Electronics – Household Batteries And Chargers – Disposable Batteries
If you’re buying Christmas presents that require batteries, or your Christmas decorations are battery powered, which batteries will last the longest and how can you track down the best offers? From our tests, we found that the best AA disposable batteries power devices such as fairy lights for around seven hours longer than the worst-performing batteries. So the worst batteries could let you down on Christmas Day, while the best will keep your devices or lights powered well into the New Year.
From our latest batch, we’ve tested alkaline and lithium batteries from 15 brands, including Duracell, Energizer, Panasonic, and the supermarket brands – including Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Discover the best AA disposable batteries and the best AAA batteries.
When’s the right time to buy batteries?
Sometimes, it can be hard to know when the price is right, especially if you’re regularly buying various types of batteries. But if you follow our money-saving tips, the savings are worth it.
Big-brand alkaline disposable batteries can set you back around GBP8 for a pack of four. But you don’t necessarily need to spend that much. Our lab tests have uncovered some Best Buy batteries that are a lot cheaper.
It’s also worth hunting around for special offers. Data from MySupermarket.com shows that from 19 October 2016 to the New Year, at any given time, packs of four Duracell Ultra Power AAs were on offer at four of the following supermarkets: Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Waitrose. So you could find them on offer again in the run-up to Christmas 2017.
But make sure they’re the best batteries for your devices before you do buy – check our battery reviews. It’s also worth keeping an eye on daily deal websites and bulk-buy savings — you can save a significant amount of money by signing up to email alerts for price drops or general online discounts.
Best rechargeable batteries
If you have several gadgets or decorations that require more than a few batteries, it’s also worth considering rechargeable batteries. If you’ve balked at the price of a pack of rechargeable batteries and a charger, you’re not alone.
However, the more you use rechargeable batteries, the better value they become. Our highest-scoring AAs, for instance, cost 25p for 10 uses, 2.5p for 100 uses, and so on. You’ll quickly rack up 100 recharges in power-hungry devices, such as children’s toys.
This is where rechargeables can offer exceptional value over disposables, even considering the cost of a universal charger (often as little as GBP10) and the recharging costs. We’ve found in our tests that it costs approximately 53p in electricity to recharge four 2,500mAh AA rechargeables 100 times. We also test rechargeable batteries and find big differences between the best and worst.
The best AA rechargeable batteries will keep the most power-hungry devices running for at least seven hours, while the worst only manage four hours. Don’t pay full price for big brands, such as Duracell and Energizer rechargeable batteries. We think that there’s no need to, as we found Duracell Recharge Ultra AA batteries were on offer for 230 days last year in at least one supermarket.
How we test batteries
Which? tests of disposable batteries simulate the types of devices you use your batteries in, so you know which will last the longest when you get them home.
Our medium-drain test is a good indicator for fairy lights and other battery-powered lighting, such as garden lamps or bike lights. High-drain tests show how long batteries last in your most power-hungry devices, such as remote-control toys or model aeroplanes. One of the most common uses of batteries is in clocks and clock-radios, so our low-drain test replicates the kind of conditions found in these devices.
- ^ best AA disposable batteries (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ best AAA batteries (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Duracell Ultra Power AAs (www.which.co.uk)
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- ^ charger (www.which.co.uk)
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- ^ best AA rechargeable batteries (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Duracell Recharge Ultra AA batteries (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ how to buy the best batteries (www.which.co.uk)
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 – check to see which AA and AAA batteries make the grade
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.
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?
- Pack of 24 AA size Plus Power alkaline batteries by Duracell
- High energy output, reliability and long shelf life
- Duracell Plus Power now has longer life compared to previous Duracell Plus batteries
- Ideal for everyday use, particularly low drain devices
- Perfect for use in items like clocks and remote controls
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