Some Alkaline Battery Tests

I hesitate to make this post as the contents do not make any sense to me, and I am not sure anyone will believe, but here goes anyway.

I have encountered strange results in testing some AA Alkaline batteries. I bought some Sunbeam batteries from the local $ store. I used three different lights on high mode. Here are the lights;
Tank TK 566, Acebeam L10, and a Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AA.

I normally have found that alkalines in such lights on high run from 3 ½ hours to as much as 5 hours. However, this test left me confused, and if I had only used one light I would not believe the results. Here are the results using the Sunbeam alkalines. L 10 - 10hr 27min , Tank 566- 10hr 28min, Streamlight –10hr 04min.

I tried the L 10 again, but only got 4hr 31min.
However, I decided to see what another test would reveal. I used Sipik I mode, and Tank TK 566
Tank TK 566 11hr 25min
Sipik 17hr 25min

Since I have no instruments to measure light, I compared the light to an ARC AAA which I think is 5.5 Lm. When it reached below that point for a short time I terminated the test. Your own criterion as to where it should be terminated could differ.

Here are some additional data, and I realize that the small size of the tests are insignificant technically. However, on a particular day, with a particular light, and with a particular battery the reported times resulted.

I also ran test with several different AA lights that I have; Acebeam L10, Fenix E11, and a 4 Sevens Quark Mini AA.
Here are some of the results.

Fenix E11 AA
Tenerg Prem 2hr 52 min
Tenergy Blue 2hr
Eneloop 1hr 52min 3hr 04 min later test ??
Duracell Alky 24hr 08min
Sun Alky 26hr 37min >3 lm

L10 Hi
EBL 2hr 23min
Duracell ion core 2hr 28min
Eneloop 1hr 55min
Sunbeam alky 10hr 27min 2nd 4hr 31min?
Thunderbolt alky 3hr 30min
Duracell Alk 2hr 50min

Tank TK 566 Hi
Sunbeam alky 10hr 28min
Duracell alky 19hrs49min

4 Sevens Quark Mini AA Hi
Duracell alky 34hr 26min
Sun Alky 10hr 10min <4 lm

I have noticed that with alkalines when depleted after a rest they will recover enough to give longer run times. For example after the light is so dim that it is not useful the battery will be around 0.75 – 0.88 volts. After resting for an hour or so the voltage increases to something like 1.22- 1.26 volts, resulting in sometimes hours of additional run time. Admittedly the light output is in the range of from 5lm – moon mode. However, if one were on a hike he could make the batteries last several hours longer sometimes.
Overall I have been impressed at the longer run times of alkalines as compared with NiMH rechargeables.
It is evident that some flashlights run much longer than others. The Acebeam L 10 does not compare well with some others, especially the Fenix E11. I am not sure what effect regulation has.

So those are some results of tests with alkaline batteries. If I were to go hiking or such for several days I would choose alkaline batteries over rechargeables in the AA size.

I have no reasonable explanation as to these results. In the case of great differences in run times with the same brand I suspect a lack of consistency in manufacture.
Sorry cannot better explain these results, and in some cases I had difficulty believing them


No reason to be impressed, just select a lower brightness mode with NiMH.

The problem with alkaline is that the voltage sags a lot when they are loaded and the light will have less brightness and longer runtime as a consequence.

Yes alkaline ..

You need to conduct the testing more scientifically ...

Alkaline have the ability to trickle current for quite a long time , and to that end I have set up a 2D flashlight to use old depleted D cells ..

I can run that 2D for years on old used batteries .. The batteries in it now are over 5 years old ( discarded from Maglite use ) ..

Alkaline , the batteries that keep giving ..

If a lower mode is selected the run time is longer. I did not want to take the time to do so.

I realize these test are not scientific. However, they do tell me how lights and batteries performed at a specific time.
That is all I was trying to do, and establish in my own mind the usefulness of alkaline batteries. I am not really trying to prove anything to anyone, but just making the determination for myself out of curiosity. Most folks cannot get their heads around that Eneloops are not the only battery, and for most users not even known.
While eneloops are the best there are alternatives that actually outperform eneloops if not stored for months, for example Tenergy Premiums at a much lower cost. Yes, I know the capacities of the Tenergys are greater, but so what if they cost about half, and burn longer? In several years the eneloops will be better after many charges, but some are looking for a less expensive alternative and there are NiMH and alkalines that are better for some applications.

I do wish some would try their own lights and various batteries and see what works best for different applications. I would really like to see data that uses various batteries and indicates at what point the battery reaches various percentages with time.

Thanks for the comments, and I never intended a scientific test, but would look at them if someone took the time to perform them.


If you go back in the time machine , there were one or two people who did some AA alkaline tests .. Nothing new .

I even tried to test them . but they were so problematic in trying to get meaningful test data I gave up ( Too many variables )

If mem serves , ADMIN did tests with his AA lights for run time ..

Its been done , but I guess so long ago people never saw them , or have forgotten about them .

Thanks, there is not much interest in such. My own use, not now due to age and health, would have been to keep from carrying any more items and weight than really necessary. Of course if car camping one could carry a ton.:slight_smile:

There are a lot of variables, and I have the impression that the manufacturing of alkalines is not as consistent as rechargeables. It is strange that batteries out of the same package in the same lights give vastly different results sometimes. It would take much more testing than I am willing to do to get consistent, reliable results.

Dollar store Sunbeam batteries are almost always NOT alkalines (I’ve never seen an alkaline Sunbeam battery). They are old style zinc-carbon batteries (usually euphemistically called “heavy-duty” batteries). In some load scenarios they can actually perform as well as (and sometimes better than) alkalines. And when they can’t, their lower price can still make them quite a bit more cost effective per hour of use than alkalines.

What scenarios? They have about 1/3 the capacity and higher internal resistance.

Consumer Reports did some testing a while back and came to the conclusion that cheap zinc-carbon batteries were a good deal. They beat alkalines in some toys and cameras!

I wonder how that is possible.

Here are some on eBay.
At the local Dollar Store a package of 4 is $1.00.


They had the lowest cost per hour of runtime…

At $0.25 per battery they may be the best buy in an alkaline battery.

Many moons ago I did a few simple AA alkaline battery discharge tests on the hobby charger and came to the conclusion that the Ikea or Costco/Kirkland batteries were alot cheaper to run than Energizer or Duracell's. Of course cost is not the only thing to think about. If you ever had one of these stupid alkaline batteries ruined one of your electronics, the cost of using more expensive Eneloops would be worth it's weight in gold.

The geeks at Bitbox had lots of time on their hands and did these battery tests for us.

Thanks for the link.
No doubt that if equipment was ruined by leakage the higher cost of eneloops would be insignificant. I have been lucky I guess and only a couple of metal cheap lights were ruined. That was many years ago.

Excellent link, BIGWOOD! Thank you!

sounds like yet another reason to not believe them.
for a remote,clock,ect the tco may favor cheap batteries like carbon zinc but thats all.

Check the cost per mAh data in the link on post #13… zinc batteries come out quite well. You may not get the longest life out of them, but their hours of use per dollar spent can be quite good.

I first saw the Consumer Reports info on a consumer segment of a local news broadcast.