When To Replace Or Buy A New Laptop? 6 Tell-Tale Signs

Ty Arthur Updated on June 1, 2020
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All is well in the world when you first pull that shiny new laptop out of the box, but over time the experience always starts to degrade. At some point, you will start wondering: “how often should I replace my laptop?”

From reduced performance to low battery power and poor screen quality, a laptop never seems to last as long as you need.

Unlike a desktop PC where lifespan can be significantly increased by the tech savvy through regular upgrades, the shelf life on a laptop is limited by design. That’s just simply the price you pay for portability.

how often should you replace your laptop?

In general, you can expect to keep a laptop functioning for three years on average with budget models. More durable, higher end models can last up to five years at the upper end.

In most cases, that’s a pretty hard cap. By the time you hit a full five years, the pace of technology will ensure you aren’t running the latest apps or version of Windows at decent speeds anymore.

How Long Do Laptops Last? [Short Answer]

In general, you can expect to keep a laptop functioning for three years on average with budget models. More durable, higher-end models can last up to five years at the upper end.
In most cases, that’s a pretty hard cap. By the time you hit a full five years, the pace of technology will ensure you aren’t running the latest apps or version of Windows at decent speeds anymore.

Wondering when to get a new laptop? We can help you decipher the telltale signs of a dying old laptop and pinpoint exactly when it’s time to buy a replacement.

when to get a new laptop?

Before you hit the point where a laptop won’t boot up at all anymore, there are several very clear signs that your machine is entering a death spiral:

  1. Frequent lag, stutters, and slow downs when there didn’t used to be any issues
  2. The operating system takes much longer to boot up than it used to
  3. File transfers are much slower than when the laptop was new
  4. Long pauses when switching between tabs or applications.
  5. Frequently getting the blue screen of death crash when running programs that used to operate with ease
  6. Dead pixels, periods of black screen for no reason, or bright white flickers on the display

There is one sure fire way how to know when you need a new laptop — when you don’t meet the minimum system requirements for the next iteration of Windows. Even if your laptop has survived for years, at that point it’s officially time for a change.

So now for the big question:

should I upgrade my PC or get a new one?

For laptops, the main components to upgrade will be the RAM and the SSD, as you don’t have much opportunity to swap out the CPU or motherboard.

In most cases, the cost to efficiency ratio is skewed towards simply buying a full replacement with a laptop.

Note that a laptop’s battery also won’t typically last as long as the other components. By the end of two years, the battery probably won’t hold the same amount of charge as it did when the machine was fresh out of the box.

Replacing the battery can give you the boost you need (and save you a lot of money) if your main problem is that you can’t use the laptop away from a wall outlet anymore.

While there are a handful of ways to increase the life or your laptop — from RAM upgrades to performing a clean install of Windows — these are stop-gap measures. Eventually the time always comes where a replacement is required.

So exactly when should I get a new laptop?

When you notice a regular combination of the issues mentioned above — to the point that the speed reductions get in the way of regular usage — it’s officially time to start looking for a new machine.

Should I wait to buy a laptop? Honestly, no.

While no one wants to drop a few hundred or even thousand dollars on a new machine, it’s much better to budget for a replacement before your current unit dies completely.

To ensure no downtime where you are waiting on a laptop to be shipped to you, it’s a good idea to be proactive when buying a new machine.

Make sure to regularly backup your data to the cloud or to a USB storage device so you don’t lose everything when the laptop eventually dies!

What To Look For In A New Laptop?

We’ve actually got you covered already with an in-depth guide on how to buy a new laptop and quick tips on specific features to look for when shopping.

There is one major element to keep in mind when upgrading right now, however.

Most new laptops entirely skip the optical drive in order to fit other components into a slimmer profile. If you still use install discs, make sure to factor it in

While our buying guide covers the specs, price, and features to look out for, you are probably still wondering:

when is the best time to buy a new laptop?

The answer is when there’s a killer sale at Amazon of course, but necessity may prevent that from being an option. That’s especially true if your laptop is for business purposes and it has stopped working entirely.

Note that you will often see manufacturers drop the price on flagship laptop models after a year. If you have the ability to wait, you may get the model you want at a better price.

Of course, by the time the price on that unit goes down, better machines will be available with higher end specs for the same amount. Buying early and getting the specific features you need is usually the best way to go.

Hopefully that’s full answered the question of when and how often you should replace your laptop!

Have any other questions for us about the lifespan of your machine or need help picking a new one? Sound off in the comments below and we’ll get you an answer!

Ty Arthur
Article by:
Ty Arthur
After more than a decade of searching for the perfect gaming rig, Ty knows a thing or two about picking the right hardware. He'd like to share that knowledge with all of you through his work at NetbookNews.com, whether you need a business machine, college laptop, or killer gaming computer.

2 thoughts on “When To Replace Or Buy A New Laptop? 6 Tell-Tale Signs”

  1. Most new laptops entirely skip the optical drive in order to fit other components into a slimmer profile. If you still use install discs, make sure to factor in the…. I think you are missing the end of the sentence here lol

    Reply
    • Thanks! What a great write up in a time of need! I never wondered why my laptop would die, and I had to go buy another. I’ll have to budget this thing somehow, and plan for an expense in upcoming 3-5 years.

      TLDR;
      I’ve already passed great miles to replace my laptop. My 10+ year old Toshiba laptop died with dead screen now hooked up to TV for MAME,

      15+ year Sony Vio is sooooo slow but still running (but also had BSOD and changed HDD once. $2500 device), –> don’t know what to do with this!

      20+ year Daewoo is torn into pieces as a project, (picture frame)

      HP Jornada 720 is … still up and running but for what???

      Thinkpad T410 LCD cracked, another T410 keyboard is bonkers,

      Thinkpad X230 was so slow with 4G ram and upgraded to 8G+250G Samsung SSD now flies! Take this to business trips.

      Yoga 710 has a Pentium but flies somehow with SSD in it, kid is using for distance learning during Covid shutdown.

      Samsung Chromebook Plus v2 is doing quite well, for kid’s classwork.

      Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series is heavy but working charm, but LCD has bubble in it. Yuk. Screw you Dell! (my office machine)

      HP Envy (2020) is what a machine now! It looks gorgeous and works magic, good job HP! My wife loves it. No more compaq of the past!

      My headache now… desk top with a burned motherboard. still works though!
      (had a Dell SFF desktop that fried on me twice!) Was using for video work during Covid shutdown, and maybe I overused it. But to give up just by editing videos and encoding audio files??? I thought the highend product was good enough to endure the simple toes but it wasn’t good enough. I’m lucky enough to save my files and still running. But time is ticking before it really zaps. I’ll switch to laptop. Time for a new (or a used?) laptop; in for one. <— this was my whole point reflection for this article. but sadly, have no money in my pocket.

      With all the tech I bought, I could have bought myself a new house by now!

      Reply

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