Ask LH: Will My Battery Be Ruined If My Gadget Is Always Plugged In?

Ask LH: Will My Battery Be Ruined If My Gadget Is Always Plugged In?

Hey Lifehacker, Is leaving a device plugged in to a charger actually all that bad for the battery? I know it’s not that great if it’s left in for days on end, however I’ve found that a few hours does no harm. Any thoughts? Thanks, Battery Boy

Laptop picture from Shutterstock

Dear BB,

As we noted recently in a detailed discussion of this topic, having a device with a lithium ion battery plugged in all the time will, ultimately, shorten the lifespan of the battery.

That said, you need to be a realist about this. Eventually, your battery is going to die no matter what you do. For a device that’s often away from a power source (such as a mobile phone), it’s worth taking extra care. Conversely, if you have a laptop computer but generally use it at home or in the office, having it plugged in all the time isn’t going to be a major issue.

Check out the full discussion for more hints on maximising battery life.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I’ve only ever bought a laptop with a sealed in battery twice, and i won’t be doing that again.

    After my most recent laptop purchase, just like i’ve done in the past, I spent the extra $60 on a aftermarket battery and leave that in all the time when it’s plugged in at home.

    I drained the original battery to around 50% and safely stored it in the package the new one came in. That way, if i one day notice the battery is dying, I can get online and order a new one. I’ll still have the “as new” original battery if i need it.
    For $60-80 it’s cheap insurance to just get a new battery.

    For their laptops, HP reccomends that where you leave a laptop plugged in all the time, you should unplug it and completely drain it’s battery every 30 days.

    When storing ilthium batteries, you should always drain them to around 50-60% first and leave them stored like that. There’s a reason why every phone & laptop comes out of the factory with a half charged battery and this is it: lithium ion batteries do not like to be drained to 0% and they also don’t like staying at 100% for a long time – it shortens their life as lifehacker points out.

    For mobile phones the story is a bit better – the batteries are significantly cheaper, and take less time to arrive. Your also more likely to find a seller in Australia to order from. However, it is getting harder to find mobile phones with replaceable batteries with Samsung and LG the only 2 companies left releasing flagship phones with removeable batteries.
    (the LG G2 had a sealed battery, but the 2014 G3 model will have a removeable battery)
    (i stand to be corrected on that, but Nokia, Sony, HTC, One Plus One, Huawei, Apple, have all decided to go with non-removable batteries)

  • Had a Lenovo laptop sitting at home plugged in every minute of the day. Been doing it for nearly four years to the same machine and battery and it hasn’t missed a beat.

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