For a small unit like a drill: Is it better to charge after any use or wait until the lithium battery is exhausted ?

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    $\begingroup$ The Battery University website has fantastic in-depth info on the care and feeding of lithium-ion batteries. Not an answer, but it’s such a great resource...figured I’d toss it out there. $\endgroup$
    – CableStay
    Jun 10 '19 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Specifically, batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/… - it basically says avoid deep discharge and recharge often. So you'd recharge after every use. But also note that lithium cells don't store well at high state of charge - ideally (for a cell life perspective) you'd charge to slightly above half charge, use it to slightly below half charge, then recharge to half charge and store until you need it again. $\endgroup$
    – achrn
    Jun 19 '19 at 14:20

After a materials study of lithium ion batteries it was discovered that maximum lifespan was obtained by not discharging beyond 82% recharging up to 12% of maximum power capacity. Exceeding these levels proved that deposition of lithium metal crystals became detrimental to conductance capacity over time and even encouraged leaching of mineral from the solution without electronic current.

After 300 cycles of 90%> discharge to 100% charge the lifespans were critically affected but controlled charge inside 18% of max and min capacity extended life by as much as 72%.

From this they concluded that full discharge and complete recharge was detrimental to life expectancy of lithium ion batteries in regular use.

Research white papers from Samsung research I've read agreed this research too. So to answer your question, don't let potential energy drop below 12% and, try not to maintain charge above 82% capacity.


It depends on the battery. You can discharge some batteries until 0-10 % and battery life won't be reduced. Examples: NCA (Nickel-cobalt-aluminum) and LTA (Lithium titanate oxide) lithium-ion batteries. The final state of charge (SOC) is 0-10 % and the depth of discharge (DOD) is 100-90 %.

There are other batteries in which is better to charge them after any use because their life gets shortened when the DOD it too high.

Check this papers: El-Sayed recommends a 20 % DOD:

El-Sayed, M. A. H. “Lithium-ion energy storage battery in PV-smart building application”, Renewable Energy and Power Quality Journal, no. 19, April 2019.

Abdon, A., Zhang, X., Parra, D., Patel, M. K., Bauer, C., Worlitschek, J. “Techno-economic and environmental assessment of stationary electricity for different time scales”, ELSEVIER Energy, vol. 139, pp. 1173-1187, November 2017.

  • $\begingroup$ This would be a much better answer if it actually answered the question rather than simply giving references. Specifically, for common lithium ion batteries, should one charge them frequently or only when needed? $\endgroup$ Jun 11 '19 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ When I bought my iPad I was recommended to discharge it completely and then charge it again. $\endgroup$
    – user20096
    Jun 11 '19 at 3:32

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