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Demand For Batteries Is Shrinking, Yet Prices Keep On Going and Going ... Up (wsj.com) 208

schwit1 shares a report: Batteries on average cost 8.2% more than a year ago, while prices in the overall household-care segment rose only 1.8%, according to Nielsen. At a time when prices are stagnating on everything from toilet paper to diapers, such pricing power for a product that is increasingly obsolete has confounded shoppers [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. "As far as the prices go, you don't have a choice," said Samuel Hurly, a contractor from Mount Vernon, N.Y., as he scanned a Home Depot display of AAA batteries to power flashlights he uses on the job. Batteries ordered online take too long to arrive, Mr. Hurly said, and he finds cheaper, private-label options lose power too quickly.

Battery prices were more likely to fluctuate a few years ago, when Duracell was owned by consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. and Energizer was part of Edgewell Personal Care Co. Those companies were more focused on their bigger, more profitable razor businesses -- Edgewell with Schick and P&G with Gillette. They would invest less in batteries, or slash prices to drive up volume, to compensate for weak sales in other units, said SunTrust analyst Bill Chappell. Energizer Holdings Inc. spun off from Edgewell in 2015, and Duracell broke apart from P&G a year later when it was acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
schwit1 asks, "Both businesses have become more profit-focused since separating from their previous owners. Is the Energizer/Duracell duopoly ripe for disruption?"

Demand For Batteries Is Shrinking, Yet Prices Keep On Going and Going ... Up

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  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @02:57PM (#56447375)

    And not environmentally friendly to have disposable batteries with plastics and electrolyte compounds tossed into landfills.

    Time to ban disposable batteries and introduce LiON chemistry replacement cartridges for these old AA and AAA cells.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:06PM (#56447423)

      Please ask a Galaxy Note 7 user about LiON batteries.

      The main Risk with swapping batteries, is the fact older devices may not be designed for them to run on. Not expecting them to heat up as much, putting them in a confined location where they cannot expand. And just different power usage and lasting power change, could effect the usefulness of products.

      Yes new devices should reconsider the standard batteries. But older devices there wern't much choices other then NiMH which have less of a life.

      • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:34PM (#56447643)

        Please ask a Galaxy Note 7 user about LiON batteries.

        Please ask Boeing.

      • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 )

        LFP chemistry [wikipedia.org] should prevent most of the risks of Li-Ion. No expansion or overheating, though some kind of cutoff might be necessary at low voltage.

        The main problem with Lithium is its voltage is different. But LFP is close enough to two alkaline batteries that I wonder if you could have pairs of LFP cells, either in-line for flashlights, or next to each other with a ribbon cable between them for other devices? The trick, of course, being that the two cells would be in parallel internally and not use the

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      This, I'm reading the summary and wondering what the hell century these people are in. And for longer life usages like remote controls etc there are slow drain rechargables, the batteries come pre-charged and only lose a fraction of their charge over a year when not used (JCB is one maker).

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      No one wants Lithium-ion with its fire hazard, high cost and 3,7V voltage. NiMH is almost as good, has proper voltage for current applications and is pervasive.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        LiON batteries are safe and one of the most commonly used batteries. There's an initial cost, but they're not THAT expensive, and they are rechargeable and re-usable for a long period of time.

        The 3.7 Volts can easily be stepped down or up to the voltage needed for an application by incorporating multiple cells and/or a Buck Converter into the package.

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          I don't think you quite understand the issue. This is not about some proprietary interface where lithium ion with its particularities can be fit in. This an existing AAA and AA standard, which requires very tight tolerances on size, coupled with low cost, coupled with requirements to work in both high throughput and long durability modes.

          AA sized lithium batteries exist. They're 3,7V and they suffer from same self-discharge problem that old rechargeable Ni-Cd and NiMH had. They do not work in any of the sta

          • by torkus ( 1133985 )

            I don't think you quite understand the issue. This is not about some proprietary interface where lithium ion with its particularities can be fit in. This an existing AAA and AA standard, which requires very tight tolerances on size, coupled with low cost, coupled with requirements to work in both high throughput and long durability modes.

            AA sized lithium batteries exist. They're 3,7V and they suffer from same self-discharge problem that old rechargeable Ni-Cd and NiMH had. They do not work in any of the standard AA hardware. They suffer from several other similar problems that current AA and AAA chemistries have to much lesser degree if at all. At the same time, around 2010s, NiMH chemistry was reworked to the point where it became better than alkaline batteries in terms of energy capacity, and they could hold charge for years, which is why they're sold pre-charged.

            Lithium ion is simply not a good chemistry for AA and AAA world. You pick a proper tool for the job. The problem seems to be that many people didn't get the message on shift in NiMH world, and still think that if they want batteries that will work for more than a couple of weeks after being left alone in the tool, they have to get alkline. Nowadays, you should be using NiMH for this purpose.

            Do you have any idea what you're even saying?

            Let's go in order: Li-Ion cells certainly have standard sizes and tolerances. Very long-durability (5+ years), low output, limited access is definitely the realm for non-rechargeable batteries but also a fairly niche use case. 'high throughput' i assume you mean to be high current output is most certainly NOT a strong spot for
            alkeline batteries. In fact, they fail miserably in most high-current situations and are easily bested by even Ni-Cad cells

            AA Sized Li-

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 )

        If only NiMH had the proper voltage - it has a lower voltage - 1.2v vs. 1.5v, so the more cells the device takes, the greater the undervoltage. It does work decently for low-power devices that only take 1 or 2 batteries such as clocks and TV remotes, but let's not kid ourselves.

        I've been trying out a commercial off-the-shelf alkaline battery recharger, although by now I use them in so few things that I've hardly been able to see how effective the recharged batteries are compared to new ones. It does work, b

        • by Strider- ( 39683 )

          If only NiMH had the proper voltage - it has a lower voltage - 1.2v vs. 1.5v, so the more cells the device takes, the greater the undervoltage. It does work decently for low-power devices that only take 1 or 2 batteries such as clocks and TV remotes, but let's not kid ourselves.

          It all depends on the device being powered. NiMH have significantly lower internal resistance than typical Alkalines, so the device can source significantly more current from it. A good example of this is the Canon external flashes. They're setup to use 4 AA batteries. If you run them with NiMH, they can draw significantly more current off the batteries while recharging the tank circuit. This means that it cycles much more quickly than if you had used the (higher voltage) Alkaline AAs.

          For anything that is p

          • It all depends on the device being powered.

            My phone, my tablet, my vape, my kids' RC cars, these are the devices I use most often.
            Four flashlights which need batteries to hold charge at maximum for years (they're in emergency packs, hopefully never to be used).
            A couple cameras, one is an older bridge camera taking 4x AAs and the other is a small pocket camera with 2x AA batteries.
            My wife's ancient MP3 player she's fond of, works with 1x AAA battery.

            • Four flashlights which need batteries to hold charge at maximum for years (they're in emergency packs, hopefully never to be used).

              You should be checking and replenishing your emergency kits every 12 months. Take whatever food you have and put it into normal circulation, and replace with new food. Replace batteries. Replace water. Check medical supplies haven't passed their expiration dates (if applicable).

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @04:13PM (#56447941)

          Problem being that that's not how AA standard works. Alkaline battery goes from 1,5V at full charge to about 0,8 as it is close to being empty. As a result, AA devices are commonly configured to accept any voltage in that range.

          Modern NiMH stays at very stable 1,2V throughout the charge, making them actually better than alkaline in most usage scenarios. The only problem is that they tend to trip "at below 1,2V, alkaline is probably at about 1/3 charge left, so change the battery please". I have this issue with xbox 360 wireless controller, where my second gen, 5 year old eneloops will trip that after about 10 hours of usage, and then keep powering the controller for about 40 more hours before they need to be swapped.

          Typical alkalines trip it after about 20 hours, and shut down about 10 hours after that.

          • This has been my experience as well except I didn't really understand, or think, why. What I did was buy a higher end charger that would condition the batteries as well as charge them. I've gotten a much better life out of them since and only tend to use Alkaline batteries in things like smoke detectors, remotes, or other items that you never change the battery in.

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

              "Conditioning" is really only relevant for the older batteries. Same thing with your suggested "can't use them in applications that require longevity". Those were concerns with the early NiMH batteries.

              Modern NiMH batteries are sold charged, because they hold charge for years and they do not have memory. You can safely put it into your fire alarm and expect it to last a year or two at least.

          • I've encountered a multitude of devices that won't even power on when given rechargeable batteries, as they expect a voltage over 1.2V to "reset" the battery meter.

            A particularly annoying example was my first music player, as I explicitly bought a device powered by an AAA battery since I wanted it to last for a long time and didn't want to bother with a device with a built-in battery. Turns out, only alkaline AAA batteries would work. A freshly charged NiMH battery always threw a low battery warning and t

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

              You'd have to raid a museum, or go dumpster diving in aliexpress to find a device behaving like this today. Doubly so because modern NiMH batteries have little in commong with early NiMH batteries. While the baseline chemistry is similar, the actual performance of the batteries is completely different.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The lower voltage isn't much of an issue these days, so it wouldn't be much of an issue to mandate 1.2v compatibility for new products.

          Many devices can run on 1.2v now, and boost controller ICs are incredibly cheap. In fact 1.8v is the new de-facto standard for very low voltage devices now, which works fine with a couple of NiMH cells.

    • Li-ion is not going to "catch fire" in this segment any time soon. Rather, NiMH is the standard because of cost, charging characteristics, and safety. That said, have you tried walking the walk yourself? I do, and I will say, you need to be organized about it. You will end up with piles of batteries sitting around, you need some system for keeping track of which are charged and which are discharged. You need to keep track of charge cycles per battery because they all die eventually. For devices that take mu

    • by dtmos ( 447842 ) *

      Keep in mind that AA, AAA, etc. refers only to the mechanical specification of the battery, and says exactly nothing about its electrical specifications. One can put any chemistry one likes [wikipedia.org] in a AA package and call it a AA battery.

      One of the more difficult things about designing portable, battery-powered devices is the difficulty of designing the electronics to provide a good user experience regardless of what battery chemistry the user puts in -- Alkaline, C-Zn, Ni-Cd, Ni-MH, etc. -- each of which has dif

    • Haha, good luck getting everyone to agree to a standard. Plus there a ton of non-hardwired smoke alarms and such out there.
  • The price of lithium has skyrocketed in the last few years, so I assume the profit margins went down since the price of batteries didn't go lock step. Lithium batteries are one of the main things keeping EVs from being carbon neutral off the lot and they are just generally pretty bad for the environment. Hopefully graphene batteries come sooner rather than later.
    • by amorsen ( 7485 )

      The article is about traditional 1.5V alkalines. Large lithium batteries are as far as I can tell continuing their rapid price decline. I don't know what consumer disposable lithium battery price is doing, I've never owned one.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      This is about the non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, which generally manufacturers are moving away from needing in favor of Li-ion batteries, they are more convenient and now more affordable than they used to be. If you release using alkaline batteries against a competitor with baked in li-on, you'll probably lose.

      For the market that still uses AA, AAA, C, and D cell sorts of batteries, well low self-discharge NiMH is very appealing now. Shelf-stable batteries that can be recharged without concern about

      • If you release using alkaline batteries against a competitor with baked in li-on, you'll probably lose.

        That depends heavily on the product. If it's something I know I'll be using 10 years from now, I want some sort of guarantee of battery availability when I've hit the limit of charge cycles. For a Canon DSLR camera, it's fine - there will definitely be replacement batteries out there. If it's a small tool or gadget that won't ever have huge marketshare, there's no way I don't want alkaline or NiMH AA batteries. But to be honest, things like my flashlight get alkaline batteries - the batteries last 3-5 y

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          I agree with the sentiment, but I think we are in the minority. Most people seem to like plugging in their phone charge cord into whatever it is and going, and they aren't even thinking about that device 5 years down the line.

          I would love more direct use of standard size Li-ion cells, compared to custom packaging of Li-ion.

    • Graphene is carbon... what happens when the batteries are disposed of? Or when they burn after a catastrophic failure?
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @02:59PM (#56447383) Homepage

    Nobody should be buying any batteries that aren't Eneloop rechargeables. They come charged, do not self discharge appreciably, and perform better than alkalines in most situations. Once you have a set you can keep using and recharging them for many years. I have decade old Eneloops that still work great.

    Sanyo (later Panasonic) solved the rechargeable battery problem completely.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      NiMH cells are 1.2V nominal, alkaline primary batteries are 1.5V nominal; devices designed for alkaline primary batteries won't necessarily work correctly (or work correclty for very long) with 1.2V cells. 1.2V is considered "discharged" for an alkaline battery, by the way. Rechargeable cells would be fine, but they need to be 1.5V nominal like what they're replacing; otherwise you need to redesign products to work with 1.2V cells, or with a 'dummy' slot so you can use 1 extra 1.2V cell.
      • I've been using NIMH batteries for decades and have never had a problem with a device not working properly due to under-voltage.

        Most modern electronics are designed with NIMHs in mind. Some devices actually work better because despite the lower voltage, NIMHs have lower internal resistance too.

        • Electronics, usually. An ancient cassette Walkman will play slightly too slow.

        • by Tuidjy ( 321055 )

          Even most older devices were not designed with the expectation that they would get 1.5V from their alkaline batteries. The voltage drops pretty steeply with the charge, so a well made device would be able to function at lower voltage... or it would require frequent battery changes, and waste a large portion of the charge.

          A big part of the perception of "rechargeable batteries do not work" is a consequence of self-discharge. There was a period when most, if not all, rechargeable batteries lost charge very

      • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:11PM (#56447477)

        If you need more than 1.2V out of your alkaline battery, you will chew threw batteries pretty quickly. A typical discharge curve has about 40% capacity left when the alkaline hits 1.2V. Generally you don't consider an alkaline depleted until it's at 0.9V.

        If you design for 1.5V, then the batteries will become useless even though you have more than 95% of your capacity remaining.

        Alkaline voltage drops proportional to charge pretty dramatically. It would be *nicer* if the voltage on NiMH was higher, but anything that demanded more than 1.2V out of alkaline batteries was pretty crappy.

        • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:24PM (#56447563)

          Oh, I neglected to mention that while Alkaline voltage drops with capacity, NiMH has a pretty flat voltage relatively speaking. It stays right around 1.2V for most of it's capacity, then drops all of a sudden as it nears drained.

          • I am aware of the discharge curve of the chemistry of various cells. As for the rest of it, {citation needed}, please, and just because someone's anecdotes indicate they've "had no problems for decades" doesn't mean that's typical experience or in any way a reflection of overall reality.
        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          If you design for 1.5V

          This. For alkaline batteries, the voltage vs charge curve is a slope. To get most of the capacity out of the battery, you have to run it down to around 1.0 Volts. So 1.2 Volts is the halfway point for an alkaline. NiMH have a much flatter curve and will hold 1.2 Volts out to around 10% charge. And then they drop off. Fast. The down side to this is that 'battery meters' which show capacity remaining for an alkaline cells give you a reasonable idea of how much capacity you have left. NiMH just seem to hang in

        • by epine ( 68316 )

          If you need more than 1.2V out of your alkaline battery, you will chew threw batteries pretty quickly. A typical discharge curve has about 40% capacity left when the alkaline hits 1.2V. Generally you don't consider an alkaline depleted until it's at 0.9V.

          Nothing profound here, just a straw poll of my own records, since the subject came up.

          I usually measure my "dead" batteries (no load, but usually immediately after attempting to draw power from the device, which does make a difference).

          One of my kitchen sca

      • by amorsen ( 7485 )

        Actually most devices work absolutely fine on 1.2V instead of 1.5V. They contain voltage regulators and it all works out. Regular rechargeables die rapidly from self-discharge though, giving people the impression that rechargeables are incompatible with devices. However, that is just because regular rechargeables suck.

        As ZorinLynx says, buy Eneloops. Or one of the other Panasonic brands that are actually the same battery -- Panasonic marketing keeps trying to kill the Eneloop brand. There ARE applications w

        • > Panasonic marketing keeps trying to kill the Eneloop brand

          Do you know why they'd do this?

          For people who have had a good experience with Eneloops, we associate the brand with quality. I've been singing the praises of Eneloops for years; Panasonic isn't even paying me, they've just been THAT good in my experience. Seems "Eneloop" would have quite a bit of brand recognition among rechargeable battery users by now.

          • by amorsen ( 7485 )

            I have literally no idea why Panasonic hates the Eneloop brand. Panasonic even tried to dilute it with the "Eneloop Lite" thing.

            Anyway, it is sometimes worth checking pricing of Panasonic Infinium, you might get them slightly cheaper than Eneloops and they are literally the same thing apart from the less attractive packaging. Eneloops are (and have always been, even in the Sanyo era) produced by Fujitsu. Fujitsu sells them under their own brand too. Again, same battery. Other manufacturers sell rebranded Fu

        • Panasonic marketing keeps trying to kill the Eneloop brand

          WTF you talking about? Panasonic branded Eneloops are on the shelf at Costco right now.

          • by amorsen ( 7485 )

            Yes, but Panasonic has made repeated attempts at changing the name -- Infinium, Ready To Use. There's also Evolta which I believe is a different battery entirely.

            Luckily the product itself stays the same, and it's been a few years since the last serious attempt at wiping out the Eneloop brand.

        • ..again, {citation needed}, and anecdotal experiences don't necessarily mean anything. Plenty of devices don't work properly when they're running off 20% less rail voltage.
        • There's two classes of voltage regulators: linear regulators (LDOs, Low DropOuts, anymore really) and switching regulators (which includes buck, boost, and buck-boost types). LDOs are inexpensive but even though the drop across the FET is low compared to a bipolar transistor, it's still a voltage drop. A switching regulator charges an inductor then discharges it into filter capacitors and can be more efficient than an LDO depending on whether it was designed properly. However an LDO is cheap both in product
    • Wellllll ... Eneloops are fantastic, and I own dozens.. but lithium primaries are still the way to go for low-drain applications like fire/CO alarms, IR remotes, emergency equipment, etc.

      They have a significantly higher energy density and even lower self-discharge.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      You can get 8 AA or AAA batteries for $1 at the dollar store. Eight Eneloops with charger(s) is like $30. That's a very, very long payback time for the Eneloops. Can you even charge them 30 times before they fail?

    • by havana9 ( 101033 )
      For specia cases there are rechargeable alkalines, and if you'll take the fire hazard risk even the non-recheargeable alkalines are actually rechargeable a few times. ALCAVA AAA Alkaline [alcapower.it]
  • As stated in the article:
    1) Off-brand sucks
    2) People are too lazy to think ahead and buy on-line.

    Most goods are available cheaper/better on-line, but if you're going to wait until you absolutely need it you will be stuck with whatever local pricing and availability is.

    ... this doesn't even pertain explicitly to batteries, it is a fact of life about most consumables.
    • by Dzimas ( 547818 )

      Off-brand batteries don't suck, though. We use Amazon, Kirkland (Costco) and IKEA batteries rather than wasting money on Energizer/Duracell.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        It depends on what the off brand battery actually is. Zinc-carbon batteries are very cheap and easy to make but they have lower capacity and leak when they get old.

        • It depends on what the off brand battery actually is. Zinc-carbon batteries are very cheap and easy to make but they have lower capacity and leak when they get old.

          No one has made those in 30 years.

    • I have no issue with Off-Brand. I do mostly rechargeables, and use a ton of "AmazonBasics" batteries that work fine, though I also use some other brands mixed in there.

      And if I absolutely HAVE to buy from a store? Rayovac works just as good as the other two and is usually a bit cheaper.

    • Prices *HAVE* risen for batteries, and noticeably. I would often get 4 AA Duracell batteries at my local Micro Center for $2 a pack. They were in a generic package, but the cells were clearly Duracell. I recently visited that same store and saw that the packs were now retail boxes and the price had DOUBLED! You may argue that the cheaper cells were counterfeit, but they always lasted as long as actual Duracells.
    • The Duracell batteries have been eating my devices for a few years; I always assumed it was knock-off batteries from Amazon, but now I wonder if it isn't just penny pinching on production.

  • We rarely ever buy regular batteries for anything. Maybe once in the last 10 years, a bundle of Kirkland AA's for a camping excursion where I gave out a bunch of cheap $3 mini-lanterns to all of the our friends and family.

    Otherwise, we've switched all of our Flashlights over to rechargeable 14500, 18650, and 26650 cells. A few other LED lights around the house use rechargeable double or triple A's.

  • Just bought the domain
  • by technosaurus ( 1704630 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:09PM (#56447455)
    Battery markups are not measured in percent, but multiples... 10X markup is not uncommon.
  • Really, this is "news that matters"? And to add to it the link is to the WSJ which is paywalled. How did this end up on slashdot?
  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @03:12PM (#56447483)

    Demand for batteries is likely going up, driven by electric cars, computers, phones, etc. What's going down is demand for STANDARD batteries. Many devices have proprietary batteries of all different sizes, often inaccessible to the user.

    Thing is, there's no good reason for it other than planned obsolescence. Take smartphones. Almost all of them use 3.7V LiIon batteries. Most of them are about 5 to 6 inches diagonally, with a specific height/width ratio. Time for an industry standard for swappable smartphone batteries. Imagine if you could just buy a battery at 7-11, pop the door, and swap it in when your phone's battery dies. Or maybe have a few different sizes, depending on screen size. Call then X, Y, and Z.

    But no, this will never happen because throwing things away is a big profit center for sellers of e-trinkets.

  • It seems like years ago, I got disgusted with the high retail prices for the 4 or 8 packs of alkaline batteries on store shelves, so I made a concerted effort to stop buying them that way.

    There's regularly a GroupOn special (like one I just saw yesterday for a 72-pack of Sony alkaline AA batteries) where you get them quite inexpensively in bulk.

    I got something similar from Costco for free a year ago as one of a number of coupons they included with our membership purchase.

    In other cases, it just makes sense

  • Seriously, rayovacs are made in America and costs less than Duracell/Energizer [rayovac.com]. Both of those brands are EXPENSIVE and really do not do that great of a job.,
    • Energizer owns both Rayovac and Eveready.

      • by slyborg ( 524607 )

        Thought you were wrong, but this basically just happened, the sale of Rayovac to Energizer Holdings just happened 3 months ago. Obvious move, Rayovacs were generally cheaper than either Energizers or Duracell, although I have had bad batches of batteries from them in the past. Now they'll be low quality batteries that cost just a tiny bit less than Energizers.

        Guess it's Amazon Basics now.

      • I was going to say that you're wrong, but I looked it up, and unfortunately you're right as of January of this year.

        I think it's likely that this is eventually going to mean the end of good deals on halfway-decent batteries.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      Duracells are made in USA
  • What a brilliant marketing. Instead of the basic cheap gear with replaceable single blades people now use disposable razors with 5 blades which look like an F1 car. Imagine the increase of revenue that means.

    And yes I still use the oldfashioned gear...

    • Single-blade razors give very poor shaves and have far too much tendency to cut. Be honest - because at my age I have gone from "safety razors" to injectors to two-and 3- blade cartridges and the difference in ease and safety is absurdly clear.

      • I don't really feel like being honest about this, it would dilute the idea :) And I can plead ignorance because I've never used anything else than the safety razor!

        The serious part though is that the increase in revenue is really large. There's no need to deny the added value of the newer razors for that.

  • Duracells and Energizers are hugely overpriced. Stop buying them. You can get 8 AA or AAA batteries for $1 at the dollar store. They work fine.

  • I have a wife and kids. We use a lot of batteries. I am not saying I found the best way to do this, but this system works extremely well for us. Advice and opinions interspersed below:

    1. If you must buy disposable batteries, read Consumer Reports reviews and buy a top-rated off-brand. Some of the top-rated batteries are a fraction of the price of the two leading brands, Duracell and Energizer. In one review the Ikea batteries were the best deal by a mile.

    2. Never use disposable lead-acid batteries unles

  • Go and buy your batteries in RadioShack. They even have a battery of the month loyalty programme.

    All jokes aside, If Energizer and Duracell are gouguing you, you can always buy Ray-o-Vac, Panasonic or Varta batteries...

    Or even better: Buy Some Rechargable AAA (with suitable adapters for AA usage*) and 9Volts and help mother earth.

    Buy aslo AA but only if you really need the extra oomph.

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