The 25 best battery life laptops for 2021
It should come as no surprise that battery life is one of the key things we look for in a laptop computer. What is surprising is which laptop brands and models take the top spots when it comes to battery life. They’re not always the usual suspects.
Why are we so obsessed with battery life? More than screen size, processing power, graphics card or number of ports, battery capacity is the first thing many of us think about before making a purchase, whether it’s a school laptop, business laptop or gaming laptop. After all, you don’t want your PC shutting down in the middle of a Netflix binge or while taking notes in a long lecture class, and carrying around a battery backup is just a hassle.
|1||Asus ExpertBook B9450F||16:29||989|
|2||LG Gram 14||16:03||963|
|3||LG Gram 17||16:17||779|
|4||Samsung Notebook 9 Pro||12:30||750|
|5||Dell XPS 13 9300||11:26||686|
|6||HP Elite Dragonfly||11:26||686|
|7||Lenovo Yoga C940-14IIL||11:15||675|
|9||HP Spectre x360 13-AW0013dx||10:38||638|
|10||Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2019||10:32||632|
|11||Dell XPS 13 7390 2-in-1||10:07||607|
|12||Acer Swift SF714-52T||9:50||590|
|13||Lenovo Yoga C940-15IRH||9:44||584|
|14||Huawei Matebook Pro X||9:31||571|
|15||Acer Aspire 1 A115-31||9:05||545|
|16||Microsoft Surface Laptop 3||8:58||538|
|17||Acer Aspire 5 A515-54||8:38||518|
|18||Microsoft Surface Pro 7||8:34||514|
|19||HP Spectre x360 15 (OLED)||8:34||514|
|20||Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020)||8:14||494|
|21||Dell G5 5590||8:10||490|
|22||Lenovo Ideapad 730S||8:08||488|
|23||Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)||8:02||482|
|24||MSI Prestige 15 A10SC||7:57||477|
|25||Acer Aspire 7 A715-74G-71WS||7:56||476|
While at one time Apple’s MacBooks (the MacBook Air and the Apple MacBook Pro) controlled much of the top of this chart, the current winner comes from an unexpected place: Asus’ ExpertBook B9450F. The company’s ultralight business laptop has excellent battery life, which comes in at over 16 hours.
LG’s Gram series is best known for being very light, and the 14-inch LG Gram 14 is no exception at 2.5 pounds (even slim 15-inch laptops are usually over 4 pounds). But besides that, it ran for over 16 hours, which is exceptionally good. Part of the secret is that a larger 15-inch body just has room for a larger battery along with the larger screen and larger keyboard. Dell squeaks into the top 5 with the XPS 13.
So many factors go into determining a laptop’s battery life that it’s hard to predict in advance how different laptops or different models of the same laptop will last based on specs (e.g., keyboard, hard drive, Retina display, number of USB ports, fingerprint reader) or price. How the manufacturer implements power-saving measures for the processor, screen, networking and peripherals can have a big impact, for example, in addition to the usual suspects. And how you use it has the biggest effect: Bingeing video is an obvious drain, but so is running the CPU at top speed for crunching numbers or keeping the screen brightness cranked all the way up. Even modern laptops with good battery life will drain under those conditions.
However, there are a few rules of thumb when it comes to selecting a device that will last you all day:
- The brighter and higher the resolution of the screen, the more power it uses. So the typical 1,920×1,080-pixel screen on a sub-$500 laptop uses a lot less power than the flashy 4K, 500-nit display on a pricier model.
- For Intel Core processors, the Y series uses less power than U which uses less power than H, and newer CPUs tend to have more battery optimizations than older ones.
- Discrete graphics are more battery-intensive than integrated.
- A backlit keyboard may have a small impact.
- LPDDR memory uses less power than standard DDR — the “LP” stands for “low power,” after all — and a device with this type of memory will have longer battery life.
- Gaming is the most common of the big battery-draining activities you can inflict on your laptop.
- You can also extend the battery life of your device by adjusting settings like making it go to sleep or turn off the display after a smaller interval and reducing the display brightness.
And keep in mind, battery life isn’t everything. The Snapdragon-based Asus NovaGo lasts all day, for example, but we still felt it made too many compromises to get there.
Based on the extensive battery testing conducted in the CNET Labs, these are the PCs with the longest battery-life scores that we’ve seen over 2018 and 2019. The top five current performers are below, and a full list of the top 25 can be found below the five leaders.
Our master list includes Windows and MacOS laptops, Windows two-in-one hybrids and Chromebooks running Google’s Chrome OS. Not included are Android or iOS tablets.
The specific test used here streams a private video over Wi-Fi on an endless loop (no web browsing or anything else that would make our testing inconsistent). Note that these scores reflect the specific configurations we tested, and that screen resolution and CPU choice are some of the major factors that affect battery life.
The LG Gram 14 laptop is an ultralight pen-enabled convertible with extraordinary battery life for its class, plus it’s really, really light (just 2.5 pounds).
For the rest of our top battery life performers, see the full list here.