Generate summary with AI

The number of laptop sales has been steadily rising since their inception in 1981, with a projected $147.4 billion in laptop sales in 2028. Unlike other devices, laptops are very flexible due to their portablility, making them an ideal choice for both personal and professional purposes.

If you’ve ever tried to watch a Netflix movie on your phone, or used the on-screen tablet keyboard to try to write a report, you’ll know what we mean. It’s possible, but not comfortable or efficient! 

In contrast, a laptop does it all – but beware, because they’re not all created equally. This guide will look at how long laptops last, based on the different kinds of laptops you can buy, as well as tips and tricks for how to take care of your laptop to ensure you get the best usage out of your laptop.

How long should a laptop last?

Based on the average laptop life expectancy, a new laptop should last between 3-7 years. But note, this is purely based on the average lifespan of a laptop. There are still a lot of factors you need to consider before you can estimate how long you can expect your laptop to last.

And that’s exactly what this article will look at. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the main considerations that can affect the lifespan of your laptop.

Does a higher price equate to lasting longer?

First, let’s answer your burning question. If I spend more, will my laptop last a long time?

As very rough guidelines, some research has shown that you should expect a laptop that’s under $700 to last 2-4 years, a laptop between $700-1000 5-6 years, and a laptop that’s over $1,000 7-10 years. 

However, there are laptops that can cost up to $5,000, so where do we extrapolate a lifespan based on this rule?

That’s why there can definitely be a correlation between how much a laptop costs and how long it lasts, but it should only be viewed as a general rule. You can’t just look at a laptop for its pricetag. There will be more affordable laptops that outlast more expensive laptops, and vice versa.

While you’ll likely find better features, stronger hardware, and longer battery life from more expensive laptops, you’re unlikely to enjoy a longer overall life out of buying a new laptop once you hit the $1,500+ mark.

Deliver seamless IT experiences for each customer

Outmatch your client expectations with world-class ticketing, billing, & helpdesk capabilities, all managed through a single pane of glass.

Is there a difference for different kinds of laptops?

Your laptop lifespan can also vary depending on the kind of laptop that you purchase. Different laptops are built for different uses, and can affect how long your laptop lasts..

For example, if you use your consumer laptop for heavy gaming, video-editing, or graphic design, you might find that it doesn’t last as long as if you stick to web browsing and word processing, since that’s what it’s designed for. 

On the flip side, if you spend the money to buy a robust gaming laptop, and then mainly use it for work-related tasks or are happy to settle for lower graphics settings, it may last even longer than it’s expected to.

Let’s look at the pricing and lifespan of the three main kinds of laptops that you can purchase.

Consumer laptops

A consumer laptop is your run of the mill, family laptop that you’d generally use at home to do simple things like checking email, streaming light video content, and browsing the web. They are usually the cheapest options, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t last as long as business or gaming laptops. It just means that they’re intended for light use, so the hardware inside may not be as heavy-duty as other options.

However, with recent innovation in the laptop space, consumers can now buy a Chromebook, which runs completely on Chrome OS and lightens the need for hardware. These little units make an ultra-light, affordable laptop choice even on a tight budget. 

Consumer laptops often come with a one-year warranty, but you may be able to extend this further if you choose. You can usually expect a consumer laptop to last about 3 years, if it’s treated properly. Keep reading, as a bit later we’ll go over a few tips and tricks to maintain your laptop and extend its lifespan.

Business laptops

Business laptops are generally used for… business purposes. Who would’ve guessed! Because of the nature of remote work within a business, they can often be used for processor-heavy image, video, and audio work. That’s why they’re generally built with more heavy-duty hardware to have higher processing power.

They can often come with a 3 year warranty, and are considered more reliable than consumer laptops. For example, they might have reinforced casings to help with wear and tear or the occasional bump on the daily commute. They might also come with a stronger fan to prevent overheating issues during a high-activity 12 hour work day. 

Business grade laptops are going to set you back slightly more money, and can even cost $3,000+.

Gaming Laptops

Speaking of high-processing power, gaming laptops are generally at the top of this conversation. Gaming laptops are much more heavy-duty and robust, which generally comes with a much higher price tag. 

But they’re made this way for a reason. Video games require a TON of processing power, which is why online gaming has been referred to as a “bandwidth hog”. That’s why even a mid-range gaming laptop may only last a few years before you need to upgrade it for optimal performance. 

And even if you choose to fork over more cash, 5 years is generally on the higher side in terms of the life expectancy of a gaming laptop.

What are the signs my laptop is on the way out?

Of course, we want to get the most bang for our buck, which means that we all need to decide when’s the right time to go out with the old, and upgrade laptops.

So if you’re wondering what to look for when your laptop begins to near the end of its life, here are the most blatant signs that you may need to go laptop shopping soon. Some laptops will exhibit all of these signs prior to its “death”, while others may only display a few of them. This list is in no specific order, each of these signs are important.

Compatibility problems

If you’re looking to replace certain parts of the laptop to help with speed or performance, you may find that you run into compatibility problems. This could be as simple a task as upgrading the RAM and switching to a solid-state drive. But the issue is, especially in less expensive laptops, that the parts could be made by different companies. This can make it extremely difficult to replace them without causing errors.

You may also find that the hardware is incompatible with the software, such as operating system security or software versions. If this is the case, you’ll need to check OS and software version compatibility prior to purchasing the new parts.

Loud fans

Loud fans are fantastic at the football (or whatever your favorite sport is) stadium, but when it comes to laptops they can indicate an over-worked machine. This will generally be one of the first signs that a laptop is starting to run past its prime. 

A loud fan can be normal when running intensive softwares or doing heavy tasks, but it’s especially concerning when a loud fan kicks in during normal use.

Slow processes

Over time, your laptop will likely start slowing down. It may take longer for web pages to load, or for applications to open, or even to start up or shut down the laptop in the first place. This can be especially prevalent when you’re running the very latest application versions, because your old hardware wasn’t designed with the new software in mind. 

Since laptops slow down incrementally over time, a sudden drop in laptop performance can often indicate that it’s nearing the end of its life. So if you can, remind yourself every 6 months (approximately) to do a speed test.

Weird behavior

If your computer is regularly crashing, the screen flashes or resets, or there are issues when you try to multi-task, it usually means that your laptop is working hard than necessary. This is especially true if you’re only trying to do normal tasks. This is likely to show up the most when you’re switching tabs in your web browser, or moving between applications.This could be caused by insufficient RAM, so you may be able to fix it yourself without replacing the laptop, but remember those compatibility issues! This can be a common issue people run into when trying to repurpose a laptop for a more hardware-intensive use, such as using your home computer for resource-heavy work projects.

Can I fix these problems?

If your laptop is reaching the end of its lifespan, there may not be a lot you can do about these problems. However, here are a few ideas that you can try:
Reduce the number of programs that are running in the background.
Use Windows Disk Management orDisk Uitlity on Mac, to repair errors and free up disk space, or partition your drive.
Stay on top of high battery temperature and moisture, both of which do nothing but harm to any existing problems. In many cases, high battery temperatures and/or moisture area un-solvable, and your best bet is to just replace your laptop. 

The connection between battery life and longevity

As consumers, we all want to buy a laptop that will last as long as possible. Your laptop’s battery life is one of those important factors that you need to look at when you’re making this important purchase.

In general, a personal computer’s battery life will start to reduce once you’ve had a laptop for between 1 and 2 years. This is usually around 300-500 charge cycles, so it can be helpful to charge your laptop less often, i.e. let it completely run out before you charge it. This can reduce the number of times your battery goes through a charge cycle.

Different programs that you use drain your battery in different ways, but of course – you don’t want to have to change the way you use your laptop to extend the battery life. Here are some tips that are easier to implement that won’t force you to change the way you use your laptop.

  • Reduce the brightness level on your screen. Your eyes will thank you for it, too!
  • Change the screen time-out metric from 5 minutes down to 1.
  • Limit the number of programs that you have open simultaneously.
  • Cut down on those browser tabs!
  • Skip the WiFI if you’re not using it.
  • Use a cooling mat that can reduce the chance of overheating.
  • Opt for your headphones instead of the device speakers.
  • Make sure to unplug your laptop once it’s charged.

Tip: some laptops do not offer a replaceable battery, so make sure to look into this when you buy a laptop. As a battery life is often one of the first things to diminish when your laptop is dying, if you can replace it easily, you’re sidestepping this problem.

The IT management platform that just works

Atera is the all-in-one platform built to remove blockers, streamline operations, and give you the tools to deliver results at any scale.

How can I make my laptop last longer?

Bottom line, the better care you take of your laptop, the longer it will last. There is always going to be an upper limit on how long your laptop can last, which usually varies anywhere from 3-8+ years. And usually, at that point you may find that it’s exhibiting some weird behaviors, or that it’s slower with less performance than it had in its prime.

However, if your laptop has generally only lasted you 2-3 years, and you’re hoping to get closer to 4 or 5, some good laptop hygiene could help you to extend its lifespan.

Be careful with it; these may sound obvious, but it’s better to hear them a million times than never:

  • Don’t leave it in the sun (especially for extended amounts of time)
  • Don’t eat or drink around it
  • Clean the keyboard and screen often
  • Don’t trap the airflow (use it on a hard surface to allow air circulation)
  • Never smoke around it
  • Don’t leave it plugged in around the clock.

And now for a few more, less obvious tips and tricks.

Keep it clean

This means more than just the parts and the screen. Make sure that you’re looking at your applications and files once in a while, being sure to cut down what you don’t need. These include doing things like emptying the recycle bin and fremoving unneeded downloads.

Keep your OS and softwares up to date

Both Mac and Windows offer ways to reinstall the OS without losing any of your data. Use Recovery mode for Mac laptops, and with Windows 10, you can try Fresh Start. Keeping your OS and softwares up to date will make sure you’re taking advantage of any new patches recently released, so long as your computer can handle them.

Use extras

Reducing the load on the hardware can be done with some nifty accessories, such as an external mouse, keyboard, headphones or speakers. A case can also protect against wear and tear. Plus – they make your laptop look awesome!

Upgrade it 

Storage, memory and battery life are usually the first components to go in a laptop that’s on its way to device heaven, and usually – these can be upgraded. Think about an external hard drive for storage, an SD card for memory, or a spare battery pack. You can also think about an external graphics processor.

How long will my laptop last? It’s up to you!

When you’re buying a new laptop, it’s important to think about how long you need it to last. At the end of the day, there’s a large range for how long your laptop could last, but it all boils down to its specs, and how well you treat it. Getting into the habit of treating your laptop well can make all the difference, extending your laptop life by years.If you’re an IT pro working in an IT department or as an MSP, consider starting your free trial to Atera if you’re looking to transform the way you remotely manage and monitor your network(s).

Was this helpful?

Related Articles

Elevating healthcare IT: Insights from our latest infographic

Read now

How to Effectively Manage and Lead Your IT Department

Read now

Optimize your healthcare IT operations – Key strategies for success

Read now

Revolutionizing healthcare IT: how Atera transforms medical IT ops

Read now

The IT management platform that just works

Atera is the all-in-one platform built to remove blockers, streamline operations, and give you the tools to deliver results at any scale.