Here in the UK Duracell are known for their Duracell Bunny television adverts. These show the Duracell Bunny outlasting other toys powered by zinc batteries. Other Duracell adverts focus on how many sets of zinc batteries you would need it to last as long as a set of Duracell.
So are Duracell batteries with their distinctive copper coloured top worth paying extra for? The adverts would certainly seem to suggest that.
But hang on!
Duracell adverts make a point of comparing their ‘alkaline’ batteries to competitor’s ‘zinc’ batteries. Zinc batteries are old fashioned these days. You can still get them, they are sellers cheap basic ranges such as the Panasonic Red battery range. But these days there are plenty of alkaline alternatives to Duracell. Examples include Energizer and Panasonic Power Pro along with countless own brand alternatives.
I have long suspected that the premium price that packs of Duracell command make them poor value. I buy the cheapest alkaline cells I can find. Recently that has meant purchasing own brand AA size batteries from Wilko. another seller of good value own brand batteries is Ikea.
So is there proof Duracell are poor value?
I have found an online report that seems to confirm my suspicions.
BitBox tested over forty brands of AA alkaline, zinc-chloride and lithium batteries. They subjected them to both high drain and low drain tests. Their testing methodology is clearly explained in their article.
They have pages with tables, graphs and analysis for both the low drain and high drain tests. As expected in both sets of tests alkaline cells perform better than zinc-chloride ones. Lithium cells perform best of all.
What is interesting is how similar the performance is for all the various alkaline brands.
My stinginess seems to have been justified. Premium brands such as Duracell and Energizer do not seem to be worth their premium price.
I will carry on working out the price per cell and aiming to pay the equivalent of under £1 for a four pack of AA batteries.