As a laptop user, have you ever asked yourself, “should I leave my laptop plugged in?” If you have done this, then you are not alone. It is a question that a lot of laptop owners want the answer to, and we have provided the information that you need in this guide.
You may have heard that leaving your laptop plugged in all of the time will in some way damage your battery. We will discuss this in detail here. There is misinformation online and talking to other laptop owners is not always the best idea unless they really know what they are talking about.
The Always Plugged in Battery Damage Myth
If you have a fairly modern laptop, it will have either a Li-ion (lithium-ion) or LiPo (lithium polymer battery. With these batteries, there is no way that you can overcharge them. Once you reach the 100% battery charge level and still have your laptop plugged in to a mains outlet, there will be no further charging of your laptop battery.
In fact, at this point, your laptop will run off the mains power only. Your laptop battery will discharge a little while this is going on, and when this happens, the charging will start again to get your battery to the 100% charged state. It is simply not possible to damage your laptop battery by overcharging it when you leave your laptop plugged in.
Your Laptop Battery will Naturally Lose Capacity in Time
You are going to lose capacity with your laptop battery over time. This happens when it is subjected to a number of charging cycles. The more charging cycles, the more your battery will lose its capacity. All laptop batteries are different, and on average, you can expect them to last for around 500 full charging cycles.
Having said that, you should discharge your laptop battery from time to time. It is not a good idea to keep your battery at the highest charge level all of the time. When you let your battery discharge, make sure that you do not let the charge level go down to nothing, as this can cause damage to it.
In an ideal world, it would be great if you could instruct your laptop just to charge your battery to a 50% level and then leave it at that. This is not currently possible to do. Not only that, but you need to understand that if your laptop battery is subjected to high temperatures, it will also lose its capacity a lot faster.
So, if you wanted to take out your laptop battery and store it somewhere, you need to make sure that you find a cool place for it. Take out your laptop battery when it has achieved a 50% charge level, as this will help prolong its life.
Avoid too Much Heat by Removing Your Laptop Battery
We have already told you that too much heat is bad for your laptop battery. If you are going to be at your home or office for a while and plan to leave your laptop plugged into the mains outlet, it is best to take your laptop battery out. This will help to prevent your battery from getting too hot and hastening its demise.
If you are going to use your laptop to play intense games when it is plugged into the mains, it is really good to take out your battery first. Your laptop will run perfectly fine without the battery when you plug it into the mains.
All of this presumes that you can easily remove your laptop battery, of course. With some modern laptops, you can’t remove the battery, so you will not be able to take these precautions.
Should I leave My Laptop Plugged in?
You will probably be disappointed to learn that there is no correct answer to this question. Some experts will tell you that leaving your laptop plugged in all the time with the battery in it will cause damage to it. But so will charging your laptop battery every day.
Some of the leading laptop manufacturers offer different advice on this issue. Dell states that leaving your laptop plugged into the mains all of the time is not a problem. Apple suggests that it is not a good idea to leave a laptop plugged in all of the time with its battery.
Asus suggest that it is best to let your battery discharge to around the 50% power level every fortnight or so, which means that you will need to unplug your laptop from the mains to achieve this.
The bottom line here is that your battery will lose capacity if you leave your laptop plugged into a mains outlet all of the time. This will not happen immediately, but you may find that after doing this for around a year or so, you will significantly lessen the capacity of your laptop battery.
So, what is the best thing to do here? Well, we suggest that you come to a compromise. Even if you are working at home or in your office where you have mains power available, keep your laptop plugged in on some days and just use the battery power on others.
When you choose to discharge your laptop battery (not to zero, of course), it can actually help with the calibration. By discharging and then recharging, you will help your laptop and its operating system better estimate the real charge that your battery has remaining.
Whether you have a Windows or Mac laptop, your battery’s charge level is going to be an estimate. Windows may tell you that you have a 30% charge remaining with your laptop battery when in reality, this is nearer to zero and you can experience your laptop suddenly powering down when you were not expecting this to happen.
We recommend that you do this once a month if you want to discharge and fully recharge your laptop battery. It really is not necessary to do this more often. This process can help with batter calibration and make your operating system learn more about your battery.
But calibrating your laptop battery is going to have no impact on how long it lasts. All it will do is to help Windows or Mac provide you with a better estimate of the remaining charge that your battery has.
You have learned in this guide that there is no straight answer to the question “should I leave my laptop plugged in?” While this is frustrating, it is understandable as laptop battery life is not an exact science.
If your laptop has a Li-ion or LiPo type of battery, there is no way that leaving your machine plugged into the mains will overcharge it and damage it. Don’t believe anything to the contrary that you may see online. There is special circuitry in your laptop that will stop the charging process as soon as your battery is fully charged.
A laptop battery will lose its capacity in time no matter what you do. One of the biggest enemies to battery life is heat, so if you are not going to use battery power for a while and keep your laptop plugged in, we recommend removing the battery and storing it in a cool place.
Discharging and fully recharging your battery periodically can help to calibrate it. This means that your operating system (Windows or Mac) should be able to provide a more accurate estimate of the charge level that remains with your laptop battery.