40?C, 50?C, 60?C, 75?C, 90?C
  • Quick wash program maximum capacity: 3.5kg
  • Intensive program: Yes
  • Length of guarantee: 24 months

Outside of its vital statistics, at first there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot to elevate the WKF 322 above from the rest.

Its glass and mirrored-silver door is eye-catching, but other than that you’re still looking at a large, white block of plastic. There’s a digital display, but most of the controls are handled the old-fashioned way, with tactile buttons and a rotating dial. It has the ability to select the correct program for your load by stain type, which is an interesting feature – pick from three types of stain (eg ‘red wine’ or ‘grass’) and it will work out the rest for you.

The ‘Express 20’ quick-wash program takes 20 minutes to complete, which is fairly standard, but the 3.5kg maximum load size for that quick wash is quite generous. Similarly, the 12 built-in programs aren’t overwhelming, although there should still be one for every scenario you could envisage, including modes for duvets and sportswear. As for how well it actually washes your laundry, and how long it takes to do it?

Find out by reading our full Miele MKF 322 washing machine review[3].

Beko WTG741M1W – GBP250

Beko is most popular washing machine brand on Which.co.uk*, so a model as tantalisingly low-priced as the Beko WTG741M1W is sure to draw attention. Given that it’s even cheaper than the average price of a Don’t Buy, can this affordable unit possibly offer enough to compete?

  • Cotton capacity: 7kg
  • Synthetics capacity: 3kg
  • Max spin speed: 1,400rpm
  • Energy label: A+++
  • Number of programmed cycles: 15
  • Wash temperatures: Cold, 20?C, 30?C, 40?C, 60?C, 90?C
  • Quick wash program maximum capacity: 2kg
  • Intensive program: No
  • Length of guarantee: 12 months

Let’s start with what you don’t get with the Beko WTG741M1W compared with the Miele: there’s a smaller drum, which means 2kg less per cottons wash, 0.5kg less per synthetics wash or 1.5kg less per quick wash, the maximum spin speed is slower, there are fewer temperatures to choose from, there’s no intensive wash program, and the guarantee is just one year, rather than two. However, the reduction in drum size means that the WTG741M1W is 10cm shallower than the Miele, meaning that it can fit more snugly in smaller homes, plus there are more pre-programmed cycles, for those who want the most intricate level of control over their wash.

As for the range of temperatures, the chances of you needing to wash at anything at exactly 50?C or 75?C is pretty slim. And even though the quick-wash capacity is slightly less than the Miele’s, it’s finished in 14 minutes, rather than 20. Unless you’re serious about your laundry, will any of these downsides really put you off buying this machine?

If you’re tempted, make sure you find out whether it cleans clothes as well as the specs suggest, by reading our full Beko WTG741M1W review[4].

Mid-priced washing machines

For those of you who believe the answer lies within moderation rather than in the extremes, we’ve tested plenty of mid-priced machines, too. The LG F4J7JY2W[5] costs GBP760 and intrigues with its wi-fi connectivity. LG’s ‘Smart ThinQ’ technology allows you to use your smartphone to communicate with the washing machine, letting you control the cycle, diagnose problems, and even download additional programs.

The Hoover DXOA 68LW3/1-80[6] offers a similar feature in a machine that costs a fair bit less – just GBP280, in fact. It has NFC (near-field communication), which means that if you have an Android smartphone with NYC can give it a tap to connect the two devices together. However, we’re struggling to see how it’s of much use, given that you have to practically be stood next to the machine to use it.

From there it offers the same features as the LG machine, We’ve also just reviewed two popular washing machines from Bush, the Bush WMDF814W[7] and the Bush WMDF914W[8]. You may not be aware of it, but Bush is actually an Argos own-brand, used for all sorts of products from washing machines to DVD players.

As that might lead you to expect, both machines are very cheap (less than GBP300 each) – but you’ll have to read their reviews[9] to find out if they are worth buying. Just in time for Christmas, or if you’re already planning your shopping list for the January sales, we’ve also just reviewed more new models from Hoover[10], Beko[11] and Miele[12], as well as a mid-priced machine from Chinese brand Haier, the Haier HW80-B1636[13]. As a name you may or may not recognise, Haier is actually responsible for all the washing machines you see branded Fisher & Paykel[14] and Hotpoint[15], too.

*Number of visits to Beko washing machines and brand pages for month to 7 December 2017.

References

  1. ^ washing machine reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Best Buy washing machine (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Miele MKF 322 washing machine review (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Beko WTG741M1W review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ LG F4J7JY2W (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Hoover DXOA 68LW3/1-80 (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Bush WMDF814W (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Bush WMDF914W (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ Hoover (www.which.co.uk)
  11. ^ Beko (www.which.co.uk)
  12. ^ Miele (www.which.co.uk)
  13. ^ Haier HW80-B1636 (www.which.co.uk)
  14. ^ Fisher & Paykel (www.which.co.uk)
  15. ^ Hotpoint (www.which.co.uk)

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