What Is the Average Laptop Lifespan?

Laptops aren’t cheap, but they also don’t last forever. And unfortunately, many people have had the experience of buying a new laptop that seems to grind to a halt far sooner than they expected.
Some laptops encounter frustrating bugs or inconsistent performance issues, too. But it can be hard to get manufacturers to do anything unless something is obviously broken.
Of course, you can save a lot of hassle and headache if you buy the right laptop to begin with — and if you understand that you’ll need to replace it every so often.
But just how long is “every so often”? How long does the average laptop last before it’s time to upgrade? Here are the answers to your questions.

The Problem: There Is No “Standard Laptop”

The first issue here is that there’s not really any such thing as a “standard laptop.” A $199 Walmart special isn’t the same as a $499 Chromebook. An $899 Dell Ultrabook is an entirely new class compared to the first two, as well. Clearly, you can spend well into four figures for a souped-up gaming laptop or a powerful business laptop.
Each general category of laptop is going to age differently. And even within each category, not every device will age evenly. Apple laptops are an entirely separate discussion with their own timescales; they have a longer laptop lifespan than comparable PC laptops.

The Laptop Lifespan Depends on What You Need It to Do

The other factor that makes this a difficult discussion is you. Just like there’s no standard laptop, there’s no standard laptop user.
If you need your laptop to check email and get on Facebook and not much else, you can expect a decent laptop purchased today to last several years. On the other hand, if you’re a bleeding-edge gamer or a power business user, the natural slowdowns you encounter in just a couple of years might be unacceptable.
So a big part of the equation is what you need your laptop to do and how important it is to you that your laptop performs at top speed.

Why Do Laptops Slow Down Over Time?

You might be wondering why laptops slow down at all. Your machine seemed snappy and responsive when you bought it, so what happened? Is this planned obsolescence, or is something else going on? Numerous factors shorten the lifespan of a laptop, some perceived and some real.
Your laptop will never be any faster than it is when you first buy it. But hardware and software developers continue to innovate. Newer hardware comes along that can do more, faster, and new software (or new versions of software) take advantage of the new muscle.
But your laptop doesn’t have any new muscles. So it seems to run slower than it did before because the applications and even operating systems are demanding more than they did before.
Some internal components — especially conventional hard drives — actually become slower over time as well. But this impact is typically minimal.

Typical Laptop Lifespan

All that said, most laptop users can expect to get between two and five years of useful life out of a well-equipped laptop. If you’re buying the cheapest laptop you can find, that number could drop considerably. And if you’re maxing out the specs on a well-built laptop (and you don’t actually need extremely high performance), you might last even longer than the five-year mark.

How to Get a Longer Laptop Lifespan

The more important question is how to end up on the longer end of the spectrum. Try these tips so you end up with a laptop that lasts longer, not one that falls apart after a couple of years.
  • Stick with trusted brands, such as those making up a “best laptops” list from a reputable tech media firm.
  • Always choose SSD over conventional hard drives.
  • Bump up your RAM: never buy the minimum configuration. (Too little RAM is the quickest path to slowdowns).
  • Buy at least a mid-range laptop: budget brands rarely impress or last.
  • Keep your laptop free of viruses and malware via antivirus/antimalware protection. (Some malware can stress your processing and memory capabilities, leading to premature failure.)

An Upsie Extended Warranty Covers the Unexpected

Making smart choices at purchase time will almost certainly help the lifespan of your laptop. But there’s always at least some risk of failure or defect — even when you buy from respected brands. On top of that, your laptop is still vulnerable to accidental damage, such as damage from drops or liquid spills.
An Upsie laptop extended warranty will protect your laptop from internal and physical damage. With Upsie, you get extended protection against drops, spills, screen failures, and other defects or part failures. If it doesn’t make sense to repair your device, Upsie will replace it at no additional cost. In addition, Upsie’s warranties cost up to 70 percent less than warranties from competitors.
Ready to get protected? Get Upsie now!

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.