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What are the Differences Between Heavy Duty and Alkaline Batteries?

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 10/20/2022

Row of different Alkaline batteries

It's common to see batteries like AAs or AAAs being sold at discount retailers that are labeled "Heavy Duty" or "Super Heavy Duty". You might be surprised to learn that these batteries are not what you think and contain considerably less power than normal alkaline batteries. Discover what the difference is between these two types of batteries and why cheaper is not always better.

What's the Difference Between Alkaline and Heavy Duty Batteries?

While they look very similar to alkaline, heavy-duty batteries are actually a different chemistry all together. Heavy duty batteries use zinc chloride as the electrolyte encased in a zinc case as the anode while alkaline batteries use potassium hydroxide, an alkaline, as the electrolyte with a zinc gel encased in a steel case. Both heavy duty and alkaline batteries are intended for single use applications and are not rechargeable.

Are Heavy Duty Batteries Any Good?

The differences in the construction of these batteries has a definite effect on the power produced. Heavy duty zinc batteries store about half the power of alkaline batteries resulting in a much shorter lifespan in higher drain applications like hand-held video games.

Another drawback of heavy duty batteries is their considerably shorter shelf life. Alkaline batteries generally claim to have a 10 year shelf life while heavy duty batteries only have a 3 year shelf life.

Are Alkaline Batteries Worth the Higher Price?

No one likes to make extra purchases. One of the biggest drawbacks to choosing heavy-duty over alkaline batteries is the much shorter lifespan. If you don't want to have to go out to buy new batteries at a much faster rate than normal, alkaline batteries are really worth the money over heavy-duty batteries.

Alkaline batteries come in many varieties to suit your device's power needs and your budget.

  • Rayovac Fusion - For your high-drain devices that require a lot of power the Rayovac Fusion line of alkaline batteries deliver the maximum power for all of today's power-hungry devices.
  • Duracell Coppertop - For excellent power at a great price, Duracell Coppertop alkaline batteries will give you a cost-effective option while still providing excellent long-lasting power with a 12-year shelf life.
  • Rayovac UltraPro - Great for keeping in the junk drawer for everyday uses, the Rayovac UltraPro has the power you need to run your electronics without breaking the bank.

Everyday Batteries at Batteries Plus

Don't fall for the "cheaper is better" trick at many discount retailers. Let the experts at Batteries Plus help you pick the best alkaline batteries for your devices power demands. Learn more about alkaline batteries by taking a look at our handy alkaline buying guide. Need to know what to do with all of your old expired batteries? Read our blog article "Batteries 101: Everything You Need to Know About Expired Batteries" to learn more about what you should do with them and the recycling services offered at your local Batteries Plus.

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