Charging your mobile phone, tablet and laptop properly? Here’s how to extend the lifespan of the battery
Nothing is more frustrating than when the battery of your smartphone, laptop or tablet no longer seems to charge properly. Did you know that you can extend your batteries’ life by looking after them properly? That’s right, looking after a battery is a bit like looking after a pet. In this blogpost we tell you more about the ‘behaviour’ of batteries and how you can make them last longer.
Your battery doesn’t have a ‘memory’
With the previous generation of batteries (nickel-cadmium), the advice was to always use the battery until it was completely empty and then recharge it to 100%. This was necessary because those batteries ‘remembered’ the amount of charged energy. Every time they were recharged, they could only store the same amount of energy as they did during previous recharges.
The current generation of lithium-ion batteries works the other way around: these batteries can become damaged if they’re completely empty or charged to 100%. Don’t worry: most devices switch off automatically for safety reasons when the battery is not quite completely empty. And they also stop charging when the 100% mark is almost reached. Still, here are some tips:
- Charge your battery when it reaches about 40%
- Stop charging when it reaches the 80%-mark
- If you’re not sure whether your device has an automatic ‘charging stop’ or a battery management system, stick to the above guidelines
- Don’t leave your device charging all night
A limited number of recharges
The lithium-ion battery in your smartphone, tablet or laptop can be charged a limited number of times. Each time the battery is completely discharged, the charging capacity decreases. So it’s better to charge your device before the battery level is so low that the device turns itself off. Now and again, turn the device off completely for a while. These rest periods also help to prolong the battery life.
The right temperature
We already mentioned that batteries are just like pets – they need a little TLC. Well, this also applies to the temperature: you mustn’t let the batteries get too hot or too cold. Room temperature is generally the best. When you charge your device, it will automatically get warmer.
Cheap chargers may prove expensive
Did you know that manufacturers of cheap charging cables and chargers don’t always sell quality-compliant products? They can damage your smartphone or, at worst, even cause a short circuit. So make sure that you use authentic – or at least recognised – charging cables and chargers to charge your smartphone. You can recognise cheap or non-quality-compliant charging cables and chargers by the fact that they get very hot during charging (much warmer than the original charger or cable), as this may be an indication that they are not up to the task.
Should your laptop always be plugged in?
And what about laptops? Is it okay to keep your laptop plugged in as standard when you’re sat at your desk? Even though the battery reached full charge a long time ago? The answer is yes, that’s okay! Your battery will of course stop charging automatically once it is fully charged. After that, your laptop just runs on mains power and the battery is ready to take over when you unplug it. Nevertheless, you are advised to disconnect your laptop from time to time and to run it on the battery so that it can perform its function.
It’s actually better for the Li-ion batteries in laptops to be kept on the full side rather than on the empty side: it’s a lot easier to charge from 70% to 100% than from 10% to 40%.
Keep it cool
Laptop batteries don’t like a lot of heat. So it’s best to place it on a hard surface and not on a pillow or blanket. This way, you don’t end up blocking the vents that are supposed to keep the battery cool.
Do you routinely sit on the sofa or in bed with your laptop on your lap? Then it might be worth buying a low laptop table, which is specially designed for using laptops on the couch or in bed and keeps it cool.
If your battery finally gives up the ghost after a long and healthy life, take it to a Bebat collection point. We recycle them and give the raw materials a new life in numerous surprising applications.