Test/Review of Varta SuperLife AA

Varta SuperLife AA

Official specifications:

  • VARTA Type: 02006
  • Reference IEC: R6
  • Battery Size: AA
  • Height: 50.5 mm
  • Weight: 18.0 gr
  • Electrochemical System: Zinc Carbon (ZN/CA)
  • Voltage: 1.5 V
  • Shelf Life: 36 months
  • Typical Capacity C (mAh): 1000 (discharge with high-resistance)
  • Permissible Temperature Range: -10°C ... 50°C
  • Volume (ccm): 7.6

This is the battery type that was used before alkaline.

The cell cannot handle much load, before the voltage collapses.


This chemistry batteries are very seldom used today and there is a reason for it: Low capacity and no ability to handle much current.
A alkaline AAA cell has considerable better performance than this AA cell.

Notes and links

How is the test done and how to read the charts
Compare to other AA/AAA batteries: Alkaline/NiMH/Lithium

This is not the most interesting battery I have seen, but I like to have it for comparison to alkaline.

Thanks HKJ, i guess Varta is far from what it was like 20 years ago :frowning:

Thanks. This is the ONLY flashlight battery chemistry available until 1959 when the Alkaline battery was introduced. We have come a long ways baby!

Varta has very good alkaline batteries, I have tested some of them, but not published it yet.

Any brand making a Zinc-Carbon cell will get bad performance, but there is still some people that wants them.

They are STILL shipped as the included battery with some low current electronic devices so must still be cheaper to produce than the Alkaline battery.

It’s not that people want them, it’s that people don’t care or don’t know the difference when they buy it.
Price and packaging (marketing) are the only things that most people look at.
I wish the EU forced all manufacturers to clearly display on the package how the cell performs. Simply display the C/10 capacity (mAh) and the IR (mOhms) of the cell… Is that too much to ask?

Not always, some people do want them.

Really? What is the reason why they want them?

The guy that I know have given me two reasons:

They sound better in his guitar pedals.

They die more gracefully than alkaline, i.e. he can finishing playing, before replacing the battery.

The first one I sort of doubt, the second one I do not know if that is the case.

CHEAP INITIAL COST and they perform adequately if the current drain is minimal. Also consumer ignorance!

Thanks for the test very interesting to see what we all knew from the past, it was so frustrating to always buy expensive batteries which didn’t last long in my RC car…

What causes the spike in the graph?

I do not know it. I would not expect that to happen, even if I pushed the connections around, they are fairly solid with the clamp.

I believe the give away Cen-Tech test meter from Harbor Freight. comes with zinc 9v.