Melissa Gabriel was actually given batteries as a baby shower gift.
"My friend who'd had kids before said you have no idea how much you're going to need these all the time," she said.
Two boys later, Melissa is constantly buying batteries.
AA batteries are the biggest sellers. They're commonly used in flashlights, digital cameras, remote controls and toys.
Consumer Reports tested a dozen, including big names like Energizer and store brands like Walgreens and CVS.
Testers used a rack to evaluate battery performance. It is programmed to mimic a digital camera and a flashlight.
The tests turned up big differences.
The Eveready Gold - the worst batteries - took only 52 shots before dying.
The Energizer Ultimate lithium - the best - took 682 shots. But they are expensive; more than $2.50 per battery.
"Lithium batteries do cost more, but they can be worth it for digital cameras and other high-drain devices," says Sarah Goralski.
Among alkaline batteries, top ratings went to the Duracell Ultra Power for about a dollar per battery.
"Akaline batteries don't tend to last as long, so they are better for low-drain devices like flashlights or remotes," said Goralski.
And for families like Melissa's, who use a lot of batteries to power toys, Consumer Reports says rechargeable batteries are the best.
Lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries should be recycled. And while many places allow you to throw out alkaline batteries, Consumer Reports says it is good to recycle those too.
You can find the nearest recycling center at Earth911.com