Is It Bad to Keep Your Laptop Plugged In All the Time?
Although we are an increasingly mobile society, when we are at home and no longer on the move, it is common for us to keep all of our appliances plugged in. Who wants to get up and plug the television into the mains when we can just push a button on the remote? However, keeping a device plugged in all the time has effects we don't always consider. This is especially so with devices such as a laptop which have a battery. Knowing these effects is not always easy, especially since there are differing opinions. You often find technology experts disagreeing with the recommendations a product's manufacturer provides.
At oneHOWTO, we answer one of the most common questions related to battery life, is it bad to keep your laptop plugged in all the time? By answering this question, we show you what you can do to best protect your laptop battery.
Is it good to have the laptop always connected to power?
The first thing we should note is that laptop designs are changing. It is no longer common to find these devices with removable batteries. Instead, we find integrated batteries which are often only removed by opening up the laptop completely. For this reason, it is common practice to use a laptop computer while it is plugged into the mains. But is this healthy for the battery?
In principle, it shouldn't be a problem to keep a laptop plugged in when you are using it. Despite what some sources may claim, the battery isn't overcharging. Modern electronics have inbuilt protection systems which prevent a battery from being overcharged. Of course, this will depend on the quality and date of manufacturer of the product.
Current lithium-ion laptop batteries work in such a way that they are only recharged when their charge level is not 100%. Keeping the laptop connected all the time shouldn't represent any danger, nor does it mean that your battery will degrade prematurely. Even so, there are opinions that suggest that making the battery cycle charge every so often (causing it to run down to recharge it later) can help to extend its useful life.
How long does a laptop battery last?
It is impossible to determine exactly how long your laptop battery will last. Its useful life depends on the manufacturer and the computer model, as well as other quality factors. If you want a laptop battery to last a long time, it is essential to know how to choose a good laptop in the first place.
The length of time the unplugged battery lasts also depends on how you use the laptop. We must take into account its degree of wear, something that occurs progressively. It is inevitable your laptop will wear out, but we can help make it last as long as possible.
In general, the battery of a new laptop can last between 3 and 6 hours without being plugged in. Depending on how you use the laptop, this figure can vary. Another factor is how many months (or years) can elapse before you detect the laptop battery does not charge, perhaps due to a technical problem (bad connection) or perhaps because its useful life has ended.
In this sense, you have to understand how laptop batteries work. In any computer, they have a limited series of charge cycles. They will be able to charge fully only a certain number of times, which usually ranges between 300 and 500 charges.
In most cases, the battery usually lasts slightly less than what the manufacturers indicate. Generally, the indicated duration does not factor in real situations of misuse that can accelerate its deterioration. Current batteries last a minimum of 2 to 4 years, although that time can be much longer if we take care of the battery correctly.
If you are having trouble with our device batteries, take a look at our article on how to charge a mobile phone without a charger.
How to take care of a laptop battery to extend its life
Now that you know that it is not a bad thing to keep the laptop plugged in, you can take a series of measures to extend the life of the laptop's battery. Although it reduces its total capacity of charge as it ages, there are a number of tips that help prevent damage to the laptop battery to make it last longer and remain in good condition.
- Whenever possible, activate the 'power saver mode' when using the laptop, whether it is plugged in or not.
- When not essential, reduce the brightness of the screen. That extra brightness, which is not always necessary, also drains battery. You may even want to override the automatic brightness feature in some cases.
- Protect the laptop and its battery from high temperatures. The high heat, especially if it is coupled with ambient humidity, can end up deteriorating the device and its battery.
- Don't keep endless applications open if you're not using them.
- Unless you expressly want to run down your battery to restart a charging cycle, try to only charge the batter once it is below 20%. In most cases, if you work with the laptop unplugged and see the 'Low battery' warning, connect it to the mains.
- Remember that, in principle, having the laptop always plugged in is not bad. What can be harmful to the battery is having its battery drained for too long a period of time.
When a battery is damaged, you will notice that problems begin to appear, such as that the laptop battery does not charge or that the computer is unable to detect it. If you have an Apple laptop (iMac), you may see other problems. This is the case if your iMac is overheating. Maintaining good battery care is the best way to stop this happening.
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