by Matt Okeefe
For all that batteries do to power the devices we use every day that make our lives easier, most people don’t know a lot about the technology. Laptop batteries in particular are annoying and expensive to replace: here are 6 ways you can prolong the life of your laptop battery.
1. Don’t let your laptop overheat
If you can feel the heat from your laptop on your skin as you lie on the couch, you have a bit of a problem. That’s especially true if your computer is shutting down unexpectedly, as noted by PCWorld. It’s a little trickier to cool down a laptop than a desktop computer, but it is doable. You’ll need either a laptop cooler or a small PC vacuum that sucks up the dirt in the vents.
2. Don’t remove or insert the laptop battery while the laptop is running
This is a pretty obvious one, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Among other suggestions, PCWorld recommends, among other suggestions, that users should always shut down your computer completely before removing the laptop battery, or you risk some serious damage.
3. Use the 80/20 method
Your results will vary, but the well-known 80/20 method will assist you in prolonging the life of your laptop battery. If you’re not familiar with it, the main principle is that a laptop battery should never (or at least seldom) go below 20% or rise above 80%. It’s not easy to stick to that rule all the time, but if you’re able to then your battery will probably last a little longer because of it.
4. Don’t leave your computer fully charged
Even if you don’t use the 80/20 method all the time (and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t) do your best to not leave your laptop battery 100% of the way charged. Try to stay in that ideal 20% to 80% range (or better yet, 40% to 60%) when you’re away from your computer. That typically means not leaving your your computer plugged in overnight or for any extended period for the sake of your battery health. There’s a good chance you’ll occasionally forget to unplug, though. You can avoid having to remember by using a product like the Belkin Conserve Socket that prohibits your computer from fully charging. One could argue, though, that the money spent on a Conserve Socket would be better spent on a replacement battery…
5. Never let your laptop battery run out
This is one of the worst things for both your laptop battery and for your computer itself. As frustrating as it is when your computer goes to sleep before you can reach a charger, the harm of letting that happen is even more severe than you first realize. To avoid damaging the hardware (including the battery) be very wary of letting your laptop battery reach zero percent.
6. Do not use Google Chrome
This very enlightening Forbes article reveals that the Google Chrome web browser may be reducing the life of your laptop battery if you’re using a Windows computer. As the browser stays open it eats up more and more energy, causing your computer to shut down sooner and your laptop battery to wear down faster. This is unfortunate news, especially since Chrome is considered by many to be the most powerful and effective browser. If you’re really, really concerned with replacing your laptop battery, you can switch to Firefox. But, like many of the other steps on this list, that might not be worth it for you. The convenience of using an arguably superior web browser and not having to keep a constant eye on your computer’s every function may triumph over the money you’ll save holding on to your laptop battery a little longer. Ultimately, though, that’s for you to decide.
Matt O’Keefe is a lifehacktivist and avid writer of stuff. That stuff includes posts for Lifehack, journalism for The Beat and blog content for businesses. Visit his portfolio and personal blog to learn more.