Updated: Oct 6, 2017

AA Battery Reviews:

When the holidays approach and parents are out buying gifts for Christmas, the one thing that always comes up is "Does the toy or gadget takes batteries?" If it does, what type are necessary to run it and how many will I need. As a parent of two small children I have found that we go through AA batteries more often than any other battery types including AAA, C, or D's. Seems like smaller toys with remote controls or toys that make noises require AA batteries to run and kids tend to leave these on draining the batteries faster than normal. Our digital camera is the biggest sucker of battery power and so we bought some rechargeable AA batteries to run it. The batteries were more expensive than the usual single use AA's but we have made up for the up front cost of rechargeable AA's with a charger by using the same batteries dozens of times and they still hold a solid charge.
aa batteries

Experts agree that if you have an electronic device that requires lots of battery life, go with the AA rechargeables for the best value for your money. Digital cameras are the perfect product to use rechargeable batteries on. Our Canon A710S requires just 2 AA batteries to work, so we bought a 4 pack of AA's and the charger so there are always 2 fresh batteries all charged up and ready to go when the others lose their charge. As for things like flashlights and other things that are not used too often, magazines like Consumer Reports say you should use nickel oxyhydroxide batteries like the Panasonic Oxyride Extreme Power. The shelf life on these batteries is usually a few years so you know when you go to turn on the flashlight each winter it will shine a bright light for you. Regular alkaline batteries like Duracell Coppertop are what I tend to use, although brands like the Kirkland Signature AA's from Costco are a much better deal since their price per battery is about 1/5 what the competition charges and their performance is about the same. The one drawback to buying anything from Costco is that you will need to buy the Kirkland AA's in a 48 pack which means you will need lots of electronic devices that require that specific type of battery. How long do AA batteries last? It depends on what item you are using them in. For instance, a digital camera that uses lots of power for flashes and picture taking can sap up your batteries within 100 pictures or less. Some will go much longer and last hours when used in a flashlight or remote control unit of a game or toy. There is no set answer, so that's why the latest Consumer Reports article on AA batteries (Nov 2008) is at least one study to go off of. They tested AA batteries in digital cameras to see which ones actually last the longest. CR tested both single use (lithium, nickel oxyhydroxide, alkaline) and rechargeable (nickel-metal hydride or NiMH) AA batteries and came up with some interesting results. Certainly, the most expensive single use batteries are not the longest lasting as many commercials and ads would have you thinking. Top names like Energizer, Panasonic, Duracell, Radio Shack, Rayovac, Sony, CVS, Walgreens, and Kirkland Signature (Costco) were included in their tests. Less formal tests have been done by Consumersearch.com, Steves-digicams.com, and Scanshack.com and results do vary by the product they are using the batteries in. For rechargeable AA batteries, we found the best research online at Rechargeable-battery-review.com, although their findings aren't as current as those done by Consumer Reports. I for one would have thought that most AA batteries would have about the same lifespan when compared head to head but that is not the case. And when you consider the cost to purchase premium brands versus non-premium you realize really fast how much money you are wasting buying batteries. The best decision is to buy rechargeable batteries (AA 4 Pack) and always have a few in the charger ready to go when a toy or camera needs them. Buying in bulk is not a bad idea either since most brands have a shelf life that is years. If you go with single use batteries versus the rechargeables, consider the AA lithium type like the Energizer Ultimate for long lasting results. You may pay more up front for each battery but at least it keeps you from having to drive to the store as often to buy new AA's. We have tried to include the top selling and most popular AA batteries down below in specific categories. These are considered the "best of the best" in terms of battery life and value for your money. You can browse the top selling AA batteries online here.

AA Lithium Battery:

The newer lithium AA batteries are superior to the regular alkaline AA's but they will cost you a premium up front. The top rated Energizer e2 AA Lithium Batteries on Amazon.com are priced at just $7.99 for a 4 Pack and they can last up to 5 times longer than similar alkaline batteries. They are also sold as an AA 8 pack on Amazon for $14.99 plus shipping. The shelf life of the lithium batteries is up to 15 years versus the 7 years you see in ordinary alkalines. When traveling, these are highly recommended for use in digital cameras and CD players as rechargeables aren't always the easiest thing to use in foreign countries where electrical wall outlets have different voltage readings compared to the U.S. You can find the Energizer AA lithium 4 pack online HERE. Most department stores and electronics outlets will also sell these types of batteries.

Top Rated Nickel Oxyhydroxide Battery:

Another type of battery that I had never heard of was the newer nickel oxyhydroxide AA's that claim longer life than typical alkalines and some are specifically produced just for taking pictures with digital cameras. We read one review online by Edward Baig (tech columnist for USA Today on the web) and he compared the Panasonic Oxyride, the Duracell Power Pix, and the Energizer e2 lithium batteries. Experts say the Panasonic Oxyride are the best choice since they are cheaper ($2.40 for 2) than the Duracell Power Pix AA's. In Baig's digital camera picture taking test, he too found that the Panasonic Extreme Power AA's took more photos than the Duracell equivalent.

Rechargeable AA Batteries:

For years I was hesistant to buy rechargeable batteries since they cost so much more than regular batteries and you need a battery charger to go with them. My younger brother used to race remote control cars and he used a battery charger and rechargeable AA's for years with no problems so I gradually changed over myself. Now that I have 2 kids and a digitial camera that gets lots of use, owning 4 AA rechargeable batteries has saved me $100 or more over the last few years. We regularly go through the charge on our batteries and then just slip in 2 new rechargeables when the camera goes dead. As for kids toys that play sounds and music, my kids are notorious for leaving the toy on all the time and so the batteries get drained in a hurry. The rechargeables allow me to keep up with dead battery issue and keep the kids happy with toys that work. The top selling AA rechargeables on Amazon are the Sanyo Eneloop 4 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargable Batteries w/ Charger that sell for $18.10. The 4 Pack comes with a charger and owner comments are extremely positive for these batteries. The 4 2000mAh AA batteries work great on digital cameras and they come pre-charged unlike some other rechargeable batteries. The slow discharge is what makes these batteries such top sellers. After 1 year of storage you will still find them with 85% of the original charge. They can be charged up to 1000 times which means you will save a lot of cash over the lifetime of the Sanyo AA batteries. Another top rated rechargeable is the Duracell 2650mAh which sells on websites like Walgreens.com for $14.49 (4 pack). Consumers say they are long lasting, reliable, and powerful.