WHEN IT comes to the best way to maintain your battery life, there are several myths about best practices for charging your devices:
- You should keep devices on charge all the time - FALSE
- Batteries need to fully discharge before charging - FALSE
- Charging through other devices will damage battery life - FALSE
It’s clear that there’s a lot of false information around when it comes to battery life!
The truth about battery life
If you’re someone who takes the opportunity to plug in your mobile computer, tablet, or wearable whenever you see a convenient charging spot or you constantly top-up the battery if it dips a small amount, you might be harming the battery life of the device. This is because only a few people know that batteries are designed for a specific number of charge cycles. Fortunately there are ways to charge that ensure that you’re getting the most out of your battery life.
But does this mean that if you're plugging your device in three times a day, that each one of those is a charge cycle? Because doing the maths quickly, your device would be likely to die in under 6 months! Thankfully that’s not the case entirely, but you would be significantly reducing the battery life by anything up to half. So in this blog, we’re going to share the best charging habits to ensure you prolong your devices' battery life by addressing a few misconceptions:
Every time you charge your battery, you should do it from 0% to make sure it’s a full “charge cycle”.
Incorrect! A cycle is defined as using 100% of the battery's capacity, but it doesn't have to be depleted in one go to be considered a "charge cycle." For example, two days of using 50% capacity or four days of using 25% capacity are equivalent to one full cycle. Charging back to full between these 25-50% discharges doesn't matter.
I always charge to 100% but only let the battery drop to 30% before recharging because it’s better to top up.
Certain extreme charging behaviours can harm the battery, such as charging to a higher percentage, charging faster, or leaving the battery on the charger for an extended period. Three factors contribute to battery problems such as swelling and capacity reduction: state of charge, temperature and time duration. If all three of these factors are high, this is likely to lead to battery damage so it’s best to ensure that at least one of the factors is low. For instance, it's okay to charge to 100% if the temperature isn't extreme and the battery won't stay at 100% for more than a few weeks.
The two charging behaviours that accelerate battery wear the most are leaving the battery on continuous charge for months and frequent shallow discharge cycles where the battery is charged to full, used briefly and then recharged. Keeping the battery cool, but not freezing, can also help extend its life.
This advice doesn’t apply to all devices, just handheld mobile computers that get left on charge a lot.
These best practices apply to all devices that use lithium-ion cells. Whether it's a tablet, wearable, headset, scanner, RFID reader, or mobile printer, following these practices will maximise battery endurance.
It’s not possible to maximise battery life for shared devices at work. They need to be charging around the clock so it doesn’t interfere with productivity.
This is about training your staff to maximise battery life with good charging habits. For instance, if an employee's battery drops below 50%, they should charge their device during their next break. A 20-minute charge should provide two hours of additional runtime. For users who perform battery swaps, it's recommended to swap when the battery level drops to 20-30%.
Wireless charging is best for lithium-ion batteries and helps speed up the process.
Wireless charging generates more heat than wired charging but decreases significantly once the battery is fully charged. The suitability of wireless charging depends on the battery charge state, temperature, and time. It's worth noting that temperatures exceeding 40°C can be damaging.
- Fast chargers are not better than traditional chargers for battery health; slow charging is preferred.
- Avoid deep discharges; keep batteries within moderate charge ranges (20-80% or 30-70%).
- Avoid keeping devices on the charger for extended periods.
- Prolonging battery life reduces the environmental impact and conserves valuable materials.
Understanding proper battery charging habits is essential to avoid dead batteries. Improper charging practices can significantly impact the longevity of your mobile devices and their batteries. To ensure your devices stand the test of time and perform optimally, it's crucial to separate fact from fiction when it comes to battery care. Be sure to dispel common myths about battery maintenance. Understand the truth about battery life, which includes the importance of charge cycles and the impact of charging habits. Implement recommended charging practices, such as maintaining moderate charge ranges and avoiding prolonged charging periods to extend your battery's life. By adopting these best practices, you can ensure your mobile devices stay powered and functional for longer, ultimately saving you both time and money.
Sponsored by Zebra Technologies