SAN ANTONIO – When you're making up your holiday checklist, there's one item you don't want to leave out: batteries. Double-As are the most popular size. Consumer Reports put 15 to the test, both lithium and alkaline.
In the lab, batteries are connected to machines, which cycle them on and off, over and over, simulating use in both toys and flashlights. The most expensive alkaline tested, the Panasonic Digital Power, came in last.
With the top two performers, you get almost two-hours more power. They are the Energizer Ultimate Lithium and the Energizer Advanced Lithium. But they cost more than $2 per battery.
For people who use a lot of batteries, Consumer Reports found some good, long-lasting alkalines that cost a lot less. For $1 each, the Duracell Quantum AA alkaline batteries give you almost the same amount of hours in both flashlights and toys as the top-rated lithiums. And the Kirkland Signature AA's from Costco are the biggest bargain, at just 27-cents each. They kept up with the Duracells in toy tests and gave up less than a half an hour of use in flashlights.
To make batteries last longer, there's no need to store them in the refrigerator, but Consumer Reports says it does pay to store them in a cool, dry place.