How To Test AA Battery Using A Voltmeter & Multimeter

Electrical devices like toys, flashlights, and remotes generally feature AA batteries. When these devices stop working, their batteries are the usual suspects. To test them, you must know how to use a voltmeter, a multimeter, and other special devices.

Since most people are unfamiliar with this device, they opt for the fastest replacement method. This method involves replacing the existing battery with a new one to see if all functions will be restored. 

If the new battery powers the device, it is assumed that the previous one is now bad or damaged. Using any metering device, on the other hand, can help you with all sorts of batteries, not just AA types.

This guide will teach you how to test AA batteries with a voltmeter, multimeter, and other alternative methods. You will also learn about the major principles guiding each technique.

What Should the Voltage Read on an AA Battery?


Before testing, knowing what a good or bad reading would look like in an AA battery is essential.

While manufacturers produce AA batteries with different ratings, most ratings usually sit between 1.25 and 1.5 volts. For a used battery, you should expect a lower reading.

How to Test AA Battery

There are various methods you can use to test AA batteries. Most of these procedures measure the electrical resistance of a battery in a state of rest.

Without further ado, let’s go through the various ways you can test an AA battery:

How to test an AA battery with a voltmeter

  1. Testing an AA battery with a voltmeter begins with setting the direct current voltage (DCV) to 20.
  2. Connect the red probe of the voltmeter to the battery’s positive terminal and jot down the reading. The reading here indicates how much charge is left on the battery.
  3. At this stage, if the reading is low or zero, such a battery is dead and should be replaced. This test must be performed more than once for an accurate reading of an alkaline AA battery.
  4. If the value is at 1.5 or very close, such a battery is still okay for use.

How to test an AA battery with a multimeter

The process is almost similar to a multimeter. The only difference is that it involves connecting two (red and black) probes to the battery terminals.

  1. It begins with adjusting the DCV setting on your meter to 2 or 20 volts.
  2. Connect the red probe to the battery’s positive terminal and the black probe to the battery’s negative terminal.
  3. Check the meter’s dashboard for readings that should appear in millivolts (mV). 
  4. If there is no indication of power being generated by the battery or no reading, the battery is no longer functional and should be replaced.

Alternative ways of testing AA battery

If you do not have a voltmeter or multimeter, can you still test an AA battery? Yes, you can use any of these alternative methods:

Test the battery in a device

This is similar to the replacement method I discussed earlier. The only difference here is that you will insert the suspected battery in another device instead of replacing it with a new one in the same device.

If the battery you think is spoiled works in another device like a remote or video game controller, it means the battery is still functional. In other words, your troubleshooting efforts should be focused somewhere else.

Test the battery via a drop test

Drop tests work best for alkaline (non-rechargeable) AA batteries. This process involves dropping an AA battery’s bottom (usually the negative terminal) on a hard surface.

If the battery bounces lightly, there is a high chance it is still functional. However, if it bounces remarkably, such a battery is likely dead and should be replaced.


Does shaking an AA battery help?

Sometimes, when you shake a dead battery, it may become functional again.

However, this only works with AA batteries with liquid energy storage and will not always work.

What is the average life of a AA battery?

AA batteries can last up to 2 hours or more. Brands like Duracell can even go up to 10–20 hours with low-powered devices like flashlights.

Do unused AA batteries expire?

Unused AA batteries expire. To know their best if used by (BIUB), check the upper part of the battery.


It is safe to say there is more than one way to test AA batteries. For those with a voltmeter or multimeter, you can follow the processes above to know the amperage of AA batteries successfully. In this case, readings to expect may range from 1.25 to 1.5 volts or more.

You can opt for any alternative methods for those without a metering device. However, you should be aware that these methods are not error-proof and will not provide you with any readings.

I hope you found this guide helpful. A deteriorating battery warrant testing. Here is how to tell if a battery is damaged.

Thank you for reading.