A Complete Guide to Buying Cheap Laptop Batteries

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A Complete Guide to Buying Cheap Laptop Batteries

Most modern laptop batteries are designed to last between three to six hours on average, depending on various factors. A battery starts losing its charge faster as it ages, until it can no longer be recharged. Although a laptop can function without a functioning battery, it requires a direct source of power in such a scenario, which does limit how and where it can be used. Given that a laptop's portability depends completely on its battery, it comes as no surprise that laptop users need to look for replacement batteries from time to time.

Laptop batteries can be quite expensive, especially when purchased through laptop manufacturers, although buyers should realise that they can look for cheaper alternatives, not just through brick-and-mortar shops that deal in used and refurbished laptop batteries, but also through online platforms like eBay. Buyers should know the type of battery for which they are looking, which includes choosing between NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion variants, identifying the number of cells which a battery includes, and establishing which battery capacity is suitable.

All Laptop Batteries Need Replacing

Laptop users should understand that all laptop batteries are bound to fail over a period of time, which is generally between one to two years. Typical laptop batteries are good for up to 400 recharge cycles, after which, they tend to start losing their capacity to hold onto a charge, which is why a battery that lasts for hours when it is new, lasts for shorter durations after it is recharged more than 400 times. What is established is that the more often a battery is charged, the sooner it loses its ability to retain charge, consequently requiring replacement.

Buying Cheap Laptop Batteries Through Third-Party Alternatives

When it comes to buying laptop batteries, it has been noticed that laptop manufacturers tend to price their batteries considerably higher than third-party alternatives, and looking for laptop batteries sold by third parties is possible for almost all popular laptop brands. Buyers should bear in mind that laptop manufacturers do not necessarily manufacture laptop batteries, and a number of laptop manufacturers use batteries made by third-party vendors. As a result, a battery purchased from a manufacturer could well be very similar to one that is purchased through a third-party manufacturer who makes use of the same cells as those used by the laptop manufacturer. Buying a battery from a third party is generally safe, just as long as some basic precautions are followed.

Buying Refurbished Laptop Batteries

Laptop users looking for cheap batteries have the option to look for refurbished batteries, which can be offered by laptop manufacturers as well as third parties. Although buyers can come by some rather good refurbished batteries, exercising some caution when buying such batteries is suggested. This is because the age of refurbished batteries is almost never disclosed, and not much can be done in most instances if a refurbished battery dies suddenly.

Buying refurbished batteries through reputed manufacturers and sellers is suggested, and buying these batteries is still cheaper than investing in a new battery. For laptop users who do not use their machines very much, or where portability is not much of a requirement, good refurbished batteries present interesting alternatives. When buying through reputed manufacturers and sellers, buyers can be assured that the batteries they buy have been through extensive testing and the required repairs before they are sold.

Users who rely on their laptop batteries to get through their day, however, are better off looking for new batteries, as they are looked upon as safer alternatives.

Types of Laptop Batteries

Most laptops work only with certain types of batteries, and since buyers have an array of alternatives from which to choose, the compatibility factor is one that should be duly addressed. In addition to choosing between NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion batteries, buyers also have to choose between the number of cells that come in a battery, and choose between various capacity options as well.

NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion Batteries

NiCd stands for nickel cadmium, NiMH stands for nickel metal hydride, and Li-ion stands for lithium ion; these being the three kinds of laptop batteries used in laptops that can be found in this day and age.

Nickel Cadmium

These were the first rechargeable batteries used in laptops, and although people still use laptops that run on NiCd batteries, their use has now been discontinued by most laptop manufacturers. These low-cost alternatives tend to suffer from what is referred to as memory effect, wherein these batteries tend to remember the old charge, despite being used and charged again, thereby requiring to be completely discharged every now and again. In most modern day laptops, these batteries have been replaced by Li-ion and NiMH batteries.

Nickel Metal Hydride

NiMH batteries score over NiCd batteries in aspects ranging from capacity, reliability, safety, higher energy density, and the use of less hazardous materials, and in the recent past, they have also witnessed lower production costs. The one drawback that they share with NiCd batteries, though, is that these also tend to suffer from the memory effect, although to a lesser extent, but still require that they be discharged completely, periodically.

Lithium Ion

Li-ion batteries are looked upon as the new norm for efficiency in portable computing, and while these batteries produce similar levels of energy in comparison to NiMH batteries, they can weigh up to 35 percent less. They tend to come with rapid charging options, and importantly, they do not suffer from any kind of a memory effect. In addition, these batteries are also looked upon as more environmentally-friendly alternatives in comparison to their NiCd and NiMh counterparts.

Variations in the Number of Cells

Laptop batteries comprise of varying numbers of cells, which can vary from two cells to 12. The number of cells a laptop battery contains has a direct impact on how long the battery can retain its charge, wherein most three-cell batteries get to the three hour mark with some difficulty. A nine-cell battery, on the other hand, can last for up to seven hours, depending on the applications being run. Batteries that come with more than six cells are considered extended batteries because they tend to add some extra weight to machines with which they are used, while also increasing their ability to stay on longer.

Laptop users, in most instances, have the option to upgrade their batteries to incorporate more cells. For example, if a laptop originally comes with a six-cell battery, its replacement can be a nine-cell battery, although it weighs and costs more.

Battery Capacity

Laptop batteries also vary in accordance to the power they are capable of producing, typically displayed as mAh, or milliamperes. Higher mAh numbers with batteries going up to the 8,000 mAh mark, translate into greater capacities, which simply means that the battery with the largest mAh number runs the longest before requiring a recharge. Finding compatible batteries that come with higher mAh numbers than a laptop's original battery is a possibility, and using batteries with higher capacities has no adverse effect on the functioning of any given laptop.

A battery's voltage refers to the amount of electricity that needs to be delivered to a laptop, which is considerably less than what comes out of the socket in the wall. Lowered using an adapter that is normally part of the battery's charger, batteries are designed to match the power that comes from these adapters, and the number of cells a battery contains has a bearing on the required voltage, as the table below indicates.

Number of Cells

Nominal Voltage (V)

Two

7.2, 7.4

Three

10.8, 11.1

Four

14.4, 14.8

A number of laptop manufacturers, over a period of time, have come up with various voltage ratings, and those like Dell, Acer, and HP have gone ahead and released battery packs in varied voltage ratings, changing in accordance to the change in number of cells their batteries carry.

Buying Cheap Laptop Batteries on eBay

Buyers looking for cheap laptop batteries are presented with numerous options when shopping through eBay, which includes choosing between manufacturer-refurbished batteries, seller-refurbished batteries, new batteries sold by third-party vendors, as well as scores of used laptop batteries. These choices of cheap laptop batteries extend to most popular brands like Acer, Apple, Compaq, HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba; and eBay buyers also have the option to look for NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion batteries, batteries that come with different numbers of cells, and batteries with varying capacities. When shopping for used laptop batteries, buyers should try to find out just how old a battery is before buying it, as old batteries that have not been refurbished may not have much left in them.

When shopping on eBay, buyers ought to remember that they can come by very similar laptop batteries, however, these can be priced rather differently. As a result, carrying out extensive searches is recommended, as this can help save more than a few pounds. Looking for cheap laptop batteries on eBay is simple; buyers can use the search box found on each eBay page, or resort to using eBay's menu system.

Conclusion

When it is time to replace a laptop's battery, running to the laptop's manufacturer to get a new battery is always an option, however, it is usually the most expensive option. After all, laptop users have the option to turn to various other quarters when looking for replacement batteries, and just about every other alternative is cheaper than approaching the laptop manufacturer.

A significant number of third-party battery manufacturers now offer just about every kind of laptop battery imaginable, and when it comes to buying new replacement batteries, they do offer cheaper alternatives. While quality can be a concern with some third-party laptop battery manufacturers, the same is not always the case, and buyers can expect to come by offerings that match, if not exceed, the original battery's operational capabilities.

Looking for manufacturer refurbished and seller refurbished laptop batteries can also present buyers with some good alternatives, although buying such batteries through reputed sellers is suggested. And irrespective of the reason behind the hunt for a replacement battery, the compatibility factor should never be forgotten.

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