Should You Leave Your Laptop Plugged in All the Time?

Li_ion_laptop_batteryThe short answer: it depends. It turns out that most laptops have 2 types of batteries: lithium-ion and lithium-polymer. So the song by Nirvana might have been talking about batteries, but probably not. These 2 types of batteries act differently when being used and being charged.

So, what’s a laptop owner to do? Luckily there are some hard and fast rules you can live by:

  • Plug and unplug: Leaving your laptop plugged in will not cause short term damage, but if you only ever use it on AC power you’ll almost certainly find that after a year the battery’s capacity has been significantly reduced.
  • But this one goes to 100%: Keeping the battery permanently charged at 100% will slowly shorten its life. Keeping it at 100% and exposing it to high temperatures will shorten it much quicker.
  • A battery cannot be overcharged: There’s no danger of a battery being overcharged if you leave it plugged in all the time. As soon as it hits 100%, it will cease charging and won’t start again until the voltage falls below a certain level.
  • Fully discharging a battery will damage it: Having a battery fully discharged for an extended period can put it into a deep discharge state, from which it might never recover.

Read the whole MakeUseOf article now.