Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying Batteries At The Dollar Store

At only a dollar an item, many things at the dollar store feel like a great steal, and many things are! But there are some items you're just better off shelling out a few extra bucks for at a different retailer, and batteries are among them. Ever open a battery-powered device to find that icky gook covering the batteries and sticking to the inner workings of the appliance?  Sometimes it can even damage or destroy the device in question. That's due to leaking batteries, and if you'd like to avoid that, you should avoid dollar store batteries.

According to Kiplinger, most batteries sold for super-cheap at the dollar store are carbon-zinc batteries, which not only fail to last nearly as long as name-brand alkaline batteries, but they are much more likely to leak and potentially cause damage. And the publication claims that even name-brand batteries labeled "heavy duty" that they found at Dollar Tree came with a warning reading "Use for low-drain devices," like remote controls or clock radios. 

Even if you find good batteries, they may be old

Even if you forgo buying the super cheap, leak-prone type of batteries and instead opt for real brand name alkaline batteries, those batteries are probably pretty old and not likely to last as long, or perform as well as a fresher package from a regular retailer. This is because dollar stores aren't ordering batteries directly from the manufacturer and somehow magically pricing them lower than standard retailers — they are selling discarded batteries that stores like Target have taken off their shelves for being too close to their expiration dates.

"Batteries may have been on a Target shelf for three years, and now they don't hit Target's standards anymore," Brent Shelton, online shopping expert for Fatwallet.com, told Readers Digest. "[Dollar stores] are not ordering new batteries and pricing them well — they're taking old stuff off other stores' shelves." So while some items might be a great deal at the dollar store, cheap batteries may not be worth the risk if you want your electronics to run at their best.