Best ssd for laptop battery life

When we think about the components that influence laptop battery life, the CPU and display panel get top billing. However, the storage drive also uses a lot of power and having the right one can make a noticeable difference in your laptop’s endurance. Our sister site, Tom’s Hardware, just posted a detailed analysis of battery life from more than 100 different Solid State Drives and hard drives; the results may surprise you.

Test Conditions

All of the storage drives were tested in a Lenovo IdeaPad Y700-17ISK with a Core i7-6700HQ CPU and 16GB of RAM. This slightly-older laptop has room for both a standard, SATA drive and a slim, PCIe-NVMe SSD, so it was able to accommodate all 108 drives they tested. It’s not a particularly long-lasting laptop as its battery life ranged from 392 minutes (6:32 hours) on the most power efficient drive to 258 minutes (4:18 hours) on the worst. Tom’s Hardware used the MobileMark 2014 battery test, which runs a variety of applications, but doesn’t download any data from the Internet. 

SSD vs Hard Drive 

Because SSDs have no moving parts, you might expect that they would always use less power than mechanical hard drives. While most hard drives gulp more juice than their solid-state counterparts, there are some exceptions. Seven different hard drives allowed the laptop to last over 5 hours on a charge, while 13 of the 41 NVMe SSDs and 4 of the 58 SATA SSDs they tested fell below that mark. The most power efficient hard drive, the Seagate Momentus Thin (500GB) provided 331 minutes of battery life, which is more endurance than 7 of the NVMe SSDs and 10 of the SATA SSDs. 

Overall, the average hard drive provided 5 hours and 16 minutes of battery life and the average NVMe PCIe SSD was actually a minute behind that. The mean time for a SATA SSD was a much-stronger 5 hours and 48 minutes. 

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SATA SSDsPCIe-NVMe SSDsHard DrivesAverage Battery Life5:485:155;16Best Time6:346:245:31Worst Time3:574:014:36

SATA SSDs vs PCIe-NVMe SSDs

While more laptops still use SSDs that connect via the SATA (Serial ATA) interface, an increasing number now use the PCIe-NVMe interface, which offers speeds that can be two to five times faster. However, with this added performance there’s usually less power efficiency. According to Tom’s Hardware’s tests, the average PCIe-NVMe SSD lasted 33 minutes less on a charge. However, the longest-lasting NVMe-PCIe drive, the Samsung SM951 (256GB) endured for 6 hours and 24 minutes, which is only 10 minutes less than the best SATA drive, the SanDisk Z410 (6:34).

Overall, these were the most power-efficient SSDs, including both SATA and PCIe-NVMe models.

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Battery LifeDrive TypeCapacitySanDisk Z4106:34SATA480GBSanDisk SSD Plus6:32SATA240GBSanDisk Extreme PRO6:30SATA240GBSamsung 850 EVO 48L6:29SATA1TBSamsung SM9516:24PCIe-NVMe256GBSamsung 950 Pro6:19PCIe-NVMe512GBCorsair Force LE6:16SATA960GBSamsung 950 Pro6:14PCIe-NVMe256GBCrucial MX3006:11SATA1.05TBOCZ VX5006:11SATA256GBMushkin ECO36:11SATA240GBCrucial MX3006:11SATA525GBOCZ CX5006:11SATA512GB

Winners and Bottom Line

The longest-lasting SSD Tom’s Hardware tested overall, which is a SATA model, is the SanDisk Z410 480GB (6:34) while the best PCIe-NVMe SSD is the Samsung SM951 256GB (6:24). However, when you’re purchasing a brand new laptop, you don’t have any choice about the make and model of SSD. Most manufacturers only disclose the SSD capacity and whether it’s PCIe-NVMe or SATA.

If you already own a laptop and want to upgrade it, that’s when you can choose the model that suits your needs best. To find out whether you can upgrade your laptop at all and whether it’s SATA or PCIe-NVMe, check out our article on how to upgrade your laptop. For more detail and a complete list of all 108 drives, check out Tom’s Hardware’s article.

 Image Credits: Tom’s Hardware

Laptop Guide

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test. (Opens in a new window)

Below are our picks for the longest-lasting laptops. While battery life is of course the chief measurement here, our selections still lean toward laptops that we can recommend overall, not just those with the longest possible runtimes. Read on for a breakdown of our favorite tested models, as well as a rundown of what to look for while shopping for a high-stamina system. Side-by-side specs for each of our top picks (including their tested battery life) are in a table at the bottom of this article.

A laptop that can last for more than eight hours without a trip to a power plug should be enough to get you through a day’s work, but that’s not nearly good enough to make it to the upper echelons today. Each of the laptops and 2-in-1s we’ve selected lasted for more than 15 hours on our tests, which means that they can survive a full day of work (whether that’s at home or in an office) and still offer plenty of juice for your commute or for watching videos on the couch. (Maybe both.)

How long a laptop lasts on its internal battery is one of the most important considerations for PC shoppers. Business travelers and students are often at the mercy of their computer’s remaining juice, since so many conference rooms, aircraft, and lecture halls are woefully short on accessible power outlets. Not too long ago, it was necessary to buy and charge an external battery pack to get long battery life, or to insist on a machine with a removable, swappable battery. Today, though, swappable batteries are just a memory. Still, many thin ultraportables with sealed-shut chassis show impressive endurance away from an AC outlet.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, Late 2020)

Best for Mac Users Seeking Peak Value

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

The M1-equipped MacBook Air now packs far better performance than its predecessors, rivaling at times the M1-based MacBook Pro. At $999, it’s the best value among macOS laptops.

PROS

  • Good value, especially for a MacBook
  • Much-improved performance, thanks to Apple’s new M1 processor
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Sleek, portable metal design
  • High-quality keyboard, touchpad, and display
  • Multiple color options

CONS

  • Port selection limited to two USB Type-C connections
  • Still no touch-screen option

Sold ByList PricePriceAmazon$799.00$697.00

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Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch (2022, M2)

Best for Creative Pros on macOS

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The 2022 reboot of Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro gets points for its peppy new M2 processor, which delivers a raw-performance uptick, and remains an iconic design. But we’d have liked to see more daring innovation on the rest of the laptop.

PROS

  • Performance tops M1 predecessor and Intel competitors
  • Tried-and-true design
  • Fantastic 22-hour battery life

CONS

  • Dated physical design
  • Lackluster 720p webcam and 2,560-by-1,600-pixel display
  • Supports just one external display
  • Touch Bar has its proponents, but feels like a design throwback

Sold ByList PricePriceAmazon$1,299.00 $1,149.00

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HP Elite Dragonfly G3

Best for Business Travelers

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

If you’ve got the cash, HP’s Elite Dragonfly G3 is a first-rate business laptop that weighs just 2.2 pounds but still packs all-day battery life.

PROS

  • Terrifically thin and light
  • Handsome 3:2 aspect ratio display
  • HDMI and USB-A as well as Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Available 5G and OLED
  • Great webcam and sound
  • Long battery life

CONS

  • Expensive
  • No SD or microSD card slot

Sold ByList PricePriceHP$2,789.00$1,952.30

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Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (SQ3)

Best for Extreme Portability

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

Offering Intel- and Arm-based versions of the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 widens both your options and caveats. The Arm-based SQ3 model delivers 5G support and a long-lasting battery at the expense of the overall Windows experience.

PROS

  • SQ3 model delivers long battery life and 5G connectivity
  • Premium metal build
  • Best-in-class kickstand and keyboard cover design
  • SQ3 supports advanced camera and voice call features
  • Superior 1080p webcam
  • User-accessible SSD

CONS

  • SQ3 processor brings the usual Arm-based drawbacks: lackluster performance and compatibility
  • Core feature differences between Intel and SQ3 models can be confusing
  • No headphone jack
  • Keyboard cover still sold separately
  • New colors only available on Intel model

Sold ByList PricePriceMicrosoft Store$1,299.99$1,299.99

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HP Envy 16

Best for Professional Power Users

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

HP’s OLED-screened Envy 16 is poised to upset some famous, four-lettered, 15.6-inch power-user portables.

PROS

  • Gorgeous 4K OLED touch screen
  • Fancy 5-megapixel webcam
  • Great performance and battery life
  • Robust GeForce RTX 3060 GPU

CONS

  • A bit heavy
  • 60Hz display won’t satisfy hardcore gamers

Sold ByList PricePriceHP$1,389.99$1,389.99

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Lenovo Yoga 6 (13-Inch)

Best for Budget Buyers

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Lenovo Yoga 6 (13-Inch) is a slim and quick 2-in-1 convertible laptop that offers excellent value while avoiding any significant pitfalls.

PROS

  • Unique fabric lid
  • Solid keyboard and touchpad
  • Useful port selection
  • Long battery life
  • Ryzen 7 delivers fast performance

CONS

  • Fans sometimes rev up at odd moments
  • Some keyboard flex
  • Fabric lid may not be to everyone’s liking

Sold ByList PricePriceLenovo$839.99$839.99

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Acer Swift 3 (2021)

Best for Affordable Portability

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

An unwelcome return to a wider display tempers our enthusiasm for the refreshed Acer Swift 3, an otherwise admirable ultraportable.

PROS

  • Outstanding battery life
  • Durable all-metal chassis
  • Thunderbolt 4 support

CONS

  • 16:9 display feels cramped
  • Webcam is below par

Sold ByList PricePriceAmazon$849.99$587.00

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HP Envy 14

Best for Mobile Users Seeking a Discrete GPU

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

One of the few 14-inch slimlines with gaming-class discrete graphics, HP’s Envy 14 is tempting (if a tad pricey) and delivers long battery life.

PROS

  • Handsome design
  • Game-worthy graphics
  • Eye-catching display
  • Excellent battery life

CONS

  • Half a pound overweight
  • SSD a bit cramped for the money
  • A couple of hundred bucks overpriced

Sold ByList PricePriceHP$1,399.99$1,399.99

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Amazon$829.00$829.00

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LG Gram 17 (2022)

Best for a Big Screen at the Lightest Possible Weight

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The 12th Gen Core model of the LG Gram 17 brings better performance, more premium features, and longer battery life to the best big-screen ultraportable laptop.

PROS

  • Solid performance from 12th Gen Intel CPU
  • Long battery life
  • Super light at just under 3 pounds
  • Full HD webcam
  • Wi-Fi 6E

CONS

  • No touch screen
  • No discrete GPU for gaming

Sold By List PricePriceAmazon$1,699.99$1,699.99

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Panasonic Toughbook G2

Best for Ruggedized Computing

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Panasonic’s Toughbook G2 detachable survives drops and splashes, and its expansion modules are a boon for field and factory workers, as well as first responders.

PROS

  • Not technically indestructible, but not far from it
  • A variety of expansion modules and vehicle docks available
  • Great battery life

CONS

  • Expensive and heavy
  • Screen is squinty-small for its high resolution
  • Balky touchpad

Sold ByList PricePriceAmazon$2,899.00$2,899.00

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CDW$2,839.99$2,839.99

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Modern improvements in laptop battery life are thanks to CPUs and other components that are more power-efficient than ever. (It’s not just battery technology that deserves the credit.) That’s especially true of Intel’s current Core processors, which power many of the longest-lasting models currently on our list. Many of the systems here still use the chip maker’s previous 11th Generation CPUs, which steadily took over laptops released in 2021, but they are being replaced by 12th Generation “Alder Lake” processors. CPU alternatives from Apple (the Apple M1 and M2 series) and Qualcomm’s Snapdragons are starting to make a showing, too, in today’s longest-lasting laptops.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

In addition to being a critical specification, battery life is one of the toughest to measure. If you’re watching movies all day long, you’ll get far more unplugged time than someone who’s editing images nonstop in Photoshop. We test battery life based on a very specific scenario: watching a specific test movie on a loop, stored locally, at 50% screen brightness and with airplane mode turned on. If you’re frequently performing more CPU-intensive or graphics-hammering tasks, you’ll want to shave an hour or two off of our results.  

(Credit: Molly Flores)

What Designs of Laptops Have the Longest Battery Life?

Our top-laptops list is stacked with traditional laptops and convertible designs with 360-degree display hinges. Detachable Windows tablets tend to be underrepresented, and for good reason: There’s simply no room for a large battery in such a small enclosure. The best of these, like Microsoft’s Microsoft Surface Pro 8, tend to run around 12 hours.

“Traditional laptops” doesn’t always mean big laptops, though: You will find plenty of these laptop and convertible picks to be relatively thin and light. Advancements in chassis design, Windows settings, and processor architecture allow for thin-and-light laptops to squeeze more life out of their batteries than ever. A long-lasting battery absolutely doesn’t have to mean a big laptop.

Of course, no matter what kind of laptop you’re in the market for, you can always add a few minutes or a few hours to your unplugged time by changing your computing habits. It’s a bit like driving more conservatively to save gas. For some ideas, take a look at our tips for improving your laptop’s battery life.

Want the Best Battery Life? Also Consider a Mac

Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro lineups have a reputation for excellent battery endurance, and Cupertino’s current offerings are no exception. Most of the portable Macs we’ve tested recently can manage more than 18 hours away from an outlet, but the newest releases last even longer.

The 2020 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, running on Apple’s own M1 processor, both lasted for more than 20 hours on our video rundown test. (The M1 MacBook Air ran for an incredible 29 hours.) Which one you should choose depends on your budget, your portability needs, and your usage patterns, but you can’t go wrong on the battery-life front with either Apple ultraportable. The 2021 bigger-screen M1 Pro and M1 Max models also hit similar marks, and Apple went from strength to strength with the 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro, which ran for 21 hours.

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Other manufacturers are more hit-and-miss. The top honors for battery life among Intel-based Windows laptops in the last several years went to the first generation of the Asus ExpertBook B9450 (30 hours in our video rundown!), but many competing machines expire much more quickly. We’re also seeing an emerging class of “always on” machines based on low-power Qualcomm Snapdragon processors that have outlasted most Intel-based Windows and macOS laptops we have tested. (See for example our review of the Lenovo Flex 5G or the SQ3 version of the Microsoft Surface Pro 9.) But know that these laptops are meant more for lightweight mobile computing with a continuous internet connection, and are far from power-user models meant for CPU muscle work.

So, What Are the Laptops With the Longest Battery Life?

If you have a long plane flight (of course, that’s been way less common for lots of folks since the pandemic upended the world) or a spate of working outdoors ahead of you, or if you’re just too busy to linger around a power outlet for long enough, any of these laptops will keep you productive throughout the day and into the evening. For a look at the wider laptop landscape, check out our very latest laptop reviews, as well as our picks for the top business notebooks and the best budget laptops.

Written by Jane