“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times

Batteries may seem like an afterthought, but it turns out that some batteries are better than others. And some cheap batteries meant for use in consumer devices earn a spot on the good list for durability and reliability. First things first, though: The battery should suit the application. The device you need to power up will point you to either cheap alkaline batteries, cheap rechargeable NiMH batteries, or cheap pre-charged rechargeable NiMH batteries. Alkaline batteries produce 1.5 volts and generally have capacity between 1200 and 2700 milliampere hours (mAh), depending on size and manufacturer. NiMH batteries produce 1.2 volts and boast capacity of 800mAh to 2900mAh (ditto on the variation by size and manufacturer). Low-drain devices do well with alkaline batteries and high-drain devices are a good match for NiMH batteries; pre-charged NiMH batteries are something of a hybrid and prove their mettle in applications that need lots of juice when in use but sit idle for long periods. Battery size -- AAA, AA, C, or D -- is specific to the device, and there's no substituting sizes. We researched AA and AAA batteries, but assessments of their performance generally extend to the AA or AAA counterpart.

Chemistry Rechargeable Volts/mAh
Sanyo Eneloop Pre-Charged Rechargeables estimated price $9.5
NiMH pre-charged Yes 1.2V/800mAh
Duracell CopperTop Alkaline estimated price $10
Alkaline No 1.5V
Sony Rechargeable 900 mAh estimated price $8.6
NiMH Yes 1.2V/900mAh
Rayovac Alkaline estimated price $10
Alkaline No 1.5V
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Also see our full Batteries review:
  1. Best Cheap Batteries
  2. Discount Batteries Features Comparison Table