How to Store Batteries: A Comprehensive Guide

Someone holding a handful of different types of batteries

Proper battery storage is critical for keeping your batteries performing at peak efficiency. Choosing to store batteries the right way can make a big difference in reducing corrosion, preventing leakage, and avoiding self-discharge. With these tips, your batteries will always be ready for a long moving day, emergencies, and keeping your electronics powered.

Tips for Storing Batteries

Follow these tips for how to store your batteries to protect both them and your devices — and to help increase your overall organization.

Tip #1: Store Batteries at Room Temperature

Room temperature battery storage can help extend the batteries’ lifespan. As you plan how to store batteries, make sure you take temperature into consideration. Years ago, popular wisdom suggested that you should store batteries in the fridge or freezer to expand their lifespan. More recent research, however, indicates that batteries do best in a cool, but not cold, dry location. If you’re planning to place batteries in a storage facility, consider a climate-controlled storage option. This will help keep your batteries safer. Extreme temperatures, including both high and low temperatures, can significantly affect overall battery life.

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Pro Tip for How to Store Batteries:

For more robust batteries like car batteries, opt for climate-controlled storage instead of an outdoor shed.

Tip #2: Remove the Batteries From Your Devices

Person taking old batteries out of a remote

When planning how to store batteries, always remove them from your devices. If you’re storing rechargeable batteries, you should not store them in the battery charger, either. Instead, place them in the original container or in a plastic box, away from any metal objects. Ideally, you should store lithium-ion batteries at around 30%-50% capacity. Try not to store li-ion batteries with a full charge whenever possible, as this could decrease their shelf life.

Tip #3: Store One-Time Use Batteries in Their Original Packaging If You Can

When storing batteries, you’ll want to store single-use batteries in their original packaging. These containers are specifically designed to keep the batteries’ positive and negative ends from coming into contact with one another. If you buy new batteries, keep those batteries in their original packaging for as long as possible.

If you don’t have the original packaging as you plan out your battery storage, find a small box or container just for battery storage. Store batteries with all the positive ends pointing in the same direction. Do not simply throw all of your batteries into a plastic bag.

Tip #4: Do Not Store New Batteries With Old Batteries

Most of the time, you will remove old batteries from the device they’re in and toss them when you’re done with them. Sometimes, however, you may take those old batteries out before they’ve completely lived their lives. Maybe you no longer want to use a specific device. Perhaps you know that you need to store a specific device long-term, and you do not want to store the batteries with it.

When you take those old batteries out of the device and plan how to store the batteries, place them in their own location. Do not store them with new batteries. Storing different types of batteries together can lead to grabbing one new battery and one old battery from the box, which can decrease charge or lower battery life.

Tip #5: Keep Batteries of the Same Type Together

You may have AA batteries, AAA batteries, D batteries, C batteries, 9 volts, and a host of others. You may also have batteries designed for specific appliances or a spare car battery in case your car goes dead over the course of the winter. So you need to know how to store batteries safely when you have multiple types on hand.

But as you consider how to store batteries of different types, try to store batteries of the same type together, rather than storing different types of batteries in one place. Do not store AA batteries with C or D batteries. Mixing them together and risking cross-contact could destroy battery life. It could also lead to increased corrosion or leakage, which could cause problems for your device. You may need more than one battery storage box, especially if you have multiple types of batteries that can no longer be stored in their original packaging.

Tip #6: Store Batteries Out of Reach of Children

If you have small children in your home, the decision about how to store batteries can become even more difficult. Small children might try to swallow batteries, especially small button batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, these batteries can pose a serious danger to children when swallowed. Batteries can burn through the esophagus, leaving children with severe or even lifelong damage.

If you have infants or small children at home, make sure all small button batteries are fully secured in the devices that use them. Look for screw doors. Make sure each one has a well-fitted screw that will help hold the battery door in place. If you have devices that use those batteries but which will allow easy access to the battery, consider storing those devices out of reach, too. Try storing batteries in high cabinets or keeping them behind a locked door.

Tip #7: Make Sure Your Batteries Are Stored in a Dry Place

Dampness can significantly impact battery life, especially if the batteries remain in that setting for an extended period of time. Even high humidity can decrease your charge level more rapidly, decreasing battery life and leaving you without the means to keep your devices running.
Store batteries away from areas that often get wet or where high humidity is normal. For example, you might not want to store your batteries in the bathroom or under the kitchen sink, where moisture can quickly end up in your storage area.

Tip #8: Always Store Batteries in Some Type of Container

When you consider how to store your batteries, make sure that you do not simply allow loose batteries to roll around in a drawer. Ideally, you want to store your batteries in a vapor-proof container, where they will be protected from moisture. One of the most important facets of how to store your batteries, however, is ensuring that they’re protected. You don’t want them to roll up against a jar of paper clips or other metal objects. That could inadvertently create a circuit and decrease your batteries’ lifespan.

Tip #9: Recycle Your Old Batteries

Non-rechargeable batteries, which have only a single use, should be removed from devices once they have used up their charge. If you leave them in the device, even if they no longer have a charge, they can corrode or suffer discharge. This can quickly damage your devices. Over time, even rechargeable batteries may no longer hold their charge as well as they did in the beginning.

Once your batteries reach this point, recycle them. Do not simply throw them away. Your local cell phone store may offer a trade-in option for your phone battery. If you replace your car battery, you may need to pay a core charge if you don’t recycle the old one. Many stores will return the core charge fee once you return an old battery.

For AA batteries, AAA batteries, and other standard size batteries, you may want to wait until local hazardous materials recycling dates or check with local home improvement stores. Home Depot, for example, offers a battery recycling program that will put your old batteries to good use.

If you’re unsure how to store batteries in your home or how to make the most of your existing space, try looking into additional storage tips or overall home organization tips. These resources can help give you a better understanding of how to safely store all types of items in your home.

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