Use This Simple ‘Drop Test’ to See if Your Batteries Are Juiced

Even though most camera bodies these days use some sort of Lithium-ion battery, chances are there’s still some gear in your bag that still runs off alkaline batteries. If you’ve ever found yourself in need of checking the charge on those batteries but you happen to leave your volt meter at home (I know … what were you thinking!?) here’s a cool little life hack that’ll give you the info your need.

The test comes to us courtesy of life hacker and how-to guy Kipkay. All you need to perform the test and check if your alkaline batteries are juiced is a hard surface.

Drop each battery (with the flat, negative end down) from a couple of inches up. If the battery is charged, it should make a solid thud and most likely stay standing. If, however, the battery is dead, it will bounce and fall over immediately.


Unfortunately, this will only work with alkaline batteries, so don’t go dropping your Lithium-ion rechargeables. The reason this works is that, as alkaline batteries discharge, the chemistry inside changes and produces Hydrogen gas, creating pressure and making it easier for the battery to bounce and topple.

Chances are you’re already familiar with this “out-gassing” as it’s called. It’s the same force that often causes the insulating seals and/or battery canister to crack open and leak.

For more neat life hacks, be sure to pay Kipkay’s website and/or YouTube channel a visit.

(via Gizmodo)

Update: Here’s a second video by bajarider1000 demonstrating the exact same trick:

Update: It appears that the drop test differences seen in the videos above may have more to do with the brand of battery than the batteries’ level of charge. Consider this test “probably bogus.”

  • Oldcamerman

    I’ve been in the camera Service industry and worked as a profor 30+ years and I’ve learned a LOT about batteries but I never knew that!

  • igburt

    Ohh, good lord, what a bunch of morons you are to fall for this.

  • 2323232

    i can only wonder how many idiots will believe that and try all day….

  • 2323232

    yeah well you should have got some education and a better job…..

  • Gia Ly

    Careful who you call moron… I tried it with two AA’s of the same brand and package and there might be something to it.

  • Pnj22178

    Also, if you place a battery in a microwave for 2 minutes and it starts glowing, that is a good full charge indicator.

  • blah blah

    PLEASE don’t do that. are you trying to cause naive people to explode things?

  • Pop Tar Tar

    The Earth is too full as it is.

  • Mark n

    Please remove pnj’s post. Would hate to see some get hurt…

  • Mike

    dude wtf i tried it with a full battery and it glowed but when i used a half full one it started growing not glowing

    now i cant put it in any device

    thanks for ruining my battery

    i have no idea what to say to the guys from the fire department

  • Heath Hurwitz

    Who still uses alkaline batteries?

  • Tor Ivan Boine

    can you prove otherwise? I just tested with my batteries, and lo and behold. it worked :)

  • Theranthrope

    Terrorists, criminals, and photographers; the reason we have Homeland Security in this country to make us… secure.

  • RioRyan


  • don2779

    I believe this was debunked a while back.

  • Roger Pyle

    I sure would like to see it on the same kind of battery, not two different brands.

  • Joey Duncan

    pretty much, a little research on how batteries charge and discharge will prove this method bunk.

  • Kevin

    I think you guys need to learn about a little something called Conversation of Mass.

  • jorge

    stop spreading this BS, petapixel! It doesn’t work. I have a battery tester, etc.

    I feel dumber for having tried this.

  • William Harvey

    I feel like a fool trying this with my batteries. It depends on how you hold them over the surface you are trying to bounce them over. I’ve tried dead ones, and they stood up. I’ve tried new ones, and they stood up. It’s kind of like balancing a spoon on your nose: it takes a bit of practice.

  • hibbidydibbidy

    I know this is an old post but you can see on the Duracell battery the metal center of the bottom of it sticks out past the outer casing so that is what hits when it is dropped. On the Energizer the metal bottom is recessed more creating an overall larger bottom surface to absorb the impact and allow for a more stable landing.

  • hibbidydibbidy

    If you watch Raúl José López video above you can see that on the Energizer the bottom is flat and on the Duracell the contact point extends out past the outside casing. That is the reason for the different results when dropping them. Different material involved in the impact and different sized impact areas.

  • Adam

    The first battery was dropped positive side up the other positive down of course it wont stand up

  • Zorthax

    You’re doing god’s work of killing the idiots in the world. Good job, we could use less of those, especially in America.