Everything About Alkaline Batteries
This week’s offering was written while we were cruising along at an airspeed in excess of 600 miles per hour while soaring well above the clouds at an altitude somewhere in the neighborhood of about 37,000 feet. We were on our way to New York City, and yes, we were definitely in an airplane.
Our whirlwind 3-day tour included a long list of appointments that began with a taping session at CBS television where we did a couple of home improvement segments for their network morning show CBS News Saturday Morning. We also stopped off in Yonkers, and then a couple of communities in Connecticut, for local television appearances to promote our new book Home Remodeling for Dummies. What a blast! We also attended 2 business meetings, and on Saturday morning, CBS was kind enough to offer the use of one of their studios so that we could broadcast our radio program. Then, it was off to see our “family” and friends at Associated Press where we were involved in a planning session surrounding expanded circulation of our column and a chat about a couple of booklets we wrote on plumbing and painting. As you might gather – there was no time to spare. Especially since we were on deadline.
Before we left San Francisco we promised our editor, Bruce Nathan that we would have a thousand words or more — on his desk – by the time we arrived in New York. We knew that our grueling schedule would prevent us from writing the column while we were there. What this meant was that the column would have to be written while we were in flight.
Bottom line. It was important for us to write the column while we were on the plane. Our column was filed on time and it didn’t interfere with our busy schedule in New York. And, a portable computer with word-processing software made it possible. However, what made the portable computer possible was a battery. The same unique devise that powers a pacemaker, a camera flash and your favorite TV remote control unit. Isn’t it amazing how we sometimes take things for granted? The battery – so small – yet capable of making light work of otherwise “big” jobs. But not every battery is alike. Read on.
Duracell, Energizer, Panasonic and Rayovac (listed in alphabetical order) have each been involved in the process of offering a new breed of alkaline battery that will supposedly last 30- to 60-percent longer than their respective current models. (The percentage of increased power or lasting quality varies with which manufacturer you listen to). We understand that the biggest difference will be when these new alkalines are used in new high-tech devises that require quick surges of power. We probably won’t notice much difference here as individuals. However, the word is that the new offerings will be about the same price. That’s good!
The same appliance made by different manufacturers can drain a battery differently. One brand appliance for example may use less power to fire up a CD (or a radio or a cassette, etc.) than another brand. Therefore, some batteries last longer in some brands of appliances than others. However, tests by Consumer Reports magazine showed that a single toy – operating continuously – ran for almost identical lengths of time regardless of the brand of battery used. We suppose that kind of shoots the “bunny theory” right in the middle of the foot. In fact, Consumer Reports announced that their test differences were so insignificant that batteries should be purchased by “price” rather than brand.
You may not be aware of it, but alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury making them safe for landfills. However, not all batteries are safe to discard. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s disposal warnings carefully.
Alkaline batteries also store well. They can last “on the shelf” for as long as 5 years. This means that purchasing several when they are on sale makes good sense. We use leftover run-downs from our kid’s toys to operate remote control units and other low-drain devises. You would be amazed how long you can use a battery in some devises – even when they no longer have enough power to run another. Hey, a penny saved is a penny earned – right?
If you use lots of batteries consider the alkaline rechargeable type. The batteries themselves cost a little more – and you must also spend a little extra purchasing a charger – but in the long run recharging is a lot less expensive. Where nickel-cadmium might fit your recharging bill, keep in mind that they are not landfill friendly. And, good luck!