Does it Hurt Lithium Batteries to Freeze? The Cold Truth About Heated Clothing Batteries

As the winter season approaches, heated vests and clothing are becoming increasingly popular. These garments often rely on lithium batteries for their power source, and some advanced versions even boast an impressive 20-hour battery life, far outlasting the typical 3 to 10 hours most heated clothing offers. But what happens when these lithium batteries are exposed to freezing temperatures? Does it hurt them? Let's delve into the science and facts to find out.

The Basics of Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are widely used in various applications due to their high energy density, quick charging capabilities, and longevity. They consist of a lithium metal or lithium-ion anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte, usually a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent.

The Impact of Cold on Lithium Batteries

Cold temperatures can have a significant impact on the performance of lithium batteries. Here's how:

  1. Reduced Capacity: The chemical reactions that generate electricity in the battery slow down in cold temperatures, reducing the battery's capacity.
  2. Lower Voltage: Cold weather can cause a decrease in the battery's voltage, which may result in insufficient power to operate your heated clothing effectively.
  3. Slower Charging: The rate at which lithium batteries recharge can be adversely affected by low temperatures.

Can Freezing Temperatures Hurt Lithium Batteries?

  1. Short-Term Exposure: Short-term exposure to freezing temperatures is generally not harmful to lithium batteries, but it can reduce their performance temporarily.
  2. Long-Term Exposure: Extended exposure to freezing temperatures can cause irreversible damage to the battery's internal structure, leading to reduced capacity and lifespan.
  3. Risk of Thermal Runaway: Cold temperatures can make lithium batteries more susceptible to thermal runaway, a dangerous condition where the battery overheats and can catch fire or explode.

Precautions and Tips

  1. Storage: If you're not using your heated clothing, store the lithium batteries in a cool, dry place, but not in freezing conditions.
  2. Insulated Pockets: Many heated garments come with insulated pockets for battery storage to help maintain optimal battery temperature.
  3. Quality Matters: Always use high-quality lithium batteries from reputable manufacturers to minimize risks.
  4. Check Before Use: Before using your heated clothing, check the batteries for any signs of damage, especially if they have been exposed to cold temperatures.


While lithium batteries are the powerhouse behind long-lasting heated clothing, they are not immune to the effects of cold weather. Freezing temperatures can reduce their performance and, in extreme cases, cause irreversible damage. By understanding the impact of cold on these batteries, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure they last longer and keep you warm throughout the winter season.

Stay warm and stay informed!