Photo by DeclanTM
Batteries for laptops, as well as cell phones and tablets, have a limited lifespan. Usually after three to five years, you have to buy a new battery (or if you have a non-user-replaceable battery, go through the trouble of sending your device in for a battery replacement). If you want your laptop's battery to last as long as possible, though, here are a few important tips.
Take the battery out if your laptop is plugged in for long periods of time. By taking the battery out, you save it from being exposed for long periods of time to one of the worst battery killers: heat. This tip requires your laptop to be able to be powered with the adapter alone (i.e., without the battery), but many of the larger desktop replacement laptops do work like this. Read more about when to remove the laptop battery and how to store it.
Don't fully charge the battery. If you always have your battery charged to 100%, that will it last even shorter than the typical three-to-five years. According to Wired:
Cadex Electronics CEO Isidor Buchmann told Wired that ideally everyone would charge their batteries to 80 percent then let them drain to about 40 percent. This will prolong the life of your battery -- in some cases by as much as four times. The reason is that each cell in a lithium-polymer battery is charged to a voltage level. The higher the charge percentage, the higher the voltage level. The more voltage a cell has to store, the more stress it's put under. That stress leads to fewer discharge cycles. For example, Battery University states that a battery charged to 100 percent will have only 300-500 discharge cycles, while a battery charged to 70 percent will get 1,200-2,000 discharge cycles.
Use your laptop's power management features to prevent full battery charging. Your laptop, might have power management features that automatically prolong the battery lifespan. My ThinkPad Helix, for example, comes with a Lenovo Settings for battery health that automatically keeps the battery to charging only up to 50%, prolonging the time until the built-in battery will have to be replaced. As I wrote over on Lifehacker, Sony also has a similar battery life settings, and it's likely other laptop manufacturers offer this as well.
Otherwise, the only other thing to do is keep an eye on the laptop battery to see when it gets to 80% and then uplug and drain it to 40%. It's a hassle and an awkward solution, but might be worth it if you want to use your laptop for as long as possible without having to buy a whole new battery (which might be in short supply for your old laptop years later).