How to store batteries – general advice

Different battery types can be stored in different ways. This page is general advice for those who store different chemistries (e.g. Sealed Lead, Pure Lead, Lithium, etc.)

You should also check the chemistry specific pages if you only store one type or you want to create different storage environments for each type:


  • The ideal storage temperature is 60°F (15°C).
  • The minimum storage temperature is -40°F (-40°C).
  • The maximum storage temperature is 122°F (50°).

Different battery chemistries can tolerate different temperatures during storage.  One thing in common – they don’t like extreme heat or extreme cold.

The hotter the temperature the faster a battery will discharge and there will often be permanent damage, even after recharging, the unit may never be able to offer its full capacity.

In the extreme cold it is possible for liquids inside a battery to freeze. If these are water based they will expand and could rupture internal components or the outer case itself. Freezing other types may change their chemical structure.


  • The ideal storage humidity is 50%

The main issue with humidity is that condensation can build up both inside and outside the battery. If it does so internally the unit can be permanently damaged. Externally the terminals of some battery types start to rust making it more difficult to establish a strong connection when put into use.

In very humid conditions it is possible for condensation to form between the two terminals. Water is a conductor of electricity so if it does so the battery will short out, quickly discharge and get very hot in the process with the risk of a fire or explosion.


All batteries gradually discharge even when they are not connected to any appliance.  Different rechargeable battery chemistries need to be stored at different rates known as the State of Charge (SoC):

  • Nickel based batteries – can be fully discharged
  • Lithium Ion – 40-50% (and never below 2 volts per cell)
  • Lead acid based batteries – fully charged (and never below 70% SoC)

Checking the SoC varies as the true voltage of a battery at any given point in its charge state can differ depending on temperature or if the unit has just been charged or discharged. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations or see the chemistry specific links at the top of this page for more detail.

Non-rechargeable batteries need no maintenance but they will slowly discharge over time and should be discarded after they reach the end of their shelf life (see below).

Shelf Life

The following guidance is based on batteries that are kept at the right temperature, the right humidity and (for rechargeable batteries) in a correct State of Charge.

  • Nickel Metal Hydride – 1 – 3 years
  • Sealed Lead Acid  – AGM (3 – 4 years) / GEL (3 – 4 years)
  • Nickel Cadmium – 2 – 3 years
  • Lithium – CHEMISTRY SPECIFIC –  Lithium Ion Space / Medical  (Up to 20+ YRS)  / Primary Lithium Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2) CYLINDRICAL  (Up to 10YRS) / Lithium Manganese Dioxide (Li-MnO2)  (10 – 15YRS) / Lithium Sulfur Dioxide (Li-SO2) (Up to 10 YRS)  / Lithium Iron Disulfide AA & AAA Cylindrical (Up to 20yrs), 9 -Volt (Up to 10 years)
  • Pure Lead – 2 – 3 years
  • Standard Alkaline – 7 – 10 years / 9-volt – 3 – 5 years
  • Enhanced Alkaline- 12 – 15 years / AA, AAA
  • Carbon Zinc – 3 – 5 years

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1 Comment

  1. Tim

    Some illustrations would help. My question of storage is for batteries common to flashlights and devices, AA, AAA. Are they lithium, nickel, or lead? I don’t know.

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