#1 By: Chris Hoffman, September 22nd, 2013 06:40
Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/172680/danger-why-you-shouldnt-buy-cheap-third-party-batteries-for-laptops-or-smartphones/
Official replacement batteries can be expensive. Whether you’re looking at a laptop or smartphone battery, you may be tempted to take the cheap route and buy an aftermarket battery. But this decision could blow up in your face — literally.
#2 By: Steve Kirkham, September 22nd, 2013 07:30
A couple of years ago, I wanted to make sure a retiring cell phone was going to be wiped beyond retrieval. I put it in a 30 ton press and squished it flat.
The lithium ion battery shorted out and caught fire. I threw it in the sink and drenched it. It re-ignited after the water was off. I turned on the water again, and then tossed it into a filled bucket after it was cool enough again.
I checked it again after a couple of days underwater, and it stayed cool on the cement floor. After a couple more days sitting on the cement floor with no warmth or smoke, it landed in the dumpster.
If one of these lights up in your pocket, and you aren't next to a LOT of water, do whatever it takes to get it away immediately, or the burn will only get worse.
#3 By: Steve Kirkham, September 22nd, 2013 07:37
Forgot to mention, At work, I've mandated all new laptop batteries will spend a couple of days and a full charge cycle in a fireproof enviroment (wire rack over cement floor away from flammables). I only buy from the original manufacturer, and even then I test. Battery swaps are infrequent enough that losing a couple of days for each one isn't a big deal.
If the PC has to be used, I make sure it's on a metal baking sheet for a week, so the whole thing can be carried outside, and the user makes sure to touch the battery often. Users don't complain after seeing pics and video.
The baking sheets are also great for using the laptop in bed, since they allow the bottom vents air.
#4 By: Naman Sood, September 22nd, 2013 08:47
Eh, by the time we need to replace batteries, it's usually time to replace the phone/tablet/laptop itself.
EDIT: Once I bought an aftermarket Nokia N900 battery, it turned out to be a 900 mAh one instead of an 1450 mAh one as advertised. I guess that counts, along with the fact it caused the touchscreen to short-circuit and stop working and I had to get another phone.
#5 By: Bob, September 22nd, 2013 11:26
I have bought a few cheap aftermarket batteries, and yeah, the quality wasn't good, though I've had no fires.
#6 By: Mike L, September 22nd, 2013 11:46
You bet. Buy the expensive batteries from big companies who get their batteries from China. The middleman will thank you. You probably can't suggest just one company who hasn't had problems with their batteries at some time. And I didn't read anything that conclusively pointed to a faulty battery causing the fire(s). Batteries hate heat. IMHO, most failures are caused by heat that may have been preventable/avoidable. Just think of all the variables that batteries are subjected to - it's really quite mind boggling. Generally speaking, I'm not convinced.
FWIW, I've been an Amateur Radio enthusiast for many years and believe me, I use a lot of batteries for lots of different things in different environments under different loads, etc. Maybe I'm lucky, but the only negative experience I've had from buying "cheapies" is that some tend to lose their charge faster than others. Just my .02.
#7 By: Albert Kolkin, September 22nd, 2013 13:30
I tend to be skeptical about such articles. The opportunity for disseminating false data about this subject is enormous. This is an area that cries for independent study by reputable labs. Using data that is based upon personal stories is not a valid way to make the logical leap to an overall recommendation. Even Best Buy's experience does not rise to the level of proof. The only advantage from buying from the OEM would be if the OEM, warranty is strong enough that one could get a new device should the battery destroy it and that probably will not happen because they want to sell new devices, not new batteries.
#8 By: Lady Fitzgerald, September 22nd, 2013 14:07
How many were lithium-ion?
#9 By: Tango M, September 22nd, 2013 17:45
I currently use an S3. I have three extra batteries (all of them look like those cheap ebay ones in the article) and one extended battery (4300mAh) which also looks like the same design - just much bigger. I use them in cycle with the OEM battery.
I also have three external battery chargers. This entire setup has cost me ~$25. The price for a second official samsung battery? $50. I never run out of power and even on long trips I have an Anker external for backup.
This phone is made to just drain batteries like no tomorrow. I experience the same or slightly worse battery life with the after market ones than with the OEM battery. I am able to always have a battery in the charger and swap as needed.
If I'd gone with the official hardware I would have spent $250+ on batteries alone.
I've never had a battery catch on fire, overheat or cause other problems. They work perfectly.
I can't support this article throwing out stories without any real proof. As mentioned, the Best Buy reference doesn't prove that all batteries are bad. Manufacturers usually buy from the same (or next door) factories and sell them for a massive markup - why am I expected to pay several times the cost for a battery that is likely near the same quality?
The only issue I've had is with laptop batteries - they die quickly and lose their capacity.
I'd take this article a lot more seriously if it had some actual stats or research to back it up.
#10 By: localhost, September 23rd, 2013 00:45
I wish more people would realize this. That said, not everyone can/wants to upgrade their hardware every couple years.
#11 By: nicarb, September 23rd, 2013 03:31
I bought an Anker battery for my HTC Sensation last November. It was quite cheap (£8.99 at Amazon) but is good quality. I have used it for almost one year now and it still holds very well the charge and charges faster than the original HTC battery.
#12 By: Naman Sood, September 23rd, 2013 05:52
Couple of years? A good stock battery will last you ~4 years (Nokia N900's, Samsung Galaxy S Plus's, iPhone 3G's I can vouch for).
#13 By: Philip Sydell, September 23rd, 2013 11:17
I tried to find a battery for my HP Laptop and couldn't except on the internet from a battery company. The computer isn't new, but manufactures don't support some of their older computers.
#14 By: Lady Fitzgerald, September 23rd, 2013 11:20
HP is notorious for not supporting older products. That and poor customer support is why I won't buy anything HP again.
#15 By: localhost, September 23rd, 2013 14:07
You're totally right. Last time I replaced a battery was for my old Toshiba laptop I gave to my brother. That was at least 4 years old by then.
A couple years is indeed too early. Poor choice of words on my part.
#16 By: Steve Kirkham, September 23rd, 2013 21:12
when I worked the helldesk at Dell, batteries were 'consumables' and the warranty was 1 year for new and 90 days for refurb, regardless of the laptop's warrantu status. some division of Canada's gov't had a 3 year deal, but that department was the only exception in North America.