A common question we are asked is, “how long does a laptop battery last?” In this guide, we will answer that question and give you some tips on how you can prolong your laptop battery life. You need to do everything you can to extend your laptop battery life, as they are usually expensive to replace.
The first thing to understand is that any laptop battery will lose a small amount of its capacity each time you use it. Consider it as a depreciating asset that will one day be worth next to nothing. If you rely on your laptop battery for work, then, of course, it is very important to you.
Average Laptop Battery Life
You will usually find that a laptop battery will have a lifespan of between 2 and 4 years. This assumes that you will charge your laptop battery around 1,000 times. Of course, some laptop batteries can give up in less than 2 years and some will last a lot longer than 4 years. So please accept this information as a general guide to laptop battery life.
Most modern laptop batteries use lithium and this will provide longer life than other materials will. So check to see that any laptop you are thinking of purchasing has a lithium battery. Every time that you charge your laptop battery, you will shorten its life by a small amount.
The bottom line with laptop battery life is the material used in construction (lithium is the best), the number of charges that your laptop battery receives and the amount of use that your laptop gets. We will discuss laptop usage in more detail below.
Ignore Laptop Battery Life claims from manufacturers
The amount of time that your laptop battery remains usable will depend on how much you use it without the aid of a power adapter to charge it. When you purchase a laptop, pay little attention to the claims made by the manufacturer regarding battery life.
Laptop manufacturers have no idea how you will use their products. They are also in the business of selling laptops to you, so they are going to provide you with the best-case scenarios every time. Your laptop battery may not last as long as the manufacturer claims and if this is the case, they will blame you.
Laptop Battery Fundamentals
The amount of time you can use your laptop using only battery power should be measured after a full charge using the supplied power adapter. On average, laptop batteries will provide between one and twelve hours of operation, depending on the type of battery you have.
You need to know the milliamp-hours (mAH) rating of your laptop battery. A laptop with a higher mAH rating should have greater capacity than one with a lower rating. So if the mAH of your laptop battery is high, in theory, you will be able to use it for longer without the need for mains power.
How are you using your Laptop?
If you use your laptop a lot then you can expect your battery life to be shorter. How many applications do you usually have running on your laptop? Many open applications will drain more battery power and require more charging, which will shorten battery life.
Do you use the maximum brightness settings for your laptop screen? If you do, then this will require more battery power and lead to shortening of battery life. Using WiFi to connect to the Internet all of the time will also put a strain on your laptop battery.
Some applications are more power-intensive than others. You will use a lot more battery power running games or video editing software than you are just using a word processor or a spreadsheet. Intense applications make more calls to the CPU of your laptop and this will drain battery power a lot faster.
Fully Charge a new Laptop Battery
When you purchase a new laptop, we highly recommend charging the laptop battery for at least a 24 hour period. When you do this, you will fully charge your laptop battery, which helps to extend its life. As a rule, you should never completely discharge a laptop battery, as this will lessen its life expectancy. Don’t let the capacity fall below 10% before charging again.
The exception to this rule is if your battery is not made from lithium. With a non Li-ion battery it can be advantageous to completely discharge the laptop battery and then fully recharge it every four weeks or so.
If you are not going to use your Laptop Battery, take it out
A laptop will run fine just from the power adapter plugged into a mains outlet. So if you know that you will be mainly using your laptop on mains power for an extended period, you can take your battery out of your laptop.
Once you need to use battery power again, you will need to put your laptop battery back in your machine and then charge it up again. By removing your laptop battery when you are using mains power, you will extend its life.
Avoid Temperature Extremes
Another way you can extend your laptop battery life is to keep it away from extremely cold or hot temperatures. When you use your laptop in these conditions, your battery must work harder than it does in average operating temperatures. So avoid extreme temperature conditions as much as possible.
Use Power Saving Settings
Mac and Windows-based laptops usually have power settings that you can use to prolong your laptop battery life. Find out what power settings are available for your laptop and then apply them.
A laptop will keep any applications running in the background that you have open but are not using in normal circumstances. You should be able to change the power settings so that your laptop does not support this.
It should be possible for you to decrease the brightness of your laptop screen in the power settings. Screen brightness consumes quite a lot of power and usually, a lower setting is acceptable to use. You don’t want to strain your eyes, of course, but there will be a reduced brightness setting that you find acceptable. Dim your screen a bit as it will help to make your battery last longer.
Disconnect Accessories you are not using
When you are using your laptop with battery power only, you need to check if you have any accessories that you are not really using often but will drain battery power. A classic example is an external storage drive. This will still draw power from your laptop battery when you are not using it.
Although a wireless mouse may be a convenient thing for you to use, it will draw a lot more power than the conventional touch pad you find with laptops. So consider using the touchpad only when you do not have a mains outlet to power your laptop.
Is your Laptop running at its optimum?
A laptop that is struggling to run its operating system most efficiently will drain more battery power. If your laptop has a faster SSD drive, this will be better than a conventional HDD drive.
If you have a conventional HDD, run the defragment program often to ensure that it is in the best condition possible. When your hard drive is running poorly, you will need more battery power to do the simplest things.
When you want to take a break, set up your laptop to go into “hibernation” rather than “standby”. Hibernation will hardly consume any power but standby will. In standby mode your laptop is drawing the same amount of power from your battery as it would when usually switched on.
Laptop Battery Life Conclusion
A laptop battery is never going to last forever (not with the technology available today anyway). Each time that you charge your battery you will shorten its lifespan by a small amount. One day it will not hold any charge, so it will be time to replace it.
Take steps to prolong the life span of your laptop battery. We have given you several simple ideas in this guide to do this. The more you use your laptop, the more power you consume from your battery which will shorten its life.