Why You Probably Shouldn’t Buy Batteries from the Dollar Store

They're a bargain that could cost you more in the long run.

The dollar store is a handy destination to get a quick bargain. That said, there are some products you’re better off getting someplace else.

Case in point? Batteries. Sure, that huge econo-pack is tempting. How many times have your batteries died at exactly the wrong time, like the middle of a blackout? Having a ready supply on hand is a good idea. Check out these 11 items you should always get from the dollar store.

But experts say that the batteries you can buy at dollar stores are lower quality, Kiplinger reports. The carbon-zinc batteries that dollar stores typically sell don’t last as long as the alkaline name brands. In a comparison, Wired found AA batteries from the dollar store had less stored energy than those from Energizer and Duracell:

  • Dollar General: 2,983 joules
  • Energizer: 10,798 joules
  • Duracell: 9,398 joules

Even worse, dollar store batteries are likely to leak. For example, the “heavy-duty” packages of batteries you might find at the dollar store from brands such as Sunbeam and Panasonic may seem like a bargain at $1 per pack. But both packages were stamped with a warning that recommended you use them only for “low-drain devices,” such as clock radios. Find out the difference between Dollar Tree and Dollar General.

To preserve your gadgets, you’re better off buying your batteries from regular retailers, Gobankingrates.com reports. That doesn’t mean you can’t still get a bargain, however. “Save by purchasing these from the warehouse stores for the best deals, or use a coupon,” consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch says. Next, don’t miss 14 more things you shouldn’t buy at the dollar store.

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Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Prevention, Rhode Island Monthly, and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.