© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.
How often have you stood in front of the overwhelming display of AA batteries and wondered: "How do I pick the best batteries for my money? And what is the best option to reduce the number of batteries I throw away?" With prices ranging from $11.94 and $29.87 for rechargables or $4.25 to $16.84 for disposables, how can you judge whether a higher priced battery will make up the investment in a longer lifespan?
Thankfully, the clever people at Popular Photography have carefully tested a wide range of both rechargable and disposable AA batteries. With interesting results. First and foremost: you cannot depend on the mAh capacity advertised on the battery packaging. But from the green perspective, two messages are clear. Use Rechargable Batteries
First: use rechargables. The test report compares rechargables based on one-time use. And the prices per shot using rechargables are already competitive with disposables -- before the savings from years of recharging are taken into account. Clearly the winner for saving money and reducing waste is rechargables.
Invest in Efficiency
Second: efficiency requires investment. Like compact fluorescent bulbs, the cheapest batteries are more expensive. You put your money up front, but the payback is there in the per photo price of battery use. If your rechargable just sneezed out its last ions and you just have to go disposable as an exception, then the most expensive e2 Lithium battery is the right way to go. As soon as your rechargables are fit for action again, you can store your e2 Lithiums in the emergency pocket of your bag -- they will be catching your back for a long time to come.
The PopPhoto AA battery test report indicates other information which may beat out price in the priorities of many battery users, such as longevity and recharge time which are key for on-the-go photographers who need reliable power supplies.