The flashlight won’t turn on. The smoke detector is emitting ominous beeps. The toddler’s favorite firetruck with lights and sounds is buzzing instead of screeching.
What’s going on? You already know — the batteries are running low.
If you’re like some of us, you probably have a few spares rolling around in a junk drawer or quietly losing their charge under the kitchen sink. Usually, you end up running out to the store anyway because you can’t find the right one.
There’s a better way! There are six types of batteries you should have on hand for those irritating little moments when you just want to pop one in and fix the problem.
Here’s our breakdown of the batteries you should try to keep stocked at home — for sanity’s sake.
You’ve seen these used for all kinds of small electronics, from calculators to glucometers. They come in varying sizes themselves and carry a charge between 1.55 and 7 volts.
If you purchase a product that uses these, it’s a great idea to grab an extra button cell for when the included battery inevitably goes dead.
Devices that use these are picky, though. Take careful note of the size and the voltage of the battery your product uses — a battery with the wrong specs simply won’t work.
These chunky fellows work in larger devices like flashlights, lanterns and portable stereos.
Cs are a bit rarer than some of the more common sizes, like AA, but they’re good to have around just in case — that high-powered flashlight your dad got you for Christmas in 2015 might start flickering right when you need it most.
A hefty battery for electronics that need a continuous source of power — like automatic paper towel dispensers or wireless stereo speakers.
Grab a pack to keep your backup battery collection in good shape.
Like Cs and Ds, the 9V (9-volt) battery is a little obscure. Not as many devices use them as other battery types, but you might be surprised. (I have a digital thermometer that uses a 9V — definitely something that might need changing in a pinch.)
You know them. You love them. The undisputed king and queen of everyday batteries, the AA and AAA sizes come in handy for all sorts of devices.
Luckily, many brands sell large multipacks of AAs and AAAs, so it’s easy to stock up. Then, when the TV remote starts going on the fritz, you can easily grab one, pop it in and move on with your life.
Alkaline vs. Lithium vs. Rechargeable Batteries
All of the battery sizes listed above come in different formulations. Alkaline batteries are the most common type, easy to find at grocery stores and gas stations.
Lithium batteries are similar, but a little more expensive. They last longer than alkalines and can sit in storage for up to 15 years, compared to alkalines’ 10-year max. (Note: Keeping them in a cool place helps them hold their charge.)
Finally, rechargeable batteries are a great option to cut back on waste. Disposable alkaline and lithium batteries, when not disposed of properly, can leak and pollute the environment. Rechargeables reduce the number of batteries that end up in landfills.
Whatever kind you choose, a backup battery kit can take a load off your mind — and get the kids’ toys back to full-strength shrillness in no time.
[h/t: Bob Vila]