AA batteries are the biggest sellers. They're commonly used in flashlights, digital cameras, remote controls and toys.
Consumer Reports tested a dozen AAs, including big names like Energizer, and store brands like Walgreens. Their lab tests mimic a digital camera. The differences were dramatic.
The Eveready Gold, the worst batteries, took only 52 shots before dying. The Energizer Ultimate lithium, the best, took 682 shots. That's a huge difference.
The magazine's Sarah Goralski says lithium batteries do cost more - about $2.50 per battery - but they're worth it for digital cameras and other high-drain devices.
"Alkaline batteries don't tend to last as long, so they're better for low-drain devices like flashlights or remotes," Goralski said.
Duracell Ultra Power was the top rated alkaline.
If you use a lot of batteries to power toys, Consumer Reports says rechargeable batteries are best.
Lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries should be recycled. And though many places allow you to throw out alkaline batteries, Consumer Reports says it's good to recycle those, too. You can find a recycling center near you at Earth911.com
Consumer Reports Battery Buying Guide