How To Store Your Batteries

How To Store Your Batteries

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We really struggle at our house to keep a supply of batteries that are ready to go to work when needed. When Mark and I visit stores like Home Depot and Costco, we see racks with battery packages showing that if bought in bulk you often can save money.

Our challenge is knowing how to store batteries so we can take advantage of the bulk sales yet keep those batteries as fresh as possible.

I figured that if we are trying to make battery storage a simple task, others probably are faced with the same dilemma. I decided I would do some research and learn as much as possible so I could share the information in this post.

I could expand my research and try to cover things like car, boat, and camper batteries, but decided I’d focus on those small batteries we use in our flashlights, smoke alarms, clocks, calculators, and more.

Mark and I currently live in Southern Utah where it is very hot and dry. It seems like we go through batteries more often than when we lived up north where it’s cooler. Maybe it’s just me since from my reading higher humidity levels tend to be one of the culprits to shorter battery life.

Let’s get started in our efforts to learn how to store batteries. The order of information really isn’t as important as the content, so I hope you can easily follow along.

In case you missed this post: 100 Items That Will Disappear After An Emergency

How To Store Your Batteries

How To Store Your Batteries

Try to Keep the Batteries You Buy in the Original Sealed Package

Batteries typically come in those “hard to open” packages that usually require scissors to open. They are sealed that way so moisture (humidity) can’t access the batteries until it’s time to use them. Once opened they MAY begin to lose some charge, but generally, that’s a fairly slow process, unless the humidity level is high.

Another reason to keep them in that original packaging is to maintain the integrity of new vs old batteries you may have around. What you don’t want to do is mix older ones with those you’ve just opened.

As a backup plan when you didn’t save the original package, be sure to place them in a plastic container. If you have good-quality containers, they should be somewhat airtight. Plastic is preferred to metal containers since the metal can possibly interact with the batteries and cause a discharge.

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When you put them in the plastic container place them side by side with the positive conductor end toward the edge of the container. You may want to put tape on the ends of the next row or consider separating the rows with a small piece of cardboard so the ends don’t touch.

I opted to buy this Battery Storage Unit

Topaz, mentioned she likes this wall hanging Battery Storage Unit

Batteries Should be Stored by Type, Manufacturer, and Age

As we all know, household batteries come in many shapes and sizes with designations of AAA, AA, A, C, D, etc. Of course, the AAA batteries are smaller and are used in devices with a minimal power requirement, and so on up the line.

Storing batteries by their type/size is the best choice. It is also suggested that you don’t mix and match manufacturers since they MAY tend to interact with each other for some reason.

I read that if you have limited storage container space be sure to separate the batteries in the container by placing type and manufacturer carefully in a plastic bag or use the cardboard separators mentioned earlier.

As mentioned above, don’t mix your used or older batteries with those that are new. There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to change out a worn-out battery with the one you think is new and fully charged, just to have it fail in a short timeframe and have to change it again.

That is particularly true when changing out smoke alarm batteries that require you to get a ladder out of the garage to accomplish the task.

Try to Keep the Storage Temperature at “Room Temperature” or Lower

There is an old wife’s tale or myth that putting batteries in the refrigerator or freezer for storage will either bring them back to life or significantly extend their life. That really isn’t the case. It is best for long-term storage to try and keep the batteries in a place that you find comfortable.

When stored at a temperature of about 77°F/25°C (which I find to be a bit too warm for me), they will lose very little charge. A temperature of 34°F/1°C to 60°F/15°C MAY show a very minor benefit when it comes to storage life, but the risk from moisture/water damage is too high.

I read that some manufactures could suggest putting the batteries in the freezer, but that is certainly the exception. There is also the issue of having to allow the battery to warm up before use or it likely won’t work properly.

Humidity Control is Critical

Having lived in the western states most of my life I haven’t had to deal with humid environments. I do remember Mark and me visiting Sanibel Island off the west coast of Florida with family one Thanksgiving.

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We’d been to Florida on trips before and really hadn’t been bothered much, other than a trip in late September to Disney World. Boy that 90°F/32°C and 95% humidity was brutal! Anyway, after the Sanibel Island trip, we never could get the musty smell from our luggage.

Most batteries don’t like humidity. For some reason, Alkaline batteries seem to do better than others if the humidity is moderate, but most will last longer and perform better in drier environments. Also, it’s suggested to keep batteries up off the ground.

Keep the Stored Batteries Away from Metal of All Kinds

Besides water, metal conducts electricity better than most any material. Your batteries could begin losing their charge if stored anywhere in which they can come in contact with metal. That includes metal containers, any container with other metal items like coins or wire, etc.

As mentioned before, store the batteries in plastic containers, don’t let the positive and negative ends touch each other, and consider separating them with a piece of cardboard or masking tape.

What are Some Safety Considerations When Storing Batteries?

There are various safety issues when it comes to storing and using household batteries as follows:

If the device using the batteries is going to be taken out of service for any long-term period, remove the battery. When not in use, often batteries will begin to leak and could cause significant damage to the device.

That also goes for batteries that have lost their charge and stopped working. Immediately take them out and dispose of them properly.

Don’t allow devices and the batteries they use to be subject to very warm or hot environments. That includes your laptop being left in your car or on a window sill for extended periods.

The heat can damage the battery and related devices which could prove to be very expensive to replace. Batteries have actually been known to explode if kept hot for very long, not a pleasant or safe situation, ever.

Be sure to keep your children away from batteries. Not only are the contents of the batteries themselves unsafe, but the small coin-shaped batteries could cause the little ones to choke if taken into the mouth.

You may be tempted to try and re-charge regular batteries, it won’t work and could prove dangerous. Also, if they are rechargeable, but sure to use the charging unit that is designed for that size and type of battery.

Most small batteries can generally be disposed of in your trash. You should check to see what local regulations dictate and then follow the rules.

If told to recycle, be sure to ask if there are size exemptions, and where the batteries should be taken if recycling is a requirement.

Final Word

Hey, we all use battery-powered devices every day. There may even be some we use but don’t realize a battery drives its use. Learning how to store batteries has certainly helped me, and I hope you found the information useful.

Let’s all work together to make the world more efficient and safe. May God bless this world. Linda

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  1. Yeah I go through my vehicle go bag twice a year. Once in the fall and once in spring and about half the time I gotta throw away the batteries in it cause of heat and humidity. I generally just toss them anyway.
    Come fall which I’ll probably do next week I replace everything in the head lamps, flashlights, etc cause I’ll start using that bag to hunt with and they get a lot of use. I’ve been going more to rechargeable Olights which has saved me a ton of money though.

    The batteries in the storm shelter seem to do ok though.

    1. Hi Matt, oh I love those Olight flashlights!! Great reminder on the headlamps! We have a tough time here with batteries, I’m not sure if it’s the heat. We have the A/C going but I never buy more than I can use in a year. You are so lucky to have that storm shelter, what a blessing. Linda

  2. Linda,

    I’ve been using Eneloop rechargeable AAA and AA batteries in my flashlights, TV remotes, etc for twelve years now. Eneloop claims their batteries can be recharged up to 2,100 cycles. They are packaged by Panasonic now (used to be Sanyo). Back when I first bought them Eneloop claimed they could be recharged up to 1,500 times. I have no idea how many times I’ve recharged them over the past twelve years but they are still going strong. The charge doesn’t last as long as when I first got them but I don’t last as long as I did twelve years ago either. In any event they last long enough so I’m not having to change them too often. When they are charged up and in storage they have a very low self discharge rate. I highly recommend them. They have saved me far more than their purchase price. Here are some links to them.

    There are a variety of rechargers out there and I have several, including this solar battery charger than can also recharge a laptop or phone.

    But the main recharger I use is this Ansmann 5207123 Energy16, which can recharge up to 16 batteries at a time, not that I’ve ever had to do that. I’ve had it for twelve years also and it still works beautifully. It plugs in to household current so if your power is out you’d have to use a different recharger like the solar recharger I mentioned earlier.

    That Amazon link leads you to the Ansmann site where you’ll have to click around to find it. When I bought mine it was $75.00. Now it looks like it’s gone way up in price. All I can say is it has proven dependable.

    I store my batteries at room temperature (74-75 degrees F) in the plastic battery boxes they come to me in, and since I live in the desert the lack of humidity doesn’t bother them.

    1. Hi Ray, oh I love this comment!! Thank you for the links! That will help all of us. I have a few Goal Zero rechargeable batteries, but I want to look at these! I love it! Linda

    2. Ray, not battery related. I just got two of your books today. The Dying Tome: Impact” and “After thenDying Time”. I’ve only read 3 pages of the first one and am hooked! I also have the Bugging In book. Now, if you haven’t already started, you need to start another one. I am a huge reader. I read every day. I especially like the ones on Survival and how and what to do to survive. I tried to contact you at your web site, but couldn’t figure it out.

      Sorry for this Linda, I didn’t know how to contact Ray except for here.

      1. Deborah,

        Thanks for the kind comments and for buying my books.

        Re Contacting me though my website: When you go to my website there is a small red box in the lower lefthand corner. In that box is a link titled contact. I obviously have to make that box bigger. Also, if you sign up for my free monthly newsletter you’ll see each one has my private email address, so readers can contact me directly.

        I am more than halfway done with the 3rd book in the Dying Time trilogy, tentatively titled, Freedom Rising. I hope to have it out this year but that will largely depend on the state of my wife’s health.

        I have written two terrorist thrillers, actually co-written with Duane Lindsay. The first is titled Tap Doubt and details a plot by terrorists to poison the water supplies of several major American cities–and how a businessman teams up with con artists to stop them.

        The second is American Jihad, about how an American Arab who lost his parents in the 011 attacks goes to Iraq to fight terrorists on their home ground and stumbles into some amazing Iraqis and a plot to kill thousands in the US.

        Thanks again for contacting me.

      2. Hi Deborah, no apologies needed, I call this my forum for all of us to talk to each other. I did not know he wrote all those books. I hope he has an audible. Love this, Linda

          1. I have two copies. LOL I have one for Prepper Daughter and SIL.

            Great book. I’d give it 10 stars if possible?

  3. Howdy Folks,
    I remember in the 60s, 70s, and 80s the Army, Air Force, and Nation Guard stored their dry-cell batteries in a refrigerator (in supply). I followed this example until a few years ago when I also started to buy the Eneloop rechargeable. I also bought some adapters to use AA in the place of C and it worked out pretty well.
    Just my two cents,

    1. Hi Curley Bull, what? I did not know you could use an adaptor to use AA in the place of C!! I remember keeping our batteries in the refrigerator!! Great comment! I need to order some of those Eneloop rechargeable batteries. Great tip! Thank you, Linda

  4. Hi, Linda. Where did you get your battery storage case in the picture? I saw one like that on QVC channel but it seemed a bit pricey.

  5. We got 2 of those containers and it rally helps to have them organized. We didn’t get them at Amazon, but they are just the same.

  6. Something to also consider (for the frugal!) is separate storage for used-but-not-dead batteries. I have a camera that eats AA batteries–but they always seem to have juice enough left to run things like clocks, the indoor/outdoor digital thermometer, my little book-light–so I box those up separately. The rectangular batteries from the smoke alarms can be fitted with a little light clicked onto the top, making a pocket-sized flashlight, which will work for weeks or months after being removed from that smoke alarm.

    It’s well worth getting a simple battery tester to check any that you’re not sure about. In fact, I had a friend who worked at the dump for years–when he had a few minutes, he’d pull out his tester and check over the batteries people had discarded. Apparently he hardly ever had to buy batteries–might only use the ones he pulled out for a short time, but still!

  7. I’m trying to click your highlighted link to the battery holder that you sold but I can’t get it to open. is it possible for you to place that Link down here again for me
    Thank you

  8. We have a wall mounted organizer mounted on the inside door of our linen closet and liked it so much that we bought a second one to mount on the wall of our camper. This is the one we have

    I like the wall mounted ones because no-one can move it and lose it. I live with 3 people who move things to a “logical place” and then can’t remember where that logical place is. Now we all have one in each of our nightstands and I have a caddy mounted in the main floor linen closet and another one in the food storage area in the basement. These are the boxes I use for flashlights Each of the caddys holds 4 flashlights. I threaten to nag forever if someone takes one out and doesn’t put it back when they are finished with it.

    1. Hi Topaz, I added your wall battery holder to the post. Thank you for sharing. I really like that one. I totally hear you on “logical place”! LOL! No, there is one place that it goes so we can ALL find it. That was the best comment. Thank you! I really like the flashlight holder as well. Love it! Linda

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