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(National-Consumer Reports) November 22, 2006 - If electronics are on your list, you'll also have to stock up on batteries.
There are a number of disposable brands out there to choose from. So Consumer Reports put them to the test to see which were deals and which were duds.
Powering everything from digital cameras and portable music players to laser tools and even tape measures, it's no wonder we spend over $4 billion a year on batteries. But how do you know what's the best battery for your needs?
Consumer Reports just ran tests on 16 different disposable AA batteries, including ones from Duracell, Panasonic, and Energizer. There were four types in all: lithium, premium alkaline, regular alkaline, and nickel oxy-hydroxide.
Tests evaluated the battery life in high-drain devices, like a digital camera, and medium-drain devices such as a CD player. Kim Kleman says, "Our tests showed big differences in battery performance depending on what's being powered. So it really makes sense when you're buying disposable batteries to have a specific device in mind."
The best battery for a digital camera turned out to be the Energizer e-2 Lithium, which easily outperformed the Duracell Power Pix and Panasonic Oxyride batteries.
At $2.35 each, the Energizer was the most expensive battery tested. But considering the e-2 ran three to seven times longer than the batteries tested - Consumer Reports says it's worth the extra cost.
But Kleman also notes "when it comes to devices that don't need a lot of power, you don't need to buy expensive batteries, just buy the cheapest highly rated alkaline you can find."
Consumer Reports tests found the Kirkland Signature AA battery from Costco performed very well and goes for about 20-cents a piece.
Consumer Reports says if a manufacturer recommends a certain battery for a device, always follow that recommendation.