November 2021

Disposable AA batteries – shelf life and expiry dates

Did you know disposable AA batteries have an expiry date?

Although some disposable AA battery packs state a shelf life, the clock starts ticking from the date of manufacture. You won’t know how long the batteries have already been on display, so look for an expiry date.

You might have looked for it on the packaging without success – the expiry date is usually printed directly on disposable AA batteries. After this date, the batteries aren’t guaranteed to have 80% or more of their charge remaining.

Even if they’ve never been used, disposable batteries will eventually go flat. That’s why it’s better to buy only what you need rather than large packs at a discounted price.

There’s often a production date printed on disposable batteries too. With lithium, sometimes only the production date is provided.

  • Lithium batteries typically have a shelf life of 10–12 years, although some manufacturers claim that certain models will last up to 20 years.
  • Alkaline batteries usually have a shelf life of 5–10 years.
  • Carbon zinc batteries have a shorter shelf life of 3–5 years.
Bunch of disposable AA batteries.

Disposable AA batteries

Check our test results to see the estimated shelf life of the batteries we tested, as well as their performance.

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Linda M.
06 Apr 2022
Which battery for smoke and fire alarms?

I presume smoke alarms that use batteries are in the low demand energy category . Can you confirm this please.
Are there any batteries available not using that dreadful plastic bubble packaging? The contents are difficult to access and I doubt the plastic used is recyclable.

Stephen C.
22 Jan 2022
Dispose of batteries

Dispose of batteries / Would be helpful if you provided comment as to how to dispose of the various classes of batteries