Battery Tests

Reporter: Rohan Wenn

For years that little pink Duracell bunny has been trying to convince us to buy his brand of batteries. On the other hand Energiser claims they make the better battery. And then there are the no name brands that can't afford the flash ad campaigns. So what should you choose? Today Tonight thought we'd put the ad claims to one side and actually look at the products.

We decided to test 6 batteries -- Energiser, Energiser Advanced, Duracell, Duracell Ultra, Rocket brand and the Eveready Super Heavy Duty. All the batteries are alkaline except the Eveready Super Heavy Duty which is the older-style carbon zinc battery.With the help of six Thomas the Tank Engine train sets, we set the batteries to work, and sat back, and waited...and waited...and waited.

At the two hour and 28 minute mark, the first Thomas came to a stop, that was the one being powered by the carbon zinc based battery, Eveready Super Heavy Duty, and according to electronics expert, Dr Geoff Walker from the University of Queensland, that's really no surprise. “That label “super heavy duty” is a product brand label that has been used by Eveready now for ten or fifteen years so, it's not really true anymore. Alkalines have eclipsed it as a product”, he said.

At six hours and forty-three minutes, the Brand Rocket came to a stop. 15 minutes later it was the Duracell Ultra. At 7 hours and 22 minutes, the Energiser gave up the ghost, and 44 minutes later the Duracell died. Finally at 8 hours and 47 minutes the Energiser Advanced lost the last of it's power.

So lets have a look at those results again.

Energiser Advanced lasted the longest,

Duracell came in second,

The Energiser came third,

Then the Duracell Ultra,

Followed by the Rocket and

Well down the end was the Eveready Super Heavy Duty.

But it seems price is no indication of quality. For example, the Duracell Ultra came fourth but it costs $1.50 a packet more than regular Duracell's, which came second. “Different batteries do work better with different applications”, Geoff said.

Which he says is why Duracell and Energiser have released their premium batteries -- Advanced and Ultra. They're designed to work best in items of what's called high draining. “An example of a high drain appliance would be a camera with a flash, where it's continually re-charging that flash for shot after shot after shot and a high drain battery will do better in that application”, Geoff said.

Geoff says when it comes to smoke alarms you should always use alkaline batteries, because carbon zinc batteries tend to go flatter quicker if they sit for a long time in a device unused.

For his money, Geoff says the difference in performance between the branded batteries and the value brand alkaline, just aren't enough to justify the prices. “My recommendation is buy alkaline batteries, but then it's not necessarily worth buying the most expensive brands”.

And finally it's important to remember -- the amount of power you get from a battery doesn't just depend on how it's made. “At the end of the day they are very close. It would probably depend more on which one has been sitting in the shops longer and what you're going to put them in, as to which one is going to give you the better life”, Geoff said.