Safe Better Than Sorry With Laptop Batteries

I’m a big Kim Komando (her real name) fan.  The digital goddess is
carried on 465 radio stations … with ten million listeners per week.

Recently, John, from Santa Maria, Ca. had a problem and went to Kim.

image credit/

Q. I need to replace the battery on my laptop. I’ve been looking
online for a suitable replacement. There seems to be many reputable vendors. However the prices vary from $40 to $190. Why is there such a spread?

A. It’s confusing when you see a product with such huge variances. You wonder if someone is trying to gouge you, sell you low-quality products.

In this case both things are probably true. There are also legitimate reasons for the variance in prices. It has to do with the nature of laptop batteries.

For most laptops, there isn’t just one battery size. Manufacturers offer batteries in several different capacities. They might offer 4-, 6-, 8-, or 12- cell versions.

Each additional cell increases how long the battery lasts. You can also expect to see a jump in price and weight.  Inexpensive laptops usually ship with low-end batteries.

This can be confusing when you’re shopping for a replacement battery. Many sellers don’t explain the difference. They just present one battery as a replacement.

When looking at laptop batteries, the first thing to check is the type of battery. You want a Lithium-ion battery. Occasionally you will see NiMH batteries. Avoid these at all costs. They can cause serious problems.

Look at the battery specifications carefully to see the difference. Example: replacement batteries for an older laptop on four different  web sites cost $40, $60, $90 and $110.

The $40 battery I found looks ok. After digging a bit I see the capacity is 65 watt hours (WH). It’s a measure of how long the battery will power the laptop.

Making sense of these numbers isn’t easy. The numbers themselves won’t tell you how long you’ll get on a single charge. That’s because some laptops are more efficient than others.

You could look at your current laptop battery. Get a battery with the same rating. That way, battery life will be as good as when you first bought the laptop. If you want longer battery life, get a higher-rated battery.

You could also compare the ratings of different batteries. That’s what I’ll do with the batteries I found. The $90 battery is rated at 115WH.

There you go. The more expensive battery has more cells, so it lasts longer. What about the other batteries?

The $60 battery is rated in milliamp hours (mAH). That does us
no good, as we’ll have to convert. Multiply the mAH (2200) by the battery voltage (14.8) and divide by 1000. That gives us 30WH.
Yikes! That’s much lower than the other batteries.

So, the $60 battery is priced in the middle but has the lowest rating in watt hours. Several factors could be at work here: store markup, component quality or the warranty. Or maybe you’re just getting hoodwinked.

As for the $110 battery, specifications aren’t listed. If you can’t find the battery’s specifications on a site, skip it. You have no idea what you’re getting.

Here are some guidelines for battery buying: Always compare watt
hours between batteries. Make sure the watt hours are in line with the pricing. Make sure you get at least a one-year warranty.

Above all else, don’t make a dangerous mistake. Buy the battery from the laptop manufacturer or an authorized reseller. Avoid third-party batteries and shady sites. Otherwise, the battery could damage your machine. It could burn down your house. Or worse, it could burn you. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more to the get the right battery.

Find out more about Kim Komando at:

May Your Glass Always Be Half Full


Find out more about Maxi


About Maxi

Hi … I'm Maxi, a retiree with an addiction. I have quit: raising kids, cleaning house, cooking, doing laundry—there is no end the list—everything is done on "have to." The addiction? Writing to my last breath. blessings ~ maxi
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