How long does a laptop AC adapter last?

How long does a laptop AC adapter last? In my experience it usually outlives the computer. But not always. Edge cases are certainly possible.

If your laptop AC adapter doesn’t last longer than the computer, the remedy is probably to buy a higher-wattage unit.

The last time I replaced a laptop AC adapter

How long does a laptop AC adapter last?
Usually laptop AC adapters last longer than the computer should.

I know the last time I replaced a laptop AC adapter was in 2006, because I blogged about it. The AC adapter that failed lasted six years, which isn’t a bad run. Admittedly, I used that laptop long past its prime. I couldn’t afford another one then. So I bought a replacement AC adapter and used that about three more years. That AC adapter probably still works. It was better than the original, and it didn’t get as much use.

But that was the last time I replaced a laptop AC adapter. It was also the first time I replaced one, at least for my own laptop. But I did work desktop support off and on for a few years early in my career and I can’t remember replacing an AC adapter for anyone else during that time either. I remember replacing lots of other parts.

When we got rid of laptops I remember keeping the AC adapters as spares because it seemed like a good idea. But I always gave them to people so they’d have an extra one for home, not because one broke. I did desktop support for hundreds of people, not thousands, so it’s not a huge sample size, but it’s certainly larger than just my personal experience.

Making your AC adapter last longer

Certainly it’s possible for an AC adapter to fail young. But it happened a lot more frequently in decades past than it does now. Power converter technology has gotten really good in the last 15 years or so. If you buy cheap $199 laptops, I would expect their AC adapters to fail more frequently than the ones for expensive laptops.

If you’re having bad luck with laptop AC adapters, I would recommend buying a quality aftermarket unit. You’ll need to match the plug and the polarity, and look for an AC adapter with a slightly higher wattage than what you have. If yours are failing a lot, the main reason that AC adapters fail is because the device is trying to draw too much power from it. Increasing wattage fixes that. I bought an Insignia-brand AC adapter at Best Buy several years ago because I was on the road and had left my AC adapter at home. I was impressed enough with it that I used it most of the time, until I changed jobs and my new employer provided me a laptop that wasn’t compatible with it.

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