Leaking batteries -- is it becoming more common?

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
It has been many, many years since I have had an alkaline battery that has leaked. Even in stuff in which the battery sat for years without being used. But in the last week I've encountered three of them -- two Energizer and one Duracell -- and all in items in which fresh batteries were installed within the last three or four months. The latest is my wireless mouse. It will usually go well over a year on a set of batteries and the last time I changed them was around Christmas. It worked fine until today when it started not tracking movements reliably -- the classic sign that the batteries need replacement. I pulled them out and one of them had a thick layer of corrosion (nearly 1/4" thick) on the negative terminal.

Has something changed? Have they altered the battery construction to, perhaps, make them "greener" or meet some new regulation?

Has anyone else experienced an increase in leaking alkalines?
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
I have stopped buying Duracell alkaline cells, they leak before they are flat & well before there useby date.
When did this change?

For years (decades), Duracell has been my near-exclusive battery of choice, with Energizer being the go-to alternative if Duracells aren't available. I've never had problems with either, and I've had plenty of batteries that sat in my refrigerator until well after their expiration date and still worked fine (though I'm sure with a loss of capacity). Never a leak until now. The batteries that I've been using are all older -- I stocked up on most sizes about five years ago and ran out of AA and AAA batteries near the end of last year and bought a couple large packages of both (AA from Duracell and AAA from Energizer). It's those new batteries that aren't lasting and are leaking.

What are the good quality alkaline batteries now?

A long time ago (talking 30 or 40 years ago), you couldn't beat Radio Shack's Enercell batteries. But even if they were still around, I'm sure they would have cheapened them up to the point of uselessness by now.

I've been assuming that nearly any other battery brand I might try is likely a re-branded cheap Chinese crap brand. Like so many things (tools, DVD players, etc.) it seems you can't trust the old quality-name brands any more.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,588
When did this change?

For years (decades), Duracell has been my near-exclusive battery of choice, with Energizer being the go-to alternative if Duracells aren't available. I've never had problems with either, and I've had plenty of batteries that sat in my refrigerator until well after their expiration date and still worked fine (though I'm sure with a loss of capacity). Never a leak until now. The batteries that I've been using are all older -- I stocked up on most sizes about five years ago and ran out of AA and AAA batteries near the end of last year and bought a couple large packages of both (AA from Duracell and AAA from Energizer). It's those new batteries that aren't lasting and are leaking.

What are the good quality alkaline batteries now?

A long time ago (talking 30 or 40 years ago), you couldn't beat Radio Shack's Enercell batteries. But even if they were still around, I'm sure they would have cheapened them up to the point of uselessness by now.

I've been assuming that nearly any other battery brand I might try is likely a re-branded cheap Chinese crap brand. Like so many things (tools, DVD players, etc.) it seems you can't trust the old quality-name brands any more.
We normally use these alkaline batteries. The run of the mill consumer batteries are junk today.
https://www.energizerindustrial.com/
 

DNA Robotics

Joined Jun 13, 2014
657
I have stopped buying Duracell alkaline cells, they leak before they are flat & well before there useby date.
I agree. I’m sorry to hear that Energizer is going the same way.
I have been using grocery store brands lately.
I would rather they go dead and need changing, instead of leaking and ruining equipment.
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
Maybe somebody just sold you knock-off batteries.
I doubt that. I didn't buy these from Amazon or some guy in a back alley. These were purchased at a major retailer from the display booth that is stocked by Duracell and Energizer directly.
 

Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
6,785
I use mostly Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. Duracell and Energizer Ni-MH batteries were made in Japan maybe by Sanyo/Panasonic with their Eneloop technology and they worked well. They were engraved with the date they were made.

Lately, the Duracell and Energizer Ni-MH batteries do not last long and are made in China. No more date then no more guarantee but the same price as before.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
8,293
I hope I'm not saying something stupid. But it's my impression that its the batteries' structural materials that have gone cheap. Here's what happened a few days ago when I did a boo-boo and tried to spot-weld a 0.010" nickel strip to a battery, but my hand slipped and one of my welding machine's electrodes directly touched one of its poles:

1678460271342.png

Of course, the battery leaked abundantly through that orifice afterwards.



Also, here's another battery that I pulled out of a mishandled box:

1678460293030.png

Tells you something about the quality of the materials used in its fabrication, doesn't it?
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
I hope I'm not saying something stupid. But it's my impression that its the batteries' structural materials that have gone cheap. Here's what happened a few days ago when I did a boo-boo and tried to spot-weld a 0.010" nickel strip to a battery, but my hand slipped and one of my welding machine's electrodes directly touched one of its poles:


Of course, the battery leaked abundantly through that orifice afterwards.



Also, here's another battery that I pulled out of a mishandled box:

Tells you something about the quality of the materials used in its fabrication, doesn't it?
I don't think I would go that far. I have no idea what is and what is not reasonable to expect from a battery that is subjected to abuse. Hitting a battery with an ax or having it in a component that gets hit by lightening wouldn't tell me much about the quality of the materials -- at least not unless I could directly compare the effects between different batteries subjected to identical harsh treatment.
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
I use mostly Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. Duracell and Energizer Ni-MH batteries were made in Japan maybe by Sanyo/Panasonic with their Eneloop technology and they worked well. They were engraved with the date they were made.

Lately, the Duracell and Energizer Ni-MH batteries do not last long and are made in China. No more date then no more guarantee but the same price as before.
All of these batteries have dates on them.
 

Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
6,785
All of these batteries have dates on them.
Yes, I looked again at a Chinese Energizer AAA Ni-MH cell and a wrinkle appears at one end. The wrinkle was very bad engraving of its 09-21 date.
A Japanese one has very clear engraving of the date on its center.

The Chinese Duracell Ni-MH batteries have some kind of code.
 

wraujr

Joined Jun 28, 2022
169
Decade or two ago I used Energizers Alkaline and they would leak. In disgust I switched to Duracell for let's say the last ten years and buy them at Costco.....Then about 2-3 years ago, the Duracells started leaking and destroyed a couple Mini Mag Lights and spent too much time cleaning leakage residue from toys, remotes, etc... I have switched to Energizer Lithium at a significant cost difference, BUT I am counting on never having to clean up after a leaked battery. For high usage items like toys, I have been using Kirkland (supposedly Duracell?) and Energizer. Been doing this for about a year.. So far no leaks, but we'll see........
 

Thread Starter

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
It appears my battery woes extend well beyond the Duracell and Energizer alkalines.

I have a cordless phone that I replaced the NiMH battery in a couple years ago -- the prior one finally gave up the ghost after more than twenty years, so it definitely didn't owe me anything. I knew it was time to get a new battery when the charge wouldn't last more than a day, as opposed to more than a week (when there was no actual usage) before. But already the new battery won't last more than a couple hours off the charger and less than an hour when in use (and you can't have it on the charger when you are using it, which is poor design).

Then my cell phone needed a new battery about a year ago -- it was only a few years old at the time -- and the new one is already being flaky. It will show a charge of nearly 50%, but as soon as you try to use it, the phone shuts down and when you turn it back on, it claims only a couple percent and shuts down again. This started about two weeks ago and last night it did the same thing, but was showing 73% charge when I picked it up. My guess is that abnormally high internal resistance is leading to misinterpretations of the battery state.

None of these are cases where I bought a battery off Amazon or Ebay. These were all name-brand products procured by as official a source as I could find -- the cellphone battery was obtained from a Verizon store.

I can't help but blame all of this on a general cause of every manufacturer going out of their way to use the crappiest materials and construction techniques they can find and having no interest in actually making a quality product.

With this experience, there is NO WAY I would consider buying an electric vehicle -- not too sure I'm even comfortable riding in one. If those batteries aren't already going down this same road, give it time.
 

wraujr

Joined Jun 28, 2022
169
One thing is that NiMH and NiCad age on the shelf. Prior to switching to an iPhone (Li), I had a 15 YO flip from LG and could not get a decent battery. The ones I was buying had date codes that indicated they has been on the shelf for like 8-10 years and they would not hold a charge very long. See if you can decode the mfgr date code and see how long they have been on the shelf...
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,588

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,212
Decade or two ago I used Energizers Alkaline and they would leak. In disgust I switched to Duracell for let's say the last ten years and buy them at Costco.....Then about 2-3 years ago, the Duracells started leaking and destroyed a couple Mini Mag Lights and spent too much time cleaning leakage residue from toys, remotes, etc... I have switched to Energizer Lithium at a significant cost difference, BUT I am counting on never having to clean up after a leaked battery. For high usage items like toys, I have been using Kirkland (supposedly Duracell?) and Energizer. Been doing this for about a year.. So far no leaks, but we'll see........
I used Kirkland in the past and for me they were one of the worst leakers. I haven't bought them in a few years so maybe this has changed, but if you have them in something expensive then keep your eyes on it.
 

DC_Kid

Joined Feb 25, 2008
1,073
Yep, batts leak. Use one that does not leak.
Super pita to try and figure out which brand is best chemistry or made well. I figure that are all low quality stuff, so I just use stuff that gives least headache.

If there exists a decent chart of the top-100 batt makers, I would like to see it.
 
Top