Do you have electronic devices in your home that run on lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries? If you have a laptop computer, cell phone, digital camera, and/or power tools, then chances are that you do.
These batteries can be costly and inconvenient to replace, so it’s wise to maximize their longevity. What things can we do to help them run their best?
How to maximize the life of Li-ion batteries
- When you get a new Li-ion battery, fully charge it for the first 3 cycles. Brand new Li-ion batteries benefit from being fully charged, drained (i.e., use the devices until they run out of power), and fully charged again for the first few times they are used.
- After the first 3 cycles, charge the battery periodically for shorter amounts of time. Research indicates that the extremes of being fully charged or fully drained aren’t healthy for a Li-ion battery once it has been broken in with 3 cycles. A good rule of thumb is to charge batteries to 80% and then allow their charges to drop to 40% before charging them again.
- Avoid exposing Li-ion batteries to extreme temperatures. Extreme heat and cold both degrade Li-ion batteries. One of the most common reasons why batteries (especially those in phones and tablets) get exposed to extreme heat is because they accidentally get left in cars during the summer. Double check when you get out of a vehicle to make sure you have your personal electronic devices!
- Ventilate your laptop. Tablets and cell phones do not get very warm when they run, but computers often do. Thus, the Li-ion batteries in laptops face warm operating conditions. Using a laptop cooling pad or a ventilated lap desk can help keep your laptop—and its Li-ion battery—cool.
- Be gentle with your electronics. Rough treatment can cause internal damage to Li-ion batteries. Try to protect your electronic devices from bumps and jars. It’s also a good idea to use appropriate protective cases and bags.
- Activate energy-saving settings. In order to help the charge of a Li-ion battery last longer, use energy-saving settings (e.g., lower the display brightness, use “hibernate” and “sleep” modes). These practices won’t necessarily extend the life of a battery over time, but they will help it retain its current charge longer.
What things seem to shorten the lives of the Li-ion batteries in your electronic devices? What things do you do to make them last longer?