Results: High Drain
The high-drain discharge of 1000mA is designed to represent a typical heavy load on a battery that a digital camera or similar power-hungry device may use. All batteries suffer a reduction in available capacity when placed under heavy load, but some perform better than others.
Click any graph to see a larger preview.
Discount and OEM cells perform very well
Surprisingly, as in the 200mA test, the clear winner in this test was the Ikea alkaline, followed by other discount store batteries. The Ikea scored over 1200mAh, and costs just 10p per cell (sold in packs of 10.) Other discount shop cells did surprisingly well, with ReadyCell from Home Bargains (TJ Morris) doing very well too. Even at higher cut-off voltages of 1.1V, they still represent excellent value for money. The general conclusion is that most alkaline cells behave similarly to each other, though under higher drains some more significant differences become apparent.
Duracell PROCELL and Energizer Industrial are very good batteries for the price and compare well to their retail cousins. However, they are only available from online resellers in boxes of 10 and are intended for OEMs.
Lithium cells really shine under high drain
The Energizer Ultimate Lithium and VARTA Professional Lithium cells performed very well, achieving more than 2800 mAh each with the Energizer beating the VARTA cell by approximately 150mAh. Clearly, these batteries perform very well under high discharge current - they only lost around 250mAh capacity due to the higher current. At this discharge current these lithium cells seem like better value for money but still cost more than the cheaper alkalines. They could be useful in a digital camera application as changing batteries may cause the photographer to lose a shot. They are much cheaper per Ah and Wh than many premium alkaline cells.
Highest energy alkaline in both tests
Like in the 200mA test, the VARTA High Energy Alkaline was the best performing alkaline cell and bore its claims of being very long life. However, it provided only marginally more lifetime than the Energizer Industrial cell for 2x the price.
Zinc cells did very poorly, but this was expected as the chemistry is not optimised for high drain applications. The JCB cell didn't even manage 20mAh. It would probably not power anything demanding any significant current, due to its discharge characteristic, which rapidly falls past the 0.8V cut-off point. However, it is marketed as "Not suitable for digital cameras or motorised devices." Interestingly, self-heating of the cell lead to an increase in voltage as the discharge progressed, but data below 0.8V is not included in the mAh calculation. The Kodak cell has a similar disclaimer, although it did do a little better, it's still unlikely to work well.
The Poundland Duracell (genuine Duracell batteries; Duracell Standard in the below data) performed poorly (they are sold in twin packs for £1), and you would be better off with the Kodak Xtralife that Poundland also sell in 6 packs.
It's hard to see how Duracell can market their Duracell Ultra Power battery as being the best they have made, especially at the price it is sold at, because it performed worse in both 200mA and 1000mA tests than their own Duracell Plus Power - which is 31p a battery cheaper! Like in the 200mA test, the Duracell Ultra Power is the worst value for money alkaline battery we tested.
Similar to the last test the major disappointment was the Panasonic EVOLTA. It claims Panasonic's own "Platinum Award" (for unknown reasons), and previously claims to hold a Guinness World Record for "Longest Lasting AA Alkaline Battery in a Wide Range of Devices", but it was the worst alkaline cell we tested. We can't account for this dreadful performance: the cells were new in the retail packet, with an expiry date of Feburary 2018 (test conducted October 2012), and were purchased from a reputable dealer. Is it all marketing hype?
Raw Data (at 0.80V)
Click on the header rows to sort the table. Use the slider on the right to adjust the cut-off voltage, the point at which the cell's remaining energy is considered unusable. As a general rule of thumb, a lightbulb will be about half as bright at 0.8V as 1.5V. A digital camera may only work well down to about 1.1-1.3V (check the manufacturer's specifications to be sure.) As cut-off voltage is increased, the available energy from the cell is reduced. Under high drain, no battery maintained a voltage of 1.5V for more than one second (our sampling interval), so no energy was accumulated.
We repeated some of the more surprising results, such as the Ikea and EVOLTA cells and got similar results (usually within 20mAh.) We include the first test of each.
|Battery Name||Chem.||Cell Cost||@ Per Pack||From||mAh||mWh||£/Ah||Graph|
|Costco Kirkland Signature||Ak||£0.21||48||Costco2||1176||1232||£0.18||View »|
|Daewoo Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.17||6||99p Stores||905||927||£0.19||View »|
|Daewoo Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.08||12||99p Stores||202||175||£0.41||View »|
|Duracell Standard||Ak||£0.50||2||Poundland||1062||1110||£0.48||View »|
|Duracell PROCELL||Ak||£0.22||10||Online||1089||1151||£0.21||View »|
|Duracell Plus Power||Ak||£0.81||4||Tesco||1238||1314||£0.66||View »|
|Duracell Ultra Power||Ak||£1.12||4||Tesco||948||1025||£1.18||View »|
|Energizer HiGHTECH||Ak||£0.94||4||Tesco||1335||1406||£0.71||View »|
|Energizer Industrial||Ak||£0.27||10||Online||1351||1454||£0.21||View »|
|Energizer Standard||Ak||£0.38||4||Online||943||1006||£0.40||View »|
|Energizer Ultimate Lithium||Li||£1.13||4||Online||3009||3828||£0.38||View »|
|Energizer Ultra+||Ak||£0.81||4||Tesco||1084||1120||£0.76||View »|
|Ford1 Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.08||12||99p Stores||167||146||£0.50||View »|
|GP Ultra||Ak||£0.33||6||Online||1278||1346||£0.26||View »|
|Kodak Xtralife||Ak||£0.17||6||Poundland||1134||1154||£0.15||View »|
|M&S Extra Long Life||Ak||£1.00||4||M&S||1087||1132||£0.92||View »|
|Morrisons Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.62||4||Morrisons||1199||1229||£0.53||View »|
|Panasonic Alkaline Power||Ak||£0.25||4||99p Stores||1068||1126||£0.24||View »|
|Panasonic EVOLTA||Ak||£0.74||4||Online||709||781||£1.04||View »|
|Panasonic Pro Power||Ak||£0.50||4||Online||1180||1262||£0.43||View »|
|Panasonic Zinc||Zn||£0.10||10||99p Stores||87||77||£1.14||View »|
|Polaroid Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.17||6||99p Stores||1022||1037||£0.17||View »|
|Sony Alkaline||Ak||£0.25||4||Poundland||857||902||£0.30||View »|
|Tesco Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.30||8||Tesco||1188||1251||£0.26||View »|
|Tesco Value||Zn||£0.23||4||Tesco||194||169||£1.16||View »|
|TIGER Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.25||4||TIGER Stores||1294||1362||£0.19||View »|
|VARTA High Energy Alkaline||Ak||£0.59||4||Online||1432||1519||£0.41||View »|
|VARTA Professional Lithium||Li||£1.13||4||Online||2841||3585||£0.40||View »|
|Wilko powerplus EXTRA||Ak||£0.30||8||Wilkinsons||1047||1043||£0.29||View »|
|Ford1 Alkaline||Ak||£0.17||6||99p Stores||990||1029||£0.17||View »|
|Sony New Ultra||Zn||£0.13||8||Poundland||45||41||£2.78||View »|
|JCB4 Built to Last||Zn||£0.10||8||Home Bargains||12||12||£7.60||View »|
|Kodak Zinc||Zn||£0.10||11||Poundland||101||88||£0.90||View »|
|Morrisons Savers||Zn||£0.15||11||Morrisons||15||14||£10.00||View »|
|Sainsbury's Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.34||8||Sainsbury's||936||956||£0.37||View »|
|PowerCell Ultra||Ak||£0.17||6||DiscountUK||1048||977||£0.16||View »|
|Maplin extralonglife Alkaline||Ak||£0.75||4||Maplin||1174||1245||£0.64||View »|
|Ikea Alkalisk3||Ak||£0.10||10||Ikea||1224||1247||£0.08||View »|
|ReadyCell Alkaline||Ak||£0.10||10||Home Bargains||1199||1176||£0.08||View »|
|Duracell SIMPLY||Ak||£0.75||4||Morrisons||1114||1170||£0.67||View »|
|WHSmith Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.34||4||WHSmith||1352||1398||£0.25||View »|
|Superdrug Longer Life||Ak||£0.31||4||Superdrug||1202||1230||£0.26||View »|
|Ansmann Alkaline||Ak||£0.40||4||Market Shop||941||958||£0.43||View »|
|Asda Long Life Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.29||10||ASDA||1203||1246||£0.24||View »|
|Asda Smart Price||Zn||£0.15||6||ASDA||15||15||£10.00||View »|
|Carrefour i-Tech Alkaline||Ak||£0.13||4||Carrefour (Romania)||978||1028||£0.13||View »|
|Huatai Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.23||4||Market Shop||17||17||£13.24||View »|
|Optimum Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.04||60||B&M Stores||11||11||£3.77||View »|
|Polaroid Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.08||12||99p Stores||16||15||£5.16||View »|
|Robust Super Battery||Zn||£0.18||4||Market Shop||15||15||£15.00||View »|
|Sanyo Advanced Alkaline5||Ak||£0.27||4||Market Shop||1129||1196||£0.24||View »|
|Toshiba Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.18||4||Market Shop||27||24||£6.67||View »|
|Toshiba Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.30||4||Market Shop||1190||1244||£0.25||View »|
|T-Power Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.18||4||Market Shop||151||135||£1.19||View »|
|VARTA Superlife||Zn||£0.36||4||Market Shop||31||29||£11.61||View »|
1 These are genuine Ford Motor Company AA batteries (licensed product.)
2 Purchased from an online reseller, new from packet.
3 Listed as "Alkalisk" on Ikea website; sold in stores as "Ikea Alkaline".
4 The same company that makes plant equipment (diggers, etc.)
5 Different technology (non-rechargeable) compared to Sanyo Eneloop.
Chemistry abbreviations (primary component): Ak = Alkaline Manganese, Zn = Zinc Chloride/Carbon, Li = Lithium.
All tests were conducted at 18°C to 25°C