CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Consumer Reports says Americans buy upwards of three billion batteries a year with AA being the most common type to fuel toys, cameras, remote controls and some flashlights. But do you get your money s worth out of the batteries you buy?
Rachel Busby uses a lot of batteries to power her daughter Suzie s toy computer and other items. With most toys taking two to four batteries, the bill can quickly add up, so her philosophy is like that of a lot of people.
The cheapest one goes in the basket, she said. Rachel bought a name brand battery to power the talking computer, so NewsChannel 36 decided to test that name brand alkaline against the no-name brand of alkaline to see which battery last longer.
Using two toy fans, we labeled our products and flipped the switch as our unscientific consumer test began to bluster and blow.
As the minutes ticked away and we anxiously waited for the juice to jolt, we investigated the batteries in your cell phones and tablets.
NewsChannel 36 asked Keith Triplett, who owns and runs Batteries Plus in Charlotte, if batteries still build memory.
With lithium ion batteries, that is not true. They withstand shallow discharge very well, Triplett said.
The most important thing we learned was to keep the cell phone on the charge for a full eight hours to get a better battery charge and longer life out of it.
Back to our fluttering fans, one uses name brand at $4.29 a pack and the other running on the generic store brand for $3.29. So at the end of the day, is brand name worth it or are you just paying markup for a marketing budget?
Dr. Greg Pillar at Queens University has a PhD in chemistry and says that batteries are likely to be the same if they are basically the same thing.
Dr. Pillar said generic against generic will likely give you the same effect as a name brand against a name brand. The parts in both are about the same quality.
Back in the very unscientific WCNC battery testing lab the result was clear. Just one hour and 42 minutes in to the test, our store brand generic slowly stopped, but our name brand battery kept this fan blowing for three hours and 31 minutes.
It means Rachel is getting the full value of her buy because she bought and uses name brand.