How to extend your battery life

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Picture the scene. It’s a Wednesday evening. You’ve got your beer out of the fridge, you’ve opened a packet of crisps, and you’ve dusted off your old replica shirt. The match starts in five minutes, and you’ve been looking forward to this all day.

You grab the remote, and…

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Batteries are dead.

Instead of the big match, you’re stuck with Hollyoaks, and the shop’s a good ten minute drive away. You can’t miss kick off, you just can’t, and you have no way of switching the channel manually.

Five minutes to squeeze some extra power from your batteries. What do you do?

DO: Give them a rub!

Honestly, we thought it’d be a waste of time. An old wives’ tale. But giving your seemingly dead batteries a good old rub can deliver enough juice to get that channel changed.

It’s not because you’re somehow recharging the battery with the heat from your hands. It’s because as a battery discharges, there’s a build-up of chemicals on the contacts. That’s because a standard AA battery is powered by chemical reactions.

Give each end a rub, and you might clear the way for the last drops of electrical energy to surge into your TV remote. But no amount of vigorous man-handling will charge a dead battery enough to run a camera or torch.

DON’T: Stick them in a freezer

Just because one bit of folk wisdom about batteries works doesn’t mean that everything will.

Sure, you can clean off the connectors, but keeping your battery in the freezer won’t do anything to extend battery life by slowing down chemical reactions.

In fact, keeping your battery in the freezer could lead to condensation that’ll ruin them entirely. Which is the opposite of what you’re aiming for.

Energizer even had to add this to their FAQ, after the old cold battery trick went viral in a chain email a few years back:


No, storage in a refrigerator or freezer is not required or recommended for batteries produced today. Cold temperature storage can in fact harm batteries if condensation results in corroded contacts or label or seal damage due to extreme temperature storage. To maximize performance and shelf life, store batteries at normal room temperatures (68°F to 78°F or 20°C to 25°C) with moderated humidity levels (35 to 65% RH).

So please, keep your batteries in the cupboard. Or that drawer where all the odds and ends live. You know the one we mean.

DO: Take your batteries out when an item is in storage

We’re not saying it’s your fault you’re about to miss kick off, but maybe if you’d have taken your batteries out of your remote when you went to Spain for a fortnight, you wouldn’t be stuck with Hollyoaks right now.

When you’re not going to be using a device for any length of time, take out the batteries.
That’s because any alkaline batteries left in a device, even one that’s been turned off, will lose their charge quicker than batteries which aren’t connected to anything.

Plus you’re running the risk of leakage, which is unpleasant for all concerned.

DON’T: Just use any old battery

The best way of extending your battery life is by choosing the right battery for the right job. That’s just common sense.

For your digital camera or games console controller, use a high quality rechargeable battery, to keep costs down over the lifespan of your device.

And for that remote control that’s currently letting you down so badly? Well, buying disposable AA batteries in bulk would have stopped this problem from happening.

So go on. Kick-off is in a few minutes. Get those batteries out of the freezer, give them a rub and pray for the best. And after the final whistle, buy batteries online, and in bulk, to make sure you’ve always got some to hand!