Phones, laptops, and other modern devices now feature rechargeable batteries with mAh ratings. While many factors contribute to any battery’s performance, those with higher mAh generally last longer. This does not mean a battery with a lower rating is bad; it is primarily a question of appropriate usage.
The mAh rating of a battery simply means how much electrical charge it can store. As a result, a 2,000 mAh battery will power a device twice as long as a 1,000 mAh battery.
Nevertheless, before arriving at this conclusion, you must consider your device’s ideal power input to function.
This guide explains what mAh means and how it influences battery performance. You will also learn about the factors affecting this performance and essential maintenance tips for batteries.
What Does mAh (Milliampere Hours) Mean?
One milliampere per hour represents the capacity required to allow one milliampere of electric current to flow for one hour. When a battery is at 100%, it has a capacity reservoir.
The rate at which such a battery discharges depends on the demand of the device it is servicing. If all the battery does is supply a small current, it will last for a long time before a full drain (although you should always avoid a full discharge).
On the other hand, when the energy demand on the battery is heavy, such a battery will drain very fast.
How Does mAh Affect Battery Life?
To clearly understand the relationship between mAh and the battery life of any device, you have to divide the battery’s capacity by the current required to power the device (otherwise known as the output).
Here is an example of a cell phone with two batteries with different capacities: 1,000 and 2,000 mAh, respectively. Let’s assume your phone requires a current or an output of 200 mA (milliamperes) to function. How does this affect how long your phone lasts after a full charge:
The first battery (1,000 mAh) will effectively power your phone for 5 hours. This is because 1,000 mAh divided by 200 mA is 5 hours of service.
The second battery (2,000 mAh) will effectively power your phone for only 10 hours. In other words, 2,000 mAh divided by 200 mA is 10 hours of service.
Therefore, it is safe to say the higher the mAh, the longer the battery and phone last.
Does a Higher mAh Battery Charge Faster?
Higher mAh does not mean your battery will charge faster, especially if your device does not support fast charging. What determines the charging speed of a battery is how much current intake (measured in Watts or Amps) it can allow by default.
This means if you force a fast charger on your battery, all you have successfully done is try to force more load on the battery. Unfortunately, this will increase the input but may not necessarily charge the battery faster.
Ideally, excessive use of fast chargers is also a bad practice for a battery’s lifespan. They are best used seldom.
Other Factors That Affect How Long a Battery Last
Sometimes, a battery with a higher mAh may last a similar duration of time as one with a lower mAh. For example, a 5,000 mAh battery will drain faster when playing heavy games than a 3,000 mAh battery with minimal use.
Batteries naturally deteriorate regardless of use. How fast they degrade, however, still depends on usage. When a battery completes its cycle count, it becomes very weak at holding a charge.
In most cases, such batteries last years and should be replaced.
Temperature is another factor that can easily damage a battery. The optimal temperature for lithium-ion batteries is between -20°C and 60°C.
When you store a battery in a location with very low or high temperatures, the internal chemistry of the battery is affected. Such a battery may not last long if they are not stored appropriately.
How to Maintain a Battery
Tips for maintaining a battery are pretty much the same for every type. Here are some important ones you should note:
1. Avoid complete drains
A complete drain occurs when your battery goes from being fully (100%) charged to having no charge (0%). If this happens, it means the battery has lost one cycle count.
Always plug in your phone once it approaches the 30% or 40% mark to avoid this and lengthen how long it takes for a cycle count. For car owners (with no percentage display for their battery), idle charging once every two weeks should do the trick.
2. Avoid overcharging
As much as it makes sense not to give room for a complete drain, it is not a license to overcharge your battery. Once a battery is fully charged, you must unplug it immediately.
Leaving it plugged at 100% and engaging the phone is not a good practice as it shortens its lifespan. Phone manufacturers recommend unplugging at anywhere between 80% to 90%.
3. Engage in slow charging more
Fast charging options or chargers are ideal for occasional use, especially when you’re not in a hurry. Unfortunately, most phone users turn to this option all the time.
Fast charging is similar to putting your battery on steroids. At some point, side effects will ensue. To avoid damaging or drastically reducing the lifespan of your battery, do more slow charging.
4. Turn off power-sucking features
It is very important to turn off features like WiFi or Bluetooth when they are not in use. These features drain batteries when they scan for networks or devices nearby.
Hence, you should only activate these features when you need them and switch them off once you are done.
How much mAh is A good battery for a power bank?
A power bank with mAh between 3,000 to 5,000 can help you or support routine use on devices like smartphones and laptops.
Heavy users, however, should opt for a slightly higher battery capacity like 7,000 to 10,000 mAh.
How much mAh battery is best for mobile?
Mobile phones with 3,000 mAh and above usually have great charge retention.
They should have no problem seeing you through your daily routines in their early days.
How long does a 5,000 mAh battery last?
A fully charged or close to a full charge 5,000 mAh battery should last about a day and a half with moderate use.
It should still last up to a day or close under heavy use.
The capacity of a battery is measured in mAh, or milliampere hours. It denotes the constant current the battery can provide for one hour before depletion.
This means a battery with higher mAh will likely outlast the ones with a smaller capacity if exposed to the same usage and condition. Other factors that can affect the lifespan of a battery include age and overcharging.
I hope you found this guide helpful. To better understand the relationship between the lifespan of a battery and its cycle, check out my guide on the meaning of battery cycle count and how to identify it.
Thanks for reading.