With the societal shift of work and play thanks to COVID, laptop dominance has accelerated over desktop computers. Laptops are large investments, similar to your smartphones, and come with large price tags. With the large associated price tag, many wonder how long do laptops last and how often do they potentially need to replace them?
The lifespan of a laptop is similar to that of a smartphone; it depends on if its specifications are up to date and how much of a toll you put on your laptop. Generally, you can expect modern laptop lithium batteries to last about 1,000 charge cycles, about 2-3 years before you need to constantly have it plugged into a power source.
In terms of specifications, you can expect anywhere from 2-4 years for lower-end laptops up to 7 years for higher end laptops. But here’s the catch: those who buy higher end laptops tend to aggressively put a larger toll on the laptop essentially negating those extra supposed “years of lifespan” longer laptops have.
Looking for more information? Check out these other commonly asked questions below:
- What is the lifespan of a laptop for someone on the move?
- What is the lifespan of laptops if you can keep it plugged into a power source?
- Does buying a more expensive laptop equate to a longer lifespan?
- Factors that play into the lifespan of a laptop
- Signs that you probably need to replace your laptop
- How can you make your laptop last longer?
While many might argue higher quality components result in longer lasting lifespans, the lithium batteries will hit their peak before those high-quality components start becoming obsolete.
If you’re someone who uses their laptop on the go, like digital nomads or remote workers, then within 2-3 years you’ll start noticing your laptop will barely last a few hours, if even one, on a single full battery charge. You’ll be constantly needing to plug it in.
For these types of users, the lifespan of the battery is the most important factor. If you can barely use your laptop for a few hours without needing to plug it in, then that’ll become a highly inconvenient chore.
If portability isn’t a concern, then the benchmark used by many websites is relatively accurate. 2-4 years for lower-end laptops up to 7 years for higher-end laptops. Since you aren’t reliant on the lifespan of the lithium battery and are constantly close by to a power source, you can extend the reliability of your laptop to a much longer duration.
For these types of users, the lifespan of a laptop is more focused on the quality of the hardware and overall maintenance/health of the laptop.
Not necessarily. There are ways to approach this question.
First, more expensive laptops do tend to come with higher quality components and stronger technology that will last several years. In this case, a more expensive laptop will last much longer.
On the other hand, those purchasing more expensive laptops are most likely purchasing them for a reason. Think about gamers. By purchasing gaming laptops, they are most likely going to be using the laptop for intensive gaming. The heavy toll from gaming could easily cause heating problems and cause the components, like the CPU, RAM, and graphics cards to work on overdrive. This could easily reduce the lifespan of a laptop.
The Hardware Quality: Just like any other piece of hardware, higher quality components tend to last longer due to the care during the manufacturing process. In addition, more powerful components will last longer even if technology continues to improve. This is what some people call “future proofing” – purchasing powerful components today so you don’t have to replace them as often
Your Overall Usage: More intensive use will cause more strain on the components of your laptop. Heating problems, while it may seem trivial in nature, have a lot of negative impacts on your laptop. Any laptop usage will eventually produce heat to your laptop which they are notoriously sensitive to. Any excessive heat will cause slowdowns to your laptop due to lowering the electrical resistance of your components.
Overall Care: Not dropping your laptop to prevent certain components from becoming dislodged or removing dust and dirt from air vents all play an important role in improving the longevity of your laptop. Dust is the most important factor as dust can easily hamper all airflow within your laptop, causing constant heat buildup and slugging laptop performance. Your laptop will throttle when it becomes too hot to avoid overheating.
Compatibility Problems: Finding your software or operating system is out of date? What about apps that don’t seem to work? Most likely you’ll have to update your laptop but if that doesn’t solve the problem – you most likely need to upgrade to a more modern laptop.
Loud Fans: If you’ve already cleaned out your laptop of blockages in your air vents, like dust, and are still finding your fans loud, then your laptop is unable to cool itself down anymore. You’ll be experiencing constant slowdowns as your processor throttles your experience to make up for the heat.
Slow processes: A great way to deal with slow processes, other than clearing out external buildup like dust, is to factory reset your laptop. Even after the factory reset you are still experiencing slowdowns, then your hardware is slowly starting to fail. Replace them or get a new laptop ASAP!
Breakages: Slowly over time, you’ll have accidents that’ll slowly chip away from your laptop. Perhaps an internal component got loose or your screen cracked. These issues are usually unfixable and have a permanent effect on your laptop. Consider replacing it once it becomes a major problem.
Be careful with it: Ensure you’re not dropping it or its well-padded when it’s being transported is key to ensuring components don’t fall apart or major cracks form. Sometimes a loose component is all it takes to disable a laptop and force you to purchase a new one.
Keep it clean: Oily stains overtime and dust are two common issues that can affect your laptop. Stains on your keyboard could leak down to the key components and potentially disable a key whereas dust stops airflow and quickly causes overheating.
Keep up with updates: New updates are being sent by different companies, apps and other software on a near-daily basis. Most of these updates are crucial to keeping your information and laptop safe from potential threats (i.e. hackers).
Don’t be afraid to factory reset it once in a while: Sometimes starting with a blank state is the best thing to do. Laptops will over time accumulate a mess of data and a system-wide wipe can help you start fresh and fix any critical issues. In some cases, a factory reset can help you revert back to old, reliable speeds if you are having problems.
Upgrade it: Not possible for most laptops, especially work from home laptops, you can swap out older, obsolete (or broken) parts for newer parts without needing to commit to purchasing a brand-new laptop.
Optimize your power settings: Consider changing your power settings to match your usage habits. Instead of the highest performance settings while doing non-intensive work like word processing, you could change your battery settings to preserve battery life.
Laptops can easily last longer if taken well care of however, modern lithium-ion batteries have a limited number of charge cycles before they lose most of their power. Those who have the ability to keep their laptop charged will find more years of usage with their laptops.
Those who require laptops on-the-go and perhaps don’t have constant access to power sources may find laptops barely lasting 2 to 3 years before they need replacing.
Looking for a new laptop? I have curated a list of the best laptops currently available. What about something a little different? A new gaming keyboard and mouse might be an addition to your computer setup you might need!