4 Tips to Increase Rechargeable Battery Life

Photo (cc) by Matthias Rhomberg

If you own an iPhone, laptop, digital camera, or almost any rechargeable device, it probably runs on a lithium ion battery. They pack a ton of power into a small space and do a great job of holding on to that power when not in use. But without proper care, your battery won’t keep its charge as well as it used to.

That’s perfectly normal. The capacity of all lithium ion batteries declines over time. When maintained properly, an iPhone 4 battery will keep 80 percent of its original capacity after 400 full charge-and-discharge cycles. But there are things you can do improve the lifespan of your battery…

1. Stop running it down

First, stop running it all the way down. In fact, try not to drop below 20 percent. Think of your battery like a muscle. Working out at a gym for 20 minutes a day will get you into shape, but doing it for 20 hours a day isn’t something you can keep up for very long.

2. Use it or lose it

But you also shouldn’t leave your battery fully charged all the time. Like a muscle, your battery will atrophy if you never use it. So unplug it every once in a while and try to run it down by at least 10 percent.

Some manufacturers may also recommend that you fully charge your battery, then completely drain it once a month. This is typically done to recalibrate the device’s internal counter, which is used when estimating how much power you have left. But don’t do it more often than necessary.

3. Remember: heat = death

Stay away from heat. Heat is the natural enemy of lithium ion batteries. Even at room temperature, one year of use can permanently reduce your battery’s capacity by as much as 20 percent – and something like a laptop will run much warmer than room temperature.

If you’re going to put a laptop through a period of heavy use, a good suggestion is to plug it in and remove the battery, storing it separately from your laptop in a cooler location.

You may also want to invest in an inexpensive cooling pad. It’ll put an extra fan or two underneath your laptop to suck excess heat way. Here’s a listing of cooling pads available at Amazon.

If you use a case with your iPhone, iPad, or other device, make sure that it’s breathable. Long periods of use, especially never-ending cell calls, can generate a lot of extra heat. While a thick, airtight case may offer protection from the elements, it’ll come at the cost of battery life.

For iPhone users, Apple has posted a list of tips to optimize your battery life with some great suggestions for any phone – like keeping it out of the sun or a hot car – as well as some specific to iPhones: Read those tips here.

RIM has done the same for BlackBerry users, recommending, among other things, that you charge your BlackBerry as much as possible. These tips should help maximize your battery’s short- and long-term life, no matter what phone you use.

4. Think long-term storage

If you’ve got an extra battery that you rarely use, or have decided to run your laptop off its charger and store your battery somewhere else until needed, many manufacturers recommend keeping it in a refrigerator with a 50-percent charge.

The refrigerator is a nice, cool place – ideal for longer-term battery storage. But don’t put it in the freezer. Anything below freezing is too cold and will hasten your battery’s demise.

No battery will last forever, and all will eventually have to be replaced. But with proper care, your battery should be able to enjoy a long, healthy life.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

19 Things You Should Never Buy at a Grocery Store
19 Things You Should Never Buy at a Grocery Store

These household necessities are overpriced at the grocery store. Get them cheaper at these places instead.

15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free movie streaming sites offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics. If you love free movies, online sites are where you need to look for the best list of features that are just one easy click away.

7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze
7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze

These small appliances and cooking aids make healthy eating easy — and they’re all available on Amazon.

What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

The best battery depends on what you need it for and how big your budget is. Here’s how to find the cheapest brand that will do the job you need.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk
Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends leaving this type of store within a half-hour.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.