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Are Expensive Batteries Worth It?

Battery Force saves savvy customers up to 70% when you buy single use and rechargeable batteries. Some might even call us the best place to find cheap batteries anywhere online. But even our stock has a few batteries that’ll cost over a pound a piece. Which raises the question – are expensive batteries worth it?

Do they last longer? Is it better to buy cheap batteries in bulk? Does more expensive just mean better? If we’re going to work out whether or not expensive batteries are actually worth the outlay, these are a few of the questions we’ll need to look at. So grab your calculators and prepare to follow along as we get into prices per battery, lifetime costs, and all of the other information we need to consider when we ask, “are expensive batteries worth it?”

Let’s read on.

Do expensive batteries last longer? Do expensive batteries perform better?

If you’re buying more batteries than you know what to do with, you’re probably not interested than spending more than you have to. TV remotes, smoke alarms, cordless phones, console controllers, cameras – you name it, it takes a battery, and they can be expensive.

But why?

This won’t surprise you, but it really is because the more expensive batteries last longer and perform better.

The tech geeks at Wired tested batteries from Energizer, Duracell and an American dollar store’s own-brand. By wiring the batteries to a lightbulb and setting a timer, they worked out the amount of energy contained in each battery.

Here’s what they found out:

Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries – 10,798 Joules

Duracell Ultra Power AA Batteries – 9,398 Joules

Cheap’O’Nasty Batteries – 2,983 Joules

Do more expensive batteries last longer and perform better? Well, they contain three times as much energy than the own-brand version. Of course they last longer and perform better. It’s like asking if you can drive further on ten gallons of petrol than on three. If you’re using the same car, the answer’s obvious.

(“Yes,” we hear you say, “but I’ll get further on a moped with three gallons than in a Challenger Tank with ten.” Good point. We’ll talk about that below.)

When you’re running something that needs consistent voltage over a longer period of time, there’s really no contest. You’ll get better and longer performance from an expensive brand name battery.

What are the cons of cheaper batteries?

There must be a downside to cheap batteries, otherwise we’d all just throw caution to the wind and stock up anyway. If they’re cheap enough, surely they’re fine beyond having to replace them more often. Right?

Well, not necessarily.

Performance – We’ve already covered this, but it’s worth remembering. A cheaper battery won’t run as long or as consistently in a demanding device. Buy cheap, and look forward to your camera conking out as the bride throws the bouquet, or your Xbox controller dying just as you’re about to win a game of Fortnite. It happens.

Material Quality – Say what you want for Duracell, Panasonic or Eveready batteries. You know exactly what you’re getting with the brand names. High quality materials, and strict quality control. It’s unlikely, but your Chinese-made own brand batteries might not be quite as well made, and that could lead to…

Leaking – A cheap alkaline battery leaks potassium hydroxide. It burns your skin, makes you cough, and it ruins the interior of the device you fitted it to. Battery acid spills can be cleaned, but a cheap corroded battery is a pain that you don’t have to deal with.

So while cheap batteries have issues, you need to remember there’s a difference between cheap and good value.

Is there any value in buying cheaper batteries in bulk?

From what you’ve read so far, you’d be forgiven for thinking the answer here is a resounding “no!”

Well, it’s not that simple. Because there’s a difference between cheap and nasty, and just plain cheap.

Heading to the pound shop for a bag of ten unbranded batteries for a quid isn’t a good idea. It’s not going to end well. But there are battery bargains to be had from a number of reliable, recognisable battery brands.

Let’s look at our favourites:

Duracell – 29.3p per battery

Duracell are the leading battery manufacturer in the world. So if you can get Duracell Industrial AA batteries for less than the price of a Freddo, you know you’re onto a winner. Duracell Industrial batteries are available in surprisingly affordable 30 packs that are worth keeping to hand.

Energizer – 28.9p per battery

Did the Duracell deal seem great? Well Energizer know their batteries inside out, and they’re selling family packs of Energizer Alkaline Power AA batteries for a fraction of a penny less than Duracell’s batteries. Perfect for toys, clocks and remote controls, they’re a good value option.

JCB – 28.1p per battery

OK, now JCB are really bringing some value. These JCB Ultra Alkaline AA batteries last up to ten times longer than traditional zinc batteries, and are somehow even cheaper than both Duracell and Energizer.

When brand name products are available at discount prices, there’s definitely value to be found. Just make sure you’re realistic about the devices you use your batteries in.

Do any devices suit expensive or cheap batteries best?

So far we’re not sure about whether expensive batteries are worth it. Sure, they work better, but brand names have some really solid, affordable options. So as always, it comes down to what you’re using batteries for.

It comes down to drain and consistency.

High-drain devices

Think about devices that use a lot of battery power, either in short bursts or consistently. Cameras, phone handsets, game controllers. These need a high-quality battery, and this is where you find that an expensive battery really is worth it.

Consistent-drain devices

Anything that needs to be on around the clock needs consistent power, but again this depends on what exactly a device is for. Your wall clock might lose a few seconds a week because of cheaper batteries. Fine, just adjust it. But your smoke alarm losing power is a much more serious proposition.

Low-drain devices

Anything that needs a small jolt of power every now and then is perfect for an affordable battery. Think TV remote controls, and any kid’s toy. These are the applications where an expensive battery might not be the best choice, and where you can happily take advantage of one of those affordable options we mentioned above.

Are expensive batteries really worth it after all?

As with most questions about batteries, this one has an answer with ifs and buts.

Are expensive batteries really worth it? Yes. If you’re using a high-drain device such as a digital camera, it’s worth spending more on either top-end single use or rechargeable batteries. If your life is on the line and you’re putting your family’s safety in the hands of a smoke alarm, then it’s worth spending more.

But if you’ve got a low-drain device that doesn’t need constant power, whether that’s your television’s remote control or your child’s occasionally-used toy, then there’s value to be found when you buy cheap batteries in bulk.

And there’s one thing you need to remember above all. Whether you’re buying expensive or affordable batteries, there’s one place where you can save up to 70% off what you’d pay in the supermarket, on brand name batteries.

That place is Battery Force, and whatever you’re buying, with our quality control you can be sure it’s worth the cost.

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