All sorts of rumors exist about whether the factory that makes Eneloops contracts out to other brands, such as AmazonBasics, because of the sale from Sanyo to Panasonic. But no matter what corporate evidence someone wants to go dig up, our tests don’t agree.
The AA AmazonBasics powered our test flashlight for only 2 hours, 12 minutes compared with 2 hours, 45 minutes from the true Eneloops. Even in last year’s inconclusive camera flash tests, the AmazonBasics batteries strobed only 80 percent as many times before being completely run down. Though our tests of AAA batteries showed that the AmazonBasics are on par with their name-brand competitors, the AA version aren’t a great deal for most people—especially at a price of around $2.12 per battery.
Most batteries we tested did surprisingly well, and if we happened to see any of our top four on sale for $2.25 or less, we’d probably go ahead and grab them.
The new Powerex Precharged AA batteries performed well in all our bench tests, with 2,470 mAh (3 Wh) available for discharge of 2,600 mAh (3.1 Wh) of stated capacity. That’s over 25 percent higher than either of our picks in terms of raw capacity, but you’re really paying a premium for that extra energy. The new batteries are retailing for roughly a dollar more per battery than our top pick—a huge difference if you want to stock up. If you have a specific need for the extra capacity, and don’t mind the cost, we’re sure they’d be great. But they’re just not necessary for what most people need around the house.
The AA Duracell Rechargeables were the only batteries to have a higher available capacity than the packaging claimed—2,473 compared with 2,400 mAh—but they were in sixth place on our flashlight test, lasting just 2:43. Finding the current generation for sale anywhere other than Walmart is surprisingly hard, and their retail price averages about 45 cents more per battery than our pick.
The EBL 8-pack High Capacity 2,800-mAh Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries are among the least expensive AA batteries we’ve found, and they had the highest available capacity in all our tests. At an average of 2,487 mAh (3 Wh), an EBL bests our pick by a good 15 percent. But because of the technological trade-off between capacity and longevity, we’re not willing to put much stock in their cycle claims: 1,200 in some places and 1,500 in others.
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