Whether you use standard or proprietary batteries, you can never have too many batteries for power-hungry tech devices. Here are some tips to help you get the best deals:
- Not all AA batteries are alike. The once top-of-the-line alkaline batteries from Duracell, Energizer, RayOVac and others are no longer the best choices for high-drain devices like digital cameras and electronic flash units. Instead, look for lithium batteries in AA size if rechargeable batteries aren’t suitable, or pick up a battery charger with a couple of sets of AA NiMh batteries.
- If you need batteries for a digital camera or DV camcorder that uses proprietary batteries, you don’t need to spring for expensive OEM batteries. Many office supply and big-box electronics retailers sell OEM equivalents that offer comparable mAh (milliamperhour) ratings at savings of 50% or more compared to the OEM version. Specialized battery resellers such as Batteries Plus (http://www.batteriesplus.com) provide a broad range of specialized batteries, and there are numerous online sources as well. Be sure to check user ratings when available and make sure the mAh rating of a replacement battery is not significantly less than the original (sometimes replacements offer a higher mAh rating for longer life). For example, an original Canon LP-E5 battery for the Digital Rebel T1i sells for $43.95 at Amazon.com, while an Opteka replacement sells for just $9.95.
- If you’re having a hard time tracking down batteries for an older digital camera, TechforLess (http://www.techforless.com) is a good place to buy name-brand batteries.
- Don’t assume that the original batteries installed in electronic toys or gadgets will last for long after you start using the device. Some manufacturers use cheap heavy-duty batteries rather than alkaline batteries. Pick up an extra set of alkaline or lithium batteries to avoid frustration.
- If an electronic gadget that will be used only or mainly on a desk has an optional AC adapter, buy it if it’s available. You’ll avoid the possibility of battery leakage ruining the item, and for items that are used heavily, you’ll also save time, frustration, and money with always-available power. If you decide to opt for a universal AC adapter, be sure you know the correct voltage, polarity, and tip style. Get this information wrong, and you could fry your unit.