Buy batteries that fit your needs

Thursday, June 12th 2008, 7:47 pm
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

Did you know more people buy batteries than buy deodorant?

While that piece of trivia may give you a moment of pause, it demonstrates the importance of batteries in our everyday lives. There are a few things to keep in mind when buying batteries that could save you some money.

Consider the type of battery you're going to buy. There are regular batteries - which really shouldn't be purchased anymore for today's battery operated products - heavy duty batteries and alkaline batteries.

A heavy duty battery is fine for things like wall clocks, backup flashlights, small portable radios and even many smoke detectors; basically things that either don't get used often or have small power requirements.

Alkaline batteries should be used for products that need more power like lanterns, CD players, the backup for your clock radio and weather radio and of course all those digital cameras.

Now there seems to be a multitude of alkaline battery types. They can be broken down into three categories; regular, maximum and digital.

Regular alkalines are good for flashlights, radios, things that use a backup power source during power failures, etc. Maximum alkalines are good for CD and MP3 music players, portable TVs, handheld games, etc. Digital alkalines are designed primarily for digital cameras. Their chemistry has been adjusted for products that require short term, large bursts of power, such as charging the flash and storing an image on the memory card.

The digital batteries are typically the most expensive and are a total waste of money if you're going to put them in a radio. A radio has a constant power demand on a battery.

Using the wrong battery can not only cost you more when you purchase them but chances are good the items you're powering won't run as long.

Next, consider buying store brand batteries. Most store brands that are marked "Made in the USA" are made by either Energizer or Ray-O-Vac. Batteries marked "Made in Japan" can be made by companies like Panasonic. There are some good Chinese-made batteries, but I'd be more cautious about those - maybe buy a pack and see how they do for you.

To really save money on your power hungry devices buy rechargeable batteries. They cost a bit more upfront but you can recharge and use them hundreds of times. In fact, buy two sets of batteries. That way one set is on charge while you're using the other.