Nothing is more frustrating than your gaming laptop battery dying during an important boss fight, loot drop or online play session. Unfortunately, high-performance laptops are infamous for their poor battery life. But here’s some good news: These tips let you get the most out of your battery.
Why gaming laptops have a poor battery life
You may have heard in your gaming communities that these laptops don’t have the best or longest-lasting batteries.
Laptops generally don’t have particularly powerful batteries due to their small and compact size.
Overall, the larger your battery is, the longer it can power your computer.
So, while desktop computers can easily accommodate larger hardware, laptops must conserve as much space as possible.
Thus, if you’re using a laptop for playing games, you’re already at a disadvantage in terms of battery demands, regardless of what brand or type it is.
But there are more reasons why laptop batteries don’t last very long.
The following components in your laptop are huge battery drainers:
Powerful CPUs and GPUs affect battery life
A gaming laptop is designed to handle far more than just light tasks like web browsing.
PC games are getting bigger, faster, and more complex daily, so these laptops have powerful processors and graphics cards built to keep up with such demanding games.
To run properly, your computer dedicates much laptop battery life to your processors and graphics card.
Multiple cooling fans
Since a gaming laptop uses so much power, it needs more than one fan to stay cool and avoid overheating.
Your high-powered CPU and GPU produce a lot of heat while you game-pack into a tiny space.
While a standard laptop usually has a single fan, a high-performance laptop needs at least two to prevent overheating.
RGB Backlit keyboards drain the battery faster
While a backlit keyboard is less common in a normal laptop, the game variety often implements bright lighting underneath their keyboards to find specific keys more easily and improve your experience.
Naturally, this high-powered lighting will drain your battery significantly.
Higher resolution displays
A resolution of 1080p and a screen size of about 15 inches (38.1 cm) is usually adequate for a typical laptop.
However, gaming laptops have more detailed and larger displays to help your games’ graphics look and perform better.
Resolutions of 1440p and screen sizes of 18 inches or more are becoming more prevalent with gaming laptops.
Such a demanding display will contribute to bad battery life.
More powerful speakers
Laptop manufacturers know you want your games to sound as crisp and loud as possible.
Also, the louder speakers help to cover up the sound of your fans whirring away while you play.
Most gaming laptops have much louder and more capable speakers than those of the non-gaming type.
Now that you know why your gaming laptop’s battery might not meet your expectations, let’s explore ways to improve its performance and make it last as long as possible.
How To Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer:
1. If you can, buy a better gaming laptop
Of course, this solution isn’t an option for many of you, as high-performance laptops are pretty expensive, and top-tier contenders are exceptionally costly.
You’ve likely already bought a laptop you want to get the most out of, so simply purchasing another is probably unrealistic.
However, if you happen to be looking into a new laptop anyway, it’s worth looking into the best-performing laptops on the market.
Of course, that’s as long as you’re willing to make a sizable investment.
If you aren’t looking to purchase a new laptop and would rather extend the life of your existing one’s battery, keep reading because you have plenty of options.
2. Close any applications you aren’t using
Before you start a gaming session, it’s always a good idea to check on any apps you have running in the background and close them.
That way, you won’t have to worry about them crashing your game or causing lag.
Certain applications will significantly drain your battery when left open, even if you aren’t actively using them.
For Windows users, go into your laptop’s settings, go to Apps and Features, and type see which apps affect your battery life into the search bar.
This will include a list of the applications that are sapping your laptop’s power.
If you see any apps that aren’t directly necessary to your gaming session, close them.
Many people forget about apps like Skype or Spotify that they’ve left open in the background and wonder why their laptop is running so slowly.
Meanwhile, the apps are draining massive amounts of power while not contributing to anything meaningful.
3. Lower your display brightness as much as possible
It’s understandable if you want your brightness turned up as high as possible so that your games look exceptionally vivid and clear.
However, sacrificing a small amount of brightness can go a long way when trying to preserve battery power, especially when you’re on the go and don’t have a charger.
Remember that having your brightness turned up to 100% constantly contributes significantly to eye strain.
Not only will you be conserving the battery by turning it down, but you’ll also be protecting your eyesight.
While turning your brightness to the maximum setting is tempting, you probably won’t notice much difference if you turn it down slightly.
You’ll prevent your laptop from overheating and keep your cooling fans from working overtime. This is a practical yet simple way to help your battery last longer.
4. Check your battery performance slider or battery saver mode
Regardless of which operating system your laptop uses, you have access to battery usage settings that you can adjust to help extend your battery usage.
Let’s look at your options for both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Windows battery performance slider
Click the battery icon on your bottom taskbar to open your battery performance slider.
You’ll also notice a “battery settings” option for more specific settings, but for now, turn your attention to the big slider that pops up.
You essentially have four options here. Let’s briefly sum up each setting so you can decide which is best for you and your battery.
- Best battery saver: If you pull the slider to the left, you’ll enable battery saver. The battery saver is great if you’re willing to lose a bit of performance and speed to save as much as possible, but you may have some issues with more demanding gameplay.
- Better battery: This is the second option from the left. This is typically the recommended setting for a PC and laptop. It’s a good compromise to save some battery without hurting the performance of your games too much.
- Better performance: This is the second option from the right. You won’t be saving much battery with this one, but it’ll help prevent any problems with your performance while not crushing it.
- Best performance: Finally, this is the option to the right. Even though your games will look and perform better if you select this setting, it isn’t recommended if you want to prolong your battery. With this option selected, you’ll use more power, and your battery drains quickly.
Also, if you click on the battery settings option underneath this slider, you’ll see a few more ways to preserve it.
From here, you can turn on your battery saver if it drops below a certain percentage and choose whether or not you want the screen dimmed while using this setting.
Additionally, you can check your power and sleep settings and select exactly when you want your laptop to go into sleep mode or shut off, depending on its battery percentage.
macOS Battery settings
Like the Windows Battery Performance settings, macOS also has detailed settings you can adjust to prioritize performance or the battery.
Although there isn’t a slider like with Windows computers, you can click on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of your screen, type Energy Saver in the search bar, and click the Battery tab.
To preserve your battery rather than optimize performance, you should do the following:
- Check the boxes for Put hard disks to sleep when possible and Slightly dim the display when on battery power.
- Uncheck the Enable Power Nap while on battery power box.
- Adjust the Turn display off after the slider to around 5 minutes. You can adjust this more if you wish. This way, you’ll save power whenever you aren’t actively using the laptop.
- Check the box for Show battery status in menu bar so that you can quickly and easily check how much you have remaining at any time.
Depending on your preferences and battery, you might adjust these settings slightly, but the above selections are a great place to start.
5. If possible, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to save power
Turning off your Wi-Fi won’t be an option for many online games for obvious reasons, but if you are playing offline, turn off both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
They won’t be necessary, and by keeping them on, you’ll be dedicating more battery resources to a useless process.
If you leave Wi-Fi on even when you’re not connected to a network, your laptop will constantly search for a network to connect to, even if all of the nearby networks are out of range.
The same goes for Bluetooth connectivity. If you leave the app on, your laptop will search for Bluetooth devices to connect to, using up a small amount of power.
6. Unplug or turn off your USB peripherals (especially for games)
Keeping certain USB devices plugged in will also use up battery power, so unplug any of them that aren’t directly necessary for your gaming session.
Whether it’s a webcam, a USB drive, a charger for your phone, or any other device you aren’t using while gaming, disconnect it so your laptop isn’t dedicating any battery power to keeping it connected.
Keep as many of your USB ports empty as possible. Even though the battery usage for most USB devices is minimal, it still helps you avoid unnecessary battery drainage.
7. Make sure your laptop has proper airflow
As mentioned, high-performance laptops use multiple fans to keep them cool and avoid overheating.
These fan vents are at the bottom of your laptop, so always keep it on a hard, flat surface to prevent blocking off the air vents and restricting airflow.
The vents will become blocked off if you use your laptop in bed or on a soft surface.
8. Keep your laptop clean and free of dust
Over time, your laptop’s air vents will accumulate dust.
Unfortunately, dusty air vents are inevitable, so don’t forget to check and clean them frequently, as the dust will retain heat and block off vital airflow.
You can clean your laptop’s air vents by using compressed air. Most cans of compressed air come with a long, thin plastic nozzle you can attach to the sprayer to get into tight areas.
You could also use a soft, clean cloth or a cotton swab to grab any dust you miss with the compressed air.
Some gamers even use small, handheld vacuums to pull air out of the vents, but this can be tricky depending on the size of your vacuum.
The most simple and accessible options are compressed air and cotton swabs.
Another way to prevent excess dust from accumulating in your laptop’s vents is to avoid smoking and burning incense or candles near your laptop.
9. Update any drivers and software
Be sure to check often for any updates available for your laptop’s drivers and software. Even minor updates will help your laptop run faster and more efficiently, thus preventing excess battery usage.
10. Keep your DVD disk drive empty
Never leave a disk spinning in the disk drive if you aren’t using it. Before you start a gaming session, always check your drives for any disks.
You’ll drain a small amount of battery power by keeping unnecessary disks in your disk drives.
11. Use headphones or keep the volume low
Since a high-performance laptop has more powerful and demanding speakers than a typical laptop, it’s best to use headphones. At the same time, your game or keep the volume lowered to a reasonable level when you rely on battery power.
If you want to save power and aren’t too concerned with the audio from the game you’re playing, you can mute the speakers entirely.
Muting your speakers is a great option for games that don’t have music, voice acting, or other audio that’s important to the plot or overall experience.
12. Turn off your keyboard backlight
While backlit keyboards are a rarity in a standard laptop, a high-performance laptop usually has built-in backlighting to enhance your experience.
A backlit keyboard makes it easier to see specific keys and helps when gaming in poorly lit environments.
Unfortunately, the powerful lighting also uses up quite a bit of battery, so if it isn’t necessary to your experience, go ahead and turn it off.
You can also toggle it on and off if you only need it for certain parts of your game to get more out of your battery.
13. Replace your mechanical drive with an SSD
If your laptop still has an old mechanical drive, you’ll use extra battery power to keep it spinning.
Replace the hard disk drive with an SSD, which will use less power as it doesn’t have any motors to spin up with heavy platters attached to it.
SSDs are more reliable against knocks and provide impressive longevity. Additionally, you will enjoy some extra performance from it.
Tip: You can replace a hard drive with a direct 2.5-inch replacement SSD if your laptop doesn’t have an M.2 slot.