Does using your laptop while plugged in affect its battery life?

So, I sat at a café with my friend as he is working on his laptop. It is a fairly new laptop and so he has the benefit of a healthy battery. This café that we are at is a popular workstation and about half of its customers are on their laptops as well. The café management knows this very well and so on each table, there is a power station in case your beloved laptop runs out of juice. And then a discussion is born out of this observation. What is the right way to use your laptop? Do you use it on the mains and only use the battery when necessary or do you charge it up and use it on battery power as you do with your cellphone? Back as a student on campus, this was a debate with the power to divide people just like the pineapples on pizza debate.

But today, I decided to tackle the issue excluding feelings and employing pure logic and science. Does use your laptop while charging affect battery life, well yes and no. Hear me out. Modern laptops are efficient enough to direct power to where it is most needed. If you plug in a dead laptop, the priority will be to charge the dead battery. And while this is happening, you can go ahead and use the laptop normally. Once the battery is charged and the laptop is still connected to power, then power is drawn straight from the mains.

Manufacturers will make very detailed statements to avoid a lawsuit should your laptop battery deteriorate due to continuous use while still connected to the mains. They will mention temperature for example. At just the right temperature, using a laptop while connected to the mains will do no damage to the battery. Avoid using your laptop in the extremes. Too hot or too cold. But this is a general rule that works for all batteries on the planet. Batteries are designed to be charged and discharged. So then it is advisable to discharge your laptop battery periodically. And while manufacturers claim that using the laptop while connected to the mains in optimum temperatures will not result in any damage, deterioration is inevitable and it happens faster when your laptop is always connected to the mains yet the battery is healthy. This is at least according to our tests.

Tech is always evolving and often getting better. We as tech enthusiasts always expect the best and newer technologies. This also means that battery and power management will only get better from now onwards. Take gaming phones for example. We always fantasized about a time we would game with power straight from the mains and that is a reality today. Batteries are a sensitive topic and care should be taken as they have their set unwritten rules such as being left at half full when you intend to store your appliance over a long time. Using a laptop on the mains is dependent on a lot of situations. However, continued use “while charging” will always result in slow but sure deterioration of the battery. And again, care should always be taken to avoid completely draining the battery.