Author Options:

How long will a lithium battery store? Answered

If I bought 2 rechargeable lithium polymer batteries for a cell phone, but only needed one for now, could I store the unused battery until the first battery quit charging (and was garbage)?

If the above question makes ZERO SENSE, let me try explaining it another way: Ok, you have this fancy gadget that you want to keep functioning for many years. Eventually, the battery inside won't be able to take a charge, and the battery will be obsolete and no longer sold. Would it make sense to buy extra batteries ('stock up') and store them for a time when the original battery went bunk; would the stored batteries be like brand new after many years (these batteries would have never been charged before.. they would be still originally packaged)?

Hope that actually makes sense :D



Best Answer 7 years ago

A little research contradicted my first answer, I found this info online: Lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for many months. It is best to store a lithium-ion battery with a partial or full charge. Occasionally, a lithium-ion battery with a very low charge is stored for a long period of time (many months) and its voltage slowly drops to below the level at which its built in safety mechanism allows it to be charged again. If the battery is going to be stored for several months it's a good idea to take it out and recharge it after a few months. Better yet would be to actually use the battery every few months and then leave it partially or fully charged. I realize that lithium polymer isnt quite the same, but I expect the answer to be similar.


3 years ago

Personally I believe the best way to go with something like this with lithium batteries and to ensure you get the most use out of both batteries is to simply alternate the batteries by doing this both batteries will be getting fully charge and discharge as they should and each battery will only be getting half the use so doing it this way will ensure you get maximum use out of both of your batteries.

I agree with Yokozuna and Frollard, but i think that if you are only going to use one till it degrades too much, why spend twice the money buying two now and have the second one degrade even a little bit? Why not instead buy one now, use it till the end of it's life span, and then buy a newly made battery? If you do decide to buy two, I recommend keeping your backup one away from heat, moisture, and strong electrical fields (computer, microwave, etc) to prolong it's shelf life as much as possible.

**this information may be old and outdated as new lithium chemistries may not share these characteristics*** My understanding is lithium has 2 shelf lives -- one is a number of charge cycles, and one is an overall date. They work hand in hand, both age and use 'degrade' the battery. If you buy 2 batteries and use one and shelf the other, then the unused battery will have degraded partially (depending on the amount of time) as the used battery would have degraded from both problems. The shelved battery should be better, but will not function as a brand new battery, since the age degridation has set in. I read somewhere that this is a 'scam' because you buy a replacement battery that was manufactured the same time as the original, it's not going to function years later when you purchase it as a replacement - even though it is brand new.