Tech Myth: Is It Safe to Mix Batteries?

updated May 6, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For as long as we can remember we’ve heard the old wives tale that you should not mix battery brands in the same device. Naturally, that did nothing to prevent us from doing it frequently. We’ve never had any problems before (or so we thought) so it had to be fasle, right? Well it turns out the answer might have you running to the drug store after work.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’re sure the story is familiar. The batteries run out in your remote or wireless mouse suddenly and you’re scrambling to replenish them and in fact, it often comes down to temporarily “borrowing” batteries from another device to place in your other one. This can often lead to mixing and matching of battery brands. But is this bad for your device or even your safety?

A quick search will online will yield vastly different results between unofficial websites such as Yahoo! Answers. Some suggest it is perfectly fine while others caution against it vehemently. But digging further, we found an interesting bit of information from Duracell’s official FAQ on their website:

“Different batteries are designed for different purposes. Mixing a lithium battery with an alkaline battery will not improve device performance. In fact, it will reduce performance and may even damage your device or cause battery leakage or rupture.

As well, do not mix different battery brands within a device. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may also cause battery leakage or rupture. We recommend using the same type of batteries within a device.”

And not only do they recommend not mixing across brands but they caution even so far as to say that you should not mix old and new batteries as well. They recommend you buy all new batteries when it comes time to replace them. All of this sounded well and good but we’ve never had a problem with a battery leaking or anything but it got us thinking about the performance and welfare of our device. Have we been doing our tech a disservice by not matching battery types and brands? Are we missing out on longer lasting battery life and cutting our device’s life short? It certainly is food for thought and we’ll be buying a single battery type in bulk next time they’re on sale and see if our battery life lasts any longer.