Last updated on January 31st, 2019
Why should you remove batteries from a portable radio? If you are not going to be using the radio for a long time, or even if you think you might not use it for awhile, remove the batteries.
This is true of any electronic device that uses the typical alkaline AA or AAA battery.
Remove Batteries to prevent Battery Corrosion
Some batteries will begin to leak when they remain inserted without use for a long time.
When they begin to leak, the battery terminals themselves will corrode and will eventually be ruined. It’s a disappointing sight to see battery corrosion and that white fluffy stuff in the battery compartment of a nice portable radio.
The reason I am posting this is due to a recent experience. I have a number of portable handheld battery operated Shortwave AM/FM radios. One particular radio I had forgotten about as it sat on a shelf with other related items (an old Grundig ‘Yacht Boy’). It had a problem with it’s speaker (distorted audio) and I wasn’t using it anymore (I had since purchased another better radio). I didn’t throw it away because it still functioned.
Well, not long ago I came across that radio. I picked it up, turned it on, and it was ‘dead’. I opened the battery compartment to discover that the batteries had leaked and there was battery corrosion all over the terminals.
The thing is, I knew better than this.
In fact I had written an article on the subject awhile ago:
I had simply forgotten about this old radio.
Since many of you are preparedness-minded and might yourself have a portable SW Radio, I’m just putting it out there to remove the batteries.
How I store my Radio
If I’m not going to use a portable radio for awhile (I’m talking many months or longer), first, remove batteries!
To make it convenient, I slip my portable radio into a gallon size Ziploc bag with the batteries removed. The batteries themselves go in the bag too, so I won’t have to hunt for them when I choose to use the radio again.
Remove Batteries: Why they leak if you don’t
1. Parasitic Drain. Many devices have a tiny trickle current or ‘parasitic drain’ on the batteries which very slowly discharge over time. This leads to dead batteries which will out-gas and corrode.
2. Self discharge. All batteries self discharge over time. This may cause the chemistry of the battery to change. Hydrogen gas may be generated which increases the pressure inside the battery. It may result in a rupture of the end seals and/or outer canister.
Not to pick on Duracell, but historically I had nearly always purchased this brand for my AA or AAA batteries (their marketing must have worked on me).
Note: I also use rechargeable batteries for many applications.
Related article: Best AA Rechargeable Battery
I have noticed over recent years that the Duracell batteries seem to leak more often than I remember in the past. Which led me to discover that Energizer has several lineups of batteries which they claim will never leak. Energizer will replace your device (up to $250) if their batteries leak. I have been buying them ever since. So far so good.
I suspect they have better seals, outer canister, and/or a different chemistry.
Batteries That Will Not Leak Or Corrode