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Home / Laptop / Understanding Laptop Battery Capacity

Laptop Battery Ratings

If you've ever had to purchase a battery for your laptop (which is probably every single person who has owned one), chances are you've come across certain terms that made little or no sense to you at all. In fact, some would even say that laptop batteries essentially have a language of their own.

For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology that accompanies laptop batteries, making the correct portable power decisions becomes that much more difficult. And while there are quite a few different terms that are somewhat unique to the world of laptop batteries, here are 3 that will make the battery selection process a little bit easier to understand.

1. Volts (V): Named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, the volt is an electrical measure of energy potential. In regards to laptop batteries, a volt represents the pressure being exerted by all of the electrons at the negative terminal of a battery as they try to move to the positive terminal.
2. Amps (A): Named after the French mathematician and physicist André-Marie Ampère, the Amp is a measure of the amount of electric charge passing a point per unit time. In regards to laptop batteries, Amps measure the volume of electrons passing through a wire in a one second. One Amp equals 6.25 x 1018 electrons per second.
3. Amp hours (Ah): A unit of electric charge that measures capacity. In regards to laptop batteries, this is a very key measurement as it represents how long it can deliver a certain amount of charge before it runs out. The measurement milliAmp hour (mAh) is most commonly used to represent how much charge is left in a particular battery. It's important to note that Amp hours don't dictate the flow of electrons at any given moment, meaning that the actual length of time that an Amp-hour symbolizes can change depending on how efficiently the battery is being used. Laptop computer batteries will typically use 1 to 3 Amps per hour, depending on the model's processor speed, screen size, screen brightness adjustment, usage of the CD, DVD, or Floppy drives, and other factors.


There's a lot to consider when setting out to purchase a new battery for your laptop. Not knowing or understanding the terminology will only go to complicate the process. By having the basic knowledge of what these words mean and how they apply to laptop batteries, making the correct choice for your laptop becomes that much easier.