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The Best AA Batteries for Flashlights, Toys, and More

We share information best AA batteries on the market – the longest lasting, best priced, most powerful single use AA batteries – including a table showing which batteries are best for each type of use. If you have the patience rechargeable batteries will save you money compared to these disposable batteries.

Best AA Battery: Energizer AA Ultimate Lithium

  • Capacity 1.5v, 3500mAh
  • Operating Temperatures: -40°F to 140°F (-40°C to 60°C)
  • Shelf Life: 20yrs (longest shelf life)
  • Weight: 14.5 g (0.5 oz.) Lightest
Energizer AA Ultimate Lithium Battery
Energizer AA Ultimate Lithium Battery

The Energizer AA Ultimate Lithium are the best AA batteries. They have a 20yr shelf life, store 3500mah of power to drive your most power hungry electronics and are very lightweight.  This is also the best cold weather AA battery operating well to a frigid -40F. 

These are high quality, very consistent batteries. They are safe for any electronic device that uses AA batteries. The Energizer Ultimate Lithium is the winner in all categories, except price.

Runner up: Duracell Optimum AA

  • Capacity: 1.5v, 2850mAh
  • Operating Temperatures: −4°F to 130°F
  • Shelf Life: 10yrs
  • Weight: 24g / .8oz
Duracell Optimum AA battery
Duracell Optimum AA Battery

The Duracell Optimum AA is the lower cost alternative to the Energizer. It is still expensive but not nearly as pricey as the Energizer AA Ultimate.

At 2850mah the Duracell still packs a punch and is cheaper, but it weighs more and has less power.  The Energizer Max AA is almost the same as the Duracell Optimum. The prices vary, so one might be cheaper than the other at any given time.

best AA batteries

Disposable AA Batteries

There are dozens of brands of AA single use batteries. Each battery might perform differently based on your device and usage. We recommend the Energizer Ultimate Lithium and Duracell Optimum, but many others might be a better fit for your exact needs.

This table matches up your usage with the right batteries for the job.

UsageRecommended Battery
High draw devices and hard to reach devices such as fire alarms, smoke detectorsEnergizer Ultimate AA Lithium
Duracell Optimum AA
Long Shelf LifeEnergizer Ultimate Lithium AA up to 20yrs
Duracell Optimum AA up to 10 years
Energizer Max AA up to 10 years
Rayovac Fusion AA up to 10 years
Toys that use up a lot of batteries, remote controls, game controllers or TV remotes and/or regularly used flashlightEnergizer Max AA
Duracell Optimum AA
Rayovac Fusion AA
Amazon Basics High-Performance AA Alkaline Batteries.
**Seriously consider rechargeables!
Trail Cameras Energizer Ultimate Lithium
Duracell Optimum
Note: Some trail cameras will NOT work with rechargeables
Flashlights in stored “get home bags”, emergency kits or first aid kitsEnergizer Ultimate Lithium AA
Transmitter, Studio WorkOddly the ACDelco AA is the best bang for the buck, based on this studio testing.
Using more than 1 aa battery per dayGet either the rechargeable Eneloop 2000mAh (not Eneloop Pro) or the Tenergy 2000mAh Low Self Discharge AA Battery. Both of these can be charged over 2000 times.
Kids flashlights or toysRayovac Fusion AA
Amazon Basics High-Performance AA Alkaline Batteries
**These are more cost effective only if your children lose them you lose less money. Alternately use your oldest rechargeable batteries. See also Best Cheap Flashlight

Single Use AA Battery Questions and Answers

Which brand of AA battery lasts the longest?

The Energizer Lithium has a 20 year shelf life in storage. The Energizer Lithium has a 3500mAh capacity meaning it has 3.5amps of power. The Duracell Quantum has a 10 year life and stores about 2.1amps. Of all the AA batteries, the Energizer is the best long lasting battery.

Can I recharge a disposable AA battery?

Technically it is possible to refresh a single use AA battery, but we do not recommend it. It can cause fires and will likely cause leakage. We recommend 1.2v or 1.5v rechargeable AA or AAA batteries.

Area any AA batteries leak proof?

No. But the Energizer is leak resistant and has very low reported frequency of leaks.

Which battery has the Best AA Battery Life per Dollar?

If you are dead set on buying single use, disposable AA batteries the Energizer Max or Rayovac are better price per amp. If you are going through a lot of batteries, use rechargeable batteries instead.

Which batteries are better Duracell or Energizer?

Duracell and Energizer have multiple products. You need to compare individual products. Same goes for the “Which lasts longer Duracell or Energizer?” Are you comparing Duracell Coppertop vs Energizer Max or Energizer Ultimate.

The alkaline versions of Duracell and Energizer are similar, but the lithium kicks butt.

Are lithium AA batteries better than alkaline?

Generally, yes. Lithium is lighter and provides more power. In all testing we have found, the lithium AA battery power capacity is over 500mAh higher than any alkaline AA battery.

Do Rayovac batteries last as long as Energizer?

No. Rayovac do not last as long as Energizer but they are cheaper, and the Rayovac Fusion are comparable to the Duracell Optimum.

Why you should not buy the Energizer Lithium

Although the Energizer Lithium is an awesome, high power AA battery, we recommend you consider rechargeable batteries to save money.

Not only are rechargeables less expensive, they also give you a bit of emergency protection. Combine them with a Nekteck 28W Solar Charger and you have a way to keep battery powered devices such as an emergency radio or flashlight working without grid power.

For comparison, a 20 pack of Energizer Lithium costs under $40. Twenty Eneloop Long Self Discharge batteries are just over $50. Add in a NiteCore CI4 charger at roughly $30, and the total cost for rechargeable batteries and a charger is just over $90.

The Tenergy 2000mAh Low Self Discharge AA Battery are even less expensive than the Eneloop and fairly close in real world mWh tests.

The ~$100 price for rechargeable batteries and charger, looks like the 20 pack of Energizers is almost 3x cheaper BUT you need to remember your annual usage.

If you replace a battery once per month (12x per year), over 5 years that is 60 batteries. With modest use, that is nearly $200 in Energizers vs just over $100 for the rechargeables.

With heavy use, the savings increase. If you go through one battery per work day, that is roughly 250 batteries a year, or 1250 over 5 years. That is over $2000 in Energizer batteries vs just over $100 for the Eneloop rechargeable batteries plus charger. That is 12x cheaper.

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3 Comments

  1. Rayovac. I’m 74. When I was younger than ten, I had already figured out that Racovac and Varta batteries of any size were inferior to just about anything at all. Countless toys ruined by that worthless junk leaking, and unending dissatisfaction from the batteries seeing to be mostly depleted before I could get them into a toy. Lithium do not (in my experience) leak. EVER. I was very pleased when I discovered Duracell alkaline batteries when I was about 13 years old. They were much more powerful than anything I had tried before, but they will still leak. No, Garmin won’t replace that $900 GPS that your carbon and alkaline batteries leaked in and destroyed. Today, I will only use lithium (preferably Energizers) for single use batteries, and actually prefer (but not for long-term installation in the device) to use modern rechargeable batteries. I have never had a modern rechargeable battery leak in the device. They are a pain to remove, recharge, and re-install twice a year for things that need to be ready for use immediately, though.

  2. What’s the top rated rechargeable battter to charge with your Nexflex charger____
    How many times can I recharge the battery _____
    How long will the rechargeable battery stay charged compared to a new Energisers lithium battery when a 3 battery head lamp is left on for same time period ____
    As you continue to recharge the battery does the life span between charging decrease ____
    In other words, how long will the power of the battery last between chargings compaired to the first recharge____
    EXAMPLE: let’s say keeping the power on continuous for 24 hours after the first recharge the battery needs charged again, as you continue to recharge the same batttery multiple times will the battery last as long as the first charge if not how long will it last in the 24 hour initial charge ?

    1. I’d suggest contacting the manufacturers of the various products that you’re inquiring about directly. Answers will vary widely for different products, and with the charger, Netflex may have a recommendation we don’t know about. The tech is constantly changing.

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