Best cheap AA and AAA batteries revealed by Which? testsDon’t pay full price for branded batteries

19 November 2014

best Buy vs Don't Buy AA batteries

A Best Buy AA battery can last up to four times longer than a Don’t Buy in high-drain conditions, our latest disposable batteries tests have revealed.

We've uncovered five Best Buy-recommended batteries, including one AAA which lasted for more than nine hours in our tests which mimic power use in a children's toy. But there were nearly as many Don't Buy batteries, including one AA which lasts just 66 minutes in the toughest test conditions. 

For full results, don't miss our round ups of the best AA disposable batteries and the best AAA disposable batteries, which include ratings for 16 AA and AAA batteries from Duracell, Energizer, discount store and supermarket own-brands. 

Best Buy batteries

We only award our Best Buy recommendation to the batteries which last the longest. Our tests mimic how you use batteries in common devices such as children’s toys (high drain) and the most power-hungry items such as DAB digital radios or specialist digital cameras (very high drain).

This means that you can be confident that the batteries that score the best in our tests will also last the longest in your devices.

Group of batteries

Out of 16 AA and AAA batteries tested in the Which? lab, five earned Best Buy status

Best value batteries

Best Buy batteries aren’t necessarily the cheapest and we don’t take price into account in our test scores. So we’ve calculated the cost per hour of each battery on test and tracked supermarket multibuy offers on the big brands to help you weigh up battery life against price.

If power for your pennies is your top concern, we’ve found a battery that costs 4p per hour (in high drain conditions) and lasts almost as long as a Best Buy battery.

Don’t pay full price for branded batteries

When we tracked the price of a four-pack of AA batteries from Duracell and Energizer over 12 months (from October 2013 to September 2014), using independent shopping website Mysupermarket, we found that they’re on promotion for more than 90% of the time in some supermarkets.

Duracell Ultra AA batteries were on promotion 93% of the time they were available at Asda and 94% of the time at Sainsbury’s. They were available every day of the year at Asda.

Energizer batteries were also on promotion most often at Asda; for 96% of the 365 days they were available.

Over the year, at their most expensive Duracell batteries cost up to £4.99 for four. The best value supermarket multibuy deal we found was a two-for-one offer where eight batteries cost £4.50.

If you use a lot of batteries, or are stocking up for Christmas, check our Best Buy batteries and keep an eye out for good-value multibuy offers.

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