Is it OK to store batteries together?

When it comes to storing batteries, many people wonder if it’s safe or recommended to store different types of batteries together. There are a few key factors to consider when deciding whether to store batteries together or separately.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about storing batteries together:

  • It’s generally recommended not to store different types of batteries together, such as alkaline and lithium batteries.
  • Batteries can leak corrosive chemicals if stored together incorrectly, which can damage the batteries and devices they are stored in.
  • To prevent damage, store new and used batteries separately.
  • Avoid storing batteries in extreme temperatures or humid conditions.
  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place in their original packaging or a sturdy storage case.
  • Don’t let battery terminals touch each other or other metals when stored together.

Factors to Consider When Storing Batteries Together

There are a few key factors to take into account when deciding whether to store batteries together:

1. Battery Chemistry

The most important factor is the chemistry of the batteries. Generally, it’s not recommended to store batteries of different chemistries together, such as alkaline and lithium batteries. The different chemicals can potentially react and leak, causing damage. For example, alkaline batteries can leak potassium hydroxide while lithium batteries can leak lithium perchlorate. If the two chemicals mix, it could result in a hazardous reaction.

2. New vs Used Batteries

New and used batteries should also be stored separately. Used batteries are more likely to leak than new ones. Storing used and new batteries together means the leaked chemicals from the used batteries could damage the new ones.

3. Battery Terminal Contact

When batteries are jostled around during storage, their terminals can touch each other or the metal surface of the storage container. This can cause short circuits, resulting in leaks or explosion. Therefore, it’s important to store batteries in a way that prevents contact between terminals.

4. Extreme Temperatures

Exposing batteries to extreme temperatures outside their safe operating range can also increase the chances of leaks and damage. High temperatures can accelerate chemical reactions while freezing temperatures can damage the battery internals.

5. Humidity and Moisture

Humidity and moisture in the air can lead to corrosion and leaks, especially if the batteries have been exposed to humidity for an extended time. Storing batteries in a humid environment can accelerate these issues.

Safe Battery Storage Guidelines

Based on the key factors above, here are some general guidelines for safely storing batteries together:

  • Store batteries of the same chemistry together – don’t mix alkaline, lithium, lead acid, etc.
  • Store new and used batteries separately.
  • Prevent battery terminal contact by storing each battery separately or with protective caps.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures outside the battery’s safe range, typically 50-85°F.
  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place with low humidity.
  • Don’t store batteries above, near or inside heat sources. Keep away from direct sunlight.
  • Store batteries in their original packaging or in a sturdy, non-metallic case.
  • Check stored batteries periodically for signs of damage or leaking.

Following these guidelines will minimize the risk of battery leaks, corrosion, shorts and explosions when batteries must be stored together. However, it is still ideal to store different battery chemistries and new/used batteries separately when possible.

Risks of Storing Batteries Together

Here are some of the main risks that can occur from improperly storing batteries together:


As mentioned above, different battery chemistries and new/used batteries stored together can experience leakage. This can be caused by chemical interactions or damage to the insulating seals. Leaked battery chemicals are corrosive and can damage the batteries themselves as well as any nearby devices or surfaces.

Short Circuits

Allowing battery terminals to contact each other or metal surfaces can create short circuits. This can lead to high heat buildup that can melt the batteries. In severe cases, short circuits can even cause an explosion.


Short circuits, extreme heat exposure or physical damage to batteries can initiate fires in some cases. Fires fueled by lithium batteries in particular can be difficult to extinguish. Battery fires can release toxic fumes into the surrounding environment.


In rare cases, short circuits, extreme temperature changes or physical damage can cause batteries to explode, particularly those containing large amounts of stored energy like lithium batteries. Battery explosions can spray shrapnel and corrosive chemicals.

Device Damage

The chemicals leaked from batteries can damage surrounding items like electronics or even furniture if left unchecked. Corrosion from battery leaks can render devices inoperable over time if the leaked fluid isn’t cleaned off.

Personal Harm

On rare occasions, fires, explosions and leaked battery chemicals can cause physical injuries requiring medical attention, especially if the incident occurs in a confined space.

Storing Specific Battery Types Together

Let’s take a closer look at the recommendations for storing some common household battery types together.

Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries rely on an alkaline electrolyte rather than an acidic one. The potassium hydroxide electrolyte allows them to have a higher energy density than zinc-carbon batteries. However, it also makes them more likely to leak when discharged.

  • Only store alkaline batteries together, keep separate from other chemistries.
  • Store new and used alkaline batteries separately.
  • Prevent terminal contact during storage.
  • Discharge batteries to around 30% capacity before storage.
  • Limit storage periods to 6-12 months.

Lithium Batteries

includes common AA and AAA sizes up to large rechargeable cells used in electronics and electric vehicles. They have a higher energy density than alkaline but are more reactive.

  • Only store lithium batteries together, separate from other types.
  • Don’t store lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries together.
  • Store new and used lithium batteries separately.
  • Prevent short circuits by insulating terminals.
  • Store around 40% charge level in a fireproof container.
  • Limit storage time to 3-6 months.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are commonly used in vehicles and as backup power sources. Their sulfuric acid electrolyte can leak and damage other batteries when stored together.

  • Only store lead acid batteries together.
  • Store new and used batteries separately.
  • Store upright and prevent spills/leaks.
  • Maintain a full charge during storage.
  • Limit storage time to 1-3 months.

Nickel-based Batteries

Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are robust and durable. However, they contain caustic potassium hydroxide like alkaline batteries.

  • Only store Ni-based batteries together.
  • Store new and used batteries separately.
  • Discharge partially before storage.
  • Limit storage time to 9-12 months.

Zinc-Carbon Batteries

Low-cost zinc-carbon batteries are less prone to leakage than alkaline. However, their lower energy density means they discharge over time faster.

  • Only store zinc-carbon batteries together.
  • Store new and used zinc batteries separately.
  • Fully discharge batteries before storage.
  • Limit storage time to 6-9 months.

Storing Batteries Long-Term

For long-term battery storage exceeding 6-12 months, take additional precautions such as:

  • Place each battery in a separate plastic bag or battery case.
  • Use moisture-absorbing packing materials like silica gel.
  • Seal batteries in an airtight plastic container or bag.
  • Label each container with the battery type and date.
  • Store batteries at the recommended charge level.
  • Keep inventory records to track battery age.
  • Store batteries in a fireproof cabinet or shed.

Test stored batteries periodically and discard any leaking or damaged batteries immediately. Rotate stock to use oldest batteries first. Long-term storage will still result in some natural discharge over time. But proper precautions can maintain battery health and prevent hazardous leaks and interactions when they must be stored together.

Storing Batteries in Devices

Storing batteries still installed in devices requires some additional steps:

  • Check device manuals for any battery storage instructions.
  • Remove batteries from devices not in regular use.
  • Ensure devices are turned off so batteries aren’t slowly drained.
  • Take out alkaline batteries if storing longer than 3-6 months.
  • Leave NiMH/NiCd and lithium batteries in if storing less than 1 year.
  • Store devices with batteries installed in a cool, dry place.
  • Avoid stacking devices together to prevent damage.

Removing batteries before storage is ideal to isolate them from potential leaks in devices. But batteries can remain installed for storage periods under one year if the proper charge level is maintained.


While storing batteries together does come with some risks, following the proper precautions for the battery type and storage duration can mitigate most hazards. The most important guidelines are:

  • Only store batteries of the same chemistry together.
  • Separate new and used batteries.
  • Prevent terminal contact during storage.
  • Maintain the recommended charge level.
  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place.

Storing batteries correctly helps preserve their shelf life and power output. And ensuring batteries are isolated from incompatible types and conditions minimizes the chance of dangerous leaks, shorts and explosions. With proper battery inventory management and storage procedures, batteries can be safely stored together when necessary.

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