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In part 1 of our battery series (which appeared in our January issue), we took a brief look at the 200-plus-year history of batteries and discussed some of the different battery chemistries and how they determine the voltage and power characteristics of voltaic cells.

In part 2, we will look a little deeper into both single-use ("primary") and reusable ("secondary") battery types we commonly use in our gear. We also test several batteries from different manufacturers to see which ones are the best choices to include in your preparedness and survival supply locker.

AA cells make up 50 percent of the roughly three billion alkaline batteries sold in the United States annually, followed by AAA at 30 percent.

C, D and 9-volt batteries make up the rest. A look at the battery shelves in a retail outlet supports that breakdown, but it also shows a fairly wide range in prices among brands. A couple of name brands are very popular and are among the most expensive batteries to buy. One would think that premium pricing would imply premium products that surely must be better than the less-expensive varieties … but is that the case? The only way to find out would be to test them in a controlled experiment.

As it turns out, there is not much difference between the premium-priced batteries and the less-expensive brands. However, there is a significant difference in cost per hour of operation (see page 46 for our test results).

Marketing adds to the price of batteries, and the two leading alkaline battery manufacturers spend a boatload on advertising. This cost is passed on to the consumer. So, just because a battery costs more at checkout doesn’t mean it will last any longer in your device. In fact, the “longer-lasting” claim does not refer to usage at all; rather, it refers to the battery’s shelf life when stored properly.


Alkaline batteries exhibit very little power loss when stored in a cool, dry environment (68 to 78 degrees [F]). Typically, alkaline batteries have a shelf life of five to 10 years and will retain at least 80 percent of their original charge under the right conditions. Elevated temperatures will accelerate loss, but it is not necessary to store batteries in a refrigerator unless ambient temperatures are excessive. The suggested temperature range for use of alkaline batteries is 0 to 131 degrees (F), making them suitable for year-round use in most environments.

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American Survival Guide February 2019, How -to : Master the Market, Drone Dilemma Panacea or Plague ?, Choice Choppers, And More........