The best laptops for battery life are becoming more important than ever due to the rise in hybrid working and education. At one moment, you could be working at home or in a studio or lecture hall, and the next in a remote location with no access to power outlets to charge your device. Even if you're only going between home and the office, chances are you'll forget to pack your charger at times.
Looking back just a few years, a lot of fantastic laptops for creatives struggled to offer a full day's work on a single charge because of how much power was needed to run demanding applications. It's a different story these days, though, with computing technology constantly evolving to increase battery life while not sacrificing performance. With so many devices now offering long battery life, it can get a little overwhelming when you look at all the options. Luckily, we're here to help make picking the best laptop for battery life as easy as possible with our selection of the best of the bunch. In the guide below, we lay out the benefits of each laptop and who it would be best suited for.
Of course, there's always the option of packing one of the best power banks to solve the issue of battery life. And if you're looking for laptop recommendations in general, see our guides to the best student laptops and the best laptops for video editing if you specifically need to focus on rendering 4K video footage.
The best laptops for battery life available now
When the 16-inch MacBook Pro was released last year, it was so impressive that Apple seemingly set a new bar for portable workstation laptops overnight. That’s because this update to the largest model in the Pro line now comes with an even beefier SoC with either the Apple M1 Pro or Apple M1 Max, providing the kind of performance you would expect only from a laptop sporting a discrete GPU. Most importantly for the purposes of this guide, it’s extremely energy efficient, lasting over 18 hours on a single charge. For a laptop with a bright, beautiful display and a powerhouse under the hood, that’s incredibly impressive, allowing us to work on demanding files for hours on end.
Read our full MacBook Pro 16-inch review for more details on this beast of a laptop.
Given how the M1 chip can provide some of the longest battery life we've seen on a device, it's no wonder that the MacBook Air 2021 sneaks into second place in our pick of the best laptops for battery life. Despite being the entry-level laptop in the MacBook family, the 2020 MacBook Air is still a very worthy laptop, coming with the same ARM-based Apple M1 chip as the more expensive MacBook Pro 13-inch, while its fanless design makes it lighter.
Battery life sneaks in behind at around 11 hours in our own tests, though Apple claims the laptop can run up to 15 hours of web browsing and 18 hours of video playback. We've placed it higher on our list due to the value factor, with the MacBook Air significantly cheaper than the Pro 13. Note that we're hoping to see a new MacBook Air released in 2022. There was no word on this at Apple's March event, but it might be along later in the year.
Read our full MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review for more details.
Not a fan of the Apple ecosystem? No problem, because you don't need a MacBook to get a laptop with good battery life. Microsoft's brilliant Surface Laptop 4, which was released in April 2021, can give many MacBooks a run for their money. Not only does it have a gorgeous design and thin, light bodyt, but it has an excellent keyboard, powerful specs (including cutting-edge integrated graphics from either Intel or AMD, depending on the configuration you go for) and incredible battery life. We managed to keep it trundling along for over 13 hours in our own tests, but Microsoft claims that you can stretch that up to 19 hours on the AMD-powered model.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review.
If the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops are too large for you, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) should be on your radar. It doesn't come with the same M1 Pro or M1 Max configurations as its younger, larger siblings, but this compact portable workstation is still a force to be reckoned with. It can handle 4K and even 8K content and run demanding apps thanks to the power of the M1 chip. As for battery life, in our tests, it managed just under 13 hours.
See our MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) review for more details.
If you don't need anything like such powerful hardware as the laptops above, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a very affordable compact laptop for those that just need a device to take on the go, and while it won't be winning any awards for performance or style, it sweeps the floor when it comes to battery life for this kind of device.
Lenovo claims a battery life of 10 hours with mixed use but independent tests have managed to get double that for video use. You won't be able to run powerful apps on this like you would the laptops above, but it's plenty suitable for streaming content and maintaining communications on the go.
Dell offers some of the best non-Apple laptops going in the world, and the Dell XPS 13 is no exception. Offering a thin and light design alongside a gorgeous display and some of the most powerful components you'll find in a laptop, this is a stunning device that's easy to carry around, while being powerful enough to handle graphic design tasks without breaking a sweat.
Battery life is also excellent,and you'll be able to work on the Dell XPS 13 for hours on end without needing to plug in. For the standard model, you can expect up to 14 hours on a single charge, while even the 4K version can trundle along for around 8 hours.
The LG Gram 17 has a beautiful 17-inch display that will offer you plenty of workspace, and It's also incredibly light, weighing just over 1kg. It packs in Intel's new 11th generation processors and Iris Xe graphics, suitable for running most everyday applications. Battery life is also extremely impressive. LG claims up to 19.5 hours, but we've found 12 hours on a single charge to be very doable. It doesn't have the premium style of a MacBook, but if you need a large display and long battery life on a Windows-based laptop, the LG Gram 17 is ideal.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a fantastic gaming laptop, which may feel out of place on this list as gaming portables are hardly known for offering the best laptop battery life, but this powerful device equipped with AMD Ryzen 4000 processors and Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card can last for a whopping 11 hours on a single charge. For a gaming laptop, that's impressive battery life.
As far as gaming laptops go, this is among the laptop battery life aorund, and those powerful components can also come in handy for creatives who use demanding software. The display is excellent for video and photography editors, featuring a 120Hz refresh rate, while the GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card can boost some features across various applications thanks to Nvidia Studio.
The Asus TUF A15 is a great value gaming rig that offers incredible durability and impressively long battery life, capable of lasting up to 12 hours under the right conditions (as testing in a looped video benchmark). These are no small numbers for a gaming laptop, with many of the popular offerings typically achieving under 5-hours on real-world usage.
The great laptop battery life is largely thanks to the energy-efficient AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, which helps the device run for longer than those powered by power-hungry Intel CPUs. Meanwhile, the powerful internal components are ideal for 3D applications like Blender, so while this was intended to run demanding AAA games, you can also use its capabilities to run creative software.
The Acer Chromebook 314 is a fantastic Chromebook for anyone on a tight budget. Despite its affordability, it still offers great features including a bright and vibrant 14-inch display and a whopping 10-hour battery life to keep you going through an entire day's work or study without needing to charge.
Of course, this is largely because Chrome OS is less demanding than Windows 10 or Windows 11. It does present some issues for software compatibility, but if you only need a device for online-only services and communications, this is a great choice that doesn't require you to splash too much cash.