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Alkalines perform poorly at subfreezing temperatures (reduced capacity), as this chart from Energizer (PDF) shows.

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There are two distinguishing features of alkalines: First is their long shelf life—they've still got plenty of energy even after sitting around for seven years (vs.

rechargeable batteries, which lose their charge much faster), and that they're prone to leaking.

This is nice especially given that smoke detector batteries are bothersome to replace. mail and why they can't go in your checked luggage when you fly.

And when you go through only one battery every few years, rechargeability becomes less important. It's rare for lithium batteries to explode, but they're more likely to than other kinds of batteries. Here's a story about someone who nearly lost a finger when the lithium cell in his flashlight exploded.

For most purposes, there's a better alternative to alkaline. Pick the features you need in the table at right to see which alternate batteries are better. Man, if you can't find alkaline batteries, you've got bigger problems. Standard alkalines don't work well (or at all) in high-drain devices like digital cameras, because they can't pump out the juice fast enough.

There are special high-drain versions like Duracell Ultra, Energizer Advanced Formula, and Kodak Photolife which do work, but high-drain devices go through batteries quickly no matter what kind of battery, so the better solution for high-drain devices is to use rechargeables so you're not always buying batteries. Alkalines have decent capacity, though the capacity is rarely stated on the packaging.Those Lithium-Ion packs are rechargeable, but only when they're installed in the device they're powering, or in a special charger.Rechargeable Lithium-Ions are not available in AAA-D sizes, though they're available in the 9V size. At cool temperatures (68°F, 20°C), a lithium battery will retain 90% of its charge for about 15 years.That's not too much of a problem, because there's not much difference in capacity from brand to brand (as long as you're comparing standard to standard, and high drain to high drain).They're all pretty much the same, despite the manufacturers' commercials.Don't try to use it again—it's just gonna continue leaking.

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