Laptop batteries – when and how should you charge them?

I have to say, I’m confused. I keep reading conflicting information about what to do with laptop batteries and charging them. Most advise seems to revolve around regularly using the battery until its flat and then re-charging it. Elsewhere, though, I’ve read that with modern batteries this isn’t required and, in fact, damages them.

The battery I recently bought for my Netbook came with the following advice which is what I’m following…

When using for the first time discharge the battery to 3% and then full charge
You must turn off or recharge the battery when it reaches 3% – no not discharge to 0% or you will shorten its life
Every 2 months, discharge the battery to 3% and then full recharge – this will keep the battery in its best condition

I’ve re-worded the above from its original bad Chinese translation, and omitted the various bits about ensuring you charge it up before storing it long term.

However, it would appear that most instructions DON’T relate to Li-ion (lithium ion) batteries – it’s highly likely this is what you’d have in your laptop. One thing that is consistent, though, is that such batteries will only last 2-3 years.

My advice – recharge fully before full use and never let it drain too much. Advice seems to differ between 3% and 10% as the minimum level. Having said all that, my daughter’s Samsung laptop comes with a program (Samsung Battery Manager) to help extend battery life and it does that by not letting you charge it above 80%.


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