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AA Single Use Batteries

AA single-use batteries have been powering along since 1907. They are familiar to almost anyone who has installed a smoke detector, bought an electronic toy, or lost for replacements when the TV remote control died. AA batteries are widely available, easy to use, dependable sources of power.

What is a AA single-use battery?

The “AA” designation refers to the size and power of the battery, and the term “single-use” means that it is not rechargeable. A single-use battery is also sometimes called a “primary” battery. AA batteries are about 2 inches long and .5 inches in diameter. The alkaline type weighs about 23 grams. They are 1.5-volt batteries.

What types of AA single-use batteries are available?

There are three general types of AA single-use batteries: zinc-carbon, alkaline, and lithium. They vary by cost, lifespan, and how well they perform in electronics. The real-world performance of a battery can vary based on its age, the appliance it is in, and the temperature in which it is operating.

  • Zinc-carbon or zinc-chloride: This type of battery is an inexpensive, low-powered battery that is suitable for clocks, remote controls, and other low-drain appliances. It has a shelf life of about three to five years in storage. This battery is the preferred choice when you are looking for low cost rather than performance.
  • Alkaline: Alkaline batteries are available almost anywhere batteries are sold. They are suitable for electronics that do not require a large pull of energy, including clocks, remote controls, toys, and flashlights. You can use them in high-drain items like digital cameras. They will give you about 300% more energy than zinc-carbon or zinc-chloride batteries. Alkaline batteries have a relatively long storage life, perhaps as much as 10 years.
  • Lithium:Lithium batteries last longer than alkaline and work well in extreme temperatures. Manufacturers claim effective performance in the range of negative 40 to 140 degrees. Lithium types are often used in smoke detectors because of their long life. They also work well in flashlights, LED lighting, digital cameras, and game controllers. In a digital camera, the lithium type of battery may give you 200 or more flash photos; alkaline batteries may give you about 40. You should check the instructions for your electronics before you install lithium batteries since they can be too powerful for some devices. They have a long shelf life, lasting up to 20 years in storage.
Can you use different types of AA batteries in the same device?

This is not recommended. However, it is fine to use different brands of AA batteries of the same type in a single device.

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