A Buyer's Guide to Replacement Laptop Batteries

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A Buyer's Guide to Replacement Laptop Batteries

Laptops are a popular computing choice due to their unique combination of portability and functionality. Of course, laptops have one significant downside, which is that they run on batteries. Anyone who has previously owned a laptop knows that batteries are arguably the biggest drawback of the computer. Batteries have to be charged, and can potentially wear out at the most inopportune times. Heavy usage greatly accelerates the rate at which they break down.

Buyers should not feel like they need to purchase a new computer just because their battery no longer has sufficient life. Replacement batteries can be found, and offer a much more cost effective maintenance strategy for the machine in question. There are a few main points to consider when searching for a replacement battery. Firstly, buyers must ensure the battery is compatible with their machine. Buyers should also inquire about the life of the product, and if additional charging hardware must also be purchased. Shoppers should not be discouraged however, as many of these questions can be answered quickly and easily using intuitive website such as eBay.

Types of Batteries

Laptop batteries come in three main types. Nickel Cadmium batteries have fallen out of favour, but shoppers seeking a replacement for an older laptop may need one of this type. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are widely used because they are reliable and very affordable. Finally, lithium ion batteries are the newest technology, being lighter and having an impressive lifespan.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries

Nickel Hydride Batteries

Lithium Ion Batteries

For computers before 2005

For computers between 2005-2010

For computers 2010 through the present

Cheap, reliable

Long life, safe, reliable

Lightweight, high capacity to weight ratio

Some batteries are also referred to as smart batteries. These batteries have a microprocessor which helps the battery function to its maximum potential.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries

Nickel Cadmium batteries were the first type of rechargeable battery used with laptop computers. Nickel Cadmium batteries are not very efficient. They are often inexpensive, but are not compatible with many newer computers. Nickel Cadmium batteries charge quickly but they do have a memory effect that is common in batteries. This requires them to be completely drained before recharging for the first few chargings, so the battery can "remember" how much of a charge it is supposed hold.

Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries

Nickel Metal Hydride batteries eclipsed Nickel Cadmium batteries as the battery of choice because they are safe, reliable, and affordable. Nickel Cadmium batteries are the most widespread. They too have the same memory effect as Nickel Cadmium batteries. Nickel Cadmium batteries are widely available and can usually be found at very reasonable prices. Most laptops rely on Nickel Cadmium batteries for their power. Nickel Cadmium batteries also have the unique ability to charge more quickly than their predecessor.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium Ion batteries are the most common laptop battery for laptop computers that were purchased in the last three years. Lithium Ion batteries are very light which means a reduced overall weight for machines that use them. Lithium Ion batteries have a very high capacity level relative to their weight. While there are many advantages to Lithium Ion batteries, since they are the newest technology they are often the most expensive. Lithium Ion batteries can be a good choice for smaller notebooks that are intended to be highly portable. Lithium Ion batteries do not have a battery memory and therefore, do not need to be run down each time.

Smart Batteries

Smart batteries have additional features that allow the battery to maximise it's lifespan. Things like microprocessors are included that allow the battery to manage its life, predict running type, and track battery usage. Batteries that do not include these microprocessors are often referred to as "dumb". This does not relate to the performance of the battery, but only that it does not have a microprocessor for more sophisticated functionality. Smart batteries are common with newer computers and Lithium Ion batteries.

Compatibility of Replacement Laptop Batteries

Replacement batteries must be compatible with the computer they are intended to be used with in order to be effective. Often times, manufacturers sell original equipment manufacturer batteries. Sometimes, a more cost effective option can be found with third party batteries. These are usually sold with a list of machines they are compatible with. Also, the manufacturer may have available information about which batteries are compatible with the machine.

It is imperative for the buyer to give this topic due attention and care. A battery that is not compatible with the machine is most likely of no value to the potential buyer. Shoppers who want to avoid a potentially costly mistake should take the proper time to ensure compatibility prior to purchase. It may be more difficult for buyers to find compatible replacement batteries for older machines. This is simply because the technology has changed and older batteries are no longer the most efficient.

Replacement Battery Life

Buyers should also carefully investigate the battery life of any potential replacement. The amount of cells included on a battery relates to its battery life. The more cells, the greater the life. Some larger batteries with many cells fit snugly on the bottom of the machine. Other smaller and more lightweight batteries slide into a recessed battery slot. Buyers should ensure that the life the battery purports to provide is sufficient for their intended purpose.

Hardware For Replacement Batteries

Batteries cannot operate successfully without the appropriate charger. Chargers are often included with the battery however, this is something that buyer's should ensure. Chargers can be expensive and may force buyers to go over their budget to get their battery to perform properly. Not only that, chargers can often be difficult to find individually. While a charger is usually included with the battery, shoppers should take the time to make sure of this to avoid a potential issue later.

Disposal of Laptop Batteries

Laptop batteries fall into two categories; toxic or hazardous and non-toxic. All batteries, regardless of whether they are toxic or not, contain recyclable parts. Laptop batteries should not be burned because that could release heavy metals, nor should they be thrown away, or it risks toxic chemicals leaching into the ground. Many recycling programs exist that offer drop-off centres or even local pick-ups. Batteries should be placed in plastic bags and all the terminals should be covered.

Caring for a Replacement Laptop Battery

Every battery has a designed capacity that can shrink over time. Sometimes the capacity is reduced to such an extent that the battery is no longer useable. This reliability issue can force the machine to turn off or hibernate unexpectedly, potentially causing data to be lost. If the battery seems to be charging very quickly, that may be a sign that the charge life has been reduced. Running the battery all the way down and not over charging the battery can help extend its life.

How to Buy Replacement Laptop Batteries on eBay

eBay has a wide selection of all different types of laptop batteries. With so many different types and options of laptop batteries available, along with an active market, eBay is a great place for buyers to find favourable deals on a compatible laptop battery. A simple keyword search can get a shopper started. Any relevant keywords can be entered into the search box located on every page of the eBay website. Another strategy for finding the ideal product is to navigate eBay's easy to use categories.

Once the broad results are displayed they can then be sorted and organised in a variety of different ways. The results can be filtered depending on the condition of the product, features available, colour, or type. The results can also be organised by price, buying format, or time left at auction. Finally, buyers should inquire about the past usage of any used products. Shipping is unlikely to present an obstacle as laptop batteries are very safe to ship being that they are relatively small items.

Conclusion

Laptop batteries should be replaced when they wear out or just at certain intervals to avoid reliability issues. Replacement batteries are much more affordable option that buying a new machine simply due to battery issues. Far and away, the most important factor for a buyer to consider is whether the replacement battery they desire is actually compatible with their machine. If compatibility is not ensured, and the battery ends up not working with the machine, the buyer has just purchased an item they can't use. The type of battery should also be considered as it relates to the life expectancy and weight.

Buyers should also inquire about any additional hardware. Shoppers would be wise to avoid batteries that do not come with the accompanying charger, unless they are absolutely certain they can obtain it later. Also, when a battery does in fact wear out, shoppers should research how to properly dispose of it in their area. Some need to be recycled and there may be laws in place that penalise those who do not dispose of the battery properly. No matter what type of battery a shopper is seeking, eBay is sure to have a wide range of options so that the buyer can find the ideal product.

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