9 Tips to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

9 Tips to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

Watching your laptop battery slowly drain can be very stressful | Source: iStock

If you just bought a brand new laptop, we hope you avoided the most common buying mistakes. However, even if you’ve had your device for awhile, our tips to keep your laptop battery running longer will still be useful.

Making some minor tweaks to how you use your laptop prevents you from reaching for your power cord too often and will keep your laptop battery running much more efficiently. Follow these tips to make your laptop battery last longer.

1. Activate battery saver mode

When you’re using your laptop on battery power, Windows shows your battery level in the taskbar. Click on the laptop battery level indicator and make sure any power-saving features are activated, PCMag recommends. While you may experience a noticeable performance loss, if you aren’t gaming, editing photos or videos, or completing tasks that require a lot of battery power, you won’t notice much of a difference.

2. Unplugged unused peripherals

PCMag also recommends you unplug any peripherals — say an external hard drive or webcam — while using battery power. In addition to transferring data between your device and your laptop, that cable is also drawing power to the peripheral itself even when you’re not using it. That’s an obvious drain on your laptop battery.

3. Plug it in before it dies

9 Tips to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

Don’t let your computer battery drop to 0% | Source: iStock

PC World notes that a lot of us like to wait until our laptops are all but dead before we plug it in, which is bad for your battery. If at all possible, never drain your laptop battery below a 20% charge. This extends the life of your battery as usage with a low charge puts a strain on the battery itself, and eventually reduces its charging capacity.

4. Keep your laptop out of hot and cold

Use your laptop in situations where the ambient temperature is neither hot nor cold, DigitalTrends recommends. Extreme temperatures cause your computer to work harder, which in turn drains the laptop battery faster. Too much exposure to these extremes can also damage the battery itself, shortening its useful life.

5. Have enough RAM

9 Tips to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

Free WiFi at a cafe in Beijing | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Computer manufacturer Dell has an interesting suggestion to extend your laptop battery life: Make sure it has enough RAM to do your tasks. If a computer can store information in your RAM rather than on the hard drive, it will. This is a faster way to retrieve data, and also keeps your hard drive from operating as much, which significantly drains your battery.

6. Don’t keep your laptop plugged in

Wired warns laptop users not to keep their laptops plugged in all the time. What they found is that laptops plugged in constantly actually have a lesser number of cycles (think of the battery drained, then plugged in to recharge — that’s a cycle) than those who kept their batteries between 20% and 80%.

So don’t feel the need to always charge your battery fully; it’s not necessary. (Some computers may have a smart charging mode that will prioritize battery health, in which case you can keep it plugged in.)

7. Turn down screen brightness

9 Tips to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer

Ambient brightness will require your screen brightness to go up | Source: iStock

Most of the time, you won’t need your screen to be super bright. We’ve actually warned against this in the past. HowToGeek says lower screen brightness settings helps save laptop battery power, as the display is a major drain on most devices.

The site also recommends considering a change to your display settings so that your display turns off after a shorter period of non-use. Power saver mode may automatically make some of these adjustments.

8. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Don’t need connectivity? Turn those features off, PC Advisor says. Even if you’re connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, your device may still be searching for other connections. Although it’s slight, maintaining that connection does suck up some laptop battery power. So if you have no need for connectivity, just turn it off until you need it.

9. Buy an SSD

Got a little extra money lying around? PC Advisor also recommends that you swap out your hard drive for an solid-state drive if you don’t already have one. These drives operate on flash memory, which requires far less power to operate than a mechanical hard drive.

While it is not a huge improvement, an SSD has other benefits. Your computer will run much faster, since it will be able to access files quickly. You might actually save laptop battery power just because you’ll be able to get things done quicker, too.

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