How often should you replace your laptop?

Laptops have only become more and more popular in recent years. And with their increased popularity, there have been an abundance of new models being released. Not only this, but laptops are evolving at a fast rate, with more powerful laptops being released each year.

This begs the question; just how often should you replace your laptop? How long do you have before your current laptop is obsolete, and you’d be better off opting for a new one? Well, that’s what I’m going to try and answer today so you know just how long the lifespan of your laptop is.

How often should you replace your laptop?

The correct answer is that for many people, the 4-5 year rule seems to be the sweet spot in terms of using your laptop. After 5 years, it’s often better to upgrade to a laptop with better specifications that’s going to be more powerful than your current laptop.

However, if you have opted for a Macbook or another premium laptop like an Ultrabook, then it could last quite a bit longer than this without you needing to upgrade. It really depends on how much you’ve spent on your laptop, and the components it has when you buy it.

The reality is that even after 4 years, you might not even want to replace your laptop. If everything is still running smoothly, then there may be no need for you to upgrade to a newer machine, even though it may be appealing.

There are some telltale signs that you can look for in your laptop which will indicate that it might be time for you to purchase a new model. They’re not relevant to all devices, but they’re definitely worth considering.

How to know when it’s time to upgrade – Tell tale signs


Aside from just the amount of time you’ve had your laptop, there are other things we need to think about too. A gaming laptop that’s been used all day every day may only last for two years before needing replacements, whereas something that gets used occasionally could last much longer.

So, what you’re actually doing on your laptop is going to be a major factor in whether you need to switch up. Here are some of the ways that you can recognize it’s time for you to upgrade to a new device.

Your performance goes downhill

The main sign that it might be time that you need to upgrade is if the performance on your device starts to slow down.

However, this can also just be due to having too much installed & saved on your laptop too, so make sure that you clear your laptop out before coming to this conclusion.

Keeping your laptop updated is another way that you can do this. Over time, every operating system will require updates, as problems and bugs need fixing. And if you don’t update your laptop, it’ll start to perform below its capabilities. So, update it first to see if this helps too.

It takes ages to load up


Another key sign that it might be time for you to move on is when your laptop takes ages to start. If it’s taking a whole lot longer to start than when you first bought it, and you’ve updated it and cleared its storage space, then it’s probably time for you to upgrade to a new laptop.

This is pretty typical with older laptops, and even opening up a web browser can become a chore.

Your laptop shutdowns randomly

There’s not much out there more frustrating than your laptop randomly shutting down on you. This is often because the machine has overheated, which is a common occurrence with older laptops and desktop computers.

This could just be a problem with the battery power, as a laptop battery will naturally degrade over the time that you’re using it. It’s when the laptop randomly turns off even when you have full battery that you need to start worrying.

Incompatibility with new software


Another signal that your laptop might be on its last legs is if it’s not working with new software. Some newer softwares won’t run well on older models of laptops, so you will need a new one of you want to run newer softwares.

As software becomes more and more complex, so do the system requirements of our devices to run them.

Display quality

The final thing that I’d look for when you’re thinking whether you need a new laptop is the quality of your screen. If your laptop is starting to have dead pixels in the display, or it begins to flicker, then it might be time for you to upgrade.

A display is typically one of the most expensive parts of a laptop to replace, especially if you have a high resolution screen.

5 year rule

After three years, you’ll want to see how much your laptop has declined in usability, and then again in 5 years. Some think that there are easy signs that you should get a new laptop.

For example, many people think that the blue screen of death means you should get a new laptop, but that isn’t always the case. But this isn’t always a good indicator, as it can usually be fixed. Taking your laptop to a specialist every 5 years isn’t a bad idea.

Do I really need a new laptop?


Of course, it’s not always easy to know whether you need to get a whole new laptop. Although there are generally telltale signs, a laptop can easily go 5 years without having any problems.

If you’re still not sure whether you really need a new laptop, then you may just want to opt to upgrade it instead. Not all laptops have the ability to be upgraded – for example Macbooks don’t – but many Windows laptops do.

So, you could just consider adding some RAM to your laptop and seeing if this makes a difference. And if you need more storage space, then you can just go ahead and get an external hard drive to go with your laptop too.

The general rule of thumb is that if a laptop is 5 years or older, then you may see better results getting a completely new laptop than just upgrading your old one. However, with a Macbook you should be able to get a longer period of use out of it than this.

Why do Macs last longer?


Generally, on average a Macbook will last a bit longer than a Windows laptop – it’s not too much to ask a Mac to last 7 or 8 years. This is typically because they’re made to a higher build quality than many cheaper Windows laptops.

The operating system that your laptop runs on is definitely a factor here as well. The Mac operating system just tends to hold up a little better than a Windows laptop.

This doesn’t mean to say that no Windows laptop will last longer than 5 years though. Some more premium models will last longer than cheaper models – for example, you can expect a longer life out of a Dell XPS laptop in comparison to say, a standard Acer laptop.

So, whilst five years is the average amount of time to wait before it is time to buy a new laptop, it really depends on performance and the model you already have.


In conclusion, it’s definitely a good idea to think about upgrading your laptop every 4 or 5 years. You shouldn’t need to think about buying a new machine for a good while after your original purchase.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to upgrade, and some people will trade their laptops in earlier than they have to – this is why there’s a ton of refurbished models available, which make a great laptop choice for students.

Macbooks do tend to have a longer shelf life than most Windows laptops out there, but Thinkpads and other models can last for a while too. Old laptops aren’t necessarily bad. So, make sure that you need to upgrade before you do so, because there may be no need.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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