What the best batteries have

  • Fast charge time. Check the manufacturer's claims against expert tests. Some rechargeable batteries must be charged overnight, while some can recharge in just a few hours.
  • Slow discharge and long life. You want batteries that will last a long, long time, so look for rechargeables that don't easily lose their power when not used over a period of time. Batteries that come pre-charged and ready to use are ideal. Alkaline batteries should last months or even years when used with low-power devices like clocks and remotes.
  • Long overall life span and high power output. Lithium batteries should be able to power even high-drain devices, and many can have a life span of at least a decade. Energizer's Ultimate Lithium batteries are a great example of good, long-lasting and powerful lithium batteries. You also can't go wrong with a product that can go through thousands of charge cycles, like Sanyo's Eneloop batteries.

Know before you go

What devices are you going to use your batteries for? If you're buying batteries for high-drain devices, alkaline batteries or nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries might not be the right products to buy. But if you're buying batteries for low-drain devices like remote controls or clocks, cheap alkalines are enough. On the other hand, rechargeable batteries are a better investment for cameras and other electronics.

Did you know you can extend your battery's life by storing it in a cool, dry place? To lengthen your battery's life, store it in places when it won't get damp or damaged, which may cause a leak. Lithium batteries may not be reusable, but if you store them well, they can be used even 10 to 15 years later. Well-stored rechargeables, of course, can last as long as they can still be charged -- up to 1,500 charge cycles if they are Sanyo Eneloops.

Do you know how to recycle old batteries? While regulations vary by state, there are some general best practices. Our blog outlines how to properly dispose of batteries.

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