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Which Battery is the Best?

January 26th, 2012 by

Excellent, good, average, poor

Every once in a while, newscasters are tempted to cover their sports coat with a lab coat and attempt to identify the best battery. Often times, these scientific experiments involve running different brands of batteries in toys that light up and make noise.

We have all seen these segments. First, the newscaster talks about saving money or asks the confounding question: which battery lasts longest? Then we see a close-up of the toy, preferably a clapping monkey or dog that flips. Next, statistics such as which battery types were used, how long they ran and how much they cost flash on the screen. Finally, the segment ends with the newscaster or a cameo from a scientist from a local university identifying the best battery for your buck.

Want an example? Watch the video below. We’ll wait.

And here is a study courtesy of CBS News.

Not to be outdone, Lifehacker posts this study by Wired magazine.

Ooh! Consumer Reports jumps in the mix.

If these studies really were accurate, shouldn’t one battery always win?

In defense of the news stations, batteries are complicated. There are so many marketing terms and differentiations that choosing a battery often leaves even the savviest Blog Battery readers with their heads spinning.

(Check out a recent post in which we outlined the best tips to keep your devices running longer.)

Monkey playing cymbals

A primate percussionist isn’t the best judge of battery power.

However, seeing which battery can keep a clapping monkey toy running longer is not a scientific study on which to trust. Calculating which battery is best and assuming it applies to every device is unrealistic. Some batteries work better in high drain situations, others in low drain. Some are alkaline, others lithium or nickel-cadmium (NiCad).

So, what questions should you ask in these “scientific studies?”

First, which chemistries are being tested? Lithium-ion batteries often last longer than alkalines because they are built to last longer.  Assuming a test used only alkaline batteries, the battery’s capacity is still not determined by how long it can make a dog toy flip.

Next, are they high-drain specific or better for low drains? What about the toy? Does it need a lot of power, like a camera flash, or does it only use a little power at a more consistent rate, like a clock? All these questions and more determine which battery will work best in that particular device.

Technically speaking, batteries’ capacities are determined by the total number of hours a battery can provide 25 milliamps continuously at 80 degrees before the voltage reaches 0.8 volts per cell. Then multiply the total hours by 25.

What? That confused you? Yeah, me too – I guess that is why news teams use clapping monkeys. Simply speaking, don’t trust so-called scientific studies. Instead, identify what works best for your device. Use the recommendations outlined by the product manufacturer, and if all else fails, ask the experts by posting a comment below or visiting your local Interstate All Battery Center.

By Shayla Jenkins (7 Posts)


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

2 comments

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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!