The Best Ways to Store and Save on Batteries in Your Home

If anyone had told me how many batteries we would go through in our home, I would never believe them. With all the boys, and their toys, we go through an incredible number.  As someone who hates waste, and really needs to stick to a budget, we've tried all kinds of methods to reign in our use and keep our batteries lasting a long time.  Here is what we have learned over the years.

1) Rechargeable batteries are great -- for some things. I'm a big fan of rechargeable batteries.  Sure, they cost a little more in the beginning, but they can save big money over the course of their lifetime.  One thing to realize, however, is that they are not appropriate for all devices.  For things like gaming systems, remotes, and R/C toys -- which use batteries quickly and often, they can be a money-saver.  For other items (such as dolls, outdoor toys, or rarely used items) they don't make much sense.  Be certain that you ask the following questions when deciding if the item should be used with a rechargeable battery:

  • Will the item be used outside where weather or damage make rechargeables unsafe?  Could it be accidentally given away or loaned? Do we want the kids to have to charge the batteries in this item themselves?  Does it use enough batteries (more than a set a week) to justify the expense?
2) Batteries need to be tested often.  A simple battery tester is the best way to save money on batteries.  In fact, some devices may not work with a less-than-fully charged battery, but the battery itself may not be actually "dead".  One way to see if the battery should be kept is to use a simple tester. (It costs less than $10). It should be able to tell you -- at a glance -- if the battery is at risk of dying soon, or has some life left in it.

3) Batteries should not be "mixed".  Don't ever use disposables with rechargeables.  Use fresh batteries with other fresh batteries.  Replace all the batteries in a device at one time for best results.

4) Batteries can be bought on sale and stored for long periods of time.  If you see a great deal on batteries or like to stock up at once, you can store your batteries safely until the date shown on the package.  Be sure to look for packages that show a long shelf life to begin with for your best value.  This is why we buy our batteries at Walmart, because they have everyday low prices on all their brands, including the Rayovacs, which are always a good deal and have a 10 year power guarantee.

5) Store your batteries well.  I've heard all kinds of anecdotes for keeping batteries "fresh", including storing them in the freezer. I can't vouch for anything crazy, but I can say that keeping my batteries organized, up high and out of kids' reach, and within the vicinity of the tester has helped keep our battery budget under control.  We have a rule that kids can't use the batteries without us, and if they find a battery, it goes in a special section in our organizer.  Then, we can test batteries that are found to see if they are good, and all batteries can be disposed of properly -- by an adult.  

A simple battery organizer can be affordable -- under $14 at, and it even comes with the tester!  Hang it on the wall away from little hands, and you have a much safer, better way to store batteries where you can always find them in an emergency.  (We keep our flashlights there, too!)

*Remember, batteries are essential to a well-run home, but they can be dangerous.  Be sure that the battery covers are tightened well on all products in your home, and be especially diligent about keeping track of button batteries, which can be tempting for babies and toddlers to ingest. They are extremely toxic!

Back to school season is almost here, so be sure to add "batteries" to your shopping list!  You can usually find them in the electronics aisle at your local Walmart, as well as up front near the checkout. I always like to keep a note of specialty battery sizes and model numbers on a notepad on my phone, so I can easily remember what I need when I'm shopping at Walmart.  It seems that thinks like watches, bathroom scales, and LED flashlights are always needing them, and trying to remember all the model numbers can be difficult.

What battery hacks do you use in your home?

As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I've received compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Links to shopping sites may be referral links.