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Best AA batteries 2024: Power up your Prime Day savings with the best options to keep your devices going longer.

A group of AA batteries

We’ve tested everything from long-lasting lithiums to low-cost alkalines to bring you the best AA batteries for stamina and performance

Disposable AA batteries may seem a little outdated now that rechargeable AAs exist, but in many cases, they are still the most cost-effective and sometimes even the most eco-friendly solution. Modern disposable alkaline batteries are quite mild compared to other battery types when it comes to toxicity and you can (and should) recycle them.

We’ve tested more disposable batteries than most people go through in a lifetime. The chemistry is well understood for traditional alkaline batteries, and there are now lithium batteries (and several other variations on the same idea) that make for interesting choices when buying your next pack of power cells.

Below you’ll find our pick of the best AA batteries, all of which aced our tests. If you require more information, you’ll find a buying guide at the bottom of the page that will help you pick the perfect disposable AA batteries for your needs.

Amazon Prime Day deal

Our pick for the best budget battery, the Amazon Basics AA 1.5 Volt Performance Alkaline Batteries, just got even more wallet friendly by dropping from an average price of £6 down to just £4 for a 12 pack in the Prime Day sale. Just make sure to checkout before midnight on 17 July.

View deal at Amazon

Best AA batteries: At a glance

The longest-lasting AA batteryEnergizer Ultimate Lithium (~£7.99)Check price at Amazon
Best budget AA batteryAmazonBasics Performance Alkaline (~£5.68)Check price at Amazon
Best Alkaline AA batteries for high-drain devicesDuracell Optimum (~£5.75)Check price at Amazon
Best AA batteries for long-term staminaVarta Longlife Power (~£6.60)Check price at Amazon

How we test AA batteries

To work out which AA batteries are best for various situations, we run them in pairs in a high-powered, 500-lumen LED torch, measuring the voltage every 30 minutes. The torch requires a steady 1.5V to run at full brightness and approximately 1.2V to run at an acceptable brightness level, under which most batteries fall within 60 to 90 minutes of use. We’ll also use the batteries in a range of devices, including game controllers and portable radios, to get an idea of how well they last in lower-drain gadgets or over longer periods of use.

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The best AA batteries you can buy in 2024

1. Energizer Ultimate Lithium: The longest-lasting AA battery

Price when reviewed: £7.99 (x4) | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… amazing endurance
  • Not so great for… budget-conscious buyers

If you’re looking for a battery that can go the distance no matter the drain, look no further than the Energizer Ultimate Lithium. While 33% lighter than the equivalent alkaline battery, each one packs in a whole lot of charge; even after powering our 500 lumens test torch for 90 minutes they could still deliver 1.48V, keeping it at maximum brightness long after other batteries allowed the light to fade. After a further 90 minutes, we still had nearly 1V on our test meter.

That’s one impressive performance and, with a 20-year storage lifespan and the ability to work in temperatures from -40°C to 60°C, they won’t let you down. Needless to say, you pay for that kind of stamina. Even if you buy a 10-pack, you’re looking at around £1.35 per battery, or over £1.60 if you buy a four-pack. Still, if you need a long-lasting battery, you’ll just have to swallow the price.

Key specs – Chemistry: Lithium; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA, 9V

2. Amazon Basics Performance Alkaline: Best budget AA battery

Price when reviewed: From £5.68 (x8) | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… saving money
  • Not so great for… high-drain devices

The phrase “cheap and cheerful” pretty much sums these up. Amazon will sell you 12 for £6 or 20 for less than £9, and you’ll struggle to find alkaline batteries from a reputable brand at a more cutthroat price. The Basics still have a (promised) ten-year shelf life and an anti-leak design and use patented Japanese technology to minimise self-discharge and maintain good levels of performance. Though, of course, we have no way of actually testing this.

As always, you get what you pay for and in our testing, the Basics lost power faster than their pricier rivals, with the voltage dipping below 1V after just 90 minutes of use, leaving our high-intensity torch with a pathetic-looking output. For low-drain devices, though, you can’t go wrong – a pack should keep your remote controls working for years.

Key specs – Chemistry: Alkaline; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA, 9V, C, D

3. Energizer Alkaline Power: Best everyday AA battery

Price when reviewed: From £8.99 (x16) | Check price at AmazonEnergizer Alkaline Power 16 pack

  • Great for… most things
  • Not so great for… high drain devices

Most of us don’t buy batteries in advance but grab them when we need them, in which case the Energizer Alkaline Power batteries are ideal for everyday use. They’re often cheap both in supermarkets and online stores, and you can pick them up for around 40p per battery if you buy in bulk.

This might lead you to expect sub-par stamina, but the Energizers will surprise you: they were the top alkaline battery at the 60 and 90-minute marks in our tests. They did struggle further on with the voltage falling to just 0.75V after three hours of use, leaving the torch looking visibly near-drained. Not your first choice, then, for high-drain devices, but if you’re looking to keep a wide range of gadgets in power, this is a great, cheap way to do so.

Key specs – Chemistry: Alkaline; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA

4. Duracell Optimum: Best Alkaline AA batteries for high-drain devices

Price when reviewed: From £5.45 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… power-hungry gadgets
  • Not so great for… remotes and other low-drain devices

Replacing the old Ultra Power line of high-performance batteries, the Optimum might be Duracell’s best batteries yet. The Ultra Power pulled ahead of most alkalines in our high-drain tests, still delivering 1.27V after 30 minutes of action in our 500 lumens torch.

The Optimum is even better, with 1.35V after 30 minutes and 1.26V after an hour, where the Ultra Power cells were starting to run low. Even after three hours, there was still over 1.2W in each battery; only the lithium batteries we tested lasted longer. We also like the easy-open cardboard packaging. If you’re looking for a battery for heavy workloads but don’t want to stretch beyond alkaline prices, the Optimum is, well, the optimal choice.

Key specs – Chemistry: Alkaline; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA

5. Duracell Plus: A great all-rounder

Price when reviewed: £6 (x8) | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… most general purpose gadgets
  • Not so great for… high drain devices

Duracell’s mainstream AA batteries don’t excel in any area, but they’re good all-round performers and worth picking up if you find them on sale. Duracell claims they deliver 50% more power than most AA batteries, and you still get Duralock technology to keep them fresh for up to ten years in storage.

In our testing the Duracell Plus batteries couldn’t keep up with the newer Optimum AAs and, like most of the mainstream alkalines, couldn’t deliver a consistently high voltage by the time they reached the 180-minute mark. That’s a problem if you have motors and high-powered torches to power, but for clocks, game controllers and remotes, for example, the Duracells will do a cracking job.

Key specs – Chemistry: Alkaline; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA, 9V, C, D

6. GP Ultra: Best cheap AA batteries for buying in bulk

Price when reviewed: From £20 (x40) | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… buyers on a budget
  • Not so great for… high-drain devices

GP’s Ultra batteries get you a decent level of performance at a bargain basement price; you can easily pick up 40 for £20. They’re not the best in terms of stamina, with one of our two test AAs dipping to under 0.7V after 90 minutes of use and the other dropping to 1.16V, but they’re better in less demanding applications, where they match the performance of the AmazonBasics.

They also come in AAA, C, D and 9v versions, and promise a 10-year storage lifespan. More expensive batteries will last you longer, but the GP Ultras are a good choice if you like to buy in bulk.

Key specs – Chemistry: Alkaline; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA

7. Varta Longlife Power: Best AA batteries for long-term stamina

Price when reviewed: From £6.60 (x10) | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… long-term stamina
  • Not so great for… devices with motors or high-drain requirements

Varta’s Longlife Power batteries live up to their name, keeping up with the best alkaline batteries after 60 minutes of testing, then surpassing them at the three-hour mark, still managing to deliver 0.9V of power when most competitors struggle to hit 0.8V.

That won’t be enough juice to run a power-hungry motor or keep our 500 lumens flashlight at full brightness, but if you’re running, say, a game controller, the Vartas should last a little longer than the rest. What’s more, they’re still guaranteed for ten years in storage. The price on the larger packs fluctuates considerably but we’ve seen them as low as 45p per battery if you purchase a pack of 24.

Key specs – Chemistry: Alkaline; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AAA, 9V, D, 3LR12

8. Nice Power Lithium: Best budget Lithium AA batteries

Price when reviewed: £7 (x4) | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… most applications
  • Not so great for… certain devices like smart cameras

Lithium batteries last longer on high-drain devices, but they also cost a fair bit more than normal alkalines. However, with these budget lithium batteries that price premium isn’t quite so heavy, with four AAs available for less than £7 – or you can buy them in bulk for under £20. They’re designed to hold their charge for up to 10 years and cope with temperatures down to -40°C and up to 60°C, and the box informs you that they’re proofed against leakage and explosion – something we’d always regard as a plus.

Now, reviews on Amazon aren’t always positive about these batteries’ performance, with users of Blink outdoor cameras particularly enraged. However, in our tests we found that a pair lasted as well as the equivalent Energizer Lithiums, with 1.47V even after 90 minutes, going down to 1.36V after three hours, which is a better result than we had with our existing champs. More anecdotally, we’ve also found them lasting weeks of hard use in an Xbox Series S controller. Blink owners will want to give them a miss, but otherwise, they’re well worth a punt.

Key specs – Chemistry: Lithium; Stated voltage: 1.5V; Also available in: AA, AAA

How to choose the best AA batteries for you

AA batteries might be cheap and cheerful, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Different manufacturers use different chemistries and processes to make them, and there are big differences in terms of how much power the battery can supply, how long it lasts and how fast the battery loses energy while not in active use. In our testing experience, it’s clear that there can be huge differences in batteries that look like they should be the same on paper.

For some purposes – when you’re powering low-drain devices such as a clock or remote control – the differences aren’t that important, but with high-drain devices like a camera, game controller or anything with a lamp, screen or motor, you could see huge differences in lifespan and reliability.

What types of AA batteries are there?

Zinc chloride: This used to be the general-purpose battery of choice, but alkaline batteries are now so cheap that you don’t often see them. They’re cheap as chips when bought in bulk and fine for low-drain gadgets such as a remote control, but we’ve found we go through them quickly on anything more demanding.

Alkaline: The mainstream battery technology for high-drain devices. They’re cheap and very easy to find, and last much longer than the old zinc chloride batteries. Technical advances have also seen the major problems – a short shelf life and a propensity to leak – reduced or even fixed.

Lithium: Lithium batteries work even better than alkalines. They last much longer, have an epic shelf life, don’t discharge as much power when not in use and can cope with extreme temperatures. While normal alkaline AAs struggle below 0°C, lithium batteries will operate down to -40°C. They can also be up to 9g lighter than the equivalent alkaline AA battery, which counts when you have something powered by four AAs. The only negative? They’re significantly more expensive.

Generally speaking, you should go for alkalines for most of your battery needs but opt for lithium options for digital cameras or other high-drain products where you need a reliable high charge for as long as possible.

Should I buy rechargeables instead?

In many cases, yes. Rechargeables don’t deliver as much voltage as disposables (typically 1.25V rather than 1.5V), but they normally maintain the same level for longer and can just be recharged when they run dry. You pay more upfront for the batteries and the charger (if you need one), but you’ll recoup the difference within a couple of uses – and AA batteries cost so little to recharge that it’s barely worth thinking about. Factor in the clear environmental issues and it’s a no-brainer, though these days, many local councils and some supermarkets now offer free recycling.

There are exceptions to the rule, though. Sometimes you just need batteries and it’s neither possible nor convenient to get rechargeables. What’s more, most rechargeables tend to self-discharge over time, steadily losing charge until they’re useless and need a recharge. That’s not a problem for many devices, where you use them intensively over short periods, but for something you use over a long period, such as a remote control, regular recharges soon become annoying. You may find the same with game controllers, toys and some other gadgets and devices. Here, standard disposable AA batteries often work out better, simply because they don’t self-discharge at anywhere near the same rate.

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