The battery of your laptop is an essential component to keep your laptop mobile, thus one of the most important to keep healthy. Although we mostly tend to think of other hardware first, like RAM, screen resolution, and CPU power.
When we talk about laptops, we forget that the battery is the powerhouse of the laptop, and without it, the laptop would be anchored to an AC outlet.
So in this article, we’re going to cover how to keep a laptop battery healthy. Doing so will avoid laptop owners having to replace their batteries sooner than actually needed.
Let’s take a look at the quick answer. Then we’ll dive into more details…
To keep a laptop battery healthy, avoid leaving your laptop plugged in, avoid overheating, avoid draining the battery completely, and adjust power settings for best power use in your settings. Dim the screen and disable wifi and Bluetooth to prolong your battery time and check to make sure your battery isn’t already damaged.
Here are some useful laptop battery charging tips for people who wish to get the most out of their battery life.
Should you leave your laptop plugged in all the time?
This is a question that laptop owners ask quite frequently, and the answer to this is a simple no.
In order to get the most life out of your laptop battery, keeping it charged somewhere between 40% to 80% has been observed as optimum.
With newer batteries, however, the charging stops at 100%, but for older batteries, you wouldn’t want to leave your laptop charging all the time.
The new generation of lithium batteries performs better in full charge cycles, thus not letting the battery drop below 40% is a safety measure.
Also, leaving laptops on charge all the time could cause the battery to overheat – in some models, which is a danger you should obviously look to avoid.
In many laptop models, once the battery is fully charged, it will automatically cut off the power supply to the battery.
Thus keeping it plugged in is unnecessary after that point. However, it won’t let the battery overheat in most cases.
Should the laptop battery be completely drained before re-charging?
This is another frequently asked question when it comes to charging the laptop battery.
The answer to this is no as well. Most of the newer generation laptop batteries are either lithium-polymer or lithium-ion, and they’re designed to have the ability to withstand repeated charge cycles.
As mentioned above, keeping your laptop plugged in at all times wouldn’t necessarily damage your battery, but since laptop batteries do have a limited number of charge-discharge cycles, therefore letting your laptop battery completely discharge is highly likely to reduce its intended lifespan.
Charging tips for laptops
Not all laptops have in-built removable batteries for cool-down. Also, internal cooling fans break down after a couple of years.
Below are some useful battery charging tips that will help laptop owners help maximize their laptop battery life:
- Avoid discharging the laptop completely after charging it. The best practice is to try to keep the battery percentage between 40 to 80 percent. This is especially true for older laptop batteries.
- Make sure that your laptop doesn’t overheat, and that the cooling fan is fully operational. The battery of your laptop is unlikely to overcharge and harm itself because of excessive charging. It has been designed to bypass the charging energy.
- Batteries that are charged to full 100% have only 300-500 discharge cycles. Those that are charged up to 80% get nearly quadruple the number of recharging cycles.
- Performing battery backup, disabling unused ports and devices, and selecting battery saving or eco mode will put your laptop into lower power modes and help prevent unnecessary battery drainage too.
Of course, all these charging tips and techniques will mean little if your battery is already on its way out.
So it’s helpful to know if your battery needs replacing.
How to tell if your battery needs replacing
There are two main ways to diagnose if your battery needs replacing.
Battery test – method one
The first way to test your laptop’s battery can happen right there on your computer.
Take the following general steps (obviously, the process will vary slightly, depending on your operating system):
- Unplug the power cord.
- Turn off your laptop using the power button.
- Restart the laptop by pressing the power button
- Once powered up, press the Esc key straight away
- Once the Start-Up menu appears, select System Diagnostics.
- A diagnostics list and component tests should appear – select Battery test
- Replug in the power cord
- Click the Start Battery Test button
Once the battery test has been completed by the system, you should then be presented with a status message, such as OK, Calibrate, Weak, Very Weak, Replace, No Battery, or Unknown.
In order to further diagnose the system and take the next action required, you ideally need to then consult the model’s manual that came with the laptop or that is available online.
Battery test – method two
The second method is of greater use if your laptop is not functioning correctly.
It will help understand if any issues you’re encountering lie with the battery alone or beyond that into the laptop instead.
If your laptop isn’t working properly, we need to take the battery out of the equation and see what happens.
Here’s the method…
- Carefully remove your laptop battery.
- Run your laptop using just the AC power outlet adapter.
- A problem is more likely to be with the battery if your laptop runs perfectly well on just the AC power alone.
Note: The removal of your laptop battery may, in some cases, impact your warranty status. In order to find this out, you may need to check with the supplier or manufacturer of your laptop for advice.
Techniques for improving your laptop’s battery life
Dim the Screen
One of the biggest power drains on laptops is the screen, more specifically, the backlight of the screen. This is what allows you to see colors on an LCD screen.
Some older laptop models have power-sucking fluorescent backlights. Whereas newer models have LED backlights, however even those drain a fair amount of battery.
Dimming the brightness of your screen can add up to 30 minutes or more to your overall battery life.
Typically all laptops have keyboard shortcuts to adjust brightness levels. To do so, one can hold the Fn key and press either one of the function keys in the top row of one of the cursor keys.
These keys are found labeled with sun symbols. The one having the outline of the sun is to be used to make the screen darker.
If your laptop does not have these or they’re not operational, go to the action center of Windows 10 by pressing the Windows key and holding A. There you’ll find a brightness slider at the bottom.
If your laptop has an older version of Windows, then press Win+X. This will automatically open the Mobility Center, from where you can adjust the brightness.
Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Disable both or either of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features if you’re not using them. Both these functions drain battery power. Therefore it’s sensible to turn them off.
Most laptops out there have a key or switch combination to disable Wi-Fi. However, Bluetooth might be trickier.
For that, you may need to consult the manual of your particular machine or search online for the answer.
If your laptop has Windows 10, it’s quite simple: simply go to the Action Centre by pressing the Windows key and holding A, and then click the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons to disable them.
For older laptops, you might find a shortcut, often present in the Start menu, for enabling or disabling Bluetooth.
If still in doubt, you can go to the Control Panel, click the device manager, then scroll through the list of hardware.
When you find the Bluetooth adapter, right-click on it and choose Disable. Double-clicking on the icon when it is disabled would enable it again.
Changing the Power Settings
Your laptop is likely to be set to Windows’ ‘Balanced’ setting rather than the Power Saver mode by default.
Keep in mind that Windows use different performance and power settings depending on whether it’s running on battery or mains power.
Find a battery saver option, then simply select it and close the window. You can also click on Show additional plans.
If nothing is still available to be found, then the best option is to customize a power plan by clicking the Change plan settings option.
We hope this has been useful in helping to diagnose any battery issues, but also in providing some simple hints and tips to maintain a healthy battery in your laptop.
If you are curious about why laptops are more expensive than desktops, I’ve written another article explaining why.