Duracell Optimum batteries tested — with interesting results

Testing by MyBroadband revealed that Duracell Optimum batteries offer better performance than other alkaline batteries, but it is not significant enough to influence purchasing decisions.

In July, Duracell South Africa issued a press statement to promote its Duracell Optimum AA and AAA batteries which is now widely available in South Africa.

Duracell South Africa said Optimum is a “new kind of alkaline battery technology that delivers break­through performance benefits”.

“Its re-engineered cathode technology with added new ingredients produces the most powerful Duracell alkaline battery,” the company said.

Battery-powered devices can be divided into two groups — high- and mid-energy demand, and low energy demand.

Motorised toys are typical representatives of the first group. For them to work optimally, they need a lot of power quickly.

Game controllers or remote controls are typical representatives of the second group. To make them work best, they need less power, but for a longer period.

“Duracell Optimum responds to these energy needs with the new technology by providing either extra life or extra power, depending on which device the battery is used in,” the company said.

Duracell South Africa marketing director, Chris Rood, said the new Optimum technology would set the new benchmark for alkaline batteries.

Apart from promising “extra life or extra power”, Duracell South Africa has not made any other claims regarding its Duracell Optimum batteries in its press statement.

However, the Duracell South Africa website states that its Optimum AA batteries offer “up to 200% extra life or extra power.

The first thing you notice when buying Duracell Optimum batteries is the excellent packaging. It looks and feels like quality.

The Duracell Optimum pack is sturdy with a box design that is associated with expensive items. It is a welcome change from the usual plastic container on top of a piece of cardboard.

The container can be recycled or can be used as a collection box for spent batteries.

MyBroadband performed two discharge tests on the Duracell Optimum AA batteries and compared them to other brands.

The first test was at a constant current draw of 0.2A — a low current to simulate common household devices.

The second test was performed with a constant current draw of 1A — closer to what something like a powerful flashlight would consume.

The tests were done in an air-conditioned office with a computerised battery analyser to ensure accurate and comparable results.

Each battery was drained to 0.8V under load, which is a voltage at which many consumer products would stop working. It is a common standard to which most manufacturers rate their batteries.

During each test, the voltage was constantly monitored and recorded to calculate the battery’s total watt-hours capacity. This is the total power that the battery provided during the test.

The results revealed that Duracell Optimum outperformed other alkaline batteries included in the test at both 0.2A and 1A current draws.

The chart below provides an overview of the performance of different battery brands at a lower and higher current draw.

These tests should, however, not be taken as absolute measurements but rather as a relative comparison between batteries.

Price and performance

Duracell Optimum AA batteries outperformed other alkaline batteries, but they also come at a higher price.

A single Duracell Optimum AA battery cost R24,50, which was higher than the other batteries, which cost between R7.50 and R19.75 per battery.

MyBroadband calculated the price per watt-hour for each brand, which showed that Verbatim Premium offered the best value-for-money.

The chart below shows the price per watt-hour for each brand.

Now read: Duracell and Energizer tested — and one battery crushed its competitors

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Duracell Optimum batteries tested — with interesting results