Consumer Reports: AA batteries that last

You'll need lots of double-A batteries this holiday season for all of those new toys and electronic devices. But do you need to buy expensive name-brand batteries to keep your gadgets up and running? Consumer Reports tested 15 different AA batteries to see which last longest.

It's all fun and games until the batteries run out.

Consumer Reports looked into which batteries you should buy to keep everything chirping, chiming and chugging. But there are so many brands to choose from.

"AA batteries range from 62 cents a pair to five dollars a pair, and that's a big price range," Gerard Catapano said.

Consumer Reports put 15 AA batteries - 13 alkaline and two lithium - though a "battery" of tests that simulate typical use in toys and flashlights. The question: Which last the longest?

"Overall, the lithium batteries were tops in our tests, but so were some of the alkalines at half the price," Catapano said.

Duracell Quantum is the best alkaline performer in Consumer Reports' tests and sells in packs that cost about $2.50 a pair.

Consumer Reports' Best Buy for batteries is Kirkland Signature Alkaline from Costco. They are sold in large value packs, so a pair of these batteries ends up costing only $1.

When it's time to change the batteries in your devices, always use batteries that are all the same age, brand and type.

That old wives' tale about keeping batteries in the fridge to prolong their life? Consumer Reports says don't bother. Keep your batteries in a cool, dry place and they'll likely last for about seven years.

Consumer Reports says not to keep batteries or your battery-powered devices in extreme heat for extended periods to avoid leaks and ruptures. Also, don't keep batteries in your pockets because they could rub against spare change, causing them to short-circuit.

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