As for battery life, a few years back I helped my 5th grader with his science experiment where we wired up two AA batteries to a couple flashlight bulbs and put an old battery operated alarm clock (the kind with hands and dials and not digital). We measured how long the batteries would run. We varied the type (Lithium, Alkaline, & 2400 mAH NiMH rechargeable) and brand (Duracell, Duracell Procell, Energizer, Energizer Industrial, Rayovac, & Eveready). It was a lot of batteries to test, but fun to show my son how electricity works.
As expected, the Lithiums far outperformed rechargeable & alkalines. The rechargeables were slightly better than the alkalines. Of the alkalines, there wasn't much difference between the Rayovac & the Duracell/Energizer brands. Considering I'm usually able to get Rayovac on sale/rebate @ Menards or the other hardware stores, I prefer them for my alkaline needs as they represent the best bang for the buck.
You really can't beat cheap Rayovacs, unless you're prone to just leaving batteries in stuff and forgetting it until they leak. As for corrosion, I've had a few leak on me, but that's something I've come to expect from any alkaline batteries left unattended. I keep my Rayovacs in the plastic box I buy them in and put them in kids toys & TV remotes as needed. When they die, I promptly replace them.