Tech News (News21USA) – Whether you’re shopping for a new laptop or experiencing old battery life on an old one, one question may pop into your head: is it safe to leave it plugged in at all times? After all, a laptop is only as good as its battery. It doesn’t matter what processor you have or if the screen has a 4K resolution; they are only useful while the battery lasts. To avoid running out of charge, some users keep their laptops plugged in at all times so they can use the device for a few hours if there is an outage.
Most modern laptops come with lithium batteries, chemical devices that can hold and dissipate charge at the required time and speed. The battery is constantly active whenever we use the laptop, whether it is plugged in or not. Laptop batteries have a limited life, measured in charge cycles, or the number of times you charge and discharge the battery to its maximum capacity.
This means that one of the most crucial factors determining the overall battery life of your laptop is how you charge it, whether you keep it plugged in at all times or only charge it when needed.
How Long Do You Charge Your Laptop?
Let’s start with the basics of what happens to your laptop when you leave it plugged in. Typically, your device can end up in one of three scenarios, depending on the total amount of time you plug them into a charger.
The first scenario is quite common, when your laptop runs out of battery or is about to run out, and you plug it in to recharge it. Now, depending on the size of the battery and the charging speed, it can take a certain amount of time for your laptop battery to get to 100%, anywhere from an hour to a couple of hours.
So, naturally, leaving your laptop plugged in for the required amount of time is absolutely safe unless you’re using a damaged or incompatible charger that could fry electrical circuits and render your device useless – just something to keep in mind.
The second scenario that many users can find themselves in is leaving the laptop plugged in for longer than necessary. Not for a few minutes, mind you, but for a few hours, as if you left your device plugged in overnight. It is safe?
Charging Style Can Make Or Break Battery Health
Yes, most modern machines are smart enough to stop drawing power from the adapter and cut power to the battery cells, preventing overcharging. However, constantly connecting with a power outlet could lead to battery leakage, which is not good for the health of the device.
Yes, the IC stops accepting power from the charger when the battery reaches 100%, a safety measure to prevent your laptop from exploding or catching fire. However, even when not in active use, your laptop loses some charge and by the time it hits 99%, it begins to recharge. This cycle could continue for a while, depending on how long you leave your device plugged in. It keeps the battery under constant load and increases its temperature, which can be very damaging to the laptop battery.
Constant battery trickle increases the rate of battery aging, reducing the time your laptop can run without being connected to a power source. If you want your device to continue to work wirelessly for hours throughout its life, only connect the charger when necessary.
Constant Use Of Your Laptop On AC Power Could Be A Problem
The third and worst case scenario is when you never unplug your laptop’s power cord and use it all day, every day on AC power. Suppose you replaced your desktop with a laptop and all your device does is sit in one place all day. It doesn’t matter what you use your device for, it’s always plugged in and will most likely remain at 100% charge, which can cause permanent damage.
Of course, leaving your device plugged in can be much more convenient for you and is also safe, but you should know that this quickly reduces the battery’s charge-holding capacity. When you keep your laptop plugged in, the battery not only has to charge itself, it also has to power up the other components you might be using at any given time. To achieve this, it overworks, receiving and redirecting the charge simultaneously, heating up more than usual.
How To Increase The Life Of Your Laptop Battery
Although battery aging is inevitable, you can control the rate of aging by following some charging and usage tips. If your laptop stays plugged in at all times, you might benefit from setting a battery charging threshold. HP suggests that if you charge your laptop battery to less than 90% instead of 100%, you can improve its “discharge cycle from 300 to even 1000 extra recharges.”
The way to set a charge threshold depends on who made your laptop. Lenovo provides a companion app called Lenovo Vantage that allows you to set when the battery starts and stops charging. Similarly, ASUS laptops have a maximum lifespan mode that limits charging to 60%. Other companies like Dell, MSI, and HP also have a power management setting. MacBooks, on the other hand, have the Optimized Battery Charging feature that learns your usage patterns and delays charging to 100%.
For those who rely on their laptop’s battery life, using it in low performance or power saving mode will help you get the most hours out of it. Taking care of the screen sleep timer and using the laptop at a lower screen brightness, especially indoors, are some tips that can help you get the most out of your laptop battery.