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Making Sense of the Battery Aisle

December 6th, 2011 by
Interstate's AA batteries

Alkaline batteries boast a long shelf life and can stand up to any drain rate.

You’ve finished your family Christmas shopping. You found a camera for your hipster sister, an alarm clock for your ever- late brother, but you have noticed a few gifts are “battery not included.” Of course you have your Interstate® battery organizer and tester fully stocked at all times. But, standing in the household battery aisle at your local Interstate All Battery Center® your eyes begin to dart around the huge selection of batteries. Since when did companies start making so many kinds? 

Alkaline or lithium, rechargeable or regular, heavy duty or super heavy duty? At least you know the size you need. Here are a few tips on which batteries are best in which device.

What are the different battery chemistries? Any size of household batteries primarily comes in two chemistries: carbon zinc and alkaline. Carbon zinc batteries are sometimes labeled as heavy duty or super heavy duty. The names don’t mean anything specific. Whether heavy duty, super heavy duty or the heaviest duty of them all, they all have a similar performance level. Carbon zinc batteries belong in low drain devices such as television remotes or alarm clocks. These batteries are also most likely the cheapest option. Carbon zinc batteries have a moderate shelf-life but won’t last in high-drain devices, like cameras and portable DVD players.

Extra Heavy Duty 9V batteries

Extra heavy duty, or carbon-zinc, batteries like these are best used in low-drain devices.

Alkaline batteries may cost a little more, but they have a much longer shelf-life and stand up to any drain rate. They’re popular for a reason. When buying batteries for toy cars or other regularly used electronics, use alkaline batteries and save yourself the headache of constantly running out of juice and draining your wallet. Alkaline batteries can also survive any temperature as opposed to carbon zinc batteries, which work best at room temperatures. Put carbon zinc batteries in your flashlights at home, but stock the emergency flashlight in your car with alkaline batteries.

You can find Lithium batteries like these at Interstate All Battery Center.

You can find Lithium batteries like these at Interstate All Battery Center.

You may notice a third chemistry: lithium. Household lithium batteries only come in AA,  AAA and 9V sizes. They offer the longest-lasting run time in high-drain devices and perform excellent in low temperatures. With an excellent shelf life, 10 years or more, it makes sense lithium batteries cost more than the other two chemistries. Check each device specification carefully before using lithium batteries. They have a slightly higher voltage and can damage some devices; however, they are the best, non-rechargeable power source for heavy drain and frequent usage devices like a camera flash.

Go to Interstate All Battery Center or and grab some lithium batteries for your sister’s camera, carbon zinc for your brother’s alarm clock and an alkaline for the remote control car you bought your nephew. With this newfound battery knowledge, buying batteries is a breeze. The only question left is, “What did they get you?” After all, you’re just trying to help them prepare with the right battery.

By Shayla Jenkins (7 Posts)

Posted in All Battery, Technology, Tips
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,



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About The Outrageously Dependable Blog

Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!

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