31 March 2009

Get good deals on electronics batteries at the dollar store

Tracy Hengst found a good source for cheap batteries:

I get so frustrated when those books or toys that require odd-sized batteries need replacements. They are SOOO expensive and wouldn't you know that the package would only come with 2 to a pack and I'd need 3. So, one day I happened into the dollar store and picked up a package of batteries (5 or more to a pack depending on size) for $1.00! I'm not always able to find the exact match so experimented and have found that ones that are close in size have worked just fine. Sure, the batteries don't last as long as the name brands... but for the length of time the kids use the books or toys, it generally works out.

Ugh. Batteries. I cringe every time I buy them. We've made an almost complete transition to rechargables, but we still need a few odd sizes here and there. Does anyone have other suggestions for cheap battery sources?

Related: Simplify battery replacement

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Our Target store has a "dollar store" section at the front. I assume they all do. There are almost always Rayovac brand batteries for $1 there. Just the standard sizes, none of the special ones. Despite my best attempts to the contrary, I am in that store at least once a week, so it's easier to grab them there than a special trip to the dollar store. I've found they last about 3/4 the time that the name brand ones do, but at 1/10 the cost, it's a great deal.

The only problem I have had is with the 9V size. We attempted to replace all the smoke detector batteries (10 of them) but the newer detectors are designed to work only with the name brand 9V with certain model numbers. So when we put the cheapies in, the detectors kept on beeping with the low battery chirp. Apparently, all 9V's are not created equal. They worked just fine in the 9V toys though, good enough for me!

I used to use Ray-o-vacs in my Palm Pilot, which had a little battery monitor program. They actually performed as well as or better than Energizer and Duracell, for less money.

A lot of "Dollar" stores carry Panasonic batteries and those batteries are actually the number one seller in Japan because they last longer. Another place (thanks Consumer Reports) is Costco where the Kirkland Signature are rated well and average .21 each (must by 48 but not like they go bad very fast)

I order online from where ever google shopping says has the best unit cost for batteries. Just ordered a bunch of small button batteries to fit little toys for $0.19/ea versus $1.50/ea from the local drugstore. even with shipping, the unit cost came out to about $0.35/ea, and now I have enough to last until the kids outgrow these toys.

We had that same problem, too -- our musical books kept dying after lots of love. You'll think this is crazy but we bought ONE HUNDRED of them from Amazon for super cheap (third party vendor). We figured it was worth it to see if they were any good because they were so inexpensive. What a buy! They aren't name brand but they totally work great!!! Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/d3zsma

Love your site!

Enjoy! :)
~Jen

A related question:
Is there a nationwide chain that will accept spent batteries similar to Home Depot's receptacle for spent CFL bulbs? I have a ziplock of spent batteries that I know I shouldn't throw in the trash; but I can't find a place that will take them--any suggestions out there? Thanks.

Take a look at http://dealextreme.com/

2032 cells are $3.66 for 20, AG13 cells are $4.04 for 50 and so on. The prices include worldwide shipping.

I have no idea how they make a business out of that, but I give them money and they send me stuff. Every time.

@Lainie - Home Depot in Canada accepts spent *rechargable* batteries for recycling, but not alkaline or ni/cad ones. Maybe check with your local municipality. In our city you can take them to the EcoStation - part of our waste management program that accepts items like old paint, batteries, computer components - for safe recycling or disposal. Most items are free to drop off, small fees apply for others.

Wow, Toke, thanks for that link! I'm sick of dropping $3 or more per battery on 2032s, which are in everything! Just sent them my $3.66.

Ikea accepts used batteries (both alkaline and rechargeable).

Thanks for the ideas, everybody! These are great. My husband (techie) told me that the extra-cheap batteries don't last as long as the good brands, but I hadn't taken the time to price out the very low cost vs. the actual battery life.

Those CR 2032's are a pain, aren't they? I wonder if you could cannibalize them from toys the children are no longer playing with?

Rechargeables are the way to go for all your other battery needs. The only issue with rechargeables is, they do lose their charge as they sit unused. I wouldn't put rechargables in something critical like a smoke detector.

A note on battery sizes that I learned from a teacher - just because you have a smaller battery size than you need doesn't mean it won't work. The difference between battery sizes is almost exclusively current capacity.

In other words, the bigger batteries simply deliver the same current for a longer period of time without losing power, or produce a higher current load over a short period of time. (I'm talking about your normal cylinder-shaped batteries here, not the disk-shaped ones - I'm sure the concept is the same, but I'm not sure how to adapt this advice to those versions)

But if you're stuck with AAAs and you need AAs, you can just fold up a tiny piece of aluminum foil (he used a gum wrapper) to fill the space between the nipple end of the battery and the connector and in most cases your battery-powered thingy should work fine.

Of course, this won't necessarily work for every purpose. They'll die a lot quicker if your thingy pulls a ton of power like some toys do. And I wouldn't try it for expensive electronics, just in case the capacity is required for startup, or the current load drop-off causes a problem.

But for basic stuff like flashlights, clocks, timers, etc, it's a perfect fix. Just be aware the the battery will likely burn out a bit faster.

yes take them to best buy..usually in the front entrance you will find recycle bins for all types of batteries.

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