Energizer, Duracell, Panasonic, Rayovac, Eveready, Generics…
Alkaline battery, Lithium battery, Dry Cell, Zinc chloride battery, Silver-oxide battery…
Is There An Actual Difference Between Batteries?
So many different names… When it comes to batteries, how can one tell a great deal from a dud? Is there any reason to spend more for a premium name brand?
We at Mitchell Electronics asked our engineers to take a look at the most common battery questions and try to explain in layman’s terms what the best and simplest solution would be.
Batteries Question: What’s the deal with picking a battery?
Answer: Let us start off by explaining the difference in usage. There are two categories that batteries are going to fall into:
Low-Drain and High-Drain and the differences between the two are just like the analogy of a rabbit and a turtle.
A high-drain device uses a lot of power in a short time (portable video game, MP3/iPod, digital cameras, radio-control toys, cell phones, and GPS receivers – These devices are just like the rabbit running for the finish line!
A low–drain device only uses electricity sometimes (like a TV remote control) or just a little bit over a long period of time (like an alarm clock) – just like the turtle moving slow and steady.
Batteries Question: How do I know if I have a low drain or high drain device?
Answer: If you have the normal current drain for your device, then you can make a general determination by using 600 mA as the low end of high drain devices. Using this method, devices which draw less than 600 mA can be generally considered to be low- to moderate power drain.
Perhaps you are not sure of the rating of the current drain, or the device has a variable current drain or the current drain is not available, then you can also determine if your device is high-drain, medium-drain or low-drain by seeing how long regular alkaline last in the device.
Based on how long the battery life is for regular alkaline, you can generally estimate the drain rate for that level of use. Please note, this is only an estimate; it can not be taken for a hard and fast rule.
If regular alkaline battery life… then the device is probably…
Just a few minutes or few hours high-drain device
Lasts a few days in device medium-drain device
Keeps running for months low-drain device
Once you have determined which batteries you need for your device, you can buy with confidence, knowing you’re getting the best battery for your application!
Batteries: General Rule of Thumb:
Alkaline Battery – Low Drain Devices (Like TV Remote)
Lithium Battery – Long Lasting (Like Smoke Detectors)
High Drain Brands – Energizer e2 Titanium, Kodak Photolife, Duracell Ultra
Batteries Question: Should I buy a brand name battery to last longer?
Answer: The answer is no, the fact of the matter is you are much better off buying less expensive batteries, such as generics, or getting regular brand names like Duracell or Energizer on sale, because our tests positively no measurable difference in quality among these batteries.* That’s right, absolutely none. So just buy whatever is on sale, and you can take some simple steps to make them last longer.
*There is one very notable exception to the above and that is the Energizer Advanced Lithium battery: It cost a lot more but will probably last 4-5 times longer. So score one for that little bunny that promotes the brand. In our tests, not only did this particular battery push out far more initial voltage than the others — when it finally did correct down to the expected 1.5 volts, it just kept going and going and going.
Batteries Question: How can I make batteries last longer?
Answer: If you want your batteries to last longer then you always should turn devices off when you’re not using them. Storing batteries in a cool, dry place can do almost as much good as refrigerating them. Best Tip is to not mix worn-out batteries with fresh ones, as it places a greater strain on the new batteries.
At Mitchell Electronics, we have a history of treating our clients just like family. Call Mitchell Electronics at (914) 699-3800 today! Contact us today or visit our FAQs for more information about our products.