Battery life is an important thing to consider when you're looking to buy any laptop. For Dell, battery performance is one of their hallmark features and can make or break whether you choose one model over another.
While you should always think about how many years the battery will last, your laptop's battery per charge is even more important.
If your battery is draining too fast and you don't know what to do about it, we'll list several methods to increase battery performance without having to replace it entirely.
There are a few different factors that can impact battery performance for your Dell laptop.
Short-Term Battery Life
Short-term battery life refers to the amount of time the battery can keep your computer running on a single charge. This is what Dell advertises as the "Battery Life" of your computer.
To find out how long your computer's battery life is, simply check Dell's website. Alternatively, you can see how many mAH (milliamps per hour) the battery and computer use, listed on the specifications sticker or the laptop's charging adaptor.
In terms of what will affect your battery performance, brightness settings are among the most important things to look at.
If you like to use your computer on maximum brightness settings all the time, then the battery is going to drain very quickly in almost all circumstances. This is because the processor is working harder to put out a brighter screen, making the battery work harder in turn.
Another aspect to examine is the laptop's cooling system. The fans and internal cooling mechanisms allow your computer to run at an optimal temperature.
While newer Dell laptops like the Alienware line, often have advanced cooling technology that helps to keep all the hardware below a certain temperature, older models will have inadequate systems. A hot laptop leeches power from the battery, leading to a greatly reduced short-term charge capacity.
Long-Term Battery Life
Long-term battery life refers to how many years the battery can operate at full capacity. According to Dell, their batteries typically last for around 18-24 months before a noticeable reduction in charging performance.
However, this time can change depending on how often you use your laptop and how well you take care of your computer.
For example, if you only use your laptop a few times per week to watch Netflix, your battery won't run out as quickly as if you were using it every day.
The more you need to charge your computer, the more power cycles the battery will run through. As time goes on, the battery's effectiveness starts to deteriorate.
Your charging habits also affect battery performance. If you keep your charger plugged in all the time, then the battery won't be able to perform its regular power cycling.
This can also degrade the long-term performance, so only charge your laptop after it has been fully drained of power.
How Long Should A Dell Laptop Battery Last Per Charge?
As per the information above, Dell says their batteries have a lifespan of around 18-24 months before experiencing a reduced charge capacity. However, each Dell model will have a different short-term battery life depending on its internal hardware and overall storage capacity.
The average Dell laptop has a single-charge runtime of around seven to ten hours. However, the higher-end models can go far beyond that.
For example, the Dell XPS 13 (2020) has an excellent battery life of around 13 hours for things like web surfing and Netflix. On the other hand, the lower-end models might only last about five hours or so before needing to be plugged in.
If you're in the market for a new Dell, check the product specifications before you buy. Dell, and other manufacturers, often overestimate battery life, but it provides a good benchmark to measure your laptop's performance once you buy it.
What Is The Average Battery Life For A PC?
While the average long-term laptop battery life for PCs is around two to four years, short-term battery life is entirely dependent on which model of laptop you buy.
However, a good benchmark to consider is the seven to eight hour range, typical for most mid-level laptops.
Lower-end laptops might have a shorter battery capacity while higher-end laptops, on the other hand, will often run for hours past lower quality products.
Why Does My Dell Laptop Battery Drain So Fast?
How Do I Check What's Wrong With My Dell Laptop Battery?
First, you need to check the brightness and other advanced settings. Having your screen brightness on 100% will drain your battery quickly, and often we forget that we have it set so high. Adjust that or any other battery-draining settings that might be active to immediately increase your battery life.
After checking the brightness, examine the cooling fans and vents for any sign of dust or blockage. If they're dirty, then you've probably found what's causing the problem.
Clean them with computer cleaner spray, or carefully disassemble the chassis to clean out the internal hardware. An overheating computer is often the issue when it comes to fast-draining batteries.
If the vents look clean and the brightness isn't set to maximum, then it's time to run a system diagnostic. The first way to do this is through BIOS (System Setup). When your computer is on, tap the F2 key, which should bring up the System Setup window.
You can either select Battery Information under the General tab or check the Battery Health under the Advanced Tab. Both will let you know if the battery is operating normally.
You can also use the online Dell Battery Diagnostics Page, which will give you an in-depth analysis of your battery health and offer possible solutions to the problem.
If you can't find out what's wrong using the above methods, then you may have to take your laptop into an authorized Dell maintenance shop. They can give you an in-depth assessment and offer to fix it for you, for a price. However, you may be able to fix it yourself if you know the problem, so it doesn't hurt to try.
Should I Leave My Dell Laptop Plugged In All the Time?
While new li-ion batteries can't get overcharged, meaning they won't experience short-term performance issues when left charging, you shouldn't always have your laptop plugged in.
Dell recommends draining your battery until at least 50% every few weeks, especially if you don't use your laptop that often.
Should I Replace My Dell Laptop Battery?
While buying a Dell replacement battery isn't too expensive, only $50 to $100, it might not be worth it to replace. If your laptop is brand new and expensive, then we recommend buying a replacement battery.
However, if your laptop is old and doesn't have much time left in it regardless, then you should consider buying a new laptop instead.
You'll get far more use out of a new laptop than your old one, and you'll save money on the replacement battery and any other necessary repairs.
Are Dell Computer Batteries Covered Under Warranty?
According to Dell's website, batteries are covered for one year under their standard warranty. You can also purchase a three-year warranty at purchase.
However, this warranty does not cover any accidental damage that may occur after you purchase the laptop. The warranty only provides coverage for device failure or manufacturer defect.
For peace of mind, you might want to purchase separate insurance for your device, which will cover accidental damage to the battery. However, no policy is going to cover replacing an old battery.
Are Dell Laptop Batteries Any Good?
Dell produces fine laptops and fine batteries. If you're looking for a laptop with a good short-term battery life, then Dell has a number of options to choose from.
However, Dell batteries tend to degrade slightly faster than other computer brands like HP. If you don't want to worry about your battery in a couple of years, we recommend looking for another laptop model.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.