On many laptops, the battery is the first component that begins to fail. Lithium-ion batteries simply don’t last forever, and with many of us putting hundreds of hours a month on our laptops, it’s easy to see how we burn through a battery’s charge cycles at an alarming rate. Before you know it, you’re plugging in your computer constantly throughout the day when a single charge used to do the trick.
Fortunately, it’s possible to purchase brand-new OEM laptop battery replacements for just about any current model of laptop these days. However, depending on the laptop and your needs, it might make more sense to simply replace it. Which is right for you? That depends on a few different factors, so let’s look at some of the major points that will help you determine whether replacing your laptop’s battery is worth it.
You Should Consider Upgrading If…
1. Your laptop has other major issues
Sometimes, the question “Should I replace my laptop battery?” is followed by a question like “Should I replace my cracked screen, and my slow HDD, and my half-functional trackpad while I’m at it?” If that sounds like your laptop, save yourself some trouble and go for an upgrade instead. By the time you’ve had all of the laptop’s problems fixed, you very well might have spent more than it would cost to replace it entirely.
2. You don’t want to deal with the process of replacing a battery
Replacing a laptop battery yourself can be somewhat tricky, especially now that very few laptops have batteries designed to be easily swapped in and out. Suppose your laptop has an easily removable bottom panel. In that case, it may still be a doable DIY job, but certain models (including most MacBooks) have hard-to-access batteries that even the most tech-savvy users may find challenging to replace.
For these reasons, many laptop owners today trust their battery replacement to a professional, especially those who have models with difficult-to-replace batteries. A qualified computer repair pro will have the knowledge and skills to replace your battery safely and ensure it works well. That said, even a professional replacement may be more effort (and money) than it’s worth for a laptop that’s well on its way to the retirement home.
3. Your laptop is over five years old
Generally speaking, a modern laptop computer has an assumed lifespan of approximately five years. Many laptops can keep on chugging for longer, but the farther you get past five years, the more likely you are to encounter performance barriers that a new battery won’t fix. That’s because as laptops age, they move steadily into obsolescence as new technologies become the baseline standard.
Since most other components of a laptop can’t easily be upgraded or replaced, you’ll eventually hit a wall in performance when key components such as the CPU can no longer keep up. Lack of the latest connectors is another common problem as tech continues to evolve, and you might end up needing an adapter to connect to some current-gen peripherals. Finally, if your laptop is really old, you might not even be able to update your operating system to the latest version, which leaves you vulnerable to malware and cybercrime.
You Should Replace the Battery If…
1. Your laptop is less than five years old.
On the other hand, replacing the battery on a newer laptop can often give it a new lease on life. In most cases, it’s possible to get at least another year of useful life out of a laptop that’s under five years old, so long as you didn’t buy a laptop that was already at the end of its technological life cycle. In fact, if your machine is no more than two to three years old, there’s a solid chance that your battery replacement is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, so be sure to check first!
2. A new laptop isn’t in your budget right now
Sometimes your budget demands that you squeeze a little more life out of an older laptop. In such a case, your best bet is to find a reliable battery replacement and have it installed. (That said, it’s also easier than ever to find a good, affordable laptop, so don’t give up hope until you’ve checked out what’s available!)
Note that even budget shoppers should be careful to avoid the bargain-basement laptop batteries that are all over big eCommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. Cheap batteries are often manufactured with little oversight or attention to safety standards. Instead, purchase a replacement battery either from the manufacturer or a reputable third party, and make sure to read reviews and specs in detail.
3. Your laptop still does everything you need it to do
The simple truth is that performance is what matters most. If your laptop still meets your needs, you might find that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is the best way to go. High-quality, reasonably priced laptop battery replacements are widely available, and installation is almost always a quick and easy job for a qualified repair technician.
Of course, there are some considerations here. As we mentioned previously, it’s important that your laptop is still supported with OS updates. Plus, it’s always worth thinking about not just what you need the laptop to do now, but what opportunities and projects you might need it for in the future. Will it provide the hardware you need to navigate whatever comes your way? Only you can say for sure.
Your laptop is one of your most important digital tools, so it’s totally understandable that you want to get the longest lifespan possible from it! Weigh the pros and cons, consider what you need from your laptop, and, once again, don’t be afraid to get a professional to replace your battery.