Will AA Batteries Ever Go Away?

   09.14.17

According to Wikipedia, the AA battery was introduced in 1907. Being 110 years old, it seems the AA would have been replaced and forgotten about by now. What makes the AA so popular? Maybe because it works and so many devices use it.

A few days ago, my trusted Canon Powershot SX20 camera took a fall. It landed on the lens and then bounced to the side. At first everything looked okay, as just a small piece of plastic broke off the housing. But when the camera was turned on, the viewfinder gave a lens error. The camera is six or seven years old, so maybe it was time for an upgrade.

Over the past decade of running the survivalist forum, my blog, and YouTube channel, I have used a number of point-and-shoot cameras. Generally, I prefer cameras that use AA batteries.

So when I started looking for another camera, one place I went was Reddit where I posted a question about cameras that use AA batteries. The thread only received a couple of replies, and even had a couple of downvotes.

I ended up having to explain that I want standardization across multiple devices.

Why AA Batteries?

AA batteries are a wonderful creation. In all honesty, they are almost the perfect battery for handheld devices.

When I go hiking or camping, I like my devices to use the same battery:

  • GPS
  • Flashlight
  • Camera

For the past decade, expect for a couple of high-drain devices such as trail cameras, all of my AA batteries have been rechargeable. The night before a hiking trip, batteries for the GPS, flashlight, and camera are recharged using a single charger. The batteries are counted as I plan, and spares are charged.

If all three devices use different batteries, at least two different chargers would be involved.

GPS batteries go dead, where are the spares?

Flashlight batteries go dead, where are the spares?

Camera battery goes dead, where are the spares?

In a worst-case situation when I am having to walk home in the dark, I can take batteries out of the camera or GPS to use in the flashlight; and if needed, I can use a compass and TOPO map to get home.

Different Batteries

A lot of my flashlights use 18650 batteries.

Three of my Maglights use D batteries.

The issue is, those batteries only fit one of my devices.

In the end, for simple low-drain handheld devices, AA batteries reign supreme.

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