How to Choose the Very Best Batteries
Choosing the right battery for your device doesn't have to be a science project. Here's how to quickly and easily identify the right battery for you.
If you are like most consumers, you are becoming more dependent on portable electronic devices. Even your kids are using more electronic toys today than 10 years ago.
And if you¡¯re like most consumers, you go through so many batteries in a year that you¡¯ve asked yourself why you don¡¯t have stock in Energizer or Duracell. We can¡¯t tell you how to make money buying Energizer, or Duracell stock, but we can tell you how to save money by choosing the right battery and properly caring for it.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BATTERY
When shopping for batteries, consumers are faced with so many confusing options. ¡®What¡¯s better, Titanium, Ultra, Coppertop, Maximum, alkaline, lithium, heavy duty, etc., etc.?¡¯
Determine the type of application
The two main types of devices are high drain and low drain. Some applications fall about in the middle, like most CD players. Other applications, like MP3 players, or boom boxes are high drain, while clocks and desk alarms are low drain.
Determine the right battery
Lithium batteries are designed for higher drain devices, and devices that need a quick recovery like a camera flash.
Some alkaline batteries, including the Duracell? Ultra and Energizer? e2? Titanium are also designed for high drain applications and will last up to 50% longer than standard alkaline batteries.
Heavy duty batteries are designed for low drain devices like wall clocks.
Determine the ¡®use by¡¯ date
Some stores may stock batteries for a long time before they are sold. Make sure to check the ¡®use by¡¯ date on the package before buying. The freshest alkaline batteries have a date no less than 5 years away. ¡®Expired¡¯ batteries have about 85% of their fresh capacity.
Choosing a brand
Duracell, Energizer, Rayovac, and hundreds of smaller brands flood the market with advertising.
Energizer claims their batteries will keep going, and going and going¡outlasting the other brands.
Duracell claims their power packed batteries will last longer than other brands.
Rayovac claims their alkaline batteries last 2x longer than ANY other alkaline battery in digital cameras.
But who¡¯s right?
Independent tests by companies such as Zbattery.com and TechTv have shown some batteries to be better adapted than others to different devices, but the tests are not conclusive.
The best way to find a battery that works for you is to try different brands and keep track of the amount of life you get from each brand.
Rechargeable batteries are growing in popularity, especially with the boom in portable electronic devices. So how do you know when you should make the investment in a charger and batteries?
Knowing the types
There are two main types of rechargeable batteries in the standard form factors:
* NiMH (nickel metal hydride)
* NiCad (nickel cadmium)
NiCad is used widely in cordless phones and electric razors. These tend to be charged before being completely discharged. This is the best chemistry for this type of operation.
NiMH battery has grown in popularity and is widely used in digital cameras and other electronic devices. With power lasting almost as long as an alkaline battery and the ability to recharge more than 500 times, you end up saving a lot of money over time.
If you use a lot of AA or AAA batteries your best bet is to buy a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries and a good charger¡you¡¯ll be better off in the long run.