Published: Nov 15, 2012 5:14 PM EST
Updated: Nov 15, 2012 6:17 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Consumer Reports) - It's the worst moment of Christmas morning:  the second you realize you forgot the batteries.

Every year, Americans buy millions of batteries.  By far, most are size AA.  But which ones last the longest, and give you the most charge for your change?

Consumer Reports tested dozens, including big names like Energizer, and store brands like Walgreen's and CVS.

Testers rated Eveready Gold batteries as the worst.  When used in a digital camera, they lasted only long enough to take 52 photos before dying.

By contrast, Energizer Lithium batteries were the best, taking 682 photos in the same test.

But lithium batteries are often more expensive; in this case, more than $2.50 per battery.

"Lithium batteries will cost more, but they can be worth it for digital cameras and other high-drain devices," says Consumer Reports' Sarah Goralski.  "Alkaline batteries don't tend to last as long, so they're better for low-drain devices like flashlights or television remotes."

Consumer Reports rated Duracell Ultra Power as its top Alkaline battery.

For families with children, most batteries help power toys.  Consumer reports says for those homes, rechargeable batteries are best because they can be used again and again.

When you're done with them, rechargeable batteries should be recycled, along with lithium batteries.

While many places allow you to throw out alkaline batteries, Consumer Reports says it's good to recycle those, too.

To learn more about how and where you can recycle batteries, visit www.Earth911.com