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Are Brand Named Batteries Worth It?

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BatteriesYes.

Rhett Allain of Wired did an extensive study of three battery brands (Energizer, Duracell, and a dollar store variety) and concluded that the brand named batteries are worth the added cost. Brand named contain more energy, disperse that energy better, and cost, on a joule per dollar basis, less than the dollar store variety. The differences between the brand name (Energizer vs. Duracell) were not significant. He did this by having the batteries power a light and took some measurements to arrive at his conclusions.

It was nice to see my own opinion confirmed (I use mostly rechargeable batteries but when in doubt I avoid dollar store varieties) but the big takeaway for me was the energy dispersed over time. As you can see, current (Amp) and potential (V) are highest at first and then drop significantly between 3 and 5 hours. At around 6-7 hours, it has minimal energy left but has that for quite some time. What I typically do with alkaline batteries, after they’ve exhausted most of their charge, is use them in remotes. Then, as new alkaline batteries come into the system, I cycle out the ones in remotes (for fear of leakage). I find that remotes use very little energy.

The difference between brand name and el cheapo batteries is significant and this little study, with its wealth of data, proves it.

(and please use rechargeable batteries… alkaline batteries are horrible, especially if you don’t recycle them!)

(Photo: grandhi)

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12 Responses to “Are Brand Named Batteries Worth It?”

  1. BrianC says:

    Very interesting! Thank you. I had my suspicions that the brand name tended to work better, but I assumed (wrongly) that they probably all came from the same factories, and were only “branded” later on.

  2. Evan says:

    I did a science fair project on this back in the day. Although “no name” batteries do preform worse, many store brands are just fine though. I tested Energized, Duracell, and Rayovac in addition to Die Hard (from Sears) and some brand from Walgreen’s. All of these preformed about the same and easily beat out no name brand batteries.

    When I contacted Walgreen’s for information (over 10 years ago) they said that their batteries were made by a major brand name although they would not reveal who. This is likely how many store brands are.

  3. Squeezer says:

    I did this experiment as a junior high school science project powering an electric motor. Duracell and Engerizer lasted the longest, Raovac was in the middle, and the grocery store generic brand latest the shortest, however, the grocery store brand was so must less expensive than the name brands that you were better off buying the generic brand and replacing it more often.

  4. Jason says:

    One word…ENELOOP. Take a look on amazon, awesome batteries. Blows anything else away.

    • Jim says:

      Those are the ones we use. :)

    • daemondust says:

      Agreed. However, many other LSD (low self discharge) NiMH (nickel metal hydride, AA/AAA/etc compatible rechargeables) “makers” rebrand eneloop. I know the Apple branded ones are, and I think Duracell’s are too.

  5. Chuck says:

    I have some rechargeable energizers that I use in my golf GPS. Saves me a fortune. Cant figure out why a GPS sucks so much power though…argh!

  6. daenyll says:

    I have 3 different sets of rechargeable AAs that I cycle thru on a regular basis for remotes, flashlights, cordless computer equipment, and various other things.

  7. Tyler S. says:

    Finally! I found myself wondering this question just the other day, and want to know what made me pick the brand name?

    The cheapo brand said ,”Lasts just as long as name brand” on the box – just rubbed me the wrong way I guess, why not focus on the quality of your own product?

  8. jo says:

    i dont know about branded batteries,but i once bought these “cheaper than usual” alkalines and fed them into my digicam,and the poor things went dry the same day! since then ive stuck to rechargeables

  9. imposter222 says:

    I’d like to add two more things to this subject of batteries. 1. Buy the branded batteries on sale, and 2. if any brand name battery ruins your electrical equipment, they’ll replace it for free. Look at the battery company’s warranty to find out where to send for the replacement.

  10. Enduser says:

    Mr Allain screwed up though. He compared dollar store CARBON ZINC batteries to name brand alkaline.

    See his update in the article.


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