Lithium Batteries and Winter

I have many cordless tools with Lithium batteries, as well as many flashlights with Lithium batteries. I know that any battery can lose a little to a lot of its reserve in freezing temperatures, but Lithiums are supposed to be among the best at withstanding the cold temperatures.

What I want to ask is about long term, if batteries are kept in unheated garages during the winter, would this impact how many years you get out of a battery? Or is it simply that it will perform a bit less than 100% in freezing temperatures but when temperatures rise in the spring/summer, they are basically back to normal.

Will they last as long (recharge cycles) as other batteries that have an indoor heated environment?

Hi FMC1959,

I have no scientific or engineering data to offer. My personal experience is that cold isn’t the enemy of batteries, heat is. Either from storing them in environments above the recommended temperature (listed on the battery itself) or from pushing them to thermal overload.

That said, I have seen LI batteries perform “sluggishly” or not at all when they are cold. After they are brought back to room temperature full functionality seems to be restored.

stored in cold does hurt the batteries so. note that most EV car devices even run a battery heat system when the temp is below ____. typically somewhere near 32F and it will do so provided the car is plugged in or it has more than ____ % battery to try to keep it propped up

Stored power tool batteries do take a bit of damage if just left. I’m certain that killed one of my ECHO 58V batteries by being out in the garage for 8 days under 30F - some of that time under 20F.

Think of it as slowing down the chemistry reaction and when it gets slow enough when the battery is drawn on it might over drain. So I like to take some of my power tool batteries in side when the temp is below 32F. and I keep them in the mud room in a bag - also keeps them handy for a light or 2 if I need one.

I am sure that extreme storage temperatures are not good for Lithium batteries but my personal experience is that they can withstand a lot of abuse.

I have a family member who purchased some Ryobi OPE 5 years ago. They store their batteries in an un-insulated garden shed in Texas. In the summer it’s way over 125 degrees in there, in the winter it freezes. They have two batteries, one is on the charger 24-7, the other sits next to it. These batteries are still going strong 5 years later. It wouldn’t surprise me if their performance has dropped somewhat over that time if they were to be tested in a lab setting but as far as their experience using them? They still work great. Last year we had an extended period of cold that was in the 20’s (F) for 10 days straight…they didn’t skip a beat.

I still have many of the Dewalt 20V max batteries I got when I first bought into the system in 2013. These were used in my machining business for several years and for my private use after that. Batteries were stored in a workshop with no AC or heat and were often left on the charger for long periods of time until 5 years ago. I am still using them to this day and I’m just now noticing that a couple of them seem to have reduced charge capacity.

I’m sure that those kinds of conditions aren’t good for the batteries, but at the same time they don’t seem to be as damaging as one might think.

my dewalt 20V batteries seem to be going well after years - and I don’t store them special in the summer either. in the arm pit of america we get all the weather type - eventually.

anyway I do think using the battery often even in the cold helps matters. In the case of my echo 58V it sat for months and got cold for a long period with no use. I think that might be key - putting it on the charger might have helped it actually.

LIke you said people use them in winter often and without much troubles but you will see some talking about warming them before use.