Got battery-operated gifts? Find out which batteries are best

Batteries aren't always cheap. So which brand will last you the longest? We went to the folks at Consumer Reports to find out
December 26, 2013 4:34:29 AM PST
So you've opened up all of those gifts, and some of the ones you may have gotten this year are battery-operated.

Batteries aren't always cheap. So which brand will last you the longest? We went to the folks at Consumer Reports to find out the answer.

Batteries supercharge your holidays. Without them, that stuffed dog lacks his bite, that UFO won't fly and a doll loses her laugh.

"A toy without batteries stinks. That would be like giving your wife a new car without giving her the keys," Taka Andrews with Miller's Toys said.

We count on batteries for lots of tasks, but which ones should you buy? There are so many to choose from, with claims like "world's longest lasting" and "lasts up to nine times longer."

"There's a lot of misinformation and hype out there, and in the end it can cost you money if you make the wrong choice," Dan DeClerico with Consumer Reports said.

Consumer Reports evaluated 15 kinds of AA batteries, both lithium and alkaline.

A test rack measures how long batteries last. It mimics the use of devices like flashlights or digital cameras.

The Toys "R" Us Ultra alkaline batteries delivered just four hours of flashlight time and 49 shots from a digital camera.

Compare that to Energizer Ultimate Lithium, the top-rated battery that racked up more than seven hours of flashlight time and 609 shots.

"Although they're more expensive, lithiums can provide up to five times the power of an alkaline under certain circumstances," DeClerico said.

The extra lithium boost is worth it for digital cameras and gaming controllers -- devices that need more power.

But Consumer Reports says alkaline batteries are the way to go for toys that are used less often.

The Duracell Quantum proved the best alkalines and are half the price of the lithiums.

Once your AA batteries are dead, you can throw them out with your regular trash, but remember, any rechargeable batteries you buy should be recycled. You can get information on battery recycling locations at www.call2recyle.org.

Find Patricia on Facebook at ABC13PatriciaLopez or on Twitter at @patricialopez13


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