Long shelf life batteries?
November 28, 2006 4:59 AM   Subscribe

Are there any (disposable, AA) batteries that specifically have a long shelf life?

I'm looking to put together an emergency kit and I'd like to include a couple of packs of double As, but I don't want them leaking or discharging if they're not used/checked over, say, a five year period. Are there any AAs advertised as having a long shelf life?
posted by krisjohn to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here is a link from Energizer that says Lithium has the longest shelf life of their batteries. They are what I use in my emergency kit.
posted by Sirius at 5:35 AM on November 28, 2006

Keeping them in a refrigerator will increase the shelf life.
posted by JJ86 at 5:37 AM on November 28, 2006

According to Sirius' link above, Energizer claims their normal disposable alkalines last up to 7 years. I'd say go to a store that has decent turnover on their batteries and look at the expiration date.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:21 AM on November 28, 2006

Alkaline or lithium disposable have the best shelf life. I have both alkaline and lithium AA and AAA cells that are over 5 years old that would probably still give me 70-90% of rated power.

Old school zinc-carbon AKA "heavy duty" batteries have many long term storage issues as well as low charges, but they can be "recharged" and massaged quite a bit with kinetic and thermal energy.

Solar panels combined with transformers and rechargable Lithium Ion or Nickle Metal-Hydride (charged/maintained) batteries would be another viable long term option.

I, too, am terrified of running out of AA or AAA cells.
posted by loquacious at 6:24 AM on November 28, 2006

Lithiums are supposed to have a ten-year shelf-life. They are also much lighter than alkalines.

loquacious - you might want one of these. They don't say what kind of batteries it works with, but I successfully charged NiMH AAs with an earlier version that was made for NiCads.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:34 AM on November 28, 2006

Our local radio station did a test a few years back where they took identical toys and ran them, non stop, on various brands of batteries, to see which died first and last.

I was surprised to hear that Energizer was one of the first brands to quit - and Duracell lasted the longest.

(But those were not lithium/nimh/nicad/rechargeable whatsits, only regular disposable AA batteries)
posted by routergirl at 9:46 AM on November 28, 2006

Buy a pack of batteries. Every year, add a pack. By the time there is a disaster, you'll have a pile of batteries, from old to new, and some of them are going to work. If it is space limited, start dropping the oldest when you put in a new one, have several packs in there, and you'll be good.
posted by cschneid at 10:10 AM on November 28, 2006

Consumer Reports tested batteries. The 'premium' Duracell and Energizer alkaline batteries were comparable, but the 'regular' Duracell alkalines were significantly better than their Energizer counterparts. The best value in alkalines was Costco's Kirkland brand. Their output was comparable to the regular Duracell.

If I were assembling a bug-out kit with disposable batteries, I'd put lithiums in it. From another CR article:
Pricier than high-drain alkalines, lithium batteries are stronger still and, in past tests, lasted nearly twice as long as regular alkalines in a flash camera. Lithium cells also last about 10 years on the shelf compared with 5 years for alkalines, but they can cost four times as much.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:39 AM on November 28, 2006

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