Laptops were once an expensive commodity that only the richest of the rich could afford. Back when the first laptop, the Osborne 1, was released in 1981, it cost $1975 to purchase.
That’s about as much as a high-end laptop with gaming specifications might cost today.
Laptops became cheaper to produce and thus more affordable in the years since. However, in exchange, they may have lost some longevity. The last thing any consumer wants is to spend their hard-earned money on something that will fail them within a year.
So, inquiring minds need to know: How long does a laptop last? Here’s what you need to know.
Laptop Lifespan Often Depends Upon Cost
We all like to think that we can get a long-lasting laptop without having to pay a lot of money upfront. However, like it or not, when buying a laptop, its lifespan often depends on its cost. Inexpensive laptops are less pricey for a reason.
They often use cheaper or older parts to reduce costs.
Cheaper parts are much more likely to break due to their lack of structural integrity. If the laptop has older parts inside it, it will prove difficult to replace those parts once they break, as the manufacturer most likely won’t make them anymore.
What does this mean in practice? You can expect the average lifespan of a laptop to fall along these lines:
- If you paid less than $700 for the laptop, it will last about 3 years
- If you paid between $700 and $1000, you’ll get around 4 years of use
- Any laptop costing over $1000 can last for around 5-6 years
This assumes, of course, that you care for the laptop and don’t get one with a manufacturer’s defect. However, the cost is not the only deciding factor in a laptop’s lifespan.
Hardware Can Determine Long-Term Viability
How long does a laptop last? The answer may depend on its hardware. The graphics card, CPU, laptop battery, and RAM can all have a noticeable effect on how long a laptop may last.
All the programs and applications your computer uses to run smoothly (or even boot up) have baseline hardware requirements. These programs constantly update for greater efficiency with the latest and greatest technology.
This means that, within a few years, you can find the programs you rely on to get your work done incompatible with your existing hardware.
That’s why it’s so important to check what hardware your potential laptop would use when you buy your laptop online. Failing to do so could lead to evolving technology leaving you high and dry.
Well-Cared-For Laptops Last Longer
The fast pace of technology aside, there’s another major factor in the lifespan of your laptop: How well you care for it. This should go without saying, but if you abuse your laptop and run it to the point of breaking, you won’t get as much life out of it as someone who maintained and cared for theirs.
Worse, when it finally does bite the dust, you won’t be able to reuse the parts for anything else.
So, how can you extend your laptop lifespan? Some of the best ways you can care for your laptop include:
Keep It Clean, Inside and Out
While the coronavirus pandemic should have impressed upon everyone the importance of cleaning frequently touched surfaces, the laptop is one of the places people often forget to clean.
Think about how long your hands rest against the laptop, your fingers transferring oil and dead skin cells to the keyboard.
That’s not even accounting for any food you eat or drinks that get spilled into the keyboard, USC ports, or other entrances. Food, drink, and other detritus can gunk up the works of even the best laptop on the market.
However, you don’t just have to worry about cleaning the outside of the laptop. You need to keep it clean on the inside as well by deleting any files and programs you no longer need. The more files you have to dig through, the slower your computer will run.
Protect It from Pets, Kids, and Impacts
Your laptop is an investment, like your car, phone, or television. As such, you need to keep it safe from pets, kids, and impacts in order to max out its lifespan.
The question “How long does a laptop last?” becomes irrelevant when you have cat hair clogging your fans or their weight ruining the sensitivity of your keyboard.
So, to protect your laptop, keep it out of places that your kids or pets can easily reach. If you can afford a hard case and a screen protector for your machine, you should invest in those to keep your laptop protected from the impact of a drop or fall.
You should also try your best to keep your laptop out of a precarious position where it could fall.
Whether the impact is from one foot or three, you can destroy the way your computer functions.
Be Mindful of the Programs You Download
Another way to conserve laptop battery and extend the lifespan of the laptop as a whole is by being mindful of the programs you download.
You need to have some form of antivirus or antimalware program on your computer to protect yourself from hackers who would like nothing more than to steal your personal information and destroy your computer.
Don’t download any programs from websites that you don’t recognize. Make sure to scan any recent files with your antivirus before you open them. And above all else, look for consumer reviews of the programs you download. This can save you from destroying your hard drive.
Use Accessories to Reduce Wear on Internal Components
Last but not least, you can extend the lifespan of your laptop by using accessories. This may seem a bit odd, but hear us out.
External keyboards and mice can reduce the wear and tear on the laptop’s internal components, which can, in turn, increase its lifespan.
This is especially helpful if you tend to type with a heavy hand.
Overused Laptops May Struggle With Longevity
Another major factor that can affect the lifespan of a laptop is the way in which it is used. The less a laptop is used, or the lighter its usage, the longer it’s going to last compared to a “daily driver”, as it were. Of course, different laptops are best suited to different purposes.
If you try to use your laptop for something it’s not meant to handle, it will cut the lifespan drastically. For example:
- Gaming computers can handle pretty much any task you throw at them but may struggle with hardcore creative renders
- A standard laptop will work well for web browsing and basic office tasks, but might not be able to handle modern gaming
- A notebook or netbook only works for simple web browsing and word processing, and can’t handle much else
So, make sure that you buy the right laptop for your usage when you set out to shop. Otherwise, you’ll have to replace the laptop well before the end of its natural lifespan.
Signs You Should Consider Purchasing a Laptop Replacement
Now that you have a basic understanding of how long a laptop may last on average, let’s examine some of the signs that you might need to get a replacement. Those warning signs may include, but are not limited to:
If you’ve tried clicking on the same program five times and it refuses to open, it’s more than frustrating. It could be a sign that your laptop is on its last legs. Once the processor starts dying, programs will take an eternity to open, run, and close, which can make even the simplest tasks a pain to get done.
If you’ve tried everything you can to clean out unused programs and it still runs slowly, then it might be time to replace your laptop.
Fans Ready for Liftoff
Fans are a crucial part of keeping your laptop from overheating. They also tend to run faster the harder your computer has to work. If they sound like an engine readying a rocket for takeoff, that can be another sign that you’re near the end of your laptop lifespan.
If your computer can’t run the programs that you need it to for work or school, that’s another major sign that it’s near the end of its lifespan. You need to ensure your laptop is compatible with the programs you use on a regular basis.
How Long Does a Laptop Last? Let’s Review
So, how long does a laptop last? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including the cost of the laptop, the hardware it has, how clean you keep it, and how much you use it.
However, based on existing data, the average laptop lifespan ranges between 3 and 7 years, assuming there are no defects or disasters.
Did you find this article about the average lifespan of a laptop helpful?
Would you like to learn more about the longevity of your tech?
If so, then check out the Technology section of our blog for more helpful articles like this one!
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Computer Maintenance