Laptops With the Best Battery Life

Life is too short to worry about whether you're going to make it through the day on a single charge

woman using a laptop to illustrate long battery life

There are always things you can do to stretch the battery life of a laptop. But if you rely on your computer to deliver a full day's work before giving out, you want a model that packs plenty of power.

The laptops on the list below (available to members) offer a variety of benefits, including in some cases the ability to fold up and double as a tablet. But the thing that makes them stand out is generous battery life.

The HP Spectre Folio, for example, delivers nearly 19 hours' worth of unflagging productivity, according to our testers. That's enough to power you through the workday and watch a movie before you go to sleep.

Because people depend on their laptops day and night, we test the battery life on every model that enters our labs. And according to Antonette Asedillo, who oversees that testing, the protocol is designed to resemble real-world use.

We start by setting the brightness of the computer's display to 200 nits, a level that works indoors and out. Then, with the battery fully charged, we cycle the laptop through a series of 10 web pages, downloading them continuously until the laptop shuts down.

The web pages are stored on a server in our lab and transmitted over a WiFi network set up specifically for this purpose. We use the computer’s built-in browser—Internet Explorer for Windows 10 laptops (we plan to switch to Edge next year), Safari for Apple laptops, and Chrome for Chromebooks.

We recently added a second battery test in which the laptop plays a locally stored 4K video (as opposed to one streamed over WiFi) until the power is fully drained.

“It's a good way to gauge how well a battery will hold up during heavier workloads,” Asedillo says.

Under these conditions, we get a fair read on how almost any laptop will perform for the average user. Your actual battery life will vary depending on what you're doing. The important thing is that we test each laptop exactly the same way, so you can compare models with confidence.

And based on our test results, it's safe to say you can readily find well-made laptops that cross the 13-hour threshold. Of course, you may also stumble across models that provide less than half that. The 14-inch Avita Clarus, for example, lasts only 4 to 5 hours before being drained. Make sure you have a power cord handy.