The laptop is nowadays very much an integral part of the life. We rely on them day in and day out and demand a lot from them, especially the batteries that power them to life. So the question many ask, “Does using a laptop while charging affect battery life?”
Let’s dig into what our research found and see if there’s a definitive answer to this enduring question that’s been asked since the beginning of laptops themself. Hopefully gaining some insight into the battery life of a laptop and debunking some myths that have spread far and wide. So, let us dive in!
Is it okay to charge my laptop while using it?
The short answer is YES. Todays modern laptop and the batteries in them have been designed to work and function properly so long as the battery is sufficiently charged to the minimum required voltage for than unit. This voltage can vary anywhere from 10-19 volts (depending on the make and model) and all modern laptops have internal input regulators. This system maintains a steady voltage supply during all kinds if use, from intense gaming to checking emails. It regulates the voltage wether its AC or DC. Most importantly, it protects against voltage spikes so the chips in your laptop don’t fry to a crisp and you don’t end up with a nice new Razer paperweight.
Hopefully you can now sleep easy knowing you can binge watch every season of Southpark and you wont kill your laptop’s battery. But let’s dive a bit deeper into the science of what makes these babys tic.
Related: Why do Gaming Laptops have Terrible Battery Life?
A laptop battery usually consists of “cells” connected in series to achieve the voltage needed, and usually they will have a couple of the cells connected in parallel to boost the amperage. The battery packs are sealed and self contained within the laptop and generally are sealed with no maintenance required. Lithium is the chemical of choice at this time in the world of hi-tech batteries. It’s lighter than other chemicals used in the past and it offers a great cycle and shelf life. It also doesn’t from what’s known as the “Memory Effect” like older Nickel based batteries. This means that discharging until completely dead and recharging repeatedly wont have any ill effect. Without getting too “sciency” these batteries have the capacity to store power and be recharged thousands of times. Obviously, nothing lasts forever and you may notice a decline in how long a charge lasts, depending on how many endless nights of COD you play.
And for those of us that do like to geek out on science, heres a some basic chemistry behind a Lithium battery and how energy it transferred:
Chemistry: LiCoO2 ßà Li1-xCoO2 + xLi+ + xe– cathode
C + xLi+ + xe– ßà LixC anode
LiCoO2 + C ßà LixC + Li1-xCoO2 (charge reaction)
Is it safe to keep my laptop plugged in all the time?
Short answer again here is yes it is safe to keep your laptop plugged in all the time. I mean who wants to open their laptop in the morning only to find that its dead? So what do we do, we plug it in at night and go to bed. Everyone does it. The one thing you want to consider here is heat. The battery does generate heat as a normal part of the charging process. Heat is also a batteries enemy. But like we mentioned, todays laptops have safety systems in place to prevent overheating and wont take on more charge than they can hold. Yes, in the past But keeping your laptop in a cool well ventilated location while charging will help prolong battery life.
Does using a laptop while charging affect battery life?
This is a question that many people have been asking. The answer is no, it does not affect the battery life of your laptop.
Again, maybe in the distant past, constantly charging and using your laptop simultaneously was a cause for concern. But not today. Computer companies like Apple, Samsung, Razer, etc. and their engineers expect todays users from savvy gamers to Grandma to always be running their laptops whether its plugged in or not.
Heres a random picture of the inside of a laptop and its battery pack, in case you haven’t seen it and don’t have Google images for some reason.
Can I play games and use heavy software on the laptop while charging?
I know we are being redundant here but yes you can. Your modern laptop battery has a cycle life of around 500-1000 cycles, which means that the battery can last for that many charges and discharges. This usually takes about 2-4 years. By then if you are a gamer, you’ll probably be already looking for your next laptop as the technology evolves so quickly in that world. If you want to play games or use heavy software on your laptop while it is plugged in, you should keep in mind that the battery will drain faster. The laptop might not be able to charge the battery fast enough and may cause heating/overheating issues.
You can also use a laptop charger with a higher wattage than your current one. This way, your laptop can charge the battery at its maximum speed. Charging laptops at maximum speed is usually not required but when you are gaming that is when it proves necessary.
With consistent gaming, the charge becomes one of the huge concerns, which is why in today’s market you will find innovations with laptop chargers with regard to gaming requirements and heavy software usage. For basic software usage, you do not need to have any stress at all.
Related: 6 Gaming Laptops That Produce Less Heat
At what percentage should I charge my laptop?
From our research and info we’ve found, the general consensus is that its not wise to let your laptop battery fully die. It can cause the battery to fully discharge and this can potentially shorten you laptop’s battery.
Another thing to know, is that although Lithium batteries have a long shelf life as previously stated, storing your laptop for long periods of time with a fully discharged battery can be the kiss of death for your laptop’s battery. The battery can go into a deep discharge state and it may not be able to take a charge in the future when you pull it out from storage.
So do yourself a favor and keep that charger cable near and as the Glade commercial from the 90’s used to say, “Plug it in, Plug it in”!!
How do I extend the life of my laptop battery?
The life of your laptop battery depends on how you use it. If you use your laptop for browsing the internet and doing light work, the battery will last longer than if you are using it to edit videos and play games. One way to extend the life of your battery is to limit the amount of times the battery fully dies, and to do your best to keep things cool.
In order to extend the life of your laptop battery, you should start by making sure that your laptop is plugged in when you are not using it. This will ensure that your battery is always charged and ready to go when you need it.
You should also make sure that your laptop has its own power adapter – not just a USB cable. This will ensure that the power supply is strong enough to charge the battery and keep it running for as long as possible.
Finally, try to keep your laptop cool. If it starts getting too hot, then turn off the device or give it a break from use so that it can cool down. (We know you wont!)
Related: 9 Gaming Laptops with Incredible Battery Life.
Keep your laptop plugged in till your hearts content, so long as its a newer modern laptop that uses this generation lithium batteries. Keep it cool, and don’t let the battery die all they way that often. Also, dont store it with the battery dead.
That will most likely keep your laptop running until it’s time for an upgrade to the latest and greatest.