Battery life, alongside storage, is the one thing we can never have enough of. Without enough “juice,” even the best, most beefiest laptops get turned into unusable bricks.
Our needs in regards to endurance vary wildly — some only tend to work whilst on the go for a couple of hours before, eventually, reaching a wall outlet. Others, however, need as many hours of battery life as possible.
The way in which we use our laptops differs, but one thing’s for certain: there’s no such thing as having too long a battery life.
The longer our laptops last, the longer we are able to work on our projects, to create, study, and explore. The longer they can sustain their performance, the easier it is for us to remain in a state of flow.
For many a year, mainstream laptops couldn’t really give us the kind of endurance we wanted and, more often than not, needed.
Now, though, in 2023, we have a litany of laptops at our disposal, some of which can easily last for 15 hours on a single charge (if not more, depending on the usage).
Those are mostly developed by Apple, but the Windows side of things isn’t all that much worse — AMD’s U-series processors are incredibly efficient and are, by all means, worth the asking price.
Getting ten hours of battery life is no longer as rare as it was in the past, and we couldn’t be happier for that being the case.
Still, what if you need more? What if your processor isn’t all that efficient, your battery is not as large, and your needs are not as modest?
Down below, we’ll take a closer look at a myriad of different ways in which you can “squeeze out” as good a battery life as possible, regardless if you’re using a Windows laptop or one running macOS.
Windows Laptops — How to Extend Battery Life
You can prolong your laptop’s battery life by doing the following:
Lower the brightness — This one’s obvious but, to be fair, cranked up brightness does incur a tremendous hit to battery life. Lower it whenever you can.
Turn on Battery Saver — Click on the battery icon in the lower right-hand corner of the Windows taskbar. Once a small menu pops up, you’ll be able to see your quick settings — one of which is called “Battery Saver.”
Turning it on is essentially the easiest and quickest way of prolonging battery life (alongside lowered brightness).
Depending on your laptop’s internals, you might not even notice that big of a difference performance-wise (especially if you’re just browsing the web and doing general productivity work).
For more demanding tasks, however, you’ll definitely want to turn it off.
Use the most efficient power mode — Go to Settings > System > Power & Battery and then, under the “Power Mode” setting, select “Best power efficiency.” This’ll reduce your CPU’s operating frequency and, in general, slow everything down without incurring too big of a penalty performance-wise. That being said, if it’s turned on — and you happen to start pushing your laptop — you will notice a difference in speed.
Set your laptop to its most efficient performance profile — Most laptops nowadays come with at least three different power profiles (which are created by the OEM itself). Their nomenclature varies but, for the most part, they adhere to the following: Silent, Balanced, and Performance. The first one basically limits the power draw of your components which, in turn, lowers internal temperatures and, by proxy, fan noise. The last one allows your processor and graphics card to draw as much power as possible. Balanced, as the name implies, offers a solid middle ground.
In other words: the more modest the profile, the less power your components will draw.
And so, if you’re not doing anything overly intensive like video editing, gaming, 3D modeling et cetera — and you want to extend your battery life — make sure to set your laptop to its Silent profile, as opposed to Balanced or Performance.
The easiest way of doing this is by simply pressing the appropriate key combination — Fn + F on ASUS laptops, Fn + Q on Lenovo, and so on and so forth. Doing this will quickly toggle your laptop from one of its performance profiles to the next.
Lower your display’s refresh rate — If you have, say, a 90Hz display (or faster), switching it to 60Hz will help extend your laptop’s runtime by a fair bit; Windows laptops, unlike the latest MacBook Pros, still don’t come with variable refresh rates which, in turn, affects their battery life by quite a bit.
Turn off Bluetooth/Wi-Fi — If you don’t need a constant internet connection, turn Wi-Fi off. Leaving it on will have a much bigger impact on your battery life than you’d expect. Bluetooth isn’t as big of a culprit, but the same holds true nonetheless.
Close all unnecessary apps and background processes — This one’s self-explanatory.
Turn off keyboard backlighting — One of the easiest battery life “fixes” around. It’s not as “damaging” as, say, leaving Wi-Fi on, but every little bit helps.
Disconnect all external media — Much of the same holds true for all unnecessary peripherals and external media like SSDs, hubs, docks, and whatever else.
Tiny 11 — The Core Windows 11 Experience
This is essentially a stripped-down version of Windows 11 and, needless to say, it includes everything one needs to get up and running without the extra (and wholly superfluous) bloatware.
It doesn’t require TPM or SecureBoot, it needs just 2GB of RAM (or less), and will only consume a measly 8GB of storage once installed.
It isn’t officially supported though, and it won’t automatically update, so that’s definitely something worth keeping in mind. Still, users have reported tremendous gains in battery life, so it’s more than worth recommending.
You can download Tiny 11 at the following link and, if it happens to have piqued your interest, make sure to give the embedded video a look:
Windows Laptops with OLED Displays — Battery Life Tips
OLED displays are a sight to behold, in no small part because of their awe-inspiring contrast ratio and incredible color coverage.
They’re not as energy efficient as their alternatives, though, so that kind of “eye candy” sure does come at a cost.
All methods listed above are still valid here, but we do have an additional few tips to share if you happen to own an OLED laptop:
Lower brightness is a must — If you have an OLED display — and you need as much battery life as possible — make sure to lower the brightness. It might sound like a no-brainer (and, in a way, it is), but you’d be surprised how big an impact this has and how much battery life you can gain by just turning it down a notch; OLEDs are notoriously-power hungry.
Turn on “Dark Mode” everywhere — Windows has a built-in “dark mode.” Activate it immediately. If you’re browsing the web and your favorite websites happen to have such a mode, turn it on. Dark mode is absolutely vital if you have an OLED display as each individual pixel is self-lit. If a good number of them aren’t activated (and are, as a result, pitch black) or are only marginally bright (to portray a shade of gray, for instance), then the panel itself isn’t going to draw as much power.
This also holds true for any wallpaper you might have: make sure it’s as dark as possible.
Apple Silicon MacBooks — How to Extend Battery Life
Apple’s own ARM-based MacBooks are the unassailable champions of battery life. And, frankly, it’s not even close.
They’re so darn efficient it doesn’t even make sense. And so, with that in mind, you’re rarely — if ever — going to need more battery life from an M1- or M2-based MacBook.
Still, if for whatever reason, you want your laptop to last even longer, you can click on the battery icon in the upper right-hand corner, then on Battery Settings. Once the appropriate window opens, you’ll see the setting you’re after: Low Power Mode.
It will be set to one of the following: Never, Always, Always on Battery, Always on Power Adapter. If you want to get the best possible battery life, make sure to select “Always on Battery.”
And, needless to say, the gains are tremendous, as you can see in the following video:
Turning on “Dark Mode” isn’t going to make any kind of tangible difference as all 13” MacBook Airs and Pros have LCD displays, not OLED (or Mini-LED, for that matter).
OLED Displays — Forced Dark Mode for Edge and Chrome
If you have an OLED display — and are willing to employ a slightly more “radical” and, therefore, effective method — you could harness the “Force Dark Mode for Web Contents” feature in Chrome and/or Microsoft Edge.
To do so, simply type “chrome://flags” (without the parentheses) in the address bar, then search for DarkMode and click on Enabled.
Once restarted, your web browser will automatically (and intelligently) render all websites as if they had a dedicated, built-in dark mode.
It’s a “brute force” method, sure, but it works surprisingly well. You can also dial it down a bit in case it affects your web browsing experience in a negative way.
It’s not perfect but can nonetheless serve as a tremendous boon if you happen to have an OLED laptop — and is, therefore, very much worth considering.
Which Laptops Have the Best Battery Life?
The answer is as simple as it is succinct: Apple’s M1 and M2-based MacBooks. They’re absolutely incredible when it comes to both endurance and power which, frankly, is quite a strange mix — one that was unfathomable for the longest time.
In the past, we always had to pick one over the other. We either got mind-blowing performance for, say, two-to-three hours or, alternatively, seven or eight hours on a charge but with the laptop executing tasks at a snail’s pace.
Now, though, with so many tremendous technological advancements, things have changed — and then some. Apple’s ARM-based chipsets are a stupendous step forward, but they’re not the only ones that offer stellar battery life.
AMD’s Ryzen 6000 series APUs (and, presumably, their soon-to-be-released successors) are also phenomenal in their own right. They’re not as good, but they sure are good enough.
The U-series ones are especially impressive when it comes to battery life. They offer both great performance and a kind of endurance that is seldom seen in the x86 world.
Intel’s U- and P-series processors, despite their hybrid nature, still aren’t efficient enough to compete on even footing with Apple and AMD. This obviously depends on the model, but the sentiment remains.
In any case, if you’re after the best possible battery life, you should definitely invest in an ARM-based MacBook or, alternatively, a laptop with one of AMD’s latest and greatest processors (6000 and 7000 Ryzen specifically).
Extending the battery life of your laptop isn’t nearly as hard or complicated as it might sound. Setting it to its most efficient and power-constrained profiles will, in most cases (and to a certain degree), do the trick.
If you’re serious about it, you could employ all methods listed above and get even better results, but, at that point, you might end up with a diminished user experience and a “tangible” drop in performance.
Most Windows-based laptops — the ones that are spec’d out with power-hungry processors and graphics cards — still aren’t all that efficient, hence the mediocre battery life. Then again, it’s a somewhat worthy trade-off: stellar performance for a (relatively) short period of time.
Windows ultrabooks, on the other hand, have gotten a lot more efficient over the years and can now wholeheartedly be recommended. They’re still not as enduring as Apple’s MacBooks, but are nonetheless quite impressive — at least those that have a novel AMD processor/APU deep within their enclosures.
Intel processors, on the other hand, went the opposite route: they’re the least efficient of the bunch which means that, if you’re often traveling and need your laptop’s battery to last as long as possible, “team blue” should definitely be avoided.
There are, to be fair, a few gems out there, but they’re so few in number that they’re more of an outlier than anything else.
Let’s go over a few potential questions you might have regarding this particular topic:
How Can I Extend My Laptop’s Battery Life?
There’s a host of things you can do: lower the brightness, shut down all unnecessary background processes and apps, activate “Battery Saver,” switch your laptop to the “Best power efficiency” power plan, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth alongside keyboard backlighting, and so on and so forth.
Some of these are more effective than others but, when combined, they can easily net you a few more hours of battery life.
Which Laptops Have the Best Battery Life?
Apple’s ARM-based MacBooks reign supreme as far as battery life is concerned.
They’re so good it’s basically mind-boggling. If you’re after a Windows laptop, try to get your hands on a model with one of AMD’s latest and greatest Ryzen 6000 and 7000 series chipsets — especially a U-series SKU as those are the most efficient by design.
Intel-based laptops should be avoided if you’re after stellar battery life. They’re great in most workloads but are by no means as efficient as Intel wants you to believe. Far from it, in fact.
How Long Should a Laptop’s Battery Last on a Charge?
That depends on the model, its spec sheet, and the things you use it for.
If you’re playing games, you’re not going to get great battery life — ditto for demanding workloads like video editing, 3D modeling, rendering, and the like.
For general productivity work like browsing the web, watching videos, typing out emails, and so on, you should be able to get around six to nine hours depending on the model.
Some newer laptops with more efficient components can easily get to ten, eleven and, in some cases, even twelve hours, but with most battery-saving modes and measures turned on.
Apple’s MacBooks are in a league of their own as far as battery life is concerned — they can easily last you a whole day’s worth of work. The best ones can, with relative ease, reach the fifteen-hour mark (if not more, depending on the model).
Over to You
Have you used any of these methods to extend your laptop’s battery life and, if so, which one(s) delivered the best results? Let us know in the comment section down below and, in case you need any help, head over to our forum and ask away!