How To Safely Store Your Rechargeable Batteries

From the moment of manufacturing, batteries slowly degrade. However, there are methods to keep them at their optimal performance by storing them properly. For that to happen, you need to take ambient temperature into consideration. A good temperature to store your batteries in is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Even then, batteries containing Nickel (NiMH) will still self-discharge fairly fast. A NiMH battery will lose roughly 50% of its charge even if stored properly for around a year. Putting your batteries in the fridge is also a good way to keep them safe only if you live in a very hot climate where it is hard to keep 60 degrees inside all the time.

Another thing you should keep in mind is moisture. Dry air is perfect for storing batteries, as moisture will act as a catalyst to help them discharge faster. On top of that, make sure that your batteries are at around 40-50% charge whenever you want to store them. Storing them at full charge will drastically reduce their life expectancy. The best way to know how much charge is left is through a smart battery charger. Trickle charging is a hot topic and most people believe that it works in the battery’s favor but some experts aren’t completely sold on the idea, especially when it comes to Nickel-based batteries.

Charging Them Up

When it comes to charging, the first thing that I should mention is that you should always use chargers that are built for the job. Rechargeable battery chargers have specific charging protocols that work in different ways depending on the battery type. Some battery types benefit from trickle-charging (lead-acid, li-ion, etc), while others simply don’t (NiMH, NiCd) but can be still left charging. Most chargers have smart features and will automatically cut-off power once the battery hits 100%.

Chargers also use smart currents which are measured in mili-ampers (ma) and are based on the battery’s capacity divided by 10. So, a 2000mAh battery will charge optimally at around 200ma. The downside of smart battery chargers is that they will take quite a lot of time to fully charge a battery, especially if its bigger than 2000mAh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which rechargeable batteries last the longest?

In terms of single-use charges, the battery with the most mAh will last you the longest. In terms of life expectancy, NiMH has a clear advantage over the other types since they can easily last up to 1500+ recharges over the course of 3-7 years.

Do rechargeable batteries go bad if you don’t use them?

Both Ni-MH and Li-ion batteries slowly self-discharge over time, gradually losing their capacity to hold a full charge. This happens over the course of years only if you don’t put them through a full charging cycle. If you top them up from time to time that will greatly expand their life expectancy and performance over time.

Should you leave your rechargeable batteries plugged in?

While most people leave their batteries to trickle charge in order to be ready for usage, this isn’t recommended by most manufacturers. With modern batteries, the amount of self-discharge over the course of a few days is near 0%, so you can just fully charge them and store them away without worrying they will lose some of their potentials.

What is the average life expectancy of NiMH batteries?

Typically, NiMH life expectancies are measured in number of recharges. This is due to the fact that these batteries last longer if you use them more. In other words, the more you fully charge them, the better they will perform after years of use. Still, there is a limit when it comes to recharges and that is around 1000-2000.

Conclusion

Finding the best rechargeable batteries won’t be easy mainly due to the abundance of seemingly similar models out there. What is important to remember is to look at the mAh of the pack that you want to get. The more mAh a battery has, the longer it will last on a single charger. On top of that, look for batteries that have the most amount of recharges possible before losing their energy-storing capabilities. The more recharges a battery can take, the less it is prone to self-discharging over time.

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