Investing in a laptop only makes sense as long as the device is truly portable. Yet, it often happens that a year or so after you first bought the device, your laptop becomes nothing but a desktop PC in disguise. If you can’t keep the device plugged in all the time, the short battery life can make it a challenge to use the laptop in places with no access to a wall outlet.
Unless you fancy the idea of carrying your laptop and a power bank, you might want to find out how long a laptop battery should truly last. And are there ways to prolong its lifespan? Let’s find it out!
How Long Does a Laptop Battery Last?
|Brand||Charge Cycle Rating||Approximate Battery Lifespan|
|ASUS||300 – 500||1 – 3 years|
|HP||1,000||2 – 4 years|
|Lenovo||300 – 500||2 – 5 years|
Laptop manufacturers are nothing but shady about the real lifespan of their batteries. Most brands tell you how many charge cycles the battery is rated for, but each company uses its own parameters to calculate the battery life in years.
For instance, Lenovo claims its batteries resist around 300 to 500 charge cycles, which roughly translates to two to five years. ASUS also rates its batteries for 300 to 500 cycles, but the company states that 300 cycles are the approximate equivalent of one year.
HP rates its batteries for 1,000 cycles, which, according to the company, is the equivalent of two to four years. Similar to HP, Apple rates its laptop batteries for 1,000 charge cycles, but it doesn’t offer an equivalent in years. According to users, though, you should expect a MacBook battery to last for around five years.
While each brand uses different parameters, it is safe to say that a laptop battery should last at least one to five years. However, this only applies to lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries, which are the current standard in the laptop industry. Older types of laptop batteries, such as nickel-cadmium (NiCad) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), have different lifespans.
How Long Does a NiCad Laptop Battery Last?
NiCad batteries have a typical lifespan of around five to seven years — approximately 700 to 1,000 charge cycles. These batteries have been outlawed, though, due to their toxic components. They might still equip ancient laptops, but finding a replacement is nearly impossible.
How Long Does a NiMH Laptop Battery Last?
NiMH batteries are more environmentally friendly than NiCad but are as outdated as the NiCad type. Their main disadvantage is the short lifespan of around 500 charge cycles. That’s similar to Li-Ion batteries, but NiMH has more disadvantages. For instance, they are prone to self-discharging, generate heat when charging, and their voltage output often drops in extreme temperatures. If your laptop uses a NiMH battery, you might still be able to find replacements, but you should really consider upgrading to a Li-Ion battery.
How Long Does a Laptop Battery Last Per Charge?
|Laptop Category||Average Battery Life/Charge|
|Entry-level||2 – 4 hours|
|Mid-range||4 – 6 hours|
|High-end||8 – 14 hours|
While most laptop batteries have a similar lifespan, things change regarding runtime. On average, entry-level laptop batteries usually last around two to four hours per charge. Most mid-range models provide around four to six hours per charge. High-end models come with high-capacity batteries that can provide up to 14 hours of runtime per charge, but these laptops are typically expensive.
Beyond the battery capacity, factors affecting the runtime include the processor, operating system, and the type of apps you’re using. As a rule of thumb, Apple laptops generally deliver a longer runtime than Windows systems. Newer, energy-efficient CPUs and GPUs also increase the battery life.
3 Factors That Affect a Laptop Battery’s Lifespan
When it comes to the general lifespan of your laptop’s battery, there are three main factors affecting its lifespan: battery quality, usage patterns, and the conditions in which you use the laptop.
Most laptop manufacturers today use Li-Ion or LiPo batteries, but not all batteries in this category were created equal. Grade A batteries are made of high-quality materials and are manufactured to strict standards that guarantee the battery’s performance and reliability. These batteries have a longer lifespan than grade B batteries but are up to 40 percent more expensive.
Despite the steep price difference, investing in a laptop using grade-A batteries is worth it. Typically, these batteries only lose around 20 percent of their capacity after 1,000 charge cycles. You’ll notice a drastic reduction in runtime, but you’ll still be able to use the laptop on battery alone. A grade B battery generally becomes unusable by this point.
How you use the laptop is another factor affecting the battery lifespan. Constantly charging and discharging the battery will obviously impact its lifespan — a battery only resists a determined number of charge cycles, so if you’re charging it two times a day, you’ll reduce its lifespan.
Keeping the laptop plugged in at all times can also affect the lifespan, especially if you don’t use a battery protection mode. If you want to avoid frequent charging and discharging, keep the battery level at 60 to 80 percent — most new laptops allow you to enable this option from the settings.
Leaving the laptop unused for long periods of time, such as weeks or months, can also impact the battery lifespan. If you want to put an old laptop in storage, you should either drain the battery completely beforehand or leave it at 50 percent rather than fully charged.
Extreme temperatures are another thing to be aware of. Using the laptop in extreme heat can put a strain on all components, battery included. The battery typically loses charge faster in hot environments, which means more frequent charging and faster deterioration. Similarly, too-low temperatures can also impair the battery’s function.
Ways to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer
There are several factors that can affect a laptop battery’s longevity, but there are also ways to prolong its lifespan. Here are a few things you could try.
Adjust Your Laptop’s Settings
The easiest way to increase your laptop battery’s lifespan is by reducing power usage. You can do so by adjusting the laptop’s settings. For instance, you can reduce the screen brightness and turn off the keyboard lighting if you have a backlit keyboard.
Cut back the number of programs that open automatically when starting your laptop and disconnect all non-essential devices — for instance, receiving mobile notifications or calls on your laptop can consume a lot of battery and might not be necessary.
You should also disconnect any flash drives, microSD cards, and other external devices that you only use occasionally. Automatically switching to a power-saving mode when the laptop isn’t plugged in can also help prolong the battery life.
Excessive heat can have a negative impact on your laptop’s battery, but the environmental temperature is not the only thing to worry about. The heat generated by your laptop’s internal components also plays a role. Luckily, you can maintain it in optimal parameters by optimizing the airflow.
The first, most basic rule is that you should always maintain the vents unobstructed. Get rid of the tablecloth if you have one on your desk, and avoid using the laptop on top of a duvet. Clean the cooling vents regularly and use a laptop cooling pad if necessary.
Turn On the Battery Saver Mode
If you want to use a laptop as your main computer and keep it plugged in for most of the time, enable the battery saver mode. This mode allows you to partially charge the battery at 60 or 80 percent. The laptop then maintains the charge level automatically, preventing overcharging and prolonging the battery’s lifespan.
Most laptop batteries support 300 to 1,000 charge cycles, which is the rough equivalent of two to five years of use. However, there are several factors that affect the actual lifespan of the battery. Beyond its capacity, the battery quality, the way you use the laptop, and the temperature can reduce the battery’s longevity. To prolong its lifespan, you should avoid overcharging, optimize airflow, and adjust your laptop’s settings to avoid unnecessary strains.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Tomasz Majchrowicz/Shutterstock.com.