How Often Do You Charge Your eReader or Tablet?

eReader Charger

Battery life for ereaders and tablets is a big selling point. The longer a battery can last without needing to be charged the better.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons E Ink ereaders are so popular: their battery only needs to be charged about once every two to eight weeks, even if you use it everyday.

Tablets on the other hand need to be charged every couple of days, or everyday if you use it frequently. Lower-end budget tablets usually get about 5-6 hours, and most good tablets can last about 8-10+ hours on a charge, depending on a number of factors like screen brightness, Wi-Fi, auto syncing, etc.

Other factors can come into play as well. For instance, the Nook Tablet’s battery lasts longer than most 7″ tablets, roughly 8-11 hours. But I’ve noticed ever since rooting it that the battery definitely discharges faster, especially in sleep mode.

Excessive battery drain while in sleep mode seems to be a problem that plagues a lot of tablets. I’m looking in your direction Pandigital. The higher-end tablets don’t usually have this problem but the budget ones often do.

When it comes to E Ink ereaders, I’ve always felt that Amazon and Barnes and Noble claiming their ereaders’ batteries can last 2 months on a single charge is a bunch of marketing hogwash. It’s not impossible, surely, but it’s not typical either. By my experience, none of the Kindles or the Nook Touch can regularly get eight sold weeks, 61 days, on a single charge.

The Kindle Touch has been out exactly 12 weeks now. And I’ve certainly charged it more than once since then, probably more like three or four times. Two months is a fairy tale cooked up Amazon’s marketing team.

The thing is it’s pretty much impossible to put a specific number on an ereader battery when there are so many variables involved. And the fact that a battery can indeed last several weeks on a charge makes it very difficult to run battery drain tests to calculate a more accurate number unless you’ve got about a year to test all the different variables, by which time there will be a new model out with an even better battery life claim.

The good news is that battery technology continues to get better all the time. Plus there are companies designing solar-powered covers for ebook readers and even solar-powered ereaders too.

So how often do you charge your ereader or tablet?

32 Responses to “How Often Do You Charge Your eReader or Tablet?”

  1. If you read the fine print they are assuming a half hour of use a day. I am willing to bet that most people use their ereaders a lot more than that.

  2. Every couple of days for my Palm TX.

    Yes, it’s not exactly an ereader, but that is what I use it for. My wife also uses one as well.

    We’ve got enough Amazon credits to get two Kindle Touches free, but we haven’t pulled that trigger yet.

    Her biggest problem is that ereader.com has stopped offering anything new (which supports the Palm natively). So she’s been reading stuff from B&N on her computer, and whatever I download that she finds interesting.

  3. My Kindle Keyboard (before it was stolen) I used to charge every 2 weeks or so. My Kindle Fire I charge it once a day or every 2 days, depending on how much I use it. Some times I use it plugged in.

  4. Kobo WiFi (not touch) not sure, when it tells me to, I’m guessing 2-3 weeks between charges, reading 30-120 minutes a day.

    iPad2, umm, it’s a paperweight on my nightstand, I charged it a few weeks ago, but only used it once since then for a little nightstand browsing.

    • That sounds like me, Dan. I had to get rid of the iPad 2 because I never used it. On the plus side it doesn’t drain hardly any power whatsoever in sleep mode :). You can leave it sitting for 2 weeks and it will only go down like three percent.

      Ana, do you have Wi-Fi turned on? Mine definitely gets more than 5 hours, even if I’m playing 3D video games the whole time. But I always make sure to turn Wi-Fi off when not in use because that makes a big difference.

  5. My Kindle Fire only lasts for 5 hours of reading. The HTC Flyer does better at 8 hrs of use. The e-ink readers, Kindle Keyboard and Sony PRS-T1, need charging every 2 weeks, reading 2 to 3 hrs per day.

  6. Kobo Touch, charge it about every 3 weeks(light reading, with WiFi usually off).

  7. Kobo (wi-fi) not touch. I charge it every 4 or 5 days when I’m using it a lot. I used to always put it to sleep by pushing the button on top, when I had to put it down for a moment. Now I leave it and the battery doesn’t run down as fast.
    I’m obviously not reading in the same universe as the people advertising the battery life but its not an issue. I switch between e-reader, paperback, and audiobooks constantly.

  8. My rooted Nook Color usually needs to be charged about once a week. I use it mostly to check email and read news. Even after a year of use and having been rooted I think the batter lasts for about eight hours of use. If I find myself playing games on it, battery life suffers and I may have to charge it every three days or so.

  9. I charge my Sony PRS-950SC about every four to six weeks and use it 1 to 2 hours per day and occassional wifi. Using Wifi burns up the battery pretty quickly if you are doing a lot web page accesses. I also found that using the sleep mode instead of turning the e-reader on and off saves a lot of battery power as well.

  10. I turn my 3 ereaders off completely when I know that they won’t be used, otherwise in sleep mode they hold up only for a few days. It may take a minute for any of them to come up to reading specs, yet this is a small sacrifice when one is pretty much guaranteed that they will work then.
    The reason I have 3 readers is simple.
    The original purchase is my Literati which has stopped working and the company had no interest in helping me out even that it was still waranteed. So I took it apart (what could I lose?) I gave a little pretzel like twist and Voila… it’s working again. It happened once more and again a twist corrected it’s bad behavior.
    The second ereader is an original Nook 3G which I seldom use because it requires external light to work.
    The 3rd addition is a Nook Color which is great like the Literati when reading in bed. With these two units I can read in total darkness without bothering my wife.

  11. My Kindle usually last better than a week unless I am really using it on a daily basis. My Cruz tablet that needs to be charged pretty much every other day when using it often. My HPTouchpad which I use often and usually for long periods of time I need to charge it pretty much on a daily basis. You are really pusing 3-4 hrs of use.. Leaving the WIFI on will naturally drain the battery faster than leaving it off. Fine for reading files already on the device but not if your browsing naturally.

  12. I have been charging my Nook Tablet usually every other day. I read about 2 hours/day and I believe it is the apps and web browsing that runs down the battery. I usually charge when I reach 40-50% and I am (hopefully) assuming that you do not need to run the battery all the way down before re-charging like the old time batteries. What is the expected life of a Nook Tablet battery…anyone out there know??

  13. The real concern should be how long will the reader/tablet continue to function, adequately, as the batteries loose the ability to hold a charge over time and faster with more recharging. The LED screens are more problematic than e-ink as they need to be recharged more often. Most devices have sealed batteries and when the batteries deteriorate badly or die, the mobility of the device, away from the power cord, is gone. Of course, most of these devices will be out of date in a short time, so having them die is just an easy justification to buy something new.

  14. I have two Kindles. The 4 (the 79$ one) and the 3 (keyboard).
    I use them both. I thing it’s safe to say that when I had only one device I charged it every two weeks or so, and now I think about once a month, which is great.

  15. Our Sony PRS 600 and Kobo wifi readers don’t get used that much any more since we got the apps for them on our smartphones, and I got a Motorola Xoom tablet. I use it for several (at least 3) hours per day and I have to charge it about every week or so. All of these gadgets are usually turned right off when not being used, except for the phones, which are only turned off at night.

    Battery life hasn’t been a problem so far, but I have noticed that even when turned right off, the Sony seems to discharge so much that after a couple of weeks of inaction, it won’t come on without being charged from the computer for a few hours, which is a bit of a pain.

  16. I have a kindle keyboard 3G, and when I’m reading for 3-4 hours a day (and sometimes a bit more) i have to recharge it about once a fortnight.

  17. I (mostly) agree with Vincent. Batteries will fail to hold a charge long before the rest of the electronics give out. Saying that some better device will come along by the time the battery craps out is a cop-out. I don’t need to upgrade as long as the original device still meets my need, and replacing a battery is more economical than spending hundreds of dollars on a new device. That’s why the only tablet I would seriously consider is the 10″ Toshiba Thrive. I would also Might consider a product where the manufacturer provides a mail-in battery replacement service, but so far I have not seen any.

    Before anyone asks, my cell phone is 10 years old, still works fine and serves my needs, but I’m on my 4th battery.

  18. My Nook Simple Touch, on the first run lasted only a week (I used a lot of wifi during my rooting attempts). After that, on the second charge, with wifi disabled, it lasted almost a month (I read two different books on a single charge). Now it is on its third charge, but even if it continues to last only a month, it surely is an excellent performance.

  19. my sony prs t1 -used about 1,5 hrs x day, wifi off- have never been “really” charged since xmas, but usually, when I connect it to pc (to load books or for 2 fw update) i leave it connected for about 30 min, and this happened about 5 to 6 times since xmas. I’m very happy with this

  20. I have a Nook Simple Touch. I am having a bit of a battery “indicated charge” issue, where it keeps swinging wildly from say 80% down to 40% and then if I check if 2 minutes later it claims 80% again. That said, I am trying to pin down how often I really need to charge it. So far the longest I have gone on a full charge till 0% where it refused to power on was basically 3 weeks of heavy use (greater than 2hrs per day). However, most of the power loss seems to be during sleep. If I don’t use it in any given day it seems to use about 2% of the battery life or a little less. If I use it 1-2hrs in a day I get maybe 3% battery use or a little more.

    So with that experience I’d say if you NEVER used it, you might get 2 full months of life out of it (maybe not even then unless you were actually powering it off for part of that time). With light use I’d say about 1 month of actual battery life. With moderate to heavy use I’d say roughly 3 weeks, with very heavy use (3 or 4hrs of reading a day or more) I’d say maybe 2 weeks of battery life, maybe less if you are reading hours and hours a day.

    Font size will change this a bit, use bigger fonts and you will be paging a lot more, which might cut down battery life by 10-30% compared to a similarly fast reader who uses a really small font size.

    Frankly I am happy enough with the battery life. It is roughly 40-45hrs of reading battery life, compared to my iPad2, which on minimum screen brightness MIGHT manage 15hrs, but that is being very generous. If I were doing really heavy reading on the nook ST, it might go more like 40-60hrs just because it wouldn’t spend as much time sleeping before it runs through the battery from reading.

    Personally anything that can handle 2 weeks or more of battery life with at least 2hrs of day of reading is more than sufficient for me.

    PS my first charge also only lasted 1 week, my second charge 3 days because of some wierd sleeping battery drain issue which has since gone away and my 3rd charge was 3 weeks of heavy use, my current charge has lasted 1 1/2wks to about 75% battery life (which may not be 100% accurate, as I mentioned my wierd battery life indicator results, last time I got to about 50% battery life and it would occasionally randomly power off, but then left me power it right back up, which lasted about 5 days of reading before the battery was completely exhausted).

  21. I have a pandigital super nova dxl and it says the battery will last six hrs. sometimes it doesnt even last that long!

  22. I agree with Jim. I can’t see trashing a device because the sealed battery goes dead. However, the option is to package and ship the device to a repair center and pay someone around $60 to unseal it and replace the battery.

    I bought a Pocketbook 602 because of the user-replaceable battery. The back cover slides off and you replace your battery in a couple of minutes. It’s a $15 1530mAh battery available by mail from Pocketbook.

    I think the Toshiba Thrive and Notion Ink Adam tablets have user-replaceable batteries; also an old e-reader called the Ectaco (4 AAAs?). Those are the only ones I know of that help the consumer with user-replaceable batteries.

  23. For battery service life and replacement, I don’t know what the running rate on any of the tablet manufacturers is with “non-user replaceable batteries”, but based on laptop “non-user replaceable batteries” I’d suspect it would be in the $80-130 range to have it replaced. Which is expensive, but cheaper than a whole new tablet (I am thinking in terms of what I think Apple charges to replace an iPad2 battery).

    As for expected service life, they type of LiPoly batteries used in most tablets and ereaders are good for approximately 500 charges and/or 7 years, which ever comes first. Expected capacity loss on the LiPoly chemistry that these batteries use should see you retain roughly 75-85% of the “factory new” battery capacity by the end of that time period. After the roughly 400-500 charges/5-7 year mark capacity is going to start diminishing much faster. By the time you get to 1,000 charges or 10-12 years odds are good the battery capacity is going to be down around 20-30% of factory new capacity.

    As for the charge number, that is from 0% to 100% charge. It is based on total amount of current used from the battery in effect. So it doesn’t matter if you charge it 10 times a day, but from 90% to 100% each time, that is the same effect as charging it from 0% to 100% once. So for example the iPad2 battery is 25w/hr. That means its “service life” of roughly 400-500 charges is about 10,000-12,500w/hr of current pushed through it.

    So in effect if you use your device heavily and need to do a full recharge every single day from pretty much exhausted, you might get a year to a year and a half of battery life before you start noticing significant reductiong in charged battery capacity. If you use it really lightly and don’t charge often, you might see 4-6 years before you start noticing a big reduction in battery capacity.

    For low use scenario, odds are good that the electronics in your tablet/reader are going to start dying before the battery is really toast. Most capacitors in these devices are not likely to be really long life ones. I’d expect 4 years minimum in any of them unless it is a factory defect, but after that depending on the quality of components you may see failure rates anywhere from 2-3% per year up to 10-20% per year because of a cap (or other part) failure.

    I have seen computers, hard drives, etc that have lasted well over 12 years before they were junked (and still working when they were junked). I have also seen stuff die after just 3-4 years because a cap or another piece died (that didn’t appear to be related to a factory defect, with factory defects I’ve seen computers and components arrive DOA, some that died a month later, some in the first year, but generally if something lasts through the first year, it’ll likely last at least 4-5 years unless abused).

    So all that said, for your ereaders (eink based), likely you’ll get 4-5 years or more of life out of it before component failures start becoming likely and probably still have awesome battery life. Tablets, well if they are heavily used, you might only see a year or maybe 2 of life, if moderately used 3-5 years of life.

    PS I also have a cell phone that is now 7 years old that is on its 3rd battery…though I am just about to give it up for a smart phone.

  24. For tablets at least, the issue with user replaceable batteries is that it reduces chasis strength as the battery cover cannot be an intergral part of the chasis (for rigidity at any rate) and it also adds bulk and weight. All of those are things most tablet manufacturers attempt to avoid (it IS part of the reason why the thrive is both so thick and so heavy). Unless you burn through use in a day, the battery is likely to last all day, meaning you don’t have to replace the battery part way through even a busy day before you can get to a wall charger. For having the device long enough to need a replacement from a dying battery, well the costs on non-user replaceable batteries generally isn’t all that high.

  25. Kindle Fire every day or two. Will turn off the wifi when I don’t need it, as suggested by several people. Use Fire several hours a day, about half of that on wifi. Sony PRS-350, now used less, but charge is generally every two to three weeks when I am reading daily.

  26. Matt, I would hardly say that the Toshiba Thrive is thick and heavy. It’s only an eighth of an inch thicker than a Nook Tablet, and for that extra thickness you get way more connectivity options. As for weight, It’s only 4 ounces heavier than an iPad2, and a whisker lighter than the Acer Iconia A500.

  27. Having an iPad 2 and a coworker who has a Thrive, the Thrive feels rather heavy in the hand and seems extremely thick. I personally would not consider the Nook Tablet thin.

  28. Patricia Greenawalt Reply February 14, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I keep my charging cord by my chair and charge while I am reading or using audio, when alone sometimes and use the car charger when in the car because I use audio while driving. I think using audio drains battery. I read two to three hours a day as I am retired and not as active as I used to be although I put it on the treadmill (made a holder sometimes (when not watching TV). I think I charge a lot more than others seem to with the K3.

  29. I charge my Pocketbook iq 701 about every 4 to 5 days.
    Uses more juice with wifi turned on.
    But I’ve also found that I can unplug the battery and use the charger cable to run it without the battery. I know this is an outdated tablet, but it does all I want to do.
    I’ve even dropped it accidently from the kitchen counter top onto the hardwood floor and it still works……….

  30. My kindle keyboard wifi needs a charge every 2 weeks or so with usage about an hour a day, every 3 weeks if I keep wifi off.

  31. Bryan: A Palm TX is indeed an e-reader :-) You’re not alone; I use one still, same purpose, to read when I do hot baths for muscle soreness, because I don’t want to risk my tablet, which acts as a reader as well. And I used it as one until I decided on a tablet. Which is, interestingly, the Toshiba 10″ (more on that coming). My suggestion for pdb files – download calibre, and do batch conversions, or use an online converter website to do the same.
    Now, about the Thrive: I use mine daily. Wi-Fi mostly of, turned on when I need it, I can read, play some games, some music, etc., and have it go two days, easy. And it’s not that heavy. I’m pretty small – under 5’5, under 120 lbs – and I have no problem palming it, lifting with one hand, carrying it about. It’s only 5 oz heavier than the Samsung 10″, which was the lightest tablet out there when the thrive came out. For that, I got all the connectivity (Samsung 10 has NONE), and the real selling point, the replaceable battery. I’ve had it going on a year, original battery, charging every couple days on average, showing no degradation yet. I was at 100% this morning, now 15 hrs later I’ve played several games, read about 100 pages (epub, Aldiko, night mode), done some surfing… and typed this message. I’m at 60%.