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How Long Do Laptops Last? | What Is the Average Laptop Lifespan and How to Prolong It?

At some point in time, we have all asked, “How long do laptops last?” It often follows a slowing system or malfunctioning hardware. The good news is that it doesn’t have to remain a mystery. Today, we’re going to go in-depth to find out what causes laptops to act up, or even worse, croak! 

We’ll share some important tips to help you identify and understand why your laptop isn’t performing the way it used to. So stick around and learn how you can better prepare yourself for the day that you have to replace your laptop. And hey, if nothing else, it’s a great excuse to buy that shiny new one you’ve had your eye on! However, it's not the same if you are looking to buy a dirt-cheap laptop for under 100 or 200 bucks reviewed here and also here, or a laptop under 1000$ in this post. If you are not keen to go to such extremes, check out the ones in 300 dollars range, these 400$ laptops here, or the ones in 700 bucks range in this review,

HOW LONG DO LAPTOPS LAST BEFORE YOU NEED TO REPLACE THEM? 

There is actually a lot that goes into a laptop’s lifespan and when you should replace it. You see, laptops are quite limited in what you are able to upgrade. Sure, you can update software all day long, but hardware is a different animal.

By design, laptops are difficult to work with internally. Their condensed construction limits what you have access to. Because of this factor, laptops don’t have quite the longevity that their PC brothers possess.

man using laptop

As you have probably surmised, it all comes down to the hardware inside your compact companion. A laptop that is sporting the latest and greatest hardware will be able to run a gamut of applications with little to no hassle.

If you’re trying to run rather intensive programs or games on a system that struggles to do so – if it even can at all – it’s probably time that you upgraded. If you often find yourself giving your laptop a good thrashing out of frustration, you’re better off getting a new one.

A Laptop’s Hardware Will Determine How Long it Will Remain Relevant 

As we’ve already touched upon, the hardware is what makes or breaks a laptop’s performance. Before you decide to run out and buy the newest model, it’s important that you check what’s running under the proverbial hood.

If you find that you do indeed have the latest and greatest hardware, you’re likely looking at another reason altogether as to why your system is sluggish and unresponsive. 

A good graphics card and CPU play a big role in how long should a laptop last. Equally important is RAM. Oh yes, a laptop with poor RAM will lead to more frustration and aggravation than you can shake a memory stick at. If you are looking for a laptop for streaming, better pay attention to this.

And you guessed it, a lot of money goes into a laptop outliving its expiration date. More often than not, lower end laptops are good for a couple of years or so. But can a laptop last 10 years?

Well, it all depends. If it is designed to be easily accessible by the consumer to upgrade key components that are needed for longevity, possibly. But more than likely you might get upwards of seven years out of it.

You see, technology moves along at a dizzying pace; often leaving its predecessors in the dust. Go to any pawn shop and you’ll see all the greats from yesteryear being sold for a fraction of what they were once worth.

That’s because they were not designed to be long lasting laptops. Like any food, laptops do indeed have a shelf life. And unfortunately, they expire sooner rather than later.

THE FEATURES OF LONG LASTING LAPTOPS

So, what makes a laptop live longer than expected? And how long does a laptop last on average when it is designed for upgrades? 

For a laptop to perform well, it needs to have stellar hardware. A great GPU and CPU are tantamount to its performance. If a system is designed in such a way that makes it easy to upgrade, the sky’s the limit – or at least until the hardware in question becomes outdated and obsolete.

As you have likely guessed, it all depends on the existence of the hardware. Until something comes along and replaces it, there’s a good chance that it will last for years and years.

But the moment the “next big thing” comes out and replaces it, your laptop will be living on borrowed time.

Types of Tasks Your Laptop Is Used For

This plays a big role in the performance of your beloved laptop. If you are a serious gamer, for example, you’re going to need some pretty heavy-duty hardware to run your games.

Video games are notorious for becoming outdated quickly. If you can only upgrade your laptop so far (which is likely), you will only be able to run games up to a certain point. That means you can enjoy certain games as much as you like.

But newer, more intensive software simply won’t run on your system. That means you’re going to be looking at replacing your laptop if you want to play the newest games that come out.

Conversely, if you only use your laptop to talk to the grandkids via that nifty electronic mail, you can probably use it without limitation for years to come. It all depends on what you’re wanting to get out of your laptop.

Limited usage calls for limited resources. Heavy use calls for heavy resources. Back to the topic of gaming, let’s take a closer look at what you can expect out of your laptop.

HOW LONG DO GAMING LAPTOPS LAST?

As previously mentioned, gamers experience the upgrade blues more so than others. Their average laptop lifespan can range from anywhere between two and 20 years, depending on what you’re playing.

If your gaming only consists of Minesweeper or Solitaire, you can use your 486DX running Windows 3.1 to your heart’s content. Realistically, you’re probably going to want Doom Eternal or Gears 5. And for those, you’re going to need a pretty beefy system. If you’re interested in some great gaming laptops under $1000, you’ll find them in this post.

If you’re using a laptop from even just three years ago, you’re probably going to need to upgrade if you want to play those aforementioned games seamlessly and without lag.

using laptop for gaming


Here’s the rub, though. Yeah, you might be able to play those newer games on your three-year-old system, but with great compromise. You can turn down effects and maybe play them with a decent frame-rate.

But you’re only getting half of the enjoyment. Cutting-edge gaming requires cutting-edge hardware. That’s just the way it is, I’m afraid. If you’re on a tight budget, you’d do well to consider some affordable gaming laptops.

So, how long does a laptop last when used for gaming? You’re most likely looking at two to five years. Yes, you can still run some newer games with restrictions. But that will only last so long before your laptop simply can’t run newer releases.

WHAT CAUSES LAPTOPS TO BREAK?

Oh boy, the list is endless. If your laptop begins to overheat and can’t properly cool itself down, you’re looking at a paperweight sooner or later. It will begin with the intermittent shutdowns.

You’ll be watching a video on YouTube or browsing the web when, suddenly, a shutdown occurs. This is your first clue that something is wrong internally. If it continues to happen – and you’re sure you haven’t gotten a virus – there’s a good chance your laptop is overheating.

This can be exacerbated by leaving your laptop on carpeting or blankets. Since there isn’t optimal airflow, the fan can’t adequately cool down the hardware. 

Not taking proper care can also lead to breakage. Like shoving it into a backpack and cramming into a crowded bus, for example.

Even picking it up wrong can cause problems. I’ve seen many people pick them up by the screen. This can ruin or even shatter the display with enough force. Always pick it up from the base. Use both hands, too. 

You’d be surprised what kind of damage can be caused by picking a laptop up with one hand. You’re putting extra pressure in one area, which can potentially break internal components. 

Remember, laptops are rather delicate inside. There’s a lot going on in a very small space. You never know what your continual squeezing in one spot can cause. Treat it like a baby, and you’ll get a lot more use out of it.

The Better Care You Take of Your Laptop, the Longer It Will Last

This is absolutely true. There are some laptops that are sold as “rugged”. Consumers often think this is a free pass to treat their new laptop like a football. True, it might be made of better materials that last longer and can take a beating.

But don’t test its limits. I once witnessed a salesman bragging about a “rugged” laptop and decided to throw it across the floor as a demonstration. Guess what? He shattered the screen and several buttons broke off.

The point is, you must make doubly sure that you treat your laptop like any expensive investment. Just because you have gotten used to it doesn’t mean it is any less worthy of care.

I know some collectors who have laptops from the last two decades that are in pristine condition. Why? Because they took the absolute best care of their property. And now they have some pretty sweet gems that are hard to come by because others didn’t practice the same.

Signs That You Need a New Laptop

There are several things that should alert you to your need for a new laptop. If it starts becoming slower than it once was, there’s a good chance you need to upgrade. If it can no longer run software that has since updated, you can bet it’s time for a replacement.

If you start noticing your laptop making strange noises, this could be a sign that your hard drive is failing. When this happens, it’s best to forego a new HDD and simply invest in a new system.

red laptop

If your laptop is no longer operational within reason, and it costs more to upgrade its components, it’s best to just get a new system.

If you have upgraded your laptop at some point during ownership and it is no longer snappy and responsive, you should look into a new one.

Another major bummer that often can’t be avoided is internal storage. Yeah, you can always use external hard drives. But those only go so far. If you’re out of space, it’s time to invest in a new laptop.

How to Make Your Laptop Last Longer?

The question of “How long do laptops last?” often depends on how well you care for it. This goes a long way in the longevity of your laptop. 

More specifically, you want to be gentle with the charging port. This is one of the main reasons folks need to get a new system.

These components are pretty delicate. After so many years of constantly inserting your power adapter, this port begins to wear out. If you practice the utmost care when charging your laptop, you’ll get a lot more use out of it, this I can guarantee.

It goes without saying, but be sure to keep drinks and other liquids away from your laptop. Don’t eat over the keyboard, either. I’ve cleaned out laptops for clients in the past. What I found inside was nothing short of stunning.

And as I mentioned earlier, the way you handle your system can make or break your system. Be as gentle as you possibly can – even when it starts to slow down on you and you just want to throw it against the wall. 

If at all possible, give your laptop a good cleaning from time to time. If you have the technical know-how, open it up and blow all the dust out that you can. There are plenty of guides online that can walk you through this.

And lastly, use caution when downloading anything from the internet. A virus can cripple your system in no time flat. Use the latest antivirus software to ensure that you are well-protected at all times.

Summary: What Is the Average Lifespan of a Laptop?

So, now that you know what goes into keeping a laptop in prime operating condition, you stand a better chance of enjoying it for a lot longer. 

How long does a laptop last on average? You can expect to get between two and seven years of solid usage depending on the factors mentioned above. Be sure to clean your system regularly and protect it as best you can; both physically, and technically.

Doing so will ensure that your laptop will last well beyond its intended lifespan.

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