Q#146: Disposable batteries officially suck; why are they so lousy when you need them most?

I shouldn’t have been totally surprised this morning, but I still was. I’ve noticed an awful trend where every time I have to get disposable batteries (especially the bigger sizes, like D-batts), they just don’t last.

At first, I figured it was the whole “don’t buy store brand batts because they’re not nearly as good” thing, and that was where I had my first problems. I learned to avoid them and went straight to name brand batteries.

Yesterday, in prep for Hurricane Laura, I had to get new flashlights and more batteries because my old flashlights showed signs of major corrosion from–you guessed it–disposable batteries left in the flashlights. And the corrosion was so bad that even after cleaning them up as best I could, they were fried and I couldn’t use ’em with any other battery. So, I had to ditch my emergency stuff I thought I had ready to go and get more.

So, I got some cheap flashlights and plenty of batteries for them. I also had to get batteries for my emergency aerators in case the power went out and my fish tanks needed some oxygen put into the water til the power came back. So, there went a few batteries. I also have a good radio with a rabbit ear that I could use as a weather radio of sorts (my cell reception sucks out here, but the radio tuned in to the news works great–weird). So, there went two batts into that.

The most westward bands of Laura came within a few dozen miles of me, but I don’t think I got so much as a drop of rain out of it. Certainly no power outage. Got a nice breezy morning (while poor Louisiana’s getting it’s ass handed to them–sorry, guys). So, I figured as a precaution, and because I wanted to ensure everything would work, I decided to get a box to put all my emergency stuff in, but to first take out all the batteries, bag them up, and have ’em ready to go for next time.


I went to open my radio and take out the batteries there and there was wetness coming out the compartment.


Those batteries had just been bought. Hadn’t even been in the radio a full 24 hours (probably 18 at the most). I only turned on the radio for two minutes with the batteries in to make sure they worked because I’d never put batteries in before–I always used the cord.

Because of shit like this, it’s no wonder why I PREFER the cord!

So, one of the brand new name-brand batteries leaked all over. So, of course, that means rushing the radio to a counter where I could see what I was doing, and getting some paper towels to absorb the battery acid and clean off the connectors in the radio.

It was so wet, like water had gotten in. That’s what startled me. It was actually dripping out. Now I have the radio on the counter, flipped upside down to drain any residual juice onto towels that might’ve gone through the holes to hit the main radio. I sure hope not. I love that little radio and can do a bunch with it, like play my iPod on it with an aux jack when I get bored of the news.

And it’s cool-looking, which has gotten lots of comments, back when I was able to take it to work with me.

I hope like hell those batteries didn’t ruin my radio.

But that’s something I’ve noticed: disposable batteries just don’t last like they used to. It’s like they’re expected to be run down to the ground and not kept for emergencies anymore. I used to be able to put batteries in a flashlight or something and not have to change it out for months or years and they’d still be usable. Kinda like a TV remote.

But nope. The past few years I’ve noticed if you leave batts in more than 6 months, you’re gonna see corrosion more often than not. Either that or batts hate me, and we’re talking equipment I don’t use too often, like just during a power outage.

Now I’m starting to check my TV remotes every month just in case.

I wonder if that’s why all these newer flashlights they’ve got coming out seem to need a shitload of AAA or AA batteries, rather than the D batts. What’s with the D batts that they leak like crazy all the time these days?

I got one of those lantern-type lights and it’s got like 8 AA batteries in it. What? That gets pricey as hell getting all those AA batteries.

A big part of me was looking into investing in rechargeable batteries, but considering the cost–and what I’ve experienced with disposables so far–I’m really hesitant to go there.

More than that, regarding older emergency gear that still works (as long as it hasn’t been corroded to death, dammit), how come there haven’t been some kind of adapters created to make it so you can charge it and run the emergency item (radio, flashlight, whatever)? I know the compartments are all different, but surely there’s some kind of way you can have at least the connectors hit and maybe some packing to fill the rest of the compartment–if that’s the concern–and have this rechargeable thing put into the cradle to power the item.


I don’t have the terminology to know why this is or how this would work, but I’m so sick of battery leakage ruining things. Hell, I’ve seen it happen to remote controls a few times, too, so it’s not just the big stuff. What the hell is happening to quality control with disposable batteries?

Has anybody else had things ruined by these issues, or know what’s been going on with them? Is there some other chemical they’ve put in or metal they’ve had to use to reduce the toxicity or something and it’s messing with it?

Floor’s yours….

2 thoughts on “Q#146: Disposable batteries officially suck; why are they so lousy when you need them most?

  1. Ray Laskowitz says:

    I’m not sure why you are getting so much leakage. I use a lot of batteries and I can’t remember the last time one leaked. That said, I use store brand batteries from Best Buy. I usually buy 48 or 96. That takes me some time to use them. They remain fresh in storage and the last for a reasonable amount of time in use. Besides, they have a nice design color scheme of gray and blue. Heh.

    Liked by 1 person

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