Best Battery Tester For Small Batteries in Household – AA and Other Formats

You can easily make a mistake when searching for a best battery tester for small batteries.

That is because there are hundreds of them on the marketplace. And only two brands sell the quality stuff.

Of those two brands, one sells two different units. That is why this article will review only these three household battery testers.

I hate wasting money and even worse wasting my time. Most of the battery testers you can get today are just toys that were manufactured with poor quality and they are not reliable at all. You would be better off without them.

In order to get your money’s worth, you will need to get any of the following recommendations. They are a bit more expensive than the junk that is being sold as their alternatives but it is well worth it.

You should stay away from the unreliable battery testers because they will in most cases show false analysis, die on you, break due to their poor build, show that a battery is dead when it is not and etc.

3 Best Battery Testers For Alkaline, NiMH, AA or other Household Battery Formats or Types

I compiled this list based on my humble opinion and the research that I conducted. I had to verify my own bias just in case, but generally speaking, you won’t find better battery testers than these.

They will be great alkaline battery testers or for NiMH rechargeable AA batteries and for pretty much any other format. You can use them even with the button cell batteries.

I will do my best to present you with all of the information about these three units. They will be from the Tenergy brand and the ZTS. Tenergy is going to be your cheaper and less quality option but still good enough while the ZTS is the real deal here. I will review two ZTS units.

Now let’s get going!

1. ZTS Multi Battery Tester – ZTS MBT-1 – The Best Battery Tester Overall

image of the Best battery tester ZTS MBT-1

ZTS is one of those brands that you just have to love. They do their job way better than others in their field and they have been doing it for a long time.

ZTS battery testers are made in the USA and they are based in Cincinnati, Ohio. I guess being associated with a name like Cincinnati means that you have to perform well, ha!

The ZTS MBT-1 is a serious device that easily takes the spot as the best battery tester for small batteries overall. You won’t find similar quality devices in my humble opinion. However, this battery tester is quite expensive. I don’t know if everyone will really need it as there are two other options on this list that are cheaper.

This battery tester will give you accurate readings and in a 2 to 3 seconds time using a sophisticated pulse load test that is patented in the USA by the ZTS. This test that their device runs on your batteries is the reason why they are so accurate.

Let me explain.

The Pulse Load Test, as they call it, is a special kind of current drain that occurs with the battery as the test is being made. The reason why it is called a pulse load is to let you know that the load only takes a moment and is then automatically disconnected.

This allows the battery to be measured properly under the actual draining load. The same kind of load that would happen if you were to use the battery in some device. But don’t worry, it will not spend your battery charge in any noticeable amount.

Instead, it will provide you with the most accurate results that you can get from the battery testers on the market.

The ZTS MBT-1 is very simple to use device that allows you to check the power of more than 40 different battery types. This is a great alkaline battery tester and a great rechargeable battery tester at the same time.

And this is why.

This household battery tester accurately tests NiMH, NiCD, Li-Ion, alkaline, lithium and carbon zinc batteries. It works with almost all battery formats including the 3.6v lithium ions, button cells, 1.2 rechargeable, 1.5v formats AA, AAA, C, D, lithium coin, 6v 28 series, 12v alkalines a23, 9v alkaline and etc.

You get the picture. It analyses pretty much anything.

How it works

This is a fairly simple device to use.

It is powered with 4 AA batteries. Any AA batteries will do.

After you power on the device, all you need to do is to place the battery with its positive end on the designated spot on the tester and touch and hold the negative lead on the negative side of the battery. Hold it in place for 2-3 seconds while the pulse load takes test takes place.

After a brief moment you will get the battery capacity on the LED bar display. Accurate and correct.

Easy-peasy.

As previously explained this device tests your battery under load. It will not just display the battery voltage leaving you guessing as to exactly how much charge is left.

Pros:

  • Tests over 40 battery types and formats
  • Very simple and easy to set up and use
  • It gives you a detailed analysis of how much charge is left
  • Uses a special patented pulse load testing
  • You get the result quickly
  • Tests alkaline, lithium, NiMH, NiCD, Lithium-ion…
  • Made in the USA by a reputable brand
  • Has a quality build
  • Looks and feels professional

Cons:

  • It is bulky and a bit heavy sitting at about 14.5 oz. / 400g. Add to that 4 AA batteries and you get a pretty hefty device.
  • Expensive.

ZTS MBT-1 Battery Tester Final worlds

image of a side view of the ZTS MBT-1
Image shows the side view of the ZTS MBT-1. It shows where the negative probe is stored within the device.

Specifications:

Testing battery type:Accepted Battery Formats:
3.6v Li-Ion rechargeableRCR123A, 18500, 17650, 18650
1.5v button cell364, 377, 371, 392, 395, S76, A76, A625, A640, LR44, 357, 303
1.2v NiMH/NiCd rechargeableAA, AAA, C, D
1.5v lithiumAA L91, AAA L92
3v lithium coinCR1216, CR1220, CR1232, CR1612, CR1616, CR1620, CR1632, CR2016, CR2025, 58L, 1/3N, CR2032, CR2320, CR2430, CR2450
6v ’28’ series28A, S28, 28L, 544, 4LR44
3v lithium cylindricalCR123, CR2
1.5v alkalineAA, AAA, C, D, N
12v alkalineA23
9v alkaline & carbon zinc9v classic format

If you are looking for an AA battery tester to use sporadically then this might not be your choice. However, if you are looking for something that can test pretty much any household batteries and give you excellent reading then you found your machine.

This is an expensive option but it will provide you with the overall best experience. If you need a professional device from a reputable brand then you found it.

There are two other options to pick from. Both much cheaper. So let’s see what else is there.

2. ZTS – Mini MBT – The Best Household Battery Tester

Now why does this device get the household tester best choice?

Because it is much cheaper than the no1 pick that was the best small battery tester overall. And because the ZTS mini still offers pretty much everything you would need in a regular household.

On top of that, it is also a great portable battery tester because unlike its big bro it is way slimmer and lighter.

This device will provide you with the same reliability and accuracy as the no1 choice because it is made by the same brand and utilizes the same technologies. The only difference is in its size and the number of batteries it can test.

It can’t test all of the batteries its big bro can but it can test pretty much everything you would need on a regular basis. It is probably the best AA battery tester for the money or for any other regular batteries that you would use in your home.

It tests more than 15 battery types and formats.

It is a great alkaline battery tester, NiMH or NiCD rechargeable testers, it also tests 3.6v Li-Ion 18650 and other Li-Ions which is great, 9v batteries…

You can’t test button cells with it, 1.5v lithium, 12v alkaline, and a few others that you could with the bigger model. If that is not a deal breaker for you then you are probably going to be just fine with the ZTS Mini MBT model.

I am especially happy that they didn’t nerf it too much and removed the Li-ions from testing. Having the ability to test Li-ions makes this the best 18650 battery tester as well.

How this battery tester works

Well it is very similar to the previous model. The basic principle is still the same.

It uses  4 AAA batteries as opposed to the AA batteries for the bigger model. This means that it will be lighter which is a plus.

Once you place the positive end of the battery to the designated contact terminal on the device and connect the negative test probe to the negative pole of the battery, the device will initiate a Pulse Load Test that will result in reading on its LED bar display.

It provides the same accuracy as the bigger model.

Pros:

  • Tests over 15 battery types and formats for a given price that’s a plus
  • Very easy to set up and use
  • It gives you a detailed analysis of how much charge is left
  • Uses a special patented pulse load testing
  • You get the result quickly
  • Tests alkaline, lithium, NiMH, NiCD, Lithium-ion…
  • Lightweight
  • Made in the USA by a reputable brand
  • Has a quality build
  • Looks and feels professional

Cons:

  • I don’t really know. Maybe that it is missing 1.5v lithium battery testing. I wish they somehow squeezed them in. Those are commonly used.

ZTS Mini MBT Battery Tester Final worlds

image of a side view of the ZTS mini
Side view where the power button is.
Image of the side view with the probe
Side view showing where the negative probe resides.

Specifications:

Testing battery type:Accepted Battery Formats:
3.6v Li-Ion rechargeableRCR123A, 18500, 17650, 18650
1.2v NiMH/NiCd rechargeableAA, AAA, C, D
3v lithium cylindricalCR123, CR2
1.5v alkalineAA, AAA, C, D, N
9v alkaline & carbon zinc9v classic format

This is probably your best bet as a home battery tester. It is not overly expensive while it provides you with the testing ability of pretty much every cell that you would normally use. It’s a shame they couldn’t squeeze in the 1.5v lithium. It would have been a perfect AA battery tester if it covered the whole general use spectrum.

Other than that, I think that you will not regret buying it. It is light and very portable, has a high quality build, tests are accurate and fast and it is not very expensive. Big recommendation from me.

3. Tenergy T-333 Universal Battery Tester

Image of the Tenergy T-333

Tenergy is one of my favorite battery brands and especially of rechargeable cells. Their battery tester is the best in their price range. Note that while their tester is much cheaper than any of the two above, it also offers less accuracy and battery types for testing.

However, among those cheap battery testers that are flooding the market, this one stands out as something that actually works and is well made.

Tenergy is a serious brand from my point of view. They are USA based, in California and they even offer call support for all of their products if you need any help or have any questions. They wouldn’t create a product that is just a plain dud. It is stupid to even compare them to those cheap junk battery testers that are out there but I have to as they are in their price range.

This is your best bet if you wish to get something that is really cheap but still reliable.

This battery tester will work with 12 different batteries that are commonly used. It is going to give you good readings for most of the household batteries. Of course that it is an alkaline battery tester for formats like AA, AAA, C or D and even N. It also supports button cells too and 9v batteries.

It will test alkaline, some lithium (non rechargeable) and rechargeable batteries of NiMH or NiCD types. See the specifications below to see more details.

How the Tenergy tester works

It is pretty easy to use.

First you need to power it with a single AAA battery that is included. That’s a plus on their side. Using less batteries to test batteries (deep stuff, lol), is much more economical but on another side, the ZTS is providing more accurate results and I suspect that it has something to do with them having more power for their special load test.

Once it is powered all you need to do is to place a battery in it to test it. Only test one battery at a time.

It will show you on its LCD screen how much charge is left. Very simple.

Pros:

  • Fairly accurate for the price
  • Well made
  • Very simple to use, even more easier than the ZTS as there are no probes and you don’t have to hold the battery while testing
  • USA based business. Tenergy is a reputable trusted battery brand
  • Tests a decent number of different cells
  • Result is fast
  • Uses only one AAA battery
  • Cheap
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Doesn’t feel very professional as opposed to ZTS
  • Less accuracy
  • Again no AA 1.5V lithium support. But if the pricier ZTS mini doesn’t offer it, it is not ok to expect Tenergy to offer it either. This is not a con but more of an FYI.

Specifications:

Testing battery type:Accepted Battery Formats:
Alkaline or primary lithium button cells. 1.5v and 3vUp to a diameter of 22mm
1.2v NiMH/NiCd rechargeableAA, AAA, C, D
3v lithium cylindricalCR123, CR2
3v lithiumCRV3
6v lithium2CR5, CR-P2
1.5v alkalineAA, AAA, C, D, N
9v alkaline, NiMH, NiCD9v classic

Are you looking for high quality batteries too?

I wrote a lot of articles about choosing the right batteries. The best quality AA batteries are mostly sought after but I also wrote about various other battery types. You can read about the top D batteries and the top of the C batteries as well here.

And in case you need the best 9v battery I wrote an article about those as well. Why would you need a battery tester unless you already have the batteries? Silly me, right? Well, maybe you need some more as a real battery guy never rests until the batteries are everywhere heh. Or maybe you still haven’t found a perfect brand for your needs. Either way, if you are looking for quality batteries I suggest you check those articles and see for yourself.

Conclusion

These were the best battery testers for small household batteries that you would generally use. The ZTS MBT-1 is the best choice overall and it is more like a professional machine than a home battery tester. If you are doing some serious work that relies on multiple types of batteries then that is your best bet.

If on another hand you want something just for your household batteries like AA or similar then the ZTS mini is your next best bet. And if you are after the cheapest alternative that is still very good then Tenergy is there for you.

I hope I helped you pick your choice. Please don’t fall victim to the cheap stuff that is going around showing inaccurate results and that is manufactured god knows where and in what conditions and whose workers were paid with next to nothing. It’s no surprise that such devices will underperform at best and not provide any good results at worst.

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