AAA batteries (also known as triple-A batteries) power all kinds of devices, from the recreational to the essential. They're found in dozens of devices from digital cameras and drones, to blood pressure monitors and laser levels. These tiny powerhouses deliver the same 1.5V output as a AA battery, but they are smaller and lighter so the gadgets they are used in can be more compact.
While all AAA batteries are the same physical size, their performance, durability, and cost can vary considerably. To help you find the right combination of power and value, we've rounded up the best AAA batteries to serve your needs.
— Best Overall: Panasonic Eneloop AAA Batteries
— Best Disposable: Energizer Ultimate AAA Batteries
— Best Budget: Amazon Basics AAA Batteries
— Best Alkaline: Duracell CopperTop AAA Batteries
— Best for Flashlights: Panasonic Eneloop Pro AAA Batteries
How We Picked the Best AAA Batteries
Our main aim with this AAA battery review is to explain the different types of triple-A batteries, and give examples of the best of each type via our top picks. We researched all the leading brands to get a comprehensive view of the market.
Type: There are three main types of AAA battery: alkaline, lithium, or nickel metal hydride (usually written as NiMH or Ni-MH). Each of these has its pros and cons, so it was important to understand how they perform in order to choose which was best for particular uses.
Power: Although all AAA batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5V, each device has a different way of using that stored energy. They are often referred to as high-drain (like drones) or low-drain (like simple alarms). When making our picks we wanted to offer solutions that suited all types of gadgets.
Price: There are plenty of cheap AAA batteries available, and some are an excellent value. However, high-drain devices can burn through them very quickly, so they are often a false economy. When choosing our favorites we tried to find the best balance between performance and price.
Best Overall: Panasonic Eneloop AAA Batteries
Why It Made The Cut: Although initial cost is comparatively high, Panasonic Eneloop AAA batteries offer incredible durability, good all-weather performance, and hold their charge for longer than their rivals.
— Type: NiMH
— Capacity: 800 mAh
— Pack Sizes: Four, 12, 16, 24
— Up to 2,100 recharge cycles
— Ready to use
— Durable power storage
— Long charging times
Given the different performance levels and prices it is not easy to pick the best AAA batteries overall. Our favorite disposable AAA batteries make a strong case, but with up to 2,100 recharge cycles possible, Panasonic’s Eneloops are currently the longest-lasting AAA batteries on the market. They aren’t cheap, but because of their durability, they provide very competitive long-term value.
Panasonic’s Eneloop AAA batteries also overcome two of the notable drawbacks of many rechargeable NiMHs. First, a lot of them need to be charged before use, whereas these are pre-charged at the factory using solar energy (you may also be interested in our article about the best solar batteries). Second, many don’t hold their charge while not in use. The Panasonic Eneloop batteries again deliver market-leading performance, retaining up to 70 percent for a decade (when stored following manufacturer instructions).
Unlike alkaline batteries that lose charge dramatically when the temperature drops, Panasonic Eneloop AAA batteries still function as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when they do need to be recharged they will take several hours. It is worth buying these AAA rechargeable batteries with a charger if you don’t already have one, as Panasonic’s own model has smart features that charge each battery to the optimum level individually, and turn off automatically when full charge is reached.
Best Disposable: Energizer Ultimate AAA Batteries
Why It Made The Cut: Energizer’s Ultimate AAA batteries are unrivaled in terms of consistent power output, shelf life, and temperature range. When reliability is important, they are undeniably the best choice.
— Type: Lithium Iron Disulphide
— Capacity: 1,250 mAh
— Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 12, 16, 18, 20, 24, 80
— Consistent power delivery
— Outstanding shelf life
— Excellent temperature range
— Beware of fakes
When compared with other AAA batteries, the Energizer Ultimate is quite an expensive choice. It is a similar price to the Panasonic Eneloop, but is not rechargeable. It costs two or three times as much as the best alkaline AAA disposable battery. However, in performance terms, it has advantages over both.
A capacity of 1,250 mAh gives the Energizer Ultimate AAA Batteries dependable, durable power. In essence it means they run more consistently for longer. These are the optimum AAA batteries for high-drain devices like digital cameras, games controllers, and security devices. They have an operating range from -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so temperature fluctuations present no problems. The LiFeS2 chemistry gives it a shelf life of up to 20 years, and unlike rechargeable AAA batteries they don’t drain while being stored. They do not leak, and they are claimed to be 30 percent lighter than alkaline rivals.
We have read reports of fakes being discovered, particularly in large pack sizes. Always beware of unusually low prices, and only buy from reputable retailers.
Best Budget: Amazon Basics AAA Batteries
Why It Made The Cut: For many ordinary electronic devices, expensive high-performance AAA batteries are simply overkill. Amazon Basics are a low-cost, effective solution for everyday use.
— Type: Alkaline
— Capacity: 800 mAh (estimated)
— Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 10, 20, 36, 100
— Multiple household uses
— Long shelf life
— Good value
— Modest performance
— Leaks not unknown
There are times when high-power versions are a good idea, but often it is convenient to have a bunch of cheap AAA batteries in a drawer for everyday devices like clocks, kitchen timers, TV remotes, small toys, etc. There is little point buying expensive lithium or NiMH rechargeable batteries for these low-drain devices. Amazon Basics AAA Alkaline Batteries are one solution, and the larger the pack size the more cost-effective they become.
Shelf life is quoted as 10 years, and they contain no toxic components so they are relatively easy to recycle. Minimal fuss-free packaging is another feature. Amazon doesn’t appear to provide a capacity rating for their alkaline AAA battery, though they do for their rechargeable version. Our estimate is based on that figure, and in our experience is likely to be within 50 to 100 mAh. We would not recommend them for medium- or high-drain electronics.
Best Alkaline: Duracell CopperTop AAA Batteries
Why It Made The Cut: Duracell’s ‘copper-colored top’ is arguably the world’s most recognizable battery. It is hugely popular, and these AAA versions provide excellent performance for ordinary household devices.
— Type: Alkaline
— Capacity: 1,150 mAh
— Pack Sizes: Two, four, eight, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 36, 40, 56
— Reliable long-term performance
— Long shelf life
— Good value for money
— Not for high-drain gadgets
— Packaging slightly confusing
Duracell’s CopperTop AAA Batteries are a high-quality, mid-range choice. They don’t have quite the performance of lithium models, but they cost considerably less. At the other end of the scale there are certainly cheaper AAA batteries around, but ‘throwaway’ models don’t offer the long-lasting power of the Duracell CopperTops in things like flashlights, toys, electronic thermometers, bathroom scales, etc. — the kind of medium-drain devices where the need to change batteries often soon gets frustrating.
A capacity of 1,150 mAh is remarkably high for alkaline AAA batteries, meaning Duracell CopperTops deliver more consistent energy than many competitors. Like all alkaline batteries, they lose charge more quickly at lower temperatures, so this is not a good choice for trail cameras or devices that are outdoors for long periods. Also, for high-drain devices we would still recommend lithium alternatives.
Packaging can be a little confusing. Some say the shelf life is 10 years while others say it is 12 years. This may just be a design change, and makes negligible difference to performance, if any. There are rare complaints about batteries leaking but huge volumes of Duracell CopperTop AAAs are sold so in our view, the numbers do not indicate a significant problem.
Best for Flashlights: Panasonic Eneloop Pro AAA Batteries
Why It Made The Cut: The high-performance Panasonic Eneloop Pro overcomes the power drain problems associated with rechargeable AAA batteries, so your devices are ready to go when you need them most.
— Type: NiMH
— Capacity: 950 mAh
— Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 12, 16
— Excellent energy retention
— Good cold weather performance
— Nor for watertight devices
A flashlight is often something that is used in emergencies, and may have been left unattended for months. The last thing you need when the lights go out is to be searching around in the dark for batteries. Lithium AAA batteries are a good choice, but are expensive. Rechargeable AAAs are an alternative that is much more cost-effective in the long run, but the fact that they self-discharge (the power drains over time) can make them impractical. Panasonic’s Eneloop Pros have largely overcome this problem, and we think they are the best rechargeable batteries for the job.
Unlike many NiMH AAA batteries the Panasonic Eneloop Pros come ready to use, having been pre-charged using environmentally-friendly solar power. Over the period of a year they will retain up to 85 percent of their charge, so they can be trusted to perform when required. They make an equally strong choice for high-drain devices like camera flashes, and drones. Or for long-term use in wireless keyboards, and portable electronics. They can be recharged up to 500 times.
Things to Consider Before Buying AAA Batteries
All AAA batteries deliver 1.5 volts of power, so deciding which are the best AAA batteries for particular devices largely comes down to the type, or in other words, the chemicals used to hold the charge.
Alkaline: Alkaline AAA batteries combine graphite, magnesium, potassium, steel, and zinc. They are considered environmentally-friendly because they are relatively easy to recycle. Shelf life (how long they will last if left unused) is from seven to 10 years. They are the cheapest AAA batteries, and recommended for low-drain devices like remote controls, clocks, and blood pressure monitors. Alkaline batteries can leak, which could damage equipment, but it is no longer a common problem.
Rechargeable alkaline AAA batteries do exist, but are generally outperformed by other types.
Lithium: There are several types of lithium AAA battery. The most common disposable types are simply called lithium. They have a shelf life of 10 or more years, and typically last three to five times as long as alkaline AAA batteries in use. As a result, lithium AAA batteries are recommended for high-drain devices. They can also withstand temperatures from below freezing to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The one drawback with lithium batteries is that they can occasionally produce too much power for some gadgets, so it’s important to check the recommendations of the device manufacturer before using them.
The most recent development in non-rechargeable AAA batteries is Lithium iron disulphide (Li-FeS2). They are exceptionally durable, and have a shelf life of up to 20 years.
Lithium ion (Li-ion), and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) are both rechargeable battery types and are generally used for vehicle and marine batteries. Lithium ion AAA batteries are available, and many have the advantage of being rechargeable via USB rather than needing a separate charger. However, they are expensive.
NiMH: Most AAA rechargeable batteries are nickel metal hydride. While initially more expensive than alkaline or lithium disposable batteries, they can be recharged hundreds, or even thousands of times. They work well in high-drain devices. Shelf life is typically around five to seven years.
Though invariably marked as 1.5V, nominal voltage is usually 1.2V. However, power is delivered very consistently rather than other types of batteries that can drop quickly. In many cases this won’t make a great deal of difference, but again it’s worth checking the advice of your gadget’s manufacturer. Also, the charge drains away whether used or not, so some need regular charging. You can either buy AAA rechargeable batteries with a charger, or source the charger separately.
Capacity: While the voltage of AAA batteries is within a fairly narrow range, it may also be worth considering the milliAmp hours (mAh) rating. This has an impact on how long the battery can supply energy. Technically, a milliAmp hour is a thousandth of an amp, supplied consistently for one hour. In real terms, if you have two 1.5V AAA batteries, one rated for 750 mAh, and the other for 1,000 mAh, then the second will deliver its charge for significantly longer.
Q: What are AAA batteries used for?
AAA batteries can be used to power a range of small, electronic devices from flashlights and TV remotes, to thermometers and bathroom scales.
Q: How much voltage can a AAA battery supply?
The nominal voltage — that stated by all battery manufacturers — is 1.5V. In practice, voltage can fluctuate from around 1.2V to 1.6V. In the majority of cases this isn’t enough to have any impact on the device being powered but it is worth checking the advice of the equipment manufacturer.
Q: How long do AAA batteries last?
In an unused state (called the shelf life), most AAA batteries last from seven to 10 years, though some last longer. Once inserted, it depends on the power demands of each gadget. It can be anywhere from several months to just a few hours.
Q: What's the difference between AAA batteries and AA batteries?
Although they both provide the same voltage, AAA batteries are physically smaller than AA batteries. As a result, AAA batteries cannot be used in AA battery slots or vice versa.
Q: Are lithium AAA batteries worth it?
Lithium batteries are worth it for gadgets that need a lot of energy (such as digital cameras and radio-controlled toys), or in situations where they are subject to temperature extremes. The best lithium AAA batteries we found have an operating range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Final Thoughts on AAA Batteries
Our top two picks are remarkable AAA batteries. The number of times the Panasonic Eneloop can be charged makes it surprisingly economical in the long term. The performance of the Energizer Ultimate is outstanding, although it does come at a price. For those who just want a cheap AAA battery for everyday gadgets, the Amazon Basics provide unbeatable economy.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.