More and more people are starting to ask themselves how often should you replace your laptop. With technology advancing so quickly, you don’t want to be left behind, with a sub-par quality laptop.
But you shouldn’t hurry to get a new one either, as long as the old one is still working flawlessly. So… how often to replace your laptop?
The biggest signs that you should consider getting a new laptop include it becoming sluggish and unresponsive, as well as unable to run updated apps, programs and games that you want to use.
Laptops usually have a life span of around 5 years, but most of them can be used well beyond that point. However, unless you bought a top notch laptop initially, a 5yo one will be pretty much obsolete and most likely unable to run the latest software and especially games.
Of course, a laptop can remain relevant for a lot less time if you get a really cheap one that offers a poor performance from the get-go. Also, there are various accidents that can happen and force you to replace your laptop.
How often should you replace your laptop?
Although a laptop’s average life is around 5 years, we recommend replacing your laptop every 3-4 years in most cases. This allows you to always use a laptop that offers the latest advancements at the best possible price.
If you only use your laptop for very basic stuff (like browsing the internet or streaming movies, for example), then you will be able to get more years of operation from your laptop as long as you care for it properly.
Laptops that are used mostly at home, will have a longer lifespan than others and don’t have to be replaced as often.
Also, laptops that are used for gaming or more intensive tasks like video editing will usually have a shorter shelf life because new programs will require more resources – usually more than the laptop can offer.
But overall, as an average, we can safely say that you a safe estimate to our question is 4 years – this is how much you will have to wait before deciding to replace your current laptop.
Major signs you might need a new laptop
The best way for you to decide whether it’s time to change your laptop is to look for the various signs listed below: the more you have, the higher the chances that your laptop is becoming obsolete and needs to be replaced by a new and better model.
This is one of the main signs that your laptop is getting old. Laggy, stuttering laptops are really annoying and they can turn your day into a nightmare.
While there are other potential causes for this – especially if they occur suddenly, like a virus or a newly installed program that’s eating your laptop’s RAM, in most cases it’s just a sign of old age.
So if you notice that your laptop is starting to lag constantly – and the decline in performance is slow and steady, it means that it’s no longer able to keep up with the demands of new programs, in terms of CPU and RAM.
Tip: Before replacing your laptop, consider upgrading the RAM and CPU. This could be a cost-effective way to improve performance.
Most laptops nowadays offer easy upgrade options for RAM (additional slots for plugging it in), so that could be done easily in most cases.
If your operating system is starting to show you all signs of trouble (like the Blue Screen of Death if you’re using Windows), and/or new updates are no longer possible because your computer can’t handle them because it’s too old, it might be time to get a new laptop.
Tip: If you are not 100% sure that the OS problems are related to your computer’s age, reinstalling it will usually fix the problems. But if they persist after a fresh install, it might be time to replace your laptop!
Charging / battery issues
This is one of the main issues of old laptops: their batteries no longer last as much as they did before. You can have your laptop battery drain in 30 minutes after a full charge and that’s a sign of an aging laptop.
Tip: If the battery is your only problem and everything works fine, you can look to change your battery instead.
Not enough storage space
Those 64 or 128 GB of storage might’ve seemed enough a few years ago, but in today’s world, even phones offer more. Check out our hard drive storage capacity chart to see how much storage you could get.
But the bottom line is that little storage available on your device could really mean trouble. Yes, you might be able to install additional storage or purchase an external drive, but these are temporary solutions and you should consider upgrading sooner rather than later.
This is another sign of an aging laptop. So is a fan that is running all the time (if there are no other causes for it to do so).
When the laptop gets old, it starts to develop these symptoms. Overheating is very dangerous for a laptop and it will reduce its lifespan even more. So unless there is something you can do about it (maybe you just have a lot of dust accumulated inside), you should really consider getting a new one.
Problems with the display
Over the years, our laptops will take a bit of a beating – voluntary or not. The screen is one of the first things that can break down and this “breaking down” can vary greatly from a not-too-annoying dead pixel to a flickering screen or one that simply doesn’t work.
While you can change the display in most cases, don’t expect to get a lot more running time from your laptop if you do. So instead, seriously consider that it might be time for a new one.
Should you replace your laptop or upgrade the one you have?
With modern laptops, some upgrades and repairs are really easy to do, while others are not. For example, adding extra RAM and additional storage could be extremely simple if the laptop has empty slots from the factory (many do).
Other things are more expensive and difficult to change. Your laptop’s CPU, for example, is one. Plus, you can have compatibility issues here depending on the motherboard you have installed.
In some cases, even upgrades won’t give you a massive boost. For example, if you have 4GB of RAM and add 4GB more, you’re still not getting a huge upgrade as 16GB of RAM is becoming the norm nowadays.
An older model will limit the type and amount of upgrades you can perform.
So the answer to the question “Should you upgrade or buy a new one” really depends on two major things:
- Is a new laptop (a lot) more expensive than upgrading?
- Will the upgrade really fix the problem(s) that you’re having with the current model?
If both answers are “NO” then it’s definitely better to get a new laptop. Even one “No” might be enough to warrant getting a new one.
In many cases, depending on the age and condition of your current laptop, even the very cheap models available online might still be much better.
What to look for when you replace your laptop?
There are various things to consider, depending on what you need your laptop for. A laptop for gaming will need more than a laptop for general use. Know your needs and based on that, make sure that you get a big improvement over your current model.
These are the most important things to look at when replacing your laptop:
- It needs to have a much better processor (compare models online and always try to get one of a current generation – or as recent as possible)
- It needs to have more RAM (my rule is for the new laptop to have at least double the RAM of the previous model)
- If you plan to play games or perform tasks that need one, make sure that your model has a solid, current generation GPU. Otherwise, this one is not as important
- Look at storage space (make sure it offers SSD storage – the more, the better)
- Check ports available (if you plan to use modern peripherals, you need USB Type-C ports, for example)
- Make sure it’s the right size for you
- Double check that it meets all your demands (if you plan to use Windows programs mostly, don’t get a Chromebook or MacBook, for example).
It’s very important to understand that laptops do have a limited lifespan and they will have to be changed sooner than later. Hopefully the article I wrote today helps you understand when it’s the right time to do so.
You shouldn’t fall in the trap of upgrading too often – it rarely makes sense to get a new laptop every year or every 2 years, but if using the one you have is becoming too stressful because of its low performance, it might be the time for a new one.