Best batteries for seldom used flashlights

keyholder

New member
Joined
Aug 25, 2015
Messages
2
(I searched the forum before posting this, if I was just lame at searching, please point me in the right direction).

I have flashlights stashed all over. These are general purpose lights, useful for basic tasks such as walking safely in the dark, responding to a noise outside, repairing something at night, examining the engine, searching the trunk, and power outages. Most of them take 2 or 3 AA, AAA, or C batteries. Most doorways of my home have a flashlight hanging above them. Easy to find in the dark. The cars have flashlights mounted in them. The idea is to have quick and ready access to a flashlight when needed. So removing the batteries untill needed is not a good option in this case. Most of these flashlights sit unused for many months or even a couple of years until needed. The flashlights in the cars also suffer wild temperature fluctuations. I just quickly counted 10 of these emergency flashlights, but I might have missed some.

The big problem is that too many of these AA and AAA batteries leak, even years before the battery date, ruining the flashlights, radios, etc. I've tried all the major brands, including Duracell (the worst leakers in my experience) Energizer, and Kirkland. Rayovac seems less leaky, but at this point so many devices have been ruined, I have developed trust issues with all disposable batteries. Using rechargeable batteries seems futile as many rechargeables lose significant charge when stored for long periods of time. (at least since last time I tried using rechargeable AA & AAA batteries for everything several years ago).

1) It seems like one solution is to use cheap flashlights so I won't be sad when they are ruined by battery leakage. But still, when you grab a flashlight and it does not work because it leaked, that is disappointing or even dangerous.

2) Another solution could be to use batteries that don't leak for several years. (What I thought I was doing).

3) Or a flashlight with built in rechargable batteries (that can hold a charge for long time when not used). I'm pretty happy with my EDC rechargeable Nitecore TIP cri keychain lights, even though they are like $30 each (discontinued?). They don't seem to leak, the battery seems capable & holds a charge for months, maybe longer.

So I guess my question has two paths;
[ ] What AA &/or AAA disposable batteries won't leak for a few years, will hold a charge even if unused for a long time (6 months? 1 year? 2 years?), and a reasonable choice for flashlights that are seldom used? Extra credit for also mentioning batteries that can handle the daily temperature changes in a car. (32F - 130F).
OR
[ ] What general purpose flashlight with rechargeable batteries (built in or removable) will hold a charge for months or years, even when seldom used?

Thanks for your help.
 

Olumin

Well-known member
CPF Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
581
Location
"...that famous Texas part of Hamburg"
for aa/aaa lights = white eneloops. Best are lithium primaries (cr123) if your light takes them. Li-ion can also be stored in lights without much of a problem, but Id rely on a light with mechanical switch or lockout to eliminate parasitic drain if its stored of that long. But since you only use those lights so seldomly there is really no point of going rechargeable. Dont go for built-in batteries, they all eventually go bad no matter which one and then you can toss the device.
 

ampdude

Well-known member
CPF Supporter
Joined
Apr 7, 2007
Messages
3,743
Location
USA
Yes, quality CR123A's or quality lithium AA cells are the way to go for long term storage if you choose to keep a set in a light.
 

xxo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,388
Energizer lithium L91 AA and L92 AAA are the way to go. Get some AA to C spacers and you can run the L91's in your C cell lights.

The energizer lithiums won't leak, they have a 20 year plus self life, they work in extreme cold and can be stored in extreme heat (such as inside a vehicle in summer).
 

vicv

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,329
Location
Southern Ontario
Ya I've gone more and more to lithium primary lights. I've spent a lot on lithium ion rechargeables and many have gone bad/old with small amount of cycles because I don't use them much. Probably would've been cheaper to go with primary cells which I'm starting more now
 

abeazar

New member
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
3
Interestingly I have found that the cheapest older style Carbon type batteries, non-alkaline do not leak. The least expensive AA or AAA Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries are available at IKEA , which also do not leak. You can buy spacers/adapters so they can replace C and D style batteries. From everything that I have read or watched on various videos, IKEA Ni-Cad batteries appear to be a much lower cost Eneloop battery, are made at the same plant. Their specs may be slightly less than the much more expensive retail Eneloop batteries.
 

vicv

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,329
Location
Southern Ontario
They're nimh batteries at IKEA, not NICD.
Either way they're not very good for long-term storage. As they will eventually lose output. And like any other rechargeable they go bad in time. So if it's a very seldom used light, it's a waste
 

fivemega

Well-known member
CPF Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
5,152
Location
California
The least expensive AA or AAA Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries are available at IKEA ,
If price is your only concern, then Ni-Cad will work for you.
Ni-Cad is very old technology and was first choice many many years ago.
They have very low capacity and suffer from memory effect.
 

pumps

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
23
I have lots of lights too. In the office, bedroom , garage, basement, basement laundry room, outdoor storage shed, at least 5-6 in my van. What I do regularly is get the lights from one area and open them up , test batteries, check for leakage, spray inside of light with electrical contact cleaner. If batteries test ok I reinstall. I've set up a reminder system on my phone to let me know which area needs to be checked. Takes like 5-10 minutes . Monthly.
 

idleprocess

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
6,065
Location
dfw.tx.us
[ ] What AA &/or AAA disposable batteries won't leak for a few years, will hold a charge even if unused for a long time (6 months? 1 year? 2 years?), and a reasonable choice for flashlights that are seldom used? Extra credit for also mentioning batteries that can handle the daily temperature changes in a car. (32F - 130F).
OR
[ ] What general purpose flashlight with rechargeable batteries (built in or removable) will hold a charge for months or years, even when seldom used?
The oft-stated advice to use Li primaries isn't a bad one. Li primaries are capable cells that will stand ready to serve after many years in harsh environments.

But for less-demanding environments where temperatures are less extreme (i.e. indoors), the storage window is ≤ 12 months, and you don't necessarily need high yield on the runtime low-self-discharge NiMH (ala Enelooop, Energizer Recharge, other 'hybrid' NiMH cells) are a viable option.

As a general rule I have Li AAs in lights that live in vehicles or are for emergency preparedness while lights and devices that are stored indoors feature NiMH. The latter are cycled during a semi-annual rechargeapalooza to ensure readiness.
 

abeazar

New member
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
3
They're nimh batteries at IKEA, not NICD.
Either way they're not very good for long-term storage. As they will eventually lose output. And like any other rechargeable they go bad in time. So if it's a very seldom used light, it's a waste
Okay, I made a mistake calling them Ni-Cad - I didn't recall their exact type while answering the question on my phone. The IKEA and the Eneloop are in fact NIMH batteries. Project Farm did several excellent analyses and reviews on these type of batteries - I recommend that you check out the video. For the price, IKEA's remarketed Eneloop batteries are a great value. Eneloop advertises that they hold 70% of their charge after 10 years. I would expect that the IKEA brand would do as well.
 
Last edited:

lunas

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Messages
199
for aa/aaa lights = white eneloops. Best are lithium primaries (cr123) if your light takes them. Li-ion can also be stored in lights without much of a problem, but Id rely on a light with mechanical switch or lockout to eliminate parasitic drain if its stored of that long. But since you only use those lights so seldomly there is really no point of going rechargeable. Dont go for built-in batteries, they all eventually go bad no matter which one and then you can toss the device.
His only option is lithium primaries. Everything else either leaks or loses charge over time
1. L91 l92 and 123 lithium primaries (only option that ticks the boxes.
2. Alkaline w/disposable light while keeping in mind it might not work when needed.
3. Rechargeable doesn't matter the chemistry they loose energy over time eneloop, li-ion, NiMH, NiCD, lead acid if they do not get charged regularly and are left sit on shelves they will lose charge.
The ones that lose the least are single cells not electrically connected eneloop or lithium ion/poly/MN/fe cells. NiMH most are designed to have low self discharge eneloop is a well known brand that prides itself on that feature.
 

cave dave

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 15, 2001
Messages
3,658
Location
VA
For C batteries in my Maglight 3xC in the car door I use AA size Energizer L91 lithium primary in AA to C converters. I use the Eneloop labeled ones but there are a variety on they webstores that have everything.

Indoors I use AA and AAA rechargable eneloops, a few Lithium AA and AAA and Surefire CR123 primaries.

Many of the currently available LiIon lights and some AA, AAA lights have a phantom drain that will drain the light in less than 12 months. Some can be locked out by untwisting the head or tail, but some can not be disconnected from the power source. If it has a side button switch for on/off it likely has a phantom drain.
 

paulsiu

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
10
It's hard to find Nicad any more. I think they were being phases out and replace by NIMH because cadium may be more expensive and harsh for the environment.

What about something like Energizer Max that are alkaline with some sort of leak proof guarantee? I have no idea how good they are on honoring the agreement or how they would price the item you need to replace.
 
Top