Now that just about every gadget in the world is small, lightweight and portable, you’ll need the best AA batteries if you don’t want to run out of juice at an inappropriate time. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of watching your favorite film and reaching for the remote only to find it out of juice. But, your remote control is not the only device that uses aa batteries. So, do flashlights, your kids’ toys, milk frothers, wall clocks among others.
However, not all AA batteries perform as advertised. Use this review to learn the different types of batteries and which ones work effectively.
What are the Best AA Batteries?
AA batteries have become increasingly popular because of their efficiency. Ideally, these batteries are bigger in size than AAA batteries. The larger size means more energy storing capacity, which means they can last a pretty long time. The best AA batteries can even be used to power high-consumption appliances such as battery-operated toys and torches.
Below find the best AA Batteries:
Looking for ready-to-use batteries to power your low-drain devices? Look no further than these AA batteries by Rayovac. Being non-rechargeable, the batteries don’t require any prior preparation before using them.
Rayovac AA batteries come in a pack of 30. This way, you always have batteries to use on your toys, flashlights and remotes. They can also be used to power high-use devices such as gaming controllers and wireless headsets.
These batteries are made in USA using US and globally-sourced parts, which have been tested multiple times to ensure high standards. Moreover, they provide steady power for a reliable performance.
If you need AA batteries that you can use to power a range of devices, AllMax alkaline batteries are the best option.
The manufacturer uses high-quality raw materials and incorporates D/I Can technology to create batteries with longer working time. According to AllMax, these batteries can last eight times longer than heavy-duty batteries.
Another benefit of these batteries is that they have sealing structures, which protect your devices from potential leakage.
Duracell are one of the best alkaline batteries with a long shelf life. Users and experts alike applaud these batteries for their reliability, decent pricing and efficacy. The Duracell batteries employ CopperTop technology, which provides very advanced performance. They can be used to power an array of devices like pagers, players, toys and remote controls.
For individuals looking to purchase disposable lithium batteries, the Energizer AA batteries are your best bet. They come in a 4-pack and can be used to power high-drain gadgets like cameras and CD players. They are even used to power outdoor surveillance systems.
But the crowning glory of the Energizer Ultimate batteries is their leak-proof design. So, you never have to worry about the acid or basic solutions that get discharged by batteries causing havoc to your remote device. What’s more, these batteries can hold power for up to twenty years in storage.
For those who need batteries for multiple uses, the 4-pack AmazonBasics model is an excellent contender. Producing 1.5 volts, these batteries are fitted with anti-corrosion elements, guaranteeing the safety of your devices.
Another plus of these batteries is the fact that they employ an exceptional technology native to Japan. This tech provides better performance after storage and in high-temperature settings. AmazonBasics batteries are said to last for up to ten years.
If you’re only interested in NiMH pre-charged batteries, the Panasonic BK-3HCCA8BA will serve you well. Available in an 8-pack unit, these batteries can recharge for about 500 times. And the best thing is that they can be recharged whether they’re fully or partially-discharged.
But what makes these high capacity NiMH batteries stand out from the crowd is their use of highly-durable super lattice alloy that extends their shelf life. Another benefit of these batteries is their capability to operate in extremely low temperatures. Do you want to power your flashlights, cameras or lanterns during winter? Then the Panasonic NiMH pre-charged batteries are your best chance. The only other thing you’ll want to consider is a battery charger for rechargeable batteries. Although this is not done so frequently, you will have to recharge them at some point.
If your primary concern when purchasing AA batteries is their eco-friendliness, then the ACDelco aa batteries 100 pack is suited for you. These batteries contain zero cadmium and mercury, which means that they pose no environmental hazard upon disposal.
Also, the ACDelco are the most recommended general-purpose batteries on the market. And, they work pretty well in low temperature conditions.
What is an aa battery?
The AA battery is also referred to as a double A or Mignon. Put simply; this is the typical single cell dry battery. According to the IEC 60086 system, this standard size battery is known as size R6 while the ANSCC18 refers to it as size 15.
In the past, this battery went by the name SP7 or HP7, that is, Standard power 7 or High power 7. The biggest application of AA batteries is in electronic devices. This battery is made up of one electrochemical cell, which could be a rechargeable or disposable battery.
The precise terminal voltage and energy storing capacity of an AA size battery is determined by its cell chemistry. But a majority of gadgets designed for use with these batteries require aa batteries 1.5V unless recommended otherwise by the manufacturer.
The AA battery was discovered in 1907. But it was not until four decades later that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) formally standardized it. Before this, the AA battery was already being used in flashlights and other electrical gadgets.
Batteries by Type
Both AA and AAA batteries are the most common battery sizes for consumers. The challenge is that there are so many different kinds of them. To have a better understanding of the dry cell battery technology, we’ve listed batteries by type.
AA batteries lithium are the highest rated when it comes to performance. However, you should be ready to pay top-dollar for their effective and long-lasting performance. Since these batteries have a self-discharge mechanism, they’re mostly recommended for high-consumption gadgets. If you’re worried about your batteries leaking corrosive liquids, you’re better off buying lithium rather than alkaline batteries.
Having been used for centuries, alkaline batteries are cheap and equally effective. They are used in a variety of electronics ranging from cameras to flashlights and music players. Alkaline batteries feature a standard output of 1.5 volts. The good thing is that they remain constant up to that point when the battery’s stored energy depletes.
But in spite of their immense benefits that include long shelf life and fair pricing, they do have a couple of drawbacks. For one, a majority of alkaline batteries can only be used in low-drain devices such as toys, wall clocks and remote controls.
Another disadvantage is the batteries’ tendency to releasing or leaking “battery acid”. This is a bit ironic if you consider the fact that the solution they release is aqueous potassium hydroxide, which is a basic solution. These leaks are not all that hazardous except that they’re nasty to clean and can sometimes wreak havoc on electronics and hardware.
Zinc-carbon batteries can be traced back to the 1800s. In fact, these batteries formed the foundation for most household batteries. Like the alkaline type, these batteries boast a long shelf life. However, they do not last as long as the alkaline. They’re also pretty cheap and work well in low-consumption gadgets like toys.
The Basics: How a Battery Works
One concept that scientists have long researched about is how and why batteries generate usable electricity. Most people utilize batteries every day; in flashlights, cameras, remotes and more. However, very few understand how these batteries function.
Contrary to what many assume, an AA battery does not have the capability of storing electricity. Instead, these batteries generate their own electricity by transforming stored chemical energy into electrical currents.
There are three key components of an AA battery, that is, two terminals and an electrolyte. The two terminals are commonly referred to as the positive and negative while the electrolyte is the solution that connects these two terminals. This electrolyte is referred to as the chemical medium.
To generate electricity, a battery filled with chemical energy is placed inside a system, which then creates a circuit. The resulting chemical process leads to an accumulation of electrons at the anode. These are then transferred from the battery when they flow through the gadget being powered. The device could be a light bulb, speaker, and screen among others.
Safe Battery Storage and Disposal
There are several things that you can do if you want your batteries to last, the most important of which is proper storage. For starters, batteries ought to be stored at the lower spectrum of a room temperature scale; about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The storage area should also be completely dry and not exposed to sunlight.
Some have this false notion that batteries ought to be stored in a refrigerator or freezer- this is wrong. In fact, doing this can cause significant damage since condensation encourages corrosion. The last precaution is to always store the batteries in their initial factory-sealed packaging.
In the case of rechargeable aa batteries, these ought to be stored when they’re half their power capacity. Doing so ensures that your batteries don’t end up fully drained, a situation that can make recharging them difficult. If you’re using alkaline batteries, you should use them up to that point they run out, and then discard them.
A majority of alkaline batteries are easy to dispose alongside your household garbage. The alkaline batteries manufactured currently don’t contain any toxic chemicals like mercury, meaning that they’re safe to dispose of. The only thing you need to avoid is disposing a huge number of alkaline batteries together. If many units of alkaline batteries come into contact with each other, a heat or fire hazard is a likely outcome given the traces of leftover energy.
Unlike alkaline batteries, the lithium and rechargeable types require special mechanism of disposing. More specifically, they ought to be taken to a recycling facility. Be sure to confirm the laws set in place regarding the disposal of such batteries. If there are, ensure you follow them to the letter. If you decide to throw lithium batteries along with the rest of your trash, there’s a high chance that they will leak toxic chemicals to the ground, water bodies or atmosphere.
Bonus tip: How to make your batteries last longer, safely
After purchasing your preferred batteries, the next step to take is to make maximum use of them. This also includes learning a few tricks to keep them working for longer.
- All unused batteries ought to be kept in a cool and dry setting
- If you don’t intend to use a particular device for a long period, remove the batteries and store them
- Prior to installing a new set of batteries, be sure to clean the contact surfaces and the different battery compartments
- Avoid mixing different types of batteries in a single device. If a gadget requires multiple batteries, stick to the same brand and type.
- Once a battery gets exhausted, dispose it in the right manner
- If a particular battery starts overheating, remove it and replace with a new one. Batteries that overheat can damage your electronics
How to Choose Batteries
Every battery should be assessed based on four main aspects:
- Length of shelf life
- Environmental friendliness
Although most batteries don’t meet all these qualifications, manufacturers are inching closer to this objective.
Types of Batteries
To choose the best battery for your needs, you should be well-versed with the different types that you’ll find on the market.
Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
When comparing rechargeable batteries, nickel metal hydride, abbreviated as NiMH are the best option. The reason for this is that they are versatile enough to be used in a range of electronics including GPS receivers, bicycle lights and headlamps. They’re also good at powering high-drain devices like digital cameras.
Here are a few more reasons why you should consider NiMH batteries:
- Upon recharging, these batteries can be used up to 500 more times. What this means is that a single set of NiMH batteries can handle the tasks done by a hundred other disposable batteries. In the United States alone, close to three billion single-use batteries are sold, a majority of which end up in landfills.
- They perform better than disposable batteries, especially when used in high-consumption gadgets. In their budding stage, NiMH batteries produce energy more constantly than disposable ones. When used in digital cameras, single-use batteries start out strongly but after a short while they begin to fade.
Nonetheless, NiMH batteries are not without a couple of setbacks. For one, these kinds of batteries require frequent maintenance. If they stay idle for too long, they can lose a portion of their energy. To ensure they work optimally, you’ll need to recharge them at least once every two months.
Another drawback of NiMH batteries is that they become less predictable after being used for a prolonged period. In their late stages, NiMH batteries cannot hold charge for long periods, rendering them less effective.
Pre-charged NiMH Batteries
Another type of rechargeable batteries that you should consider are the pre-charged NiMHs. These are also referred to as hybrid or ready-to-use. There are several benefits of using pre-charged NiMHs. For one, they are always ready for action, that is, you can insert them directly into the device that needs to be powered. It eliminates the hassle of having to charge them first.
Secondly, these batteries feature a lower self-discharge rate than conventional NiMH batteries. Nearly all batteries encounter “self-discharge”, that is, a loss in power when the batteries stay idle. Standard NiMH batteries lose about 40% of their stored power within 30 days. However, the pre-charged NiMH batteries only lose between 10 and 25% of their stored energy.
But they also have their fair share of drawbacks. Firstly, they require maintenance, even though it’s minimal. If they remain idle, you’ll need to recharge them after every 6 or 9 months. It means that when shopping you’ll need to purchase the aa batteries and charger.
Another disadvantage is the fact that they have less energy capacity than their counterparts. When used continuously, pre-charged NiMHs will not last as long as standard NiMHs would.
Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
This was the first version of NiMH batteries. As their name suggests, these batteries consist of cadmium, which is a highly toxic material. On average, NiCd batteries generate 1.2V. Plus, they’re able to maintain a constant voltage in one cycle.
The best application of these batteries is in power tools, high-temperature settings and two-way radios. With regards to self-discharge rate, these batteries lose an average of 40% of their stored power within a month. For maintenance, NiCd batteries should be recharged if left idle.
- More affordable than NiMH batteries
- Feature more charging cycles
- Moderate power loss rate
- Consist cadmium, which is a toxic element
- Have less power or energy capacity than NiMH batteries
- Susceptible to the “memory effect”, which leads to a shortened operating time.
Although these batteries are not yet available in the standard AA, AAA, C or D size batteries, rumor has it that they’ll be made available soon. Ideally, lithium-ion batteries are available in the form of battery-packs, block or slab. They are often used in mobile phones, computers, and camcorders among other consumer electronics.
On average, lithium-ion batteries have 3.6 voltage and with recharging cycles ranging between 500 and 1000 times. Plus, they have an incredibly low self-discharge rate. They also need to recharged from time to time. When it comes to storage, you should keep them at 60 degrees Fahrenheit in a fully charged condition.
- Boast the lowest self-discharge rate; about 10% per month.
- Even if they’re left idle, they’ll be affected by age.
Although rare, we also have rechargeable alkaline batteries. Sadly, these batteries turned out to have so many limitations, which caused them to fade out quickly. One of these demerits is the fact they can only hold a small number of recharging cycles before they become fully exhausted. They are also more expensive than other types of batteries.
Other than the lithium and alkaline batteries that were discussed earlier in the article, there is another type that exists. These are the general purpose or heavy duty batteries.
Heavy Duty Batteries
These were the first version of batteries before alkaline batteries. These batteries utilized electrolytes such as zinc carbon (for general purpose uses) or zinc chloride (heavy duty).
The nominal voltage of these kinds of batteries is 1.5V. Unfortunately, this voltage declines as the battery discharges electricity. The best application for heavy duty or general purpose batteries is in wall clocks or other low-drain gadgets.
- Short life
- Not suitable for prolonged use in outdoor electronic gadgets
The Bottom Line
Presently, we have a variety of electronic gadgets that are all powered by AA batteries. They are still the most popular kinds of batteries because of their optimal performance. But before choosing any AA battery, be sure to check its shelf life, price and environmental friendliness.