How We Test AA Batteries

This post outlines our testing procedure for all AA batteries that we test at The Battery Lab.

How We Test

We test all AA batteries on professional battery testing equipment. Each AA is tested at least twice at three different power levels to simulate the wide range of devices that AAs might find themselves in. We then average the results at each power level to come up with a realistic measurement.

Low Power Test

Some devices require really low power for long periods of time. These devices may run for days, weeks, months, or even years on a single set of batteries. This test applies a really low power load (50 mA) to the AA batteries in order to simulate low power devices such as:

  • Radios

  • Clocks

  • Thermostats

  • Smart Home Devices

  • Smoke Detectors

  • Alarms

  • Remote Controls

  • Tape Players

  • Game Controllers (Xbox controllers)

  • Mouse and Keyboards

  • Flameless candles

It is important to note that while this is the lowest power test we run on these batteries, some of the devices listed above will draw significantly less power in operation. For instance, a flameless candle may only draw 25ma which would allow it to last about 100 hours or so, while a smoke detector may draw less than 1ma, allowing it to last for months or even years. Regardless of the actual power draw of the device, the relative performance of these batteries should remain the same.

Medium Power Test

A lot of our everyday devices demand more power from a AA battery than a flameless candle or smoke detector. These devices are probably ones that don't run all the time, but rather are turned on, used, and put away. Think things like:

  • Handheld Games

  • Professional Audio Wireless Transmitters and Receivers (Microphones, body packs, etc)

  • Remote Control Toys (Cars, etc.)

  • Portable Audio Recorders

  • Walkie Talkies

To simulate these devices, the tester is set to draw a continuous medium power (250 mA) load from the AA batteries.

High Power Test

Finally, we test the batteries under a really high power load (1000 mA). This is a great way to simulate devices like:

  • Cameras

  • Camera Flashes

  • Flashlights

  • Electric Shavers

  • Electric Adult Toys

  • GPS units

  • Breast Pumps

Average Overall Capacity

When we need to rank the batteries by a single capacity number we average the capacity of all three power tests. This gives a good indication of the battery's all-around performance.