Last updated: December 18, 2022.
See how many amps a laptop uses and get insights into laptop battery capacity and battery life below. Also, don’t miss these 10 tips to reduce the cost of running your laptop.
- Laptops use between 0.1 amps and 2 amps in active mode.
- Per hour, laptops use 0.003 amps in Off mode and 0.007 amps in sleep mode, on average.
- Expect a laptop to use 0.022 amps in Long Idle mode and 0.054 amps in Short Idle mode.
- Laptop battery capacity typically ranges from 2,000mAh to 7,000 mAh.
- At low amp draw, laptop battery life ranges from 7.4 hours to 26 hours.
How many amps does a laptop use?
Laptops typically use between 0.1 amps and 2 amps in active mode.
This is based on the power consumption of the 114 of the best selling laptops in the US.
Laptop modes impact the amount of amps that a laptop draws.
Laptops use 0.003 amps in Off mode, 0.007 amps in sleep mode, 0.022 amps in Long Idle mode and 0.054 amps in Short Idle mode per hour, on average.
Related: How many watts does a laptop use? [Results from 1,084 tests].
Gaming laptops require more power than usual. These laptops, as a result, draw more amps, especially while gaming.
More common, ENERGY STAR certified laptops, doing everyday tasks draw significantly less amps.
I tested the actual laptop power consumption of my ASUS VivoBook. It used 19.6W while I was writing in a Google Doc. Given that P (power) = V (voltage) x I (current), we can see that my laptop drew approx. 0.17 amps.
If we look at the maximum amperage listed by laptop chargers and laptops themselves, the estimated amount of amps used would be a lot higher.
It’s common to see laptop chargers with an input amperage lower than its output amperage.
This is because the input voltage is considerably higher (110-240V) than the output voltage (typically 19V).
Laptop charger input amperage typically ranges from 1 to 4 amps (max), while the output amperage usually ranges from 2 to 6 amps (max).
The amperage listed on laptop chargers is the maximum amount of expected current that the device will draw / deliver.
The amount of amps that a laptop actually uses tends to be a lot lower than the maximum amperage listed, as demonstrated in the power consumption results noted above.
When unplugged, the amount of amps that a laptop uses per charge depends on the laptop’s battery capacity. Let’s take a look at this next.
Laptop battery capacity
Laptop battery capacity typically ranges from 2,000mAh (milliamp hours) to 7,000 mAh.
This means that laptops usually hold between 2 and 7 amp hours of battery life.
At the maximum current draw listed by some chargers (i.e. 6A), it wouldn’t take long to use up all the battery – roughly between 20 minutes and 1 hr 20 minutes.
However, as mentioned, laptops don’t draw the max amperage listed – at least not all the time.
Given that we know the capacity of laptop batteries and how many amps laptops actually use, we can easily work out the duration of battery life.
Typical laptop battery capacity delivers between 7.4 hours and 26 hours of life at low amp draw, to between 1 hour and 3.5 hours at high current draw.
These times are more in line with the battery life that manufacturers promote, rather than battery life at maximum possible amp draw.
Laptops that deliver the higher end of battery life combine high battery capacity with low power consumption.
Related: Laptop voltage – everything you need to know.
Laptops don’t require a significant current.
Laptops draw more amps from the charger than the charger does from the outlet.
And, both are relatively low.
However, the amount of electricity that laptops use over a year does add up.
If you’re interested in reducing the cost to run your laptop along with your carbon footprint, check out these 10 Tips To Reduce Laptop Electricity Usage.
You can make an even bigger impact on your wallet and footprint with this Energy Saving Cheat Sheet:
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James, Eco Cost Savings co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, is also our experienced in-house energy management and sustainability expert, and manager of our network of sustainability consultants.
Before his journey into sustainability, James studied engineering. Additionally, he has experience in HVAC installation, and data analysis. A self-proclaimed practical environmentalist, and avid penny pincher, James established Eco Cost Savings to share his and his colleague’s expertise with the aim of helping to reduce energy bills and carbon footprints at scale.