Rechargeable AA batteries are essential for many photographers, but which brand delivers the best bang for your buck? Project Farm decided to find out by putting 10 different brands to the test through a year of use. The tests and results are in the 10-minute video above.
The brands tested in this experiment were: Panasonic Eneloop, Amazon Basics Silver and Black, EBL, Rayovac, PowerEx, Harbor Freight Thunderbolt, IKEA LADDA, Duracell, and Energizer. Each battery was placed into an outdoor solar-powered light and allowed to charge and discharge over 300 times.
Additional batteries for each brand were allowed to sit on a shelf unused for nearly a year in order to test their shelf life (i.e. battery self-discharge).
The IKEA and Duracell batteries, both Japan-made, had the most capacity after a year in storage and the best “battery health” (by testing internal resistance) after a year of continual use.
“A battery with low internal resistance can meet high energy spikes, such as a flash on a camera, better than a battery that has high internal resistance,” Project Farm says.
Project Farm found that rechargeable batteries made in Japan generally outperform China-made batteries by a noticeable margin — the top 7 best-performing batteries were made in Japan and the bottom 3 were all made in China.
So which battery brand is best for photographers? The Duracell and IKEA were the two best batteries across the three tests, so either one should do well for you. If you’re cost-conscious, though, the Duracell batteries cost $2.25 (or more) each while the IKEA batteries cost $1.75 each.
So for the best bang for your buck, it seems you can’t go wrong with the IKEA LADDA 2450.