How to shelf rechargeable batteries?

How to shelf rechargeable batteries?

To begin with, we do not recommend keeping batteries on shelf for an extended period of time, either in the product or in storage.

The shelf life of a battery depends on a few things like battery chemistry, quality of the battery cells and storage environment. Here are some Best Practices to Shelf Rechargeable Batteries.

Nickel Cadmium (Nicad, NiCD)is one of the oldest chemistry used these days. They are still used because they can operate in a wide range of temperature. Ni-Cd batteries can also be stored for a longer period and have more charge cycle compared to the other batteries.  But Ni-Cd batteries and least dense when it comes to energy storage capability or Capacity, meaning same volume of a Ni-Cd battery will come with least Capacity (mAh) compared to newer technology. They are also more toxic to the environment.  Ni-Cd batteries also suffer from what is called the Memory Effect. The NiCd memory effect, affected cells that were repeatedly only partially discharged.

Typical shelf life for Ni-cad batteries could be about 36 months in ideal conditions. As per our experience, they last approximately 18 months.

Ni-Cd batteries may have 1000-1500 charge cycles if maintained properly, depending on the quality of the cells.

Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are more dense chemistry compared to Ni-CD. They come in a higher capacity for the same volume compared to Ni-Cd batteries.  The higher capacity in Ni-Mh batteries compensates during storage and does not needs a charge for a longer duration. Ni-Mh batteries are less prone to Memory Effect compared to Ni-CD.  They have a charge cycle of 700-1000 cycles.

Ni-MH batteries may have a shelf life of 2-3 years but some manufacturers may rate it to 5 years.

Lithium Ion, Lithium Polymer, Li-Ion, LiPO, all comes under Lithium batteries. This battery comes with highest charge density so they become increasingly popular for modern portable devices like cell phones. Li-ion is also volatile chemistry so we hear about accidents related to Li-ion batteries from time to time. Because of which there are special shipping regulations regarding Li-ion batteries.

Li-ion batteries may have from 600-1000 charge cycles. They do not suffer from Memory Effect at all.  So they can be charged anytime and has low maintenance. The shelf life of lithium rechargeable batteries varies based on chemical compounds and uses. A bare cell (no circuitry protection) can easily last four years. However, most battery packs have multiple cells that have circuitry protection. The integrated circuit (IC) uses the power to remember how much charge/discharge the pack can perform with. That causes a slow discharge. Once the pack loses power, so does the IC, which can render the battery pack useless. From our experience, a cellphone, laptop, and tablet battery will usually have a shelf life at most two years.


Shelf Life

Cycle Life

Nickel Cadmium

1.5-3 Years

1,000 +

Nickel Metal Hydride

3-5 Years


Lithium Rechargeable

2-4 Years



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published