How To Extend Battery Life On A Gaming Laptop [13 TIPS]

You’re probably searching the internet looking for tips to extend your gaming laptop’s battery life because you’ve faced one of the following problems: 

  1. Your gaming laptop’s battery life has become worse over time
  2. You’ve realized your new gaming laptop is draining the battery too fast
  3. You need your battery to last longer so that you can do more without worrying about battery life.
  4. You forgot to carry your charger.

In this article, I’ll share with you some practical tips on how you can extend the battery life of your gaming laptop.

Ways To Extend Battery Life In Gaming Laptops 

1. Reduce Screen Brightness

Your gaming laptop uses a considerable amount of power to display the images you see on your screen. Pixels, which make up the images you see on your screen, use more power when they shine bright than when they are dimmed.

By reducing the brightness of your screen, you can significantly extend the battery life of your laptop. For example, when gaming or working in low-lit environments, you likely don’t need your display to be very bright. A dimmer display is also easier on the eyes.

gaming laptop with reduced screen brightness

You can reduce the brightness of your display by holding the function key (Fn) and pressing the brightness key, usually, it is marked with the brightness symbol. On some laptops, you don’t need to hold the Fn key, just the brightness up or down button.

Alternatively, if you are on Windows 10, click on the action center/notification icon at the bottom right corner of your screen and then move the brightness slider to make adjustments. 

Another way would be to click on Start > Settings > System > Display and then move the slider with your mouse to adjust the brightness.

adjusting display brightness

If you are using an earlier version of Windows such as Windows 7, press the Windows button + the ‘X’ key and a pop-up window will appear. Move the brightness slider to your left to dim the display.

2. Turn Off Your Keyboards Backlight

Backlit keyboards make gaming laptops look cool and also allow you to use your laptop even in low-lit environments. Some keyboards even let you assign custom colors to certain keys so that you can spot them with ease without having to shift your eyes from the screen. 

While keyboard backlights are a useful feature for gamers, they put an extra load on the battery and make it discharge a lot faster. 

Switching off keyboard backlighting on your laptop when you don’t need it, for example during the day, is a good way to improve battery life. As observed in the video below, turning off RGB lighting improved battery life by 16%. 

You may not get the exact results as in the video, but you should definitely see a significant improvement in battery life. If you are not sure how to switch off your laptop’s backlights check your manual for instructions. 

You may also choose to configure your keyboard’s backlights so that they turn off when your laptop is running on battery and turn back on when plugged in.

3. Change Your Power Mode

Windows 10 has a performance power slider which groups all settings that impact battery life into four categories: battery saver, better battery, better performance, and best performance. 

Best Performance Mode

This mode gives you high responsiveness and performance at the expense of battery life. This mode handles CPU and GPU intensive tasks, such as gaming and video editing, smoothly but is very hard on the battery. 

Better Performance

This mode offers a balance between performance and battery life. This mode delivers a slightly longer battery life than the best performance mode. Usually, it is the default recommended setting.

Better Battery Mode

The better battery mode prioritizes battery life over performance. If you try gaming on this mode you will experience a notable drop in performance.

Battery Saver Mode

Battery saver mode squeezes as much time out of your battery as possible by disabling some Windows features completely and throttling others. Screen brightness is also reduced by 30%. 

To change your power mode, click on the battery icon on the taskbar and drag the slider to your preferred power mode. 

changing power modes to increase battery life

When your goal is to improve battery life, you want to keep your laptop on battery mode and battery saver mode for the best results. However, expect a drop in performance since the power to your processor and graphics card will be restricted.

Note: Battery saver mode only becomes available when your laptop is disconnected from a power outlet. All the other modes are available whether your charger is plugged in or not.

4. Switch Off Wi-Fi And Bluetooth

When you have no use for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, it is a good idea to switch them off to increase battery life. 

When Wi-Fi is kept on, your gaming laptop will usually try to connect to Wi-Fi networks that are in range. And even when networks are out of range, it continues to consume a small amount of power when trying to search for networks. 

The same can be said about Bluetooth. Having Bluetooth enabled all the time, also contributes to low battery life. Disabling the Bluetooth app prevents your computer from constantly scanning for other Bluetooth devices even when you have no use for this feature, thus extending battery life. 

In laptops, you can disable either of them using special keys on the keyboard. These keys are easy to spot because they usually are marked with the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth symbol and are positioned in the first row.

To use these keys, hold down the function key (Fn) and then press the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth key, depending on which one you want to disable. On some laptops, you only need to press the special key to enable and disable.

If your laptop lacks special keys, there’s an alternative method of doing this. Open the Action Center in Windows 10 by clicking on the action center icon on the taskbar. 

The following  grid of icons will appear:

turning wifi and bluetooth off to extend battery life

Next, click on the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi tabs to disable them. Enabling AirPlane mode will also turn off both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.

In older versions of Windows, Wi-Fi can be disabled by pressing the “Windows key + X” and clicking disable Wi-Fi. To disable Bluetooth you will need to use the utility software to disable or enable Bluetooth. 

Alternatively, you can disable the Bluetooth adapter by opening the Device Manager from the Control Panel. Scroll through the list of hardware until you find the Bluetooth Adapter. Right-click on it and choose disable.  

5. Lower The Volume Or Use Headphones

increasing battery life by reducing laptop volume

Your gaming laptop’s built-in speakers consume more power when they are set to a high volume because more voltage and current is needed to produce a loud sound. Also, large speakers generally consume more power than smaller ones.

If you like working or gaming with music playing in the background, lowering the volume or muting the speakers will help increase battery life. Alternatively, you can get a pair of headphones as they consume considerably less power than built-in speakers.  

This is comparable to how you get more battery life from your smartphone when you listen to music or audiobooks through earphones instead of using the phone’s actual speaker.

6. Disconnect Peripherals

Most gamers usually have devices such as gaming mice, keyboards, headphones, external hard drives, etc. connected to their laptop. While all these peripherals improve functionality and comfort, they are powered by your battery when your laptop isn’t plugged in. 

They also come with their own software which forces the CPU to work harder and consume more power. By limiting the number of peripherals connected to your laptop when running on battery, you can increase the battery life by a huge margin.

7. Use Hibernate Mode Instead Of Sleep Mode

When you put your laptop in sleep mode, it enters a low-power state. In this state, it still needs a small amount of power to keep and maintain the current state of your system in the memory (RAM). 

This explains why your laptop is able to spring back to life almost instantly and resume all the apps and programs that were open before sleep mode was engaged.

Hibernate mode works a bit differently from sleep mode. It saves the current state of your PC in a file stored on your hard drive. When you boot your computer, this file is loaded from your hard drive and back into memory. 

Even though hibernate mode takes a few more seconds to get things back to normal compared to sleep mode, it uses significantly less power because no power is needed to keep RAM on standby. 

Therefore, by putting your gaming laptop in hibernate mode instead of sleep mode you will be able to conserve a bit more power.   

8. Stop Antivirus Programs Running In The Background

Antivirus software, such as Bit Defender, Avast, and Kaspersky help keep your laptop clear of viruses and other malware. However, sometimes your antivirus software itself could drain your battery if it constantly runs real-time scans in the background. 

Disabling real-time scans when your laptop isn’t plugged in through the settings menu of your antivirus software can help improve battery life. 

In fact, if you are using Windows 10, you can disable your antivirus software because it comes with its own built-in antivirus known as Windows defender. Windows Defender is good enough and offers almost the same amount of protection as other antivirus software. 

In addition, it doesn’t come with unnecessary bloatware such as registry cleaners, browser extensions, trackers, and junkware which can increase power consumption.   

9. Switch From HDD To SSD

If your gaming laptop runs on HDD (Hard Disk Drive), you can extend its battery life by replacing the HDD with an SSD (Solid State Drive). 

HDDs consume more power than SSDs because they have magnetic discs that need to be rotated by a motor at between 5400 rpm and 7400 rpm for data to be read and written. 

SDDs work similar to SD cards. But unlike HDDs, they have no mechanical parts and store data on chips (flash memory) connected to an integrated circuit. Besides improving power efficiency, SSD will also make your laptop boot a lot faster and increase its responsiveness. 

Keep in mind that SSDs are a bit more expensive than HDDs. Once you’ve swapped your hard drive with a solid-state drive, you don’t have to throw away the HDD. You can get an external hard drive enclosure and use it as an external drive to backup your stuff.

10. Tweak Your Power Plan

Windows has different power plans that manage how your computer uses power. They achieve this by adjusting hardware and system settings. These power plans include Balanced, Power Saver, High Performance, Ultimate performance, and Custom Power Plan.

When trying to increase battery life, the Power Saver power plan works best. This is because it allows you to get the most from a single charge by slightly decreasing performance and reducing the screen brightness.  

Power plans also enable you to choose what pressing the power button, sleep button, or closing the lid does, both on battery and when plugged in. You can utilize this feature to control when your computer dims the display or engages hibernation mode after it is left idle.

You can access power plans settings from any version of Windows by right-clicking on the battery icon in the taskbar and then clicking on the “Power Options” button in the contextual menu that appears. 

tweaking your power plan on windows 10

You can save even more battery by creating your own power plan or tweaking the pre-existing power settings.

11. Stop Unnecessary Apps And Processes From Running In The Background

Oftentimes, there are usually lots of apps and programs running in the background that you aren’t aware of. Until you stop these apps and programs, they’ll slowly drain your battery and soon you’ll need to connect your laptop to a power source. 

Depending on how much power these programs consume, you’ll notice a slight or significant increase in your laptop’s battery life once you stop them. 

On Windows 10, you can find out which apps are affecting your battery life by typing “see which apps are affecting your battery life” into the Windows search bar. Next, click on the battery icon.

A list of apps and how much power they consume will appear. Close or all the apps you aren’t currently using from the Task manager to save more power. 

The Task Manager can be accessed by using the “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” keyboard shortcut or right-clicking the Windows taskbar and selecting “Task Manager”. 

closing unnecessary background processes in task manager

Right-click on the processes you want to close and select End task to extend your laptop’s battery life.

12. Replace Your Battery Or Carry An External Battery Pack

If you’ve taken all the above steps and still don’t see any improvement in battery life, maybe your laptop’s battery lifespan has reached its limit. This is especially true for gaming laptops that are at least 2 years old. 

Batteries, like most other computer components, gradually start to fail and eventually need to be replaced.

Before buying a new battery, it is important to take note of your laptop’s brand and model as well as the battery model number. You’ll likely be able to find a replacement battery for your laptop online unless your laptop is a very old model.

If your gaming laptop has a removable battery replacing the battery is usually a pretty straightforward process. For built-in batteries, the process may be a bit tricky and you may need the help of a technician if you aren’t very tech-savvy.

Another solution would be to get an external battery pack. They connect to your laptop similar to how a laptop charger does and come with adapters designed for different laptop brands. 

External batteries are also a solution if you have trouble finding a battery that matches your laptop. A new battery will breathe new life into your gaming laptop and you can work longer on a single charge.

13. Use Your Laptop On A Hard, Flat Surface

increase laptop airflow hard flat surface

Laptop fans draw in air from vents positioned at the bottom to cool the interior components such as the GPU and CPU. By placing your laptop on a soft surface such as clothes or bed duvet, you block these vents.

When this happens, the interior gets very hot and fans are forced to spin faster and more often than they normally would to try and compensate for the lack of air circulation. When fans spin faster and more often your battery will get drained much faster. 

Soft surfaces also make your laptop more susceptible to collecting dust and other materials such as strands of fabric (like a vacuum cleaner) that restrict air circulation in the interior. If you must use your laptop in bed it is advisable to get a lap desk.

Always ensuring that you always use your laptop on a flat hard surface, you make it easy for air to flow in freely and hence the fans spin less often and slowly. This conserves power and extends battery life. 

Why Do Gaming Laptops Have Bad Battery Life?

Gaming laptops have bad battery life because they have performance-grade CPUs and GPUs that consume a lot of power. Other features such as backlit RGB keyboards and high-speed fans that also contribute to low battery life. 

Despite sharing lots of similarities with normal laptops, you can think of gaming laptops as portable gaming rigs. This explains why you get better gaming performance when plugged in than when running on battery because your laptop is not restricted to power from your battery.

Conclusion- How To Extend Gaming Laptop Battery Life

Following all the tips above should help you extend your gaming laptop’s battery life so that you can do more when your computer is running on battery. 

However, do not expect your gaming laptop’s battery life to match that of normal laptops. The high-performance parts, as well as extra features in gaming laptops, still make it difficult to achieve that.

Eustace is a technology enthusiast and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunication and Information Engineering. His passion and knowledge of computers, and technology in general, is channeled towards helping others understand complex concepts so that they can make better decisions.

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