How to Store Rechargeable Batteries

Jon Fesmire | January 12, 2022 @ 7:55 AM

Rechargeable batteries have been around for a long time and are a great option if you want to have powerful, long-lasting batteries that, over time, cost less. Of course, we’re not talking about the batteries in your rechargeable devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers. We’re talking about the AA, AAA, 9v, and other battery types used in radios, toys, and many other devices.

Once you know how to care for these batteries, they’re easy to store safely while keeping them in good condition, so let’s go over the facts.

Charge Depending on Type

There are several types of rechargeable batteries, based on the materials used. They include nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), lithium-ion (Li-ion), lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), and lithium-ion polymer (Li-on polymer).

The most common removable, rechargeable batteries you’ll find are NiCd and NiMH, and it’s important to know which type you have, because this will change your charging and storage strategy.

Completely drain NiCd batteries before you store them, and charge NiMH batteries to 30% before storing them. Whether you use these types or one of the others, read the packaging or visit the manufacturer’s website for advice on how much to charge them before putting them in storage. For example, some makers may advise you to charge and discharge the batteries every few months to give them more life.

Store in Plastic

To actually store the batteries, put like types together in a lidded, plastic container. When you use them, follow the first in, first out (FIFO) principle. The batteries that went in first get used first. That way, you don’t end up with some batteries getting used frequently and others hardly at all.

Batteries belong in a cool, dry place when stored. The ideal storage temperature is 68 degrees, but they can do well between 50 and 85 degrees.

Because of this, if you plan to store your batteries in a self storage unit, we encourage you to rent one with climate control. Facilities keep the humidity in these units between 30% and 50%, and the temperature between 50 and 80 degrees, safe conditions for most of your stuff, batteries included.

Retrieving Your Batteries

When you’re ready to use the batteries again, fully charge them before putting them in your devices. Follow instructions for how long you should charge any specific type. Overcharging batteries can damage them, so once they’re full, remove them from the charger. This advice goes for the batteries in your smartphone and similar devices, too. Once the device says it’s at 100%, unplug it.

What to Do with Dead Batteries

You’ll need to recycle your dead batteries, as it’s not safe to just throw them away. We encourage you to do a Google search for recycling centers in your area.

You may need to store them for a little while before bringing them to that recycling center, though. To do this, put the dead batteries in a lidded plastic container. Also, cover the terminals with electrical tape. If terminals come into contact with each other, they can spark and cause fires.

Do you need a good storage unit? If so, then check our facility listings, which span the U.S. and Canada. You’re bound to find what you need, including climate control, in your area.

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