Results: Low Drain
The low-drain discharge of 200mA is designed to represent a typical light load on a battery that a toy, CD/MP3 player, torch or similar product may demand from a battery.
Click any graph to see a larger preview.
Discount cells perform very well
Surprisingly, the clear winner in this test was the Ikea alkaline, followed by other discount store batteries. The Ikea scored over 2200mAh, 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 well too. Even at higher cut-off voltages of 1.3V, they still represent excellent value for money. The general conclusion is that most alkaline cells behave similarly to each other.
Kirkland Signature from Costco were the best "supermarket" brand battery we tested in the 200mA test and in the 1000mA test. It appears to be a re-labeled Duracell; the negative end-cap is identical to Duracells.
Not all Duracell are alike
Duracell from Poundland (Duracell Standard) are genuine Duracell batteries sold in twin packs but are definitely of lesser performance compared to other Duracell batteries and you would be better off with other discount shop batteries. Duracell SIMPLY, Duracell's budget brand (£2.99 for 4 cells), performed similarly to standard Duracell, so they are likely based on similar technology. However, the standard Duracell costs less.
Duracell PROCELL and Energizer Industrial are good batteries for the price and compare to their retail cousins, especially when price is considered. However, they are only available from online resellers in boxes of 10 upwards.
The difference between Duracell Plus Power and Duracell Ultra Power is more or less negligble. It's only at very high cut-off voltages that the Ultra Power begins to show better performance (giving an overall slightly higher mWh result), but it still doesn't account for the significant cost increase. The in-built battery tester on the Ultra Power is useful – but for nearly the same price of the whole pack, a voltmeter with built in battery tester can be purchased from Maplin.
Lithium cells are great – if you can justify the cost
The Energizer Ultimate Lithium and VARTA Professional Lithium cells performed very well, achieving about 3000 mAh each with the Energizer beating the VARTA cell at all cut-off voltages. These batteries would be a good choice in an application which needs to last a very long time and where changing batteries is difficult or inconvenient - for example, a baby monitor or a smoke alarm. However, they provide poor value for money as they cost nearly 7x as much as the discount store alkaline cells whilst only providing a 60% increase in total measured capacity. A notable effect is that the lithium cells give out most of their energy around the 1.25V~1.35V range. This could be useful for certain digital cameras with limited voltage spans. Except at 1.35V, though, the discount alkalines again win on the value-for-money front.
Zinc cells, which are the cheapest cells you can buy in many stores (and are often marketed as "value for money"), have poor performance and don't represent the best value for money despite the large pack sizes or low individual cell cost. Even in low drain applications, alkalines would likely do better.
The major disappointment of the tests was the Panasonic EVOLTA. They claim Panasonic's "Platinum Award" (for unknown reasons), and previously claim to hold a Guinness World Record for "Longest Lasting AA Alkaline Battery in a Wide Range of Devices." Overall, this battery performed poorly. It did do a bit better at higher cut-off voltages, but was quickly beaten by the rest of the pack below about 1.15V; perhaps Panasonic only intend it for a small range of cut-off voltages.
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.
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|
|Tesco Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.30||8||Tesco||1970||2331||£0.15||View »|
|Tesco Value||Zn||£0.23||4||Tesco||624||714||£0.36||View »|
|Duracell Plus Power||Ak||£0.81||4||Tesco||2214||2599||£0.37||View »|
|Energizer Ultra+||Ak||£0.81||4||Tesco||2089||2493||£0.39||View »|
|Daewoo Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.17||6||99p Stores||2060||2494||£0.08||View »|
|Duracell Ultra Power||Ak||£1.12||4||Tesco||2137||2622||£0.52||View »|
|Kodak Xtralife||Ak||£0.17||6||Poundland||2107||2454||£0.08||View »|
|Panasonic Alkaline Power||Ak||£0.25||4||99p Stores||1916||2309||£0.13||View »|
|Sony Alkaline||Ak||£0.25||4||Poundland||2080||2487||£0.12||View »|
|Sony New Ultra||Zn||£0.12||8||Poundland||515||571||£0.24||View »|
|Duracell Standard||Ak||£0.50||2||Poundland||1971||2373||£0.25||View »|
|M&S Extra Long Life||Ak||£1.00||4||M&S||2036||2435||£0.49||View »|
|Ford1,2 Zinc||Zn||£0.08||12||99p Stores||623||700||£0.13||View »|
|Daewoo Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.08||12||99p Stores||670||754||£0.12||View »|
|Panasonic Zinc||Zn||£0.10||10||99p Stores||495||546||£0.20||View »|
|Costco Kirkland Signature||Ak||£0.21||48||Costco3||2302||2758||£0.09||View »|
|Morrisons Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.63||4||Morrisons||2257||2633||£0.28||View »|
|Wilko powerplus EXTRA||Ak||£0.30||8||Wilkinsons||2034||2352||£0.15||View »|
|TIGER Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.25||4||TIGER Stores||2067||2413||£0.12||View »|
|Panasonic Pro Power||Ak||£0.50||4||Online||1973||2373||£0.25||View »|
|Panasonic EVOLTA||Ak||£0.74||4||Online||1490||1856||£0.49||View »|
|GP Ultra||Ak||£0.22||6||Online||2049||2413||£0.11||View »|
|Energizer Ultimate Lithium||Li||£1.13||4||Online||3312||4621||£0.34||View »|
|Duracell PROCELL||Ak||£0.22||10||Online||2148||2546||£0.10||View »|
|Energizer Standard||Ak||£0.38||4||Online||1859||2222||£0.20||View »|
|VARTA High Energy Alkaline||Ak||£0.59||4||Online||2329||2745||£0.25||View »|
|VARTA Professional Lithium||Li||£1.13||4||Online||2912||3995||£0.39||View »|
|Energizer HiGHTECH||Ak||£0.38||4||Online||2229||2674||£0.42||View »|
|Energizer Industrial||Ak||£0.27||10||Online||1980||2365||£0.14||View »|
|Ford1 Higher Energy||Ak||£0.17||6||99p Stores||1943||2333||£0.09||View »|
|Ikea Alkalisk4||Ak||£0.10||10||Ikea||2270||2647||£0.04||View »|
|JCB5 Built to Last||Zn||£0.10||8||Home Bargains||495||570||£0.20||View »|
|Kodak Zinc||Zn||£0.09||8||Poundland||513||580||£0.18||View »|
|Maplin extralonglife Alkaline||Ak||£0.74||4||Maplin||1901||2258||£0.39||View »|
|Morrisons Savers||Zn||£0.15||6||Morrisons||569||637||£0.26||View »|
|PowerCell Ultra||Ak||£0.17||6||DiscountUK||2034||2294||£0.08||View »|
|ReadyCell Alkaline||Ak||£0.10||10||Home Bargains||1951||2229||£0.05||View »|
|Sainsbury's Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.34||8||Sainsbury's||1893||2277||£0.18||View »|
|Superdrug Longer Life||Ak||£0.31||8||Superdrug||2104||2432||£0.15||View »|
|WHSmith Extra Long Life||Ak||£0.34||8||WHSmith||2084||2454||£0.16||View »|
|Duracell SIMPLY||Ak||£0.74||4||Morrisons||1908||2266||£0.39||View »|
|Polaroid Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.17||6||99p Stores||1898||2267||£0.09||View »|
|Ansmann Alkaline||Ak||£0.40||4||Market Shop||1922||2230||£0.21||View »|
|Asda Long Life Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.29||10||ASDA||2117||2464||£0.14||View »|
|Asda Smart Price||Zn||£0.15||6||ASDA||535||614||£0.28||View »|
|Carrefour i-Tech Alkaline||Ak||£0.13||4||Carrefour (Romania)||2009||2356||£0.07||View »|
|Huatai Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.23||4||Market Shop||274||307||£0.82||View »|
|Optimum Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.04||60||B&M Stores||225||237||£0.18||View »|
|Polaroid Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.08||12||99p Stores||582||653||£0.14||View »|
|Robust Super Battery||Zn||£0.18||4||Market Shop||337||366||£0.67||View »|
|Sanyo Advanced Alkaline6||Ak||£0.27||4||Market Shop||2142||2524||£0.13||View »|
|Toshiba Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.18||4||Market Shop||526||597||£0.57||View »|
|Toshiba Super Alkaline||Ak||£0.30||4||Market Shop||2104||2442||£0.14||View »|
|T-Power Heavy Duty||Zn||£0.18||4||Market Shop||611||704||£0.30||View »|
|VARTA Superlife||Zn||£0.36||4||Market Shop||489||540||£0.74||View »|
1 These are genuine Ford Motor Company AA batteries (licensed product.)
2 These batteries leaked after the 200mA discharge.
3 Purchased from an online reseller, new from packet.
4 Listed as "Alkalisk" on Ikea website; sold in stores as "Ikea Alkaline".
5 The same company that makes plant equipment (diggers, etc.)
6 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