PC Tip of the Month

Schedule a Monthly Recharge

August 2018 – by Per Christensson

Charging electronic devices has become as much a part of our daily lives as getting dressed or brushing our teeth. While we charge devices like smartphones and smartwatches every day, some devices like electric toothbrushes and electric shavers don't need a daily recharge. So what is the best way to charge these types of devices?

One option is to leave the devices on their plugged-in charger at all times. While some manufacturers recommend this, constantly charging your devices is not ideal for two reasons:

Reason 1: Leaving a battery-powered device on a charger at all times will reduce the life of the battery more quickly than charging it as needed. This is because all batteries – even modern lithium-ion ones – start to lose their maximum charge after being charged several times. When you leave a device plugged in at all times, it may top off the charge more frequently, eventually reducing the max battery life.

Reason 2: A device plugged into a wall will use a small amount of electricity, even when it's not charging. This small electrical draw is sometimes called "phantom load" or "vampire power." Some chargers hardly use any electricity when not charging, while others use enough that it can add up to a noticeable amount on your electric bill at the end of the month.

So how do I handle devices that I only need to charge every few weeks, like my shaver, electric toothbrush, AirPods, and my iPad? I have developed a strategy of charging them at the beginning of each month. At some point during the first week of each month, I fully charge these devices. That way they are ready when I need them but I'm not using unnecessary power or reducing the battery life too quickly.

Of course, if you have a device that needs charging every week or two, you'll have to use a different strategy. But I recommend at least trying the monthly charge routine for those less-frequently used devices and seeing if it works for you.

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