If you’re looking for the best AA batteries, look no further than the house brand at one of money expert Clark Howard’s favorite stores.
Look to off-brand batteries for best prices
The two behemoths of the battery industry — Duracell and Energizer — are riding higher prices to greater profitability even at a time when demand is down for traditional disposable batteries thanks to rechargeables.
In fact, the price pressure all but means the days of discounts on batteries are over, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Fortunately, Clark is always out there looking for deals and says it’s still possible to save money at a time when the big guys are jacking up prices — just look at the no-name brand batteries!
A few of the off-brands he recommends checking out include Rayovac, Amazon Basics and Tenergy batteries.
But if you really want rock-bottom prices, Clark says to check out Dollar Tree’s everyday deal on four Sunbeam batteries for just a buck. That’s just 25 cents per battery!
Meanwhile, the consumer expert’s longtime recommendation of Kirkland Signature batteries no longer stands.
You probably know Duracell makes the batteries for Costco Wholesale under the warehouse club’s private label. But they’re no longer the deal they once were.
That’s because as Duracell has driven up the price on its own branded batteries, they’re passing that increase along to Costco. And that means the price increase is trickling down to you as a consumer if you buy the newer, more expensive Kirkland Signature batteries.
Which batteries are best?
While Consumer Reports no longer tests batteries, their last extensive tests indicated that battery reliability has nothing to do with brand names.
In fact, the only battery with the vaunted ‘Best Buy’ checkmark in the Consumer Reports tally is Costco’s Kirkland Signature (alkaline) — despite the aforementioned pricing issues.
A couple of Duracell batteries scored between 80 and 89 on the tally, but their prices are more than twice and almost three times as much as the survey’s last reported cost of the Kirkland Signature batteries.
The highest rated of all AA batteries was the Energizer Ultimate Lithium, which is mostly for cameras. But at $2.45 for a pair, that’s almost five times the cost of the Kirkland Signature!
The lowest-rated of them all was the Best Buy offering — the Dynex High Capacity AA Alkaline. The Dynex is cheap at 31 cents per pair, but it only scored a 60. Now that is a private label you should probably not buy!
Know that when you go to look at batteries, most store brands will perform virtually identical to the name brand. That’s because the store brands are made by the same name brand manufacturers. It’s true with the Costco batteries and it’s true elsewhere across the industry.
For more money-saving advice, see our Shopping & Retail section.