In a survey by chipmaker Intel, 57% of laptop users said they wished their batteries lasted longer. The fact is, the average battery life is still painfully short (just three to four hours for most laptop models).
Here are five tried-and-true tips to extend the life of your laptop battery.
1: Keep battery contacts clean. Battery contacts can get dirty or corroded over time, reducing the effective delivery of power, so it’s wise to clean them every few months. With your laptop turned off and unplugged from its external power source, remove the battery. Use a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol to wipe the metal contacts on the battery and inside the device. Allow them to dry completely before reinstalling the battery and reconnecting to a power source.
2: Charge your battery correctly. When you’re on the road, be sure to carry a power cord and plug your computer in whenever you have the chance. Unlike the older-generation rechargeable batteries like nickel-based batteries (see next paragraph), modern lithium ion batteries can be partially discharged and recharged repeatedly with no harmful effects, but you should avoid fully discharging lithium ion batteries. Consult your owner’s manual for more specific tips on charging, and never use an AC adapter (power cord) or battery charger not approved by your device’s manufacturer.
3: Completely drain nickel-based batteries periodically. If you’re using an older laptop (at least three years old) with a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, be sure to completely drain it and recharge it (every one to three months—consult your owner’s manual) to ensure that it will hold a full charge. (Most newer laptops use lithium ion batteries, which don’t need to be drained to maximize their capacity.) To drain a NiMH battery, simply turn on your computer, unplug it from its external power source, and let the computer run. After the power is completely drained, recharge the battery fully.
4: Cool it. Your laptop generates heat, and higher operating temperatures reduce your device’s efficiency, which in turn demands more battery power and can shorten battery life. Make sure that your computer can “breathe”: Don’t let clothing, lint, or other obstructions block the cooling vents.
5: Carry a spare. Buying an extra battery is a good investment for your peace of mind. Battery prices vary widely. You can significantly increase the power available to you if you’re willing to splurge a little. Contact the manufacturer of your laptop to find a replacement battery
The point is, while these tips will help extend the life of your battery, they won’t make them last indefinitely. PC manufacturers may make it seem as if their laptops will run forever, but most of us know otherwise.