With the return of load-shedding, South Africans are forced once again to rely on AA batteries to power their torches and other electronics.
AA batteries are also used in gaming controllers, TV remotes, alarm clocks, and more devices even when the power is on.
Two of the top brands in the country for AA batteries are Duracell and Energizer, with both companies competing for the top spot in the local market.
Our last battery life comparison between the brands saw Energizer edging out a win against Duracell in “minutes per rand”.
To determine which battery brand offers the best value for South Africans in 2018, we one again tested equivalently-priced options from both Duracell and Energizer.
The batteries tested were Duracell’s Plus Power AA cells and Energizer’s Max AA batteries, which are identically priced in many stores.
We used a West Mountain Radio CBA IV to conduct the battery drain tests, as it is designed to test small cells and batteries.
The CBA IV is capable of testing batteries at load currents from 10mA to 40,000mA.
For optimal results, we purchased eight of each battery and tested them at a draw of 800mA. We also purchased the batteries in packs of two to limit the age of individual cells or product batches having an effect on the results.
The power draw of 800mAh simulates the lifespan of a battery in high-draw applications and minimises the effect of extraneous variables on the performance of the cells.
The units were then tested until they dropped below their suggested cut-off voltage limit of 1.10V.
All tests used an initial test voltage of 1.5V.
|Battery Test||Lifespan at 800mAh|
Duracell Plus Power
|Duracell Plus Power 1||16m 21s|
|Duracell Plus Power 2||19m 01s|
|Duracell Plus Power 3||25m 12s|
|Duracell Plus Power 4||23m 29s|
|Duracell Plus Power 5||22m 43s|
|Duracell Plus Power 6||25m 50s|
|Duracell Plus Power 7||24m 17s|
|Duracell Plus Power 8||21m 46s|
|Energizer Max 1||21m 55s|
|Energizer Max 2||26m 12s|
|Energizer Max 3||25m 16s|
|Energizer Max 4||25m 20s|
|Energizer Max 5||31m 54s|
|Energizer Max 6||23m 40s|
|Energizer Max 7||23m 14s|
|Energizer Max 8||22m 28s|
The image below details the test data for the Duracell Plus Power and Energizer Max batteries (click to enlarge).
Based on the results, we calculated the average time until depletion for each batch of batteries.
We then used the price and lifespan of each battery to calculate the average minutes per rand each product provided at this level of drain.
We also used the pricing of batteries listed on Takealot to calculate a cost-per-battery for the comparison.
The average lifespan and minutes per rand for each battery, calculated from the test results, are shown below.
|Battery||Average lifespan at 800mA||Price||Minutes per rand|
|Energizer Max||25m 00s||R19.50||1m 17s|
|Duracell Plus Power||22m 20s||R19.50||1m 9s|
The Energizer Max batteries offered slightly better average battery life, than their Duracell competitors.
As the batteries are similarly priced, the Energizer Max cells ended up offering 8 seconds more per rand.
However, it is important to note that variance among the Duracell Plus Power batteries was greater, which could point towards a bad or old two-pack of batteries (such as the first two tested).
Discounting the outlying results, both the Energizer Max and Duracell Plus Power cells offer around 23-25 mins of power at 800mAh, delivering similar value for money.