This Common Practice Will Slowly Kill Your Laptop Battery

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A man is frustrated by his laptop computer while working from home
Olena Yakobchuk /

Do you let your laptop battery drain away to almost nothing before charging it, and then let the battery charge until it’s at 100%?

If so, you are making a mistake that could ultimately shorten the lifespan of your laptop battery.

According to Consumer Reports, today’s newer lithium-ion batteries — which you will find in everything from laptops to cellphones — should not be allowed to dip below 20% power or to rise above 80%.

Instead, the optimal charging routine is to keep your battery’s power in that 20% to 80% range.

That advice probably sounds surprising to you; it certainly did to us. Unfortunately, the good folks at CR don’t explain why charging a battery from 0% to 100% is a bad idea.

So, we did a little digging — and found an answer.

Keeping your battery alive

Digital Trends explains that laptop batteries typically are built to handle 500 charge cycles. A single cycle is basically one discharge to 0%, followed by a recharge back up to 100%.

So, allowing your laptop battery to drain to 50% and then charging it back to 100%, for example, is one-half of a charge cycle.

As the website further explains:

“Over time, each charge cycle decreases a battery’s capacity from its design specifications, meaning that the fewer times you drain it, the longer the battery lasts — all other things being equal.”

So, the key to extending your laptop battery’s lifespan is to avoid giving it too many full charges.

One way to prevent too many full recharges is to use the “Battery Saver” feature available as part of the Windows 10 operating system. According to Digital Trends, this mode kicks into action when your laptop drops to about 20% battery life:

“This will automatically block background apps, keep your features like Calendar from syncing or pushing notifications, lower screen brightness, and other various changes that will conserve your battery so you can get to an outlet ASAP.”

Other tips for conserving power include:

  • Leave your laptop in hibernation mode when you aren’t using it.
  • Quit all apps or programs you aren’t using, so they are not running in the background and wasting battery life.
  • Shut off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth if you aren’t using them.
  • Turn off keyboard backlighting and other optional features that you don’t need.

Do you let your battery drain down to zero and then give it a full charge? Fess up in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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