Buyer's Guide

Does plugging in laptop ruin the battery?

Does plugging in laptop ruin the battery?

Most laptops are made of Lithium-Ion batteries. Lithium-Ion batteries can be recharged but every time you recharge them it loses some of its power.

For example, you just bought a new laptop and it has a battery life of 100%.

This means if your new laptop can stay on for 4 hours with a full battery. Then it will stay on for 4 hours when you recharge it.

However, every time you charge your laptop the battery timing goes down.

So let’s say you have your laptop for a few years now. The battery life of it has significantly decreased. Let’s say your battery life is now 80%, if you would charge your laptop then it would only last for 4 hours x 80% = 3 hours and 12 minutes.

Yes and no, in the short term, it shouldn’t matter to so much if you keep your laptop plugged in. However, lithium-ion batteries that are in laptops get their life reduced every time they’re recharged.

It is bad to let your laptop battery die, so you should recharge it before it goes to 0%.

Does plugging in laptop ruin the battery?

Well, as you know and we’ve explained above battery laptops are not invincible. That’s why you should never let your laptop battery down. Always make sure you plug it in before your battery goes to 0%.

A charge cycle is when your laptop battery charges from 0% back to 100% again.

Laptops and smartphones only have a finite of charge cycles in them. After that, you’ll have to replace the battery or buy a new one.

So when you let your laptop drain to 0%, your laptop needs to charge up again to 100% before it has used a charge cycle.

To make it more clear, I’ll give you an example of the use of charge cycles:

1st day your battery starts at 100% and you use 80% which leaves you with 20%.

Then you go to sleep and plug your laptop or smartphone to charge so you can use it the next day.

2nd day your battery starts at 100% again and let’s say you use 40% of it because you had a day-off.

The first charge cycle you had used 80% and the second day you used 40% which comes near to 120%. So you used 1 full charge cycle and 20% for the 2nd cycle.

Let’s say your laptop has 4 x 365 = 1460 charge cycles. That’ll mean that when your laptop has charged its self for 1460 full charge cycles, you’ll have to replace the battery.

To come to a simple conclusion: Avoid your laptop going to 0% and only leave it on when you need it. Because when you’re not using your laptop and leave it on, the battery is still using up charge cycles.

What are things that could ruin your laptop battery?

Overall, it depends on what laptop brand you own. Different laptops require different user habits because they’re made for different purposes.

Make sure you’ve read most of the important things in the manual of your laptop considering battery life and usage. Most modern laptops have a battery optimization mechanic built into them.

This means your laptop is smart enough to adapt to how you use your laptop.

Here are some things that could ruin your laptop:

  • Leaving your laptop plugged in if it doesn’t need charging
  • Discharging your battery often to 0%
  • Plugging in your laptop for a long time can cause overheating
  • Not reading the manual and reading random advice on the internet

Well, most of the time you don’t need to be worried about plugging in your laptop and using it.

Apple does not advise this though, so if you own an Apple device you might want to keep this in mind. It has recommended its users to only charge it when needed and when it’s between 25% battery life.

When you charge your battery too close to 100%, you will lose most battery life in the long term. That’s because charging your battery when it’s already 100% you’re heating the battery for no reason and this could damage it.

Instead, it’s recommended to remove your battery if you’re using your laptop while it’s plugged in most of the time. Don’t forget to store the battery in a cool and safe place.

Heating kills batteries and you can overheat your battery if you have your laptop plugged in all time.

So make sure you only plug in your laptop when it’s around 25% and at least under 50% battery life.

Are you gaming on your laptop? Then you might find yourself using your laptop plugged in, but make sure you’re laptop is not heating too much. Overheating is one of the more damaging things you can do to your laptop and battery.

In conclusion: leaving your laptop plugged in, won’t cause much harm in most cases. That’s because of almost every modern laptop disconnects and stops the charging process when the battery is fully charged.

But keep in mind that laptops aren’t made to be plugged in all the time. When you’re gaming you might want to remove the battery (if possible) and keep playing with your laptop plugged in.

Gaming requires a lot of energy from your laptop and if you have it plugged in your laptop can make use of more energy. Another thing is that your laptop doesn’t have to enable any power-saving modes when plugged in.

Why do laptop batteries not get damaged while being plugged in?

There are many reasons why modern laptop batteries are a lot smarter and it’s harder for consumers to mess up their batteries.

Previously, if you had no knowledge of laptops you were bound to ruin it because you had no idea what practices would increase or decrease battery time.

Most modern laptops are only getting smarter, and that’s why manufacturers invest in technology that automatically handles laptop battery time to increase it.

Batteries these days disconnect from charging automatically when it’s fully charged. So there is less probability for overheating your laptop.

Laptop manufacturers have over the years created more user-friendly laptops. Meaning, your laptop automatically enables power saving modes. Also, if your laptop is fully charged, as we explained above, it automatically disconnects and you can’t get more than 100% on your charge.

Once your laptop gets to 100% charging, it hovers between 99% and 100% continuously. This is called trickle charging and modern laptop batteries are designed in a way that this is not very harmful to your battery.

In the end, it all comes down to how Lithium-Ion batteries work. These batteries are used in most modern laptops and can be charged anywhere from 300 to 500 full charges.

This doesn’t equal to 300 to 500 days because one day you might use your laptop for more than another day. I’ve explained this in-depth in the first paragraph of this article and won’t make this any longer.

So in short: your laptop won’t get damaged if you decide to charge it and use it. But it can ruin your battery life in the long term if you’re not giving it time to drain the battery and recharge.

Lithium-Ion batteries, that are used in laptops, have a perfect battery range anywhere from 25%-50% where it’s the perfect time to charge your battery.

If your battery is more than 80% and you decide to charge it you could ruin the battery capacity because you will have lesser cycles. The more battery cycles you can put your battery through, the longer it will last.

Besides that, one of the things that will ruin your battery the most is letting it die. AKA letting your battery turn off because you didn’t charge it before it hit 0%.

This is because when your laptop hits 0%, it still needs to use some energy to keep it awake and this is not optimal. Normally, you want your laptop to use as much power from your main battery instead of the backup battery.

That’s why you might find your phone or laptop suddenly turning off at 20%.

When is it okay to keep my laptop plugged in and use it?

There are many cases where it’s okay to have your laptop plugged in while using it.

One of the most common reasons is heavy-duty tasks that require a lot of battery juice. Heavy-duty tasks are things like gaming, editing, downloading movie, etc.

It’s improbable you’re doing any of these tasks without finding out it drains your laptop very quickly.

You can keep your laptop plugged in while gaming, editing, downloading or any other task that may drain a lot of battery timing.

Doing so does not ruin your battery if you’re not doing it continuously. If you’re gaming every day you might want to use it plugged in without the battery.

This way your battery has no chance of overheating and your laptop can make use of the AC power.

For these tasks, you’re in no doubt asking a lot of your laptop. However, most Apple laptops and more modern laptops don’t give you the option to easily remove the battery.

Laptops are only getting thinner and thinner and they require a design that doesn’t support these big laptop batteries.

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