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Celebrating the independent kiwi spirit of invention.


Research Topic: Which Battery Will Do?

 
Last updated:  

Overview & Terms
8 March 2012
Single Use
7 January 2016
Rechargeable
1 September 2013
Battery Analyser
21 November 2017
Battery Shopping
12 May 2018

Recommended Batteries
for Particular Uses

16 May 2014

 

Original article by Ian Mander, 22 July 2002

Single Use Test
6 November 2007
Rechargeable Test
15 November 2018
Test Procedure
4 June 2011
Button and Coin Cell Shopping
12 October 2018
More Info & Links
29 February 2012
  LSD Shootout
7 January 2016
When Battery Testing
Goes Bad –
Consumer Magazine

2 October 2017
Battery Holder Shopping
3 December 2017

On this page: Battery Testing | AA Cells | Testing Procedure

Single-use (Primary) Battery Testing

AA cells are the most common type of single-use battery, and although the use of rechargeables is increasing, single-use batteries are still more commonly used. Because of the huge range of battery brands and types (the chemistry used) it is useful consumer information to know how well common brands will perform.

Cells are tested at one of the following currents.

  • 100mA - low currrent device such as a radio.
  • 400mA - medium current device such as an electric shaver.
  • 700mA - high current device such as a bright torch.
  • 1,000mA - very high current device such as a digital camera.

Cost effectiveness for cells is a figure for each test current, calculated by assigning 100% to the cell at that discharge rate with the best cost performance. A cell that performs half as well but costs only half as much will also get 100%, but it should be noted will be more hassle due to having to change twice as often, will create twice as much landfill, etc.


AA Cells

Cells are in price order.

AA Cell Price per cell Tested capacity @ 100mA Tested capacity @ 400mA Tested capacity @ 700mA Tested capacity @ 1,000mA Quantity
Tested
Capacity Cost eff. Capacity Cost eff. Capacity Cost eff. Capacity Cost eff.
Rocket Heavy Duty
(zinc-carbon)
$0.36 234mAh 100%
 
650mAh/$
? 100%
 
?mAh/$
79mAh 100%
 
219mAh/$
- - 3
Eveready Heavy Duty
(zinc-carbon)
$0.55 223mAh 63%
 
405mAh/$
? 45%
 
?mAh/$
51mAh 37%
 
93mAh/$
- - 3
Energizer Max
(alkaline)
$2.24             1161mAh 100%
 
518mAh/$
1
Energizer e2 Advanced
(alkaline)
$3             1321mAh 85%
 
440mAh/$
1

Conclusions

Eveready Heavy Duty - I'm underwhelmed. At 55 cents per cell these didn't do well.

Rocket Heavy Duty - Wasn't expecting great performance, but they did better than the "reputable" Eveready cells, and at two thirds of the Eveready price, make much better value for money. They really don't last long though.

Energizer Max alkaline - Kept its voltage well compared to the e2 and came out significantly more cost effective than that cell even at high current.

Energizer e2 Advanced alkaline - At 1000mA current it kept going the longest of the tested primary cells (at a cost, though).

Comments/Notes

Eveready Heavy Duty - 1.627V straight from packet.

  • Discharge @ 700mA, 51 min first run, 80 minutes total over four runs.

Rocket Heavy Duty - Pak 'n Save's inexpensive brand. 1.643V straight from packet.

  • Discharge @ 400mA, 143 minutes total over four runs.
  • Discharge @ 700mA, 79 min first run, 131 minutes total over four runs.

Digitor Exxtra Alkaline - An old version of Dick Smith Electronics' house brand, a short shelf life may drag these cells down compared to the DSE branded cells.

DSE Exxtra Alkaline - A newer version of Dick Smith Electronics' house brand.

Energizer Max alkaline - 1.629V straight from packet, best before 2014 (7 years away at time of testing).

  • Discharge @ 1000mA: Initial run 76 minutes or 1161mAh. Recovered to 1.34V after one hour resting. Second run just 12 seconds, 2mAh. Total 1163mAh over two runs.

Energizer e2 Advanced alkaline - 1.613V straight from packet, best before 2014 (7 years away at time of testing).

  • Discharge @ 1000mA: Initial run 87.5 minutes or 1321mAh. Recovered to 1.33V after one hour resting. Second run 1.5 minutes, 21mAh. Total 1342mAh over two runs.

Testing Procedure

Proposed testing procedure is as follows, designed to produce reasonably relevant results for real-world uses such as torches or digital cameras.

  1. Cells are discharged in one continuous burst at one of the test currents mentioned above (90% duty cycle). Discharge is terminated when loaded voltage reaches 0.9V.
  2. Cells are rested and repeat runs are made after a suitable rest.

Discharge rates are nominal; the MH-C9000 integrates the total mAh based on the actual current.

Since the MH-C9000 is designed for rechargeable cells it terminates discharge at 0.9V under load. This leaves some capacity in the cells, which means that these results cannot be taken as conclusive evidence of how much each cell holds, but should give a good indication of how well these batteries compare to each other.

All testing done at room temperature.


A few battery shoot-outs are mentioned on the More Info & Links page.

Read on for information on rechargeable battery types.

 
Last updated:  

Overview & Terms
8 March 2012
Single Use
7 January 2016
Rechargeable
1 September 2013
Battery Analyser
21 November 2017
Battery Shopping
12 May 2018

Recommended Batteries
for Particular Uses

16 May 2014

 

Original article by Ian Mander, 22 July 2002

Single Use Test
6 November 2007
Rechargeable Test
15 November 2018
Test Procedure
4 June 2011
Button and Coin Cell Shopping
12 October 2018
More Info & Links
29 February 2012
  LSD Shootout
7 January 2016
When Battery Testing
Goes Bad –
Consumer Magazine

2 October 2017
Battery Holder Shopping
3 December 2017


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