Batteries are a necessary but annoying expense with respect to many electronic devices. While a lot of newer products use self-contained rechargeable batteries, a significant number of items–from TV remotes to flashlights to smoke detectors–still need a regular alkaline battery. The problem is, those batteries can be really expensive, especially the name brand ones.
So when a shopper comes across a dollar store battery, they’re probably wondering: is this worth it?
To test that theory, we looked at a battery from Dollar General.
Dollar General sells a few different batteries in a few different sizes. We bought a 4-pack of DG Alkaline AA batteries for $2.50, which comes out to 62.5 cents a battery. That’s pretty high, even compared to name brand batteries, although Dollar General does sell cheaper versions: the store’s “heavy duty” model, for example, can be had for less than 14 cents a battery. Compare that to Aldi’s house brand Super Alkaline batteries, which run about 31 cents a battery — somewhere in between the two DG versions.
For this test, we decided to look at the more expensive DG alkaline battery, as it was more visible in our store and it was more expensive. Does the performance justify the price?
To answer that, we put four of them in a flashlight that we had previously used to test both Aldi and Duracell batteries.
The result? The light started to dim sometime after the 96 hour mark, and by 108 hours in was so close to death it was practically useless. It limped along until it finally snuffed out around 140 hours.
By comparison, our Aldi batteries started to dim around 100 hours, dying out at 137, while our Duracell batteries started to dim at 120 hours, dying entirely around 142 hours. In other words, the DG batteries started dimming a little faster than both the Aldi and Duracell batteries, ultimately lasting a little longer than the Aldi batteries but not as long as the Duracell batteries. One qualification, though, is that the quality of the DG batteries was the lowest of the three, with the flashlight all but dead the last 40 hours or so. The Duracell and Aldi batteries maintained a higher quality for a longer time, with the Duracell performing the best.
Different devices are going to yield different conclusions, but based on our single flashlight test, the DG batteries did not perform as well as the Duracell batteries, and whether they outperformed the Aldi batteries was questionable at best. Given the relatively high cost of the Dollar General batteries, this is not what we would have hoped for. And keep in mind that Dollar General sells even cheaper batteries than these, which we suspect probably perform worse than these.
When we first set out for Dollar General to get batteries, I had hopes that they would turn out to be affordable, reasonably long-lasting batteries. Instead, we found that many of DG’s batteries are surprisingly expensive, and the most expensive ones don’t last as long as we would have hoped. If you’re in a pinch, you can certainly pick up DG batteries for use, but I’m not sure I’d recommend them for most cases.