The Top Rated AA Batteries

After studying ratings on sites such as Consumer Reports, Amazon, PC Magazine, and CandlePowerForums, we’ve come up with a list of the top rated AA batteries.

Today, the top rated batteries are hybrid Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) cells, such as the Eneloops featured below. These hybrid batteries have a lot going for them: they come fully charged (like alkaline batteries), and they can hold their charge over six months (unlike regular Ni-MH rechargeables). Because they can hold their charge for so long, they are suitable for low-drain devices like remote controls and flashlights. But they are also ideal for use in high-drain electronic devices like digital cameras, where they actually perform better than alkaline batteries.

We also have a complete review the best battery chargers.

Sanyo Eneloop ($11 for 4)

Top Review Sources:

  • Consumer Reports: Recommended
  • Doc’s Charger and Battery Reviews: “Good performance for a 2000 mAh rated battery, and fantastic shelf life for a Ni-MH”
  • Amazon: 4.5/5.0 (1,600+ reviews)

Eneloops are currrently the top rated rechargeable AAs, and we have found them to perform well.  We should also mention Imedion batteries, which are similar to Eneloops but rated at 2400 mAh (this stands for milli Amp hour, and indicates a battery’s energy storage capacity). Eneloops, by comparison, have a lower rated capacity — 2000 mAh (or 1980 mAh according to my informal tests).

You’ll find the Sanyo eneloop AA four pack ($11) on Amazon. You can also buy an eneloop AA four pack with included recharger ($18) as well as an eneloop AA eight pack ($20).

Energizer Ultimate

Energizer Ultimate

Energizer Ultimate ($5 for 4)

Pros:

  • Great for high-drain devices and maximum runtime
  • Fantastic shelf life

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable

Top Review Sources:

  • Consumer Reports: Recommended
  • Amazon: 4.5/5.0 (150+ reviews)
  • CHOICE Online (Australia): “The ENERGIZER e2 Lithium was by far the top performer in our test”

The Energizer Ultimate is a disposable battery meant for high-drain devices and long periods of time away from another power source. It is the successor to the similar Energizer e2. Like the e2, the Ultimate is a lithium battery. One of lithium’s advantages over other types of batteries is a longer runtime. The Ultimate AA is a 3000 mAh battery that operates at about 1.7 volts; it is able to energize a high-drain device (such as a powerful camera) for a longer period of time than most other batteries. If you have a gadget that needs the higher voltage, or if you need a battery that will last in a high-drain device for as long as possible, lithium is a great option. Another lithium advantage is its 10+ year shelf life, making it a good backup battery to have around for emergencies. Lithium batteries also operate in sub-freezing temperatures, unlike alkaline disposables.

The Energizer Ultimate four pack ($5) is available on Amazon. Also for sale is an eight pack ($15).

Duracell Coppertop

Duracell CopperTop

Duracell CopperTop ($11 for 20)

Pros:

  • Low initial cost
  • Long shelf life

Cons:

  • Not long-term cost-effective

Top Review Sources:

  • Amazon: 4.5/5.0 (125+ reviews)
  • PC Magazine: Longest runtime in flashlight test (of seven batteries tested)
  • CandlePowerForums.com Alkaline Battery Shoot Out: 4th place (of 19 batteries tested for watt-hours)

Duracell CopperTop batteries use alkaline technology to deliver reliable performance at a low cost per battery. While rechargeable batteries will save you money in the long run, disposable alkalines like the CopperTop have advantages such as lower initial cost and longer shelf life (7+ years). CopperTops are not suited for high-drain devices; they won’t last as long as NiMH or lithium batteries. However, if you use batteries very infrequently or need a long-lasting, inexpensive solution for a smoke detector or rarely-used remote control, the CopperTop offers a compelling price/performance balance.

The Duracell CopperTop 20 pack is for sale on Amazon.

See also our extensive review of rechargeable batteries and chargers on MetaEfficient.

The Top Rated Portable iPod Speakers Of 2011

Logitech S715i Rechargeable Speaker for iPod and iPhone

The Logitech S715i is a portable speaker system that incorporates a rechargeable lithium-ion battery into its design. It’s approved by Apple, and will run for about eight hours on a charge.

CNET rates the Logitech S715i as “Excellent” and awards this product their Editor’s Choice, saying “The Logitech S715i portable speaker for iPhone and iPod uses eight drivers to deliver audio performance that is far beyond its price range.” Reviewers on Amazon agree, rating the product an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars in 635 reviews.

The Logitech S715i Rechargeable Speaker for iPod and iPhone is available from Amazon for about $100.

 

JBL On Stage Micro Speakers

JBL On Stage Micro

The JBL On Stage Micro provides solid sound quality with a tiny footprint. It features an iPod dock in the center as well as a 3.5mm plug for connecting other inputs, plus a clever touch button system and a remote control that make track selection and volume adjustments easy. Aluminum transducers driven by neodymium magnets are paired with digital amplifiers to provide rich sound while extending battery life. Four AAA batteries provide 24 hours of play. The On Stage Micro is compatible with rechargeable NiMH and lithium cells, and it features a low battery indicator LED. Plus, the On Stage Micro speaker system comes in a range of color options to match your iPod: white, black, blue, green, and red.

The JBL On Stage Micro is available at Amazon. Prices start at $72.50, depending on color.

iHome iHM77 Portable Multimedia Speakers


These rubberized mini speakers from iHome each measure just 2” x 2” x 2” when collapsed for transport, then pop open when in use with a clever accordion design. Vacuum bass design enhances low frequency tones, and the iHome speakers magnetically attach to one another to form a super-portable capsule. Power comes from internal lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged using the included USB cord, and a carry case and cord wrap are included with the speakers.

The iHome iHM77 Portable Multimedia Speakers are available in black, silver, and red from Amazon, starting at $46.80.

 

Harmon/Kardon Go + Play

The Go + Play from Harmon/Kardon may not be the smallest or cheapest option for a portable speaker system, but it delivers serious sound quality thanks to its 30-watt tweeters and 30-watt Atlas woofers. Its 9” x 9.5” x 20” dimensions are substantial, but a stainless steel carry handle and battery power keep it portable. It features the universal iPod dock system that is compatible with most dockable iPods (see note below) plus a 3.5mm jack for other connections. The Go + Play comes with an AC power adapter for indoor use, and a full-featured RF remote with a 20-foot range. And although eight D batteries add bulk to the system, they provide approximately 20 hours of power.

You can find the Harmon/Kardon Go + Play at Amazon for $216.90.

 

Bose SoundDock Portable

Bose SoundDock Portable

Bose SoundDock Portable

Would you be willing to sacrifice compact size to literally bring your home stereo system with you wherever you go? If so, check out the Bose SoundDock Portable. This mobile variation of their popular SoundDock system features a carry handle, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and a retractable iPod connection/charging dock (in addition to a 3.5mm plug for other devices). The SoundDock is over 12” wide and weighs over five pounds, so it’s not as compact or portable as some of its competitors, and it doesn’t come cheap – but it offers legendary Bose sound quality and an iPod-specific design. Battery life is roughly three hours at maximum volume (longer at lower levels); an AC adapter is included for battery charging and using the SoundDock at home, and a remote control gives added convenience.

You can find the Bose SoundDock Portable in black or white for $399 at Amazon, as well as a SoundDock travel bag for $40.19.