laptop plugged in

Should You Leave Your Laptop Plugged In?

by Lynnette

batteries, computers, laptops, power cords

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laptop-plugged-in.jpgJim and I have been wondering about this for awhile now.

Actually, we have wondered how these 3 things would effect the life of our laptop batteries:

1. We will often work from our laptops for hours at a time (many, many hours!), with the cord plugged into the wall the whole time.

2. Sometimes, Jim will leave his laptop “on” and plugged in — even when he’s not using it — for days.

3. Sometimes, I will leave my laptop in “hibernate” (lid closed) and plugged in — for hours (sometimes days) at a time.


Laptop Batteries 101

We wanted to know if we were weakening our laptop batteries by doing these things, so we went to the experts…

The folks at had a lot to say about this topic.

The highlights that we took away from their article:

  •  Laptop batteries are always losing a small bit of their charge. The hotter the temperature, the faster notebook batteries lose their charge.
  •  A laptop battery’s capacity decreases with each cycle of charging and discharging (or usage).

When laptop users leave their laptop battery inside the machine but leave the computer plugged into the wall, the laptop battery is going through a constant charge-discharge cycle. The notebook battery is sitting unused inside the notebook, discharging a little faster than normal because of the notebook’s heat. Once its charge level drops to a predetermined level (which is different for each manufacturer), the AC adapter provides extra juice to “top off” the notebook battery. As the laptop battery gets older, it tends to self-discharge a little faster, which accelerates the process even further. Source


Their summary:

Laptop batteries normally offer 600 to 800 charge/discharge cycles over 1 to 3 years of useful life. When you use your notebook battery as described above, you are needlessly using your supply of recharges.

Don’t miss their thorough explanation for each of the above statements, along with lots more great tips about laptop batteries from



Here are some thoughts on the matter from Apple/Mac users… and from Apple’s own website.


And from someone else with firsthand experience:

I’ve seen plenty of laptops, including my own one time, fry because of leaving it on for extended periods of time (weeks). — Source


On a related note…

Should you leave your printer turned on, or not?

laptop plugged in