Amazon Prime day hits on 13 October. If you have your eye on some exciting new gadgets, don’t forget the batteries to power them. The best we’ve tested could keep your new digital cameras or wireless speakers going nearly twice as long as the worst.
In our latest tests we’ve pitted cheap batteries from Ikea (23p per battery) and the Amazon Basics range (55p per battery), against more expensive batteries such as the Panasonics Evolta Neo, which cost nearly £2 per battery*.
You’d assume that paying more for batteries would guarantee you better performance, but our tests have found this isn’t always the case. We’ve identified Best Buy batteries that cost less than half as much per battery as pricier alternatives that fail to make the Best Buy grade.
Find out which batteries will stay the distance in our disposable batteries reviews.
The best batteries can have almost double the lifespan
We put every battery through a ‘battery’ of tests that simulate how you use them in different conditions.
We found that one of our newly crowned Best Buy AA batteries has enough energy to power your digital camera for around nine hours before it runs out, your digital radio for 27 hours, or over 100 hours in a lighter drain device, such as a remote control or your kitchen scales. The worst AA batteries we’ve tested would give up nearly four hours sooner in high drain conditions.
We don’t expect quite as long a life from smaller, AAA batteries, but one AAA battery performed so badly, it’s become a Don’t Buy. It lasted just over three hours in high conditions before running out. The best we’ve tested last nearly five hours before you’d notice a dip in power, and longer before they run out completely.
Our experts have combed through the best Amazon Prime Day 2020 deals to help you secure some great new purchases at a great price.
Best and worst batteries
Our chart below shows the difference in performance between the best and worst batteries in high, medium and low drain conditions. The chart shows the time in hours (down the left hand side of the chart) that you’ll get from a single battery before it runs down to 1v. This is when you’ll notice a dip in power and your devices may stop working properly.
Do different devices need different batteries?
Over the years our tests have shown that there can be big differences between how long batteries from different brands will last in various devices, so you need to choose with care.
The best batteries for the job will depend on what you want to use them for. Check our batteries reviews to find batteries that are long-lasting, but within your budget.
- Digital cameras, wireless speakers, flashlights – if any of these high-drain devices are on your shopping list, you’ll need long lasting batteries which pack a punch to keep these devices powered for longer. Lithium batteries are a good choice here, they have a higher energy density than alkaline and can last longer, but they can be more expensive. Our best AA battery will give you just over nine hours of power, compared to around five hours for the worst.
- Games console handsets, drone remote control, some torches – medium drain devices like these will need a fair amount of juice to keep them running. Our best batteries for this type of device will last 13 hours longer than the worst. If you’re using a medium- or heavy-drain device regularly, such as a wireless speaker or kids toys, consider swapping to rechargeable batteries. The initial outlay may seem expensive, but they can work out cheaper in the long run and are better for the environment.
- Alarm clock, kitchen scales – these low drain devices won’t need the most powerful batteries. These use a small and steady amount of power, so you may be able to get away with cheaper batteries that still last a long time – though check our tests to make sure you pick batteries that are cheerful as well as cheap. You may also be able to power something like this with what’s left in the battery from a high-drain device, which will save it heading to the recycling earlier than necessary.
Head to our guide on how to buy the best batteries to make sure your flashlight or wireless speaker won’t give up the ghost after just a few hours’ use.
* Based on prices given at Amazon £23.66 for a pack of 12 for the Panasonic and prices given at Ikea £2.25 for a pack of 10.