Q&A: Is it safe to run a laptop without a battery?

lenovo-thinkpad-t400sQuestion from Tim H.: Hello Rick. I want you to know that I really enjoy reading your tips. You have already helped me and so many others out by offering your excellent free advice on this blog. Thank you!!

I have what is surely an easy question to answer. Is it safe to run a laptop without a battery installed? I’ve heard conflicting answers and I’d really love to have your opinion on the matter.

I’m asking because the battery in my Lenovo ThinkPad T400s has gone bad, and I don’t really want to replace it unless I absolutely have to. I plan to use this machine as a “Desktop PC” until it completely stops working.

Rick’s answer:  Tim, your laptop will run just fine without a battery installed with nary a problem, but there a few things to consider before you decide to forgo the battery altogether:

1 – A battery can come in handy at times even when a laptop is used as a “Desktop PC”. For example, it can serve as a built-in battery backup/UPS during times of severe power fluctuations (which happen to occur fairly often). Have you ever had the power go out right in the middle of a Windows Update procedure? If so, you know how troublesome that can be.

2 – While your intention is to use your laptop as a “Desktop” PC, you might wish to temporarily move it to another room or take it with you on a trip every now and then. And both are much easier to do if there is a hot battery installed. And by the way, I always recommend traveling with an older, less valuable laptop that won’t cause a mountain of grief should it get lost, stolen or damaged.

3 – Most replacement laptop batteries are downright cheap these days. As a matter of fact, as of this writing you can purchase a brand new replacement battery for your T400s for less than $30!

Bottom line: You can indeed run your laptop without a battery for as long as you like, but you might want to consider buying a replacement battery anyway for the reasons mentioned above.

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