How to Store Batteries for the Long-Term

How to store batteries

If you’re moving your belongings into a storage unit, you’ve likely put a lot of thought into the process. For instance, you know to place your mattress flat on the floor without anything on top of it, and you’ve prepped all of your furniture with plastic wrap. It seems you’ve considered everything, but not so fast: What about your battery-powered devices? 

Storing your electronics with the batteries still inside isn’t the best idea if you want to prolong the lifespan of your devices and their corresponding batteries. So how do you go about storing your devices and batteries in your unit? 

We have the answers. Our guide on how to store batteries for the long-term will provide you with all the information you need to power up your items correctly after storage. We’ll cover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to store batteries, from debunking the freezer myth to providing details on recycling them. 

Remove the Batteries From Your Devices

The first step in our guide on how to store batteries properly involves removing batteries from any and all devices before placing them in storage. That means everything from your TV remote controls and flashlights to Christmas lights and cameras. If you keep your batteries in your electronics, the batteries may die or potentially corrode or leak, which could be harmful to your devices. 

Keep Batteries of the Same Type Together

Right now, you’re probably wondering how to store loose batteries. First and foremost, avoid just throwing them all in a box together,  as this can shorten their life span and even lead to corrosion or leaks (we’ll cover more on that later).

Sort through your batteries and separate them into piles. For example, place AAA batteries in one spot and 9V batteries in another. 

Test Your Batteries

Before we offer further instructions on sorting and storing your batteries, let’s talk about testing them. You definitely don’t want to hang on batteries that no longer hold a charge. 

To check their charge, grab a voltmeter and be sure it’s set to DCV (direct current voltage). Connect the red probe to the positive (+) end of the battery and the black probe to the negative (-) end. If the meter reads higher than 1.3V, your battery is in good shape. If it is between 1.2V and 1.3V, the battery still has a little bit of juice left, but realistically, you won’t get much use out of anything below 1.3V.

Don’t have a voltmeter on hand? No problem. Try the “drop test” instead. Although less precise than the previous method, it can still give you a rough idea of your batteries and their charge. Drop the battery, negative end facing down, from a few inches above a flat, hard surface. If the battery has a charge, it will likely land standing up with a thud. If the battery doesn’t have a charge, it will fall over and bounce. 

Now that you know what shape your batteries are in, you can move on to the next sorting and storing step. 

Do Not Store Old Batteries With New Batteries

In the same vein as separating batteries by type, you’ll want to keep new and old batteries away from one another. This is mainly because when you go to place them in your device, you’ll want to use batteries of roughly the same battery charge. 

If your batteries are not similarly charged, the difference in electrical charge could cause the weaker battery to lose voltage faster, making it leak, discharge, or even explode. To avoid this, separate your new and old batteries when storing them and don’t mix and match them when later placing them in your device. 

Recycle Old Batteries

It happens to the best of us. While sorting (and testing) your batteries, you’ve found a few have lost their charge. Don’t take the lazy route and simply add your dead batteries to your collection of old batteries; that will just create a headache for later. And whatever you do, don’t simply toss them in the trash! In fact, doing so is illegal in the state of California. 

Batteries contain heavy metals and corrosive materials. These toxic chemicals can cause serious harm not only to the environment but to humans, too, if you don’t dispose of them properly. That’s why it’s extremely important to recycle your old batteries. 

To find out where and how to recycle your dead batteries, call your local solid waste district. Your city may have battery recycling programs, events, or even mail-in options. Also note, if you’re looking to dispose of rechargeable batteries, there’s a different disposal process for those. Contact your local home improvement and office supply stores, as these establishments often host recycling drop-offs for rechargeable batteries. 

best way to store batteries

Store Disposable Batteries in Their Original Packaging

So you’ve taken out all your batteries and separated them into their categories. Now what do you do with them? The best place to store batteries is in their original packaging. This packaging helps preserve the batteries from outside factors like moisture and humidity. It also helps keep their positive and negative ends from coming into contact with each other, which can cause them to short-circuit. 

But let’s face it. There’s a good chance you no longer have the original packaging. If this is the case, look for a small box or container where you can store the batteries with all the positive ends facing the same direction. Avoid just throwing them in a plastic baggie where they can get tossed around. 

Try to Keep Storage at Room Temperature

All right, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Should you store your batteries in the freezer? The results are in, and the experts say no. You do not need to store your batteries in the fridge or freezer. 

The long-held belief was that the freezer/fridge method could help maintain battery shelf life, but the truth is, many batteries can last years at room temperature without losing their charge. Not to mention any exposure to condensation in the fridge or freezer could rust the batteries or make them short out. 

Just as a fridge or freezer can produce condensation, so can a humid room. In light of this, the best way to store batteries is at room temperature in a dry, non-humid environment, where you can avoid extreme temperatures and moisture.

Consider a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Did you know that your storage unit can get much hotter (and colder) than the outside temperatures if it’s not climate-controlled? As we mentioned above, extreme temperatures are no match for your batteries (or devices, for that matter). 

To avoid exposure to extreme conditions, you may want to consider a climate-controlled unit. These storage units maintain a preset temperature range, typically anywhere from 55 to 85 degrees F. They also strive for a humidity level of 50%. Storing your belongings in these controlled environments can give you more peace of mind.

Learn More About Self Storage at Stor-It

Now that you know a little more about how to store batteries, allow us to help you find the ideal storage unit. Whether you’re looking for short- or long-term storage solutions, look no further than our facilities here at Stor-It. We are the largest and oldest self-storage company in the state of Idaho, so let’s just say we know a thing or two about storage. Contact us today to help you find the best storage unit for all your belongings, from your baseball card collection to your recreational vehicles.

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