From alarm clocks, torches, and television remotes to computer mice, heating thermostats and keyboards, as wire-free culture makes our homes slicker, it’s also made us more dependent on batteries. To minimise exasperation, look for long-lasting versions, stockpile a variety of sizes so you’ve always got them in stock — and look for smart details that will tell you how much power they’ve got left.
Set of Twenty
Affordable power buttons with a three-year shelf life.
It might sound like stating the obvious, but before you buy your batteries, check exactly what it is that you need. While you might be able to tell a AA from an AAA at 20 paces, when it comes to button batteries, not only do they look far more alike, but they also tend to be in more inaccessible places, making it all too tempting to guesstimate which ones are needed, which only leads to trouble down the line. It doesn’t help that many of these smaller batteries have different names — an AG134, for instance, may also be an LR44. So scrutinise your battery (with a magnifying glass if necessary) to check the number on it before stocking up.
Offering up to 100 per cent more power than the regular version and a 10 year shelf life.
If only a battery was like a kettle and you could tell just by looking at it how much it had left in it. With some batteries you can! Some Duracells, for example, now have something they call Powercheck: You simply apply pressure to two points on the battery, and a gauge will show you how much power is left — green? You’re good to go and go. In the red? You probably need to refuel — if not now, then very soon.
Time to Stock Up
A multi-pack of the most commonly-used household battery size (AA).
If you do a quick audit of the devices in your home that need batteries, you’ll probably find that there are one or two types that dominate — usually AA or AAA. So if you’re thinking about stockpiling batteries, it makes sense to buy these ones in bulk. Not only does it mean you’re less likely to run out at a crucial point, but it also makes it cheaper. If you are buying more batteries than you plan to use in the next year or so, do check that they have a long shelf life.