These days, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the aggressive marketing, colorful packaging, and bold, often misleading performance claims used to sell products in stores. Whether you’re looking for dish soap, dog food, or duct tape, many of us have stood in front of shelves full of brand-name items and wondered which one to buy. Some of us buy whatever brand we’re most familiar with, others get whatever looks decent and is affordably-priced, and a few buy whatever costs the most in hopes that it’ll be the best.

Project Farm used a multi-mode charger to discharge batteries and measure their mAh capacity.

Simple products often result in the most difficult purchase decisions — AA batteries are a good example of this. Is ultra better than quantum? Does Energizer spend all its money on CGI bunny ads instead of product R&D? Are the cheapest batteries just as good, or so close that it doesn’t matter? How much difference is there between alkaline and lithium? The YouTube channel Project Farm produced a video that shows comparison testing between 10 types of AA batteries to help answer some of these questions:

First off, the “drop test” to separate used batteries from new ones was pretty cool. We’ll be keeping that trick in mind for next time we need to dig through a stash of loose batteries.

Try this test at home to see the difference between new and used AA alkaline batteries.

Although we weren’t too surprised to see the cheaper batteries perform worse than the more expensive ones, we were definitely surprised by how big the difference was. And in case you’re thinking those cheaper batteries might still be decent value for the money, the comparison chart proves that they underperformed there, too. The conclusions about lithium batteries were interesting as well — while we could see them being useful in cases where maximum runtime is very important, it seems like buying alkalines and swapping them a little more often is a better choice in many cases.

Project Farm also posted a follow-up video on rechargeable AA batteries, plus four more standard alkaline brands. Check it out:

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