I used a rotation of about 6 AA rechargables that lasted for about 4 years, which was good value. Then up until about 6 months ago after having to dispose of the rechargables, I thought I'd buy and give the play and charge kit a try.
I found the rechargables lasted longer than the play and charge kit, but find it convenient that I can play while it charges using the kit.
I've got about 4 play and charge kits (2 white, 1 red, 1 black) and none of them work anymore. They just don't hold any power unless plugged in. I'm looking for a cheap charging dock that charges batteries in the controller (since I've got about 5 controllers
I can choose from) since that will be my cheapest option, otherwise a wired controller is pretty good (if you don't sit too far away from your Xbox).
I use the play & charge. I've had three of them for a few years (one since '06) & have yet to replace one. You don't even need to worry about how long the charge lasts since you can charge them while you play... But the charge lasts quite a long time.