How Do I Keep My Laptop Battery in Good Health?

Through a number of healthy laptop practices, you can extend the amount of time you spend with your laptop. Apart from avoiding physical damage and keeping it from dust that blocks air vents, a lot of factors come to play to extend battery life.

Author: Ian Musyoka
Category: Hardware

The health of all batteries decreases over time with repeated charging and use, but this does not happen at the same speed. If you are given the same brand-new laptop on the exact day as someone else, the battery life of both laptops could highly vary after two years. A lot of factors come into play to support this, such as type of usage, frequency, and level of maintenance. Through several healthy laptop practices, you can extend the amount of time you spend with your laptop. Apart from avoiding physical damage and keeping it from dust that blocks air vents, a lot of factors come to play to extend battery life. Creating some minor changes in how you utilize your laptop could go a long way in preventing you from charging your device too often. With a healthy laptop battery, we can finish our projects, stream movies, listen to music and much more. In this article, you will find tips on how to check and maintain your battery health. Laptop Maintenance Tips Keep it Somewhere Cool It is not a good idea to place a laptop on your lap. Laptops are compact and do not have large cooling fans, therefore, they can get quite hot. This can result in ‘toasted skin syndrome’ or gradual skin burns if you place it on your lap. If you place a pillow on your lap and skin burns are not a threat, the trapped heat and blocked vents will destroy your laptop battery. Extreme heat leads to chemical changes and physical expansion in batteries. If they are exposed to too much heat over time, they will not last long. When your laptop is running hot and you decide to switch it off, keep the lid open a bit longer. Make sure to also keep it off pillows or cushioned areas. Locate the vents of your laptop and avoid blocking them. Keep your laptop somewhere cool, away from heating vents and direct sunlight if you are not using it. Maintain a Charge of Between 40 and 80 Percent If you are the type of user who likes staying away from the charger, try maintaining a charge of 40%. When you want to top off your computer, charge it to about 80%. Apart from being the best habit, it is a recommended method to extend the charge capacity and longevity of your laptop. Sadly, this is the toughest advice to follow. If you are a road warrior, the type that suffers from charge anxiety, or overscheduled, this may not be practical for you. If you are usually equipped with a charger and don't face any problems with battery life, these are the recommended limits to observe. According to research conducted by Battery University, a battery that has been charged to its extremes (empty to full) can only last 300 to 500 times before it becomes obsolete. This margin increases to 850 to 1500 cycles when a laptop battery is charged to 80%. Luckily, this plugged-in problem has been solved by some laptops. A good example is the Lenovo Vantage app, which can be used by ThinkPad laptops to set a threshold for maximum battery charge. Some Sony and Samsung laptops have this capability as well. Avoid the Zero Mark It is advisable to keep your battery charge between 40% and 80%; it is a tragedy when it gets to zero. A lot of us have the habit of letting our batteries get to zero before we decide to charge them. This habit is bad for your battery. Keeping your battery charged between 40 and 80% not only extends your battery life, but also puts less strain on the battery to maintain its charging capacity. The only time it is recommended to fully recharge a battery is when you are installing a new one. This is usually for the sake of the laptop itself, not the battery. In lithium-ion batteries, there exists no ‘memory’ that needs to be reset as compared to previous nickel-cadmium batteries. you are advised to drain your laptop battery completely for the battery gauge to be calibrated. To the longevity of a battery, this is a small hit. However, your device will get a better estimate of the remaining battery life. This will also prevent false readings and unexpected shutdowns. Prevent Overheating if Left Plugged In Contrary to popular belief, if you keep your laptop plugged-in while it is 100% full, it will not cause damage to your battery. Modern laptops have been created in such a way that, once the 100th mark is reached, charging stops, and power is sent to the system instead. There is an exception, however, your laptop running hot. Intensive work such as rendering, compiling, or using your device in a hot environment can make your device run hot. A battery that is at maximum capacity combined with serious heat exposure is likely to get damaged and lose life. Replace Your Battery When your battery’s health capacity gets below 80%, make sure to replace it. This is the recommended threshold. Unfortunately, despite following all the right methods to keep your battery in good health, it will eventually become obsolete. The internal resistance of a battery builds up to a significant degree once the health capacity drops below 80%. As a result, charging will take longer than usual as compared to when the capacity of the battery was full. When the charge percentage and the time remaining seems to get less reliable, this may be a sign that your battery has begun the journey downhill. The returns only keep diminishing. On most laptops, a battery is one of the easiest things to replace. This point still applies in modern-day Ultrabook’s that have no push-to-release lever to remove the battery. If you come equipped with the right set of screwdrivers and the right instructions, you will manage to successfully pull it off. Battery Saver Mode and Brightness When you check the windows taskbar, you will see the battery level of your laptop. To activate any power-saving features, click on the battery level indicator and turn them on. A noticeable performance loss may be experienced if you are editing videos or photos, gaming or using high battery power. Otherwise, you will not notice any major difference. Most of the time when using a laptop, you do not need a super bright screen. To save your laptop's battery power, consider lowering the brightness levels of your screen. The display drains most devices. You can also change your display settings to dim the screen after a set time of not being used. You can do this by going to Windows Settings and changing the values of ‘Power and Sleep. ’ However, some of these settings may be active in power saver mode. Checking Your Laptop Battery Health in Windows Click on the ‘Start’ menu and search for ‘PowerShell.’ Once you see the result from the options, click on it. In the window that appears, type in ‘powercfg /batteryreport’ and hit ‘Enter.’ After that, Windows will generate a report that will be accessible to you via your user folder. You can find this at C:\Users\ [YourUsername]. To view the contents, double-click it. It is an HTML file. To view your current battery capacity history, scroll down to the bottom and check out the ‘Battery Capacity History’ section. On the right and left in megawatts, you can see the initial capacity of that battery and the full charge capacity in that order. The battery’s original strength is the design capacity and the performance you are currently experiencing is the full charge capacity.