Linux has always had it rough when it comes to laptops, but the single most annoying problem is battery life. It’s never been great, and often, new users will install Linux only to find battery life gets cut in half. Over the years, solutions have come along that make the battery life problem a little more bearable, but a lot of distributions don’t embrace them. That’s why in this article, we’re going to go over Linux distributions that give you better battery life.
We’ll go over the different use cases for these operating systems, and how using them could save your laptops battery life.
1. Ubuntu Mate
A great reason to consider Ubuntu Mate for your Linux laptop is the fact that the maintainer of the distribution enables battery saving tools by default. Having this turned on right away makes it perfect to use, especially when you consider that not every Linux user may know these tools exist, or how to enable them. Some people just want to install an operating system and get on with it.
In addition to all of the cool battery saving tools that users can expect right out of the box, Ubuntu Mate comes with the Mate desktop environment. It is notoriously lightweight and uses minimal resources. If you’re looking for a reliable Linux distribution for your laptop that won’t drain the battery, consider installing this one. Learn more about the Ubuntu Mate operating system, and download via the official website.
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Lubuntu is another Ubuntu flavor that works very well on laptops. However, unlike Ubuntu Mate, battery saving options aren’t enabled by default. However, that doesn’t matter, as Lubuntu runs with a Linux desktop environment that uses as little as 128 MB of RAM, and very little CPU power. This Linux distribution is ideal for underpowered computers, but that’s not the only reason you should check it out. Consider that because the operating system is so efficient, you’ll be drawing less power from your laptop, and thus your battery will last longer.
The operating system isn’t the prettiest, as it’s mainly intended for older, weaker hardware. That said, if you’re looking for a way to use as little power as possible, Lubuntu may be worth checking out.
BunsenLabs is a continuation of CrunchBang Linux: an operating system that used a custom, lightweight OpenBox desktop environment (which ran on minimal resources). The reason Linux users may want to consider this operating system is similar to the reasons for choosing Lubuntu: low power usage. Bunsenlabs runs a custom Openbox desktop environment, which uses RAM and CPU sparingly. Again, like Lubuntu, this operating system is mainly for aging hardware but if you’re on a laptop you’ll benefit from it as well as it uses a lot less power.
Bunsenlabs isn’t for everyone, as it runs Debian. That said, if you’ve tried out Lubuntu and you’d like something a little more advanced, consider giving it a go!
4. Arch Linux
Arch Linux always manages to make it onto our lists, and there’s a reason for it: it’s one of the best Linux distributions out there that users can easily install, customize and make their own. When talking about Linux distributions that can give you better battery life, it’d be crazy not to include Arch Linux. First of all, because Arch Linux is modular, the user has the ultimate choice in choosing exactly how many programs are installed. This is critical to battery savings, as loads of programs tend to use more power. With this operating system, users can make an optimized laptop system.
It is also worth noting that because of the way Arch works, users can choose a desktop environment that better matches their power usage (like going with LXDE, MATE to save battery power, etc.)
Arch also has many different power management tools and optimized kernels that may help users use less battery.
Another good option for those that are trying to get better battery life on Linux is Gentoo. Like Arch Linux, the operating system is modular, and users get the ultimate choice. Building your OS, rather than installing whatever a company gives you, will allow you to exclude power hungry programs at build time, choose the best, most optimized desktop environment, etc. However, unlike Arch Linux, Gentoo has another trick up its sleeve.
Gentoo is source based, so each program must be compiled from source. That sounds like a pain, but it means that every program is crafted for your PC. Installing programs this way means that everything will be more optimized, and potentially use less power. Also, users compile their kernel, which will allow them to customize it and make it more efficient with respect to battery life.
This operating system isn’t for beginners, but if you’re looking for a great Linux operating system that treats battery life well, try out Gentoo.