How do you store batteries after use?

Proper battery storage is important to maintain battery life and safety. Here are some quick tips on how to store batteries of different types after use:

How to Store Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries like AA and AAA batteries are non-rechargeable. Some tips for storing alkaline batteries:

  • Allow used batteries to cool down before storage as they can get hot during use.
  • Wipe the battery contacts clean with a dry cloth before storage to remove any electrolyte leakage.
  • Store batteries at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Avoid temperature extremes.
  • Keep batteries in a sealed plastic bag or storage case to contain any leaks.
  • Store batteries away from metal objects which could short circuit them.
  • Don’t mix old and new batteries when storing.
  • Try to use alkaline batteries within 1 year and replace as needed.

How to Store Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries like lithium-ion and NiMH batteries require some special care when storing:

  • Recharge batteries to about 40% of capacity before storage for optimal lifespan.
  • Store rechargeable batteries at around 40°F to 70°F temperature range.
  • Place batteries in a plastic bag or storage case to prevent short circuiting.
  • Avoid fully discharging rechargeable batteries before storage.
  • Store batteries away from heat, sunlight and moisture.
  • Charge batteries at least every 6 months to avoid over discharge.

How to Store Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries like car batteries and solar energy storage batteries have some unique storage needs:

  • Fully charge lead acid batteries before storage to prevent sulfation.
  • Store lead acid batteries on wooden shelves or surfaces as concrete can drain them.
  • Keep batteries away from extreme temperatures, vibration and shock.
  • Place cardboard between stacked batteries to absorb vibration.
  • Periodically boost charge stored lead acid batteries every 2-3 months.
  • Test battery voltage every 6 months and recharge as needed.

How to Store Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries like CR123A batteries require safe handling and storage:

  • Discharge lithium batteries to around 30% charge before storage.
  • Seal lithium batteries in plastic bags or cases to isolate them.
  • Label battery terminals to avoid accidental short circuiting.
  • Never store lithium batteries near heat, fire or direct sunlight.
  • Keep a Class D fire extinguisher nearby when storing lithium batteries.
  • Store batteries in their original packaging when possible.

How to Store Button Cell Batteries

Tiny button cell batteries need a few storage safety steps:

  • Isolate positive and negative button cell terminals with tape or plastic caps.
  • Keep button cells in original packaging or individually bagged.
  • Store button cells in a lockable plastic case if you have small children.
  • Keep batteries cool, dry and at room temperature.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and never store near heat sources.
  • Check button cell voltage and replace as needed every 6-12 months.

Battery Storage Safety Tips

Some general battery storage safety tips include:

  • Never store batteries above 125°F as heat can damage seals.
  • Never store batteries below -4°F or freezing as liquid inside can expand and damage the casing.
  • Always isolate battery terminals and poles to avoid short circuiting.
  • Clean any electrolyte leaks and corrosion before storage.
  • Label batteries with type, capacity and date to track age.
  • Regularly test stored battery voltage and recharge as needed.
  • Don’t crush, disassemble or damage batteries during storage.

Signs of Battery Damage

Look for these signs of battery damage before storage:

  • Bulging, swollen or leaking battery case
  • Corroded or damaged battery contacts
  • Cracked battery casing
  • Dents, punctures or physical damage
  • Loss of voltage or failure to hold charge
  • Strange odors or excessive heat

Damaged or worn out batteries should be recycled and not stored or reused. Storing damaged batteries can lead to dangerous issues like fires, explosions and electrolyte leakage.

How Long Can Batteries Be Stored?

Here are some guidelines on maximum battery storage times:

Battery Type Maximum Storage Time
Alkaline 2-5 years
Lithium 10-15 years
Lead acid 6 months – 1 year
Li-ion 1-2 years
NiMH 1-2 years
Button cell 5-10 years

Actual battery lifespan depends on storage conditions. Periodically check stored battery voltage and capacity.

Where to Store Batteries

The best places to store batteries include:

  • Cool, dry location like a garage or basement
  • Sealed plastic containers or bags
  • Battery storage cases or cabinets
  • Refrigerator (not freezer) for some batteries
  • Low humidity environment
  • Stable temperatures between 40°F-70°F
  • Away from direct sunlight and heat sources
  • On wooden shelves if storing large lead acid batteries
  • Away from children and pets

Avoid storing batteries in hot attics or sheds, near appliances generating heat, or in damp basements or garages.

How to Organize Stored Batteries

Keep your stored battery collection organized with these tips:

  • Sort batteries by chemistry and type like alkaline, lithium, lead acid etc.
  • Group new batteries separately from used batteries.
  • Label each battery with type and purchase date.
  • Use separate plastic cases or bags for each battery type.
  • Store batteries from different devices separately.
  • Keep an inventory list of stored batteries.
  • Rotate stock to use oldest batteries first.
  • Keep batteries in original packaging when possible.
  • Avoid loose batteries touching each other when stored.

Staying organized will make it easier to regularly test and maintain your stored battery supply.

How to Monitor and Test Stored Batteries

To maximize battery lifespan and safety:

  • Test the voltage and capacity of stored batteries every 6-12 months.
  • Use a voltage tester or multimeter to check voltage.
  • Load test batteries with a dedicated battery tester.
  • Recharge or dispose batteries if voltage drops more than 10-20%.
  • Perform a visual inspection for leaks or swelling at least annually.
  • Keep records on batteries testing and recharging dates.
  • Label dead batteries clearly and dispose of properly.

Regular testing lets you spot issues with stored batteries before they fail or leak.

How to Dispose of Dead Batteries

When batteries reach end of life:

  • Never throw batteries in regular household trash that ends up in landfills.
  • Take dead batteries to a recycling center or hazardous waste collection site.
  • Many retailers like Best Buy offer free battery recycling drop offs.
  • Use electrical tape to isolate the terminals before disposal.
  • Contact your city for battery recycling programs and guidelines.
  • Consider letting batteries drain fully before recycling.
  • Follow local laws on transporting and handling batteries.

Recycling batteries properly is important to avoid toxic chemicals like lithium, lead and cadmium from contaminating the environment.


Properly storing batteries after use helps maintain their lifespan and safety. Be sure to store different battery chemistries under their ideal conditions. Keep batteries organized, monitored and maintained. Recycle dead batteries responsibly to protect the environment. Following basic battery storage guidelines will keep your unused batteries in optimal condition until needed again.

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