Promotional Products Home Promo University® Introduction to Promotional Products Unraveling the Mystery of Battery Shelf Lives in Promo Products

The Shelf Life of an Average Battery-Powered Promotional Product

It makes sense—when you buy your promotional products, you want to make sure they'll last awhile. No point in investing in advertising materials if everything is just going to end up in a junk drawer or the trash!

This concern is especially strong among people who buy battery-powered promotional products. The big draw of these products is they are eye-catching when they light up or spin. Battery power can also be helpful, in the case of flashlights or clocks. We all know batteries eventually run out of juice, however, and that might make you wonder how long you can expect your battery-powered promotional products to last.

The short answer is there is no direct answer. The shelf life of a battery-powered promotional product depends on many factors, not the least of which is the type of battery it uses.

Types of Batteries!

Most of your promotional products will use standard AA or AAA batteries; some might even use that old-fashioned wonder, the 9V battery. What all of these batteries have in common is that they're alkaline batteries.

Alkaline batteries are the most common kinds of disposable batteries available. They're the ones that you find close to the drugstore checkout counter and grab two to a pack when you realize that your flashlight has run out of power. They're extremely affordable to produce (which makes them extremely affordable to put into your promo products), and they have a relatively low voltage that makes them well suited to use in all sorts of low-powered gadgets.

Did you know?

Battery manufacturers estimate the average shelf life of alkaline batteries to be around five to seven years. Keep in mind, though, that when they say "shelf life," they're talking about the life of the battery in its unopened package. If your AAs are sitting in a battery-powered hand fan that you use on occasion, you can expect the battery life to be closer to six months to a year.

While you were shopping for batteries at the store, you might have seen disposable lithium batteries sold alongside the alkaline ones. Lithium batteries are touted as a longer-lasting alternative to alkaline batteries. Battery manufacturers estimate the shelf life of lithiums to be around ten to fifteen years.

Then there are the other types of batteries you're likely to see in your promotional products: watch batteries, also called coin cell or button cell batteries. "Button cell" is a label like AA or AAA that denotes the battery's size and shape. And like your cylinder-shaped AA and AAA batteries, there can be both alkaline button cell batteries (such as the popular LR44 battery) and lithium button cell batteries.

You might think that button cells would be less powerful than other batteries because of their small size, but that's not true. The power sources that these batteries use give them a long life. In fact, it's estimated that a watch battery in continuous use can last anywhere between one and four years.

Other Factors!

Of course, the type of battery is just a starting point. There are a lot of other factors that affect the longevity of your promotional products! These include factors like the following:

How powerful the device is – a flashlight that uses nine LED lights will drain its batteries faster than a flashlight that uses only two, and that's not even taking into account the voltage of each device.

What temperature the item is stored at – batteries last longer at cooler temperatures, which is why your mom always stores a pack in the fridge.

How well the item is cared for – yes, the battery chamber might have a tight seal, but that doesn't mean that leaving the item out in the rain is going to help it last longer.

How often the item is used — the more often you use the batteries, the sooner they will run out of juice. So if you have to frequently use your flashlight to find things under the driver's seat, the batteries will lose their power a lot faster!

That last point is the most important point. Ultimately, if your battery-powered item is used often, it's simply going to lose power. The good news is that replacement batteries are available, in most cases right at the corner store. The better news is that if your item is being used that often, that's a lot of exposure for your brand. And isn't that what truly makes for a powerful promo?