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Battery Buying Guide: Lithium vs. Alkaline vs. Zinc-Carbon

When it comes to batteries, the majority of people might find the size they need and head straight to the cashier. While it may seem that batteries are all the same, they can vary quite significantly in performance, depending on its intended use. Having said that, it might be worth doing a little bit of reading before committing to a type of battery pack.

How to Choose the Right Battery for You:

  1. Determine the size.

Pretty straightforward, as any extra knowledge about batteries or power is not required. The most common battery types are AA and AAA, and you might’ve also had to shop for C, D, or those rectangular looking ones that are 9V batteries. Your device will always have the type of battery needed written inside the area for battery input. If not, simply refer to the manual for battery information.

2. Get the right battery type based on your application.

A simple rundown of battery types

The most commonly used battery is an alkaline battery, which is ideal for low-drain devices, like remote controls, toys, flashlights, and more. These are cost-effective, widely available, but not widely recycled. The other type is a lithium battery, which actually stores more energy than alkaline batteries and performs well in extreme temperatures, hot or cold. They’re ideal for high-drain and most moderate-drain devices, including digital cameras, headlamps, and toys. These batteries, as shown above, have a much longer shelf life than their counterparts but can be more expensive. Heavy-duty batteries (or zinc-carbon), on the other hand, are perfect for low-drain devices like remotes and clocks.

So now that we know the ideal uses for each battery type, the best way to begin is to categorize your device as either a low-drain, moderate-drain, or high-drain device. Low-drain devices might include game controllers or a wireless mouse and keyboard, moderate-drain devices being heavily-used music players, toys, or remote controls, and high-drain devices meaning digital cameras or portable TVs. As discussed, lithium batteries generally have a higher price point and a longer life, meaning if your device may be inexpensive or noncritical, like a toy, the extra cost may not be worth it. Cases where alkaline batteries are preferable include microphones or smoke alarms, as these battery types are considered to be much less-flammable. Similar to alkaline batteries, heavy-duty batteries are a perfect option for providing long-lasting power for low-drain devices as well. For items like toys, remote controls, or alarm clocks, you may want to consider purchasing alkaline or heavy-duty batteries.

Still not sure where to start? Trying checking out our line of Westinghouse batteries or Blaupunkt batteries.