Can a magnet damage a lithium battery?

Lithium batteries / accumulators

Batteries, small chemical power plants, allow us to do many things in everyday life without a power cord or connection to a socket. There is the disposable version, the so-called primary batteries, which have to be disposed of after a single use, and the secondary batteries or accumulators, which can be recharged.

Battery types

  • Device batteries
    These batteries can be hand-held. They are commonly used in electrical and electronic equipment such as cell phones, portable computers, cordless power tools, toys, and household appliances. Portable batteries come in different chemical systems, shapes and sizes. They are used as cylindrical battery cells z. B. with the designations "AA" (Mignon), "AAA" (Micro) or "D" (Mono), used as button cells or as "9 volt block" batteries in flat design.
  • Industrial batteries
    Batteries that are used exclusively for industrial, commercial or agricultural purposes are classed as industrial batteries. The accumulators used in electric or hybrid vehicles are based on systems containing lithium and, despite their use in vehicles, are classified as industrial batteries. Batteries from electric bicycles are also industrial batteries.

The third type of battery, the Vehicle batteries it is often the classic lead battery that is used for starters, lighting and ignition.

Areas of application

Conventional device batteries (e.g. alkali-manganese, zinc-carbon) are usually used in flashlights, radios, kitchen scales, remote controls, etc. The energy density of these batteries is sufficient for these applications. For applications that require a lot of power, things look different. Examples of this are smartphones, laptops, tools such as drills, screwdrivers or the batteries of electric bicycles / e-bikes / pedelecs and e-scooters. Lithium batteries, which are also known as high-energy batteries, are mostly used for this. You can recognize high-energy batteries mainly by the fact that they are based on a lithium or a nickel metal hydride system. They are usually marked with "Li" or "NiMH". In 2018 approx. 23% of all device batteries placed on the market were "lithium" batteries, of which approx. 90% were rechargeable batteries. While lithium primary batteries contain lithium in metallic form, secondary batteries are lithium-ion batteries.


Batteries containing lithium are safe when used and handled properly. However, the high energy density also harbors a high potential for danger, especially if the battery is damaged. You can recognize a damaged battery, for example, by the fact that

  • the housing is deformed or has cracks, dents or dents,
  • it feels warm to the touch even though it is not in use or being charged,
  • it has "leaked", i.e. the battery has, for example, a visible lime-like crust on the metal surface,
  • it does not work even though it is new (à the date of manufacture on the battery).

In such cases, the battery should be disposed of properly as soon as possible.

If handled incorrectly, a damaged lithium battery can be dangerous for the user and can also be the cause of a fire in the household, at the recycling center, in garbage trucks and in recycling facilities throughout the entire collection and disposal phase. Defective, damaged, deformed or bloated batteries and accumulators must therefore no longer be used!

There are simple ways to significantly reduce the risk of fire and explosion.

Disposal of old lithium batteries

Before and during the disposal of lithium batteries and products that contain lithium batteries, users should pay attention to the following:

  • Batteries and rechargeable batteries only in stores or at municipal collection points (Recycling centers) submit. Under no circumstances put in the household waste!
  • Batteries should be discharged as far as possible.
  • The poles of the Li batteries should be masked before / during delivery.
  • Pack damaged batteries individually and dispose of them promptly.
  • Lithium batteries from electric bicycles / pedelecs / e-bikes (without type approval) and e-scooters must be purchased free of charge by bicycle dealers.
  • When handing in electrical devices, please remove the batteries and rechargeable batteries that are generally present. Attention: Power banks with additional functions e.g. B. alarm function, LED clothing and furniture with integrated electrical functions also count as electronic waste and can also be handed in free of charge at the collection points. The collection point that accepts old devices also accepts batteries.

You can obtain further information from your waste adviser.

Additional information