How to keep your laptop battery in good health

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. I just bought a new laptop. Are there any good tips for helping its battery last longer?

A. Most of today's laptop computers and gadgets run on lithium-ion batteries, which last longer if you keep them cooler. Therefore, you should avoid leaving your laptop (or gadgets) in the sun or in a hot car. Cover your laptop with a towel if you carry it to the beach or to the pool. Try not to use your laptop on a bed (or sofa) where the heat can build up in the bedding under the laptop; instead, place it on a tabletop surface where airflow is not impeded.

In addition, your battery will likely last longer if you unplug it once it is fully charged (a task that I know is sometimes hard to remember). Lithium-ion batteries will also last longer if you don't let them discharge all the way down. If you don't plan to use your laptop for a while, it is recommended that you discharge your battery down to about 40% and then store it in a cool location. Ultimately, lithium-ion battery performance usually declines after a few years, and it's probably best to purchase a replacement battery when you notice your current battery is not living up to your performance expectations.

About the author

J. Carlton Collins, CPA, ( is a technology consultant, a conference presenter, and a JofA contributing editor.

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