How to Storage PCB: The Ultimate Guide

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are a critical component of modern electronics, but their delicate construction makes them vulnerable to damage. In order to ensure they remain intact; it is important to properly store them at all times.

In this article, we will discuss why PCB protection is important and what guidelines should be followed when storing PCBs for extended periods of time. Whether you’re an engineer or hobbyist, join us as we dive into the world of PCB storage!

Table of Contents

Why and When is PCB Protection Important?

PCB protection is important for a variety of reasons. During fabrication, it’s necessary to have the right surface finish to protect the board from corrosion and other damage. Additionally, during storage PCBs must be kept in a controlled environment to minimize the risk of damage from temperature changes, humidity, dust and other contaminants. Finally, understanding shelf-life standards can help prevent boards from becoming obsolete due to age or obsolescence.

All of these factors are important when considering how best to store your PCBs for extended periods of time. From selecting the right surface finish to maintaining a consistent environment and understanding shelf-life standards, taking all these precautions will help ensure that your PCBs remain in top condition for as long as possible.

PCB Storage Guidelines to Follow

Proper storage helps protect PCBs from extreme temperatures, moisture, and other environmental factors that can cause costly repairs or replacements. Here are some guidelines for storing PCBs correctly:

1. Surface Finish During Fabrication

Surface finish during fabrication is an important step in the PCB manufacturing process to ensure the board has proper protection against corrosion and oxidation. The most common surface finishes are hot air solder leveling (HASL), immersion gold (ENIG), organic solderability preservative (OSP) and electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG). Each of these finishes have unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your application.

No matter which surface finish you choose, it’s important that you adhere to any recommended shelf-life information provided by the manufacturer. This will help ensure that your PCBs remain in top condition over time and avoid costly repairs or replacements due to improper storage.

2. Use Components Not Sensitive to Moisture

Whenever possible, it’s important to use components that are not sensitive to moisture when designing and building a PCB. These components will have a virtually limitless lifetime if stored in environments with ≤85% relative humidity and temperatures ≤ 30°C (86°F). On the other hand, components that are sensitive to moisture can only last up to one year before assembly.

Using the right type of components is especially important for applications where extended storage times are necessary, such as in aerospace and medical devices. For these applications, engineers should carefully consider the environment in which their PCBs will be stored and select components accordingly. They should also take into account any specific shelf life recommendations provided by the manufacturer of each component.

3. Store PCBs in Moisture Barrier Bags (MBB)

Moisture Barrier Bags (MBB) are essential for protecting PCBs from moisture and humidity during storage. MBBs provide an extra layer of protection by enclosing the PCB in a plastic or metallic shield. This shield controls the rate at which moisture is absorbed, thus preventing corrosion and ESD damage.

It’s important to ensure that the MBB is completely sealed to prevent any moisture from entering. Additionally, it’s recommended to include a desiccant pouch in each bag for added protection against high humidity levels. Desiccant pouches absorb any excess moisture, helping keep the PCB dry and safe from damage over time.

When using MBBs, it’s also important to store them in a cool and dry environment to maximize their effectiveness. This will help protect your PCBs from premature degradation due to improper storage conditions. By taking these precautions, you can rest assured that your PCBs are safe and secure while they’re stored away.

4. Maintain a Controlled Environment

It is extremely important to maintain a controlled environment when storing PCBs. This means keeping the temperature and humidity levels in check at all times. The ideal temperature should be ≤ 30°C (86°F) and the relative humidity should be around 85%. Temperature variations can cause unwanted moisture condensation inside the PCB or on its components, leading to corrosion or ESD damage. Furthermore, high humidity levels can lead to electrical shorts due to oxidation.

In order to maintain a controlled environment, you should think of investing in an environmental chamber or desiccant cabinet for your storage area. Environmental chambers are designed to keep your PCBs dry and protect them from extreme temperatures that could cause damage over time. Desiccant cabinets use a combination of drying agents such as molecular sieve, activated alumina, or silica gel to absorb any excess moisture from the air and keep it away from your boards.

PCB Shelf Life Standards

The recommended shelf life for most PCBs is between one and three years, depending on the type of board and its components. To maximize the longevity of your PCBs, it’s important to store them in a cool, dry environment where temperature and humidity levels remain consistent. Additionally, you should keep your boards away from direct sunlight or any other form of ultraviolet radiation as UV rays can significantly damage sensitive components.

How long can PCB be stored?

Generally speaking, different materials used in PCBs have varying shelf lives and require special handling instructions. For example, solder paste has a shelf life of two years when stored properly at temperatures below 25°C (77°F) with relative humidity below 65%. Other materials such as resistors and capacitors may last up to 5-10 years if stored in the correct conditions. Additionally, manufacturers will often provide specific instructions for how long their products can be stored for.

It’s important to note that PCB storage conditions play a major role in determining the maximum lifespan of its components. Temperature should remain between 0°C and 60°C (32°F and 140°F), while relative humidity levels should stay within 40-60%. Fluctuations outside of this range can cause problems such as board warping or component damage.

Overall, PCBs can be stored for an extended amount of time as long as the proper steps are taken to ensure their longevity. With the right temperature and humidity levels in mind, you can make sure your printed circuit boards remain in peak condition. 

What temperature and humidity for PCB storage?

The optimal temperature and humidity levels for printed circuit board (PCB) storage are between 0°C and 60°C (32°F and 140°F), with a relative humidity of 40-60%. This range is the industry standard for PCBs, as fluctuations outside of this range can cause issues such as board warping or component damage. Additionally, it is important to keep the PCB away from direct sunlight, as too much exposure to UV rays can also lead to degradation over time.

In order to maintain these conditions, it is recommended that you store your PCB in an enclosed environment like a sealed plastic bag or container. If possible, consider using desiccant packs to absorb any extra moisture in the air and help regulate relative humidity levels. Finally, check on the condition of your boards periodically to ensure they have not been exposed to any extreme changes in temperature or humidity.


In this blog post, we explore effective methods for storing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) to ensure their longevity and performance. Learn about the importance of controlling humidity, temperature, and electrostatic discharge while storing PCBs.

If you can storage PCB in good condition, you can extend the span life effectively, this can help to reduce the cost of PCB. Want to learn more about PCB storage knowledge, feel free to contact PadPCB now!


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