A laptop with battery recharge indicator on the screen.

Q. I've heard conflicting advice about preserving laptop battery life. What should I actually be doing?

A. There is indeed a lot of misinformation floating around about how to keep your laptop battery working longer. "That's because battery technology has improved rapidly, and a lot of old advice stays in circulation even though it doesn't apply anymore to newer technology," says Rich Fisco, head of electronics testing at CR.

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Gone are the days when it was important to let your laptop battery drain completely, then charge it all the way back up to 100 percent. "That's now unnecessary with newer lithium-ion batteries," which power practically every laptop and smartphone, Fisco says.

For long-term battery health today, the best tactic is to avoid charging it all the way to 100 percent or letting it run down to zero, says Antonette Asedillo, who oversees CR's computer testing. "Ideally, you want to keep your battery charged between 20 and 80 percent."

Turning off your laptop every day isn't necessary, either. "It's fine to leave your computer in standby mode for a few days at a time," Asedillo says. However, to keep it running smoothly, a full reboot every few days is still a good idea in order to receive updates and clear your RAM.

For related information about laptop and desktop computers check our computer ratings and buying guide.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the September 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.