Storing your power tools properly may not be as easy as you think. There are a few things to consider, if you want them to last as long as possible without causing the batteries to die in the meantime. If you’re wondering how to properly store your power tools, this guide will help you out.
The best way to store power tools is to set up a dry storage area inside. By keeping your power tools inside at room temperature with no direct sunlight, you’ll ensure that batteries as well as other parts last longer. Have in mind that different battery types may need occasional recharging and discharging, in order to keep them alive during long-term storage.
Also worth reading: Great Tool Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
Where is the best place to store power tools?
The best place to store power tools include an insulated shed, garage, or a basement. So long as the room is dry and temperatures are somewhat stable above the freezing point with little to no direct sunlight. Many people keep their tools in a tool crate or box, which is a great way to add a layer of protection around their tools. If you leave your battery powered tools in your truck overnight, we recommend taking the batteries inside for storage. As this study shows, the costly lithium-ion batteries are sensitive to low and high temperatures, and are best kept within a scope of 15 to 35 degrees Celsius (appx. 60 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit).
These factors are important when storing power tools
- Humidity (moisture causes rust)
- Temperature (low and high temperatures reduce battery performance)
- Light (sunlight could make materials brittle)
How to store power tools in a basement
A basement is an ideal place to store your power tools, given that it’s dry and insulated. Basements are often poorly lit, which is actually an advantage, since excessive amounts of light could make plastic materials brittle over time.
We recommend storing your power tools in boxes and keep them properly organized on a durable basement storage shelf with a stable construction.
For long-term storage of power tools in a basement, we recommend covering them with a tarp and keep them in their original cases if possible. By doing so you’ll reduce the buildup of dust on the surfaces, and your tools will stay clean for longer periods of time.
How to store power tools in garage
A garage is a great place to store your power tools, but in a cold area you need to consider insulation and perhaps setting up a heater if temperatures drop below freezing point. Power tools, especially the ones running on batteries, don’t do well in temperatures lower than 60 degrees F or higher than 95 degrees F.
With a properly insulated garage you can easily store a lot of tools in a proper way, without worrying about deterioration or batteries getting damaged over time.
The best way to store your power tools in a garage is by installing a tool rack or setting up a crate to keep them organized.
If your garage has plenty of space, you could also mount your power tools on the wall with special power tool organizers for the wall.
Just have in mind that your garage should be insulated and kept within a scope of 60 to 95 degrees F.
How to store power tools in a shed
In some areas the temperature never drops below freezing point, and with just a little insulation a shed could work well for power tool storage. As long as you’re able to keep them in a dry environment the shed could work well.
Sheds are cheap and easy to construct, which is why many people prefer them over an actual building.
The best way to store power tools in a shed is to set up an outdoor shelving unit. This allows you to organize your tools properly, and you can cover them with a tarp or a blanket to prevent dust buildup.
If you live in a cold area and have no other options than storing your power tools in a shed, we recommend that you detach the batteries and keep them inside. Batteries are quite sensitive to low and high temperatures, and lithium-ion batteries may be damaged over time if kept under extreme conditions.
How to store power tools in an apartment
If you live in an apartment and own a couple of power tools, the best way to store them is inside a closet or on a wall. We recommend getting a wall mounted tool storage rack and mounting it inside a closet or on a vacant wall.
You could also get a regular wooden chest and keep your power tools in it, or keep them in a drawer under the bed.
Perhaps your sofa has a built-in storage compartment, and this could also be a great solution. Storing your power tools in an apartment is generally a great idea, because they’ll stay dry and last longer when kept in room temperature with little to no fluctuations.
How to store power tool batteries
We found this discussion on StackExchange, which goes in depth with proper storage of multiple battery types. For power tools, the most used battery types include the more expensive and long-lasting Li-Ion (Lithium-Ion) batteries as well as the cheaper NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries.
How to store Li-Ion power tool batteries
This is the most popular battery type for power tools.
Lithium-ion batteries are best kept in room temperature, away from direct sunlight. They can be stored in temperatures ranging from 60-95 degrees F, and should be partially discharged prior to long-term storage. If you store them in a fully charged state or a completely discharged state, they could suffer permanent damage. This guide from Battery University has additional advice for the advanced user wanting to extend the lifespan of a Li-Ion battery.
How to store NiMH power tool batteries
NiMH batteries are affordable and therefore often found in cheap power tools. It is less sensitive to extreme temperatures, as long as they’re stored in a dry location with no direct sunlight.
NiMH batteries are best kept in temperatures ranging from -4 to 113 degrees F, and they should be used/recharged periodically to prevent damage. You can get special cradles/slots that will trickle charge the batteries automatically, but otherwise we recommend that you use and recharge NiMH batteries regularly to prevent any damage.
How to prepare power tools for storage
Unless you’re a professional and use power tools on a daily basis, you’re most likely keeping them in storage most of the time. It’s important that you consider proper storage of your tools, if you want them to last for as long as possible. On JP Urban Moving they have a guide on how to store power tools, and they have the following recommendations:
- Check your power tools for damage
A quick visual check of your power tools could reveal any damage, and this is a good idea to assess the overall condition prior to long-term storage.
- Clean your power tools before storing them
It’s no secret that power tools are often used in a dirty environment. Removing any dust, dirt and liquids before storing them will ensure that they’re kept in proper condition with reduced risk of getting damaged along the way.
- Make sure your power tools are 100% dry
This is an important step. Never store wet power tools before drying them completely and raising their temperature to room level. Otherwise water could penetrate the tools and form rust on the inside or outside. Make sure they’re thoroughly dried before storing them.
- Use a protective spray while storing them
For ultra-long term storage, a protective spray could be applied to the metal. This prevents rust from forming on the surface, and your power tools will last longer while being stored.
How to keep power tools from rusting
Power tools usually have metal parts inside as well as outside, and they’re perfectly able to rust. If you want to keep your power tools from rusting, a dry storage environment is key.
First, you want to make sure that the air is not stale. This is particularly important if your power tools are stored in a room that isn’t heated, the garage for example. Make sure that you allow just enough air to pass through the room, so that humidity doesn’t build up over time.
If you live in a humid environment, you may need to get a dehumidifier or run your HVAC system to reduce the humidity inside. Lowering the humidity level means that less moisture is present in the air, and your power tools won’t rust.
Extreme temperatures are likely to cause condensation, as they tend to fluctuate during the day and night. We recommend that you only keep your power tools in an insulated room, should you live in a cold place. By keeping them in an insulation room, you’ll ensure that they aren’t exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations.
Is it OK to leave power tools in the cold?
Most power tools are perfectly capable of lasting for a long time in a cold environment. However, the batteries should be brought inside and maintained properly to ensure that they won’t get damaged over time.Batteries, including the cheap NiMH and the more expensive Li-Ion types, are both sensitive to low temperatures. When temperature drops below freezing point, you may even start seeing the batteries discharging themselves. There’s a discussion on Reddit on whether it’s okay to store power tools in a cold garage or not, and people agree that batteries should be taken inside and kept at room temperature.