Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.
To some smartphone users, battery life is the single most important factor in choosing a device. After all, the best smartphone in the world isn’t worth much if you need to recharge it every few hours.
The good news is that smartphone battery life has improved significantly in recent years, courtesy of the increased capacity of batteries—3000mAh (milliampere hours) and higher—and processors and wireless connections that smartly adjust power consumption to suit the job at hand.
Remember, a large-capacity battery requires a large-capacity shell, so the smartphones featured here tend to be on the bigger side.
To identify the models in our ratings with the best battery life, our testers use a robotic finger that simulates what a person might do with a phone in the course of an average day. The robot browses the internet, takes pictures, uses the GPS navigation, and—of course—makes phone calls.
If you've looked at our ratings recently, you may have noticed that the battery-life figures have increased for a number of models. That’s because we no longer set the screen to maximum brightness before the test, which penalized models with displays that can reach super-bright—but battery-draining—levels.
Because consumers don’t always choose to set those screens at peak levels, we’ve decided to use a consistent brightness that more closely mirrors how we evaluate battery life for tablets.
Of course, the best battery life doesn’t automatically equal a great overall phone, so check our smartphone ratings and buying guide to find the model that suits your needs.
All of the smartphones featured here are recommended by Consumer Reports, but they don’t all come from big-name brands or include the high-end features that a lot of consumers now take for granted. For many people, the trade-off will be worth it.
And no matter which phone you have, there are ways to extend the battery life. Here are tips from our test team.
Tips to Extend Battery Life
Phones With Top-Rated Battery Life
For each of the 10 phones listed below, we've provided the Overall Score along with the score for battery life and the specs for the battery's capacity. The phones are ranked by the number of hours the batteries lasted in our testing, which is also noted.
Smartphone Battery Tips
Smartphones can be a lifeline but only when you keep them charged. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports’ smartphone expert, Bree Fowler, shows how your device can stay powered up when you're out and about.
More from Consumer Reports:
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 best mattresses for couples
- Set the screen brightness to Auto so that the device can adjust to indoor and outdoor conditions.
- Lower the baseline brightness. In most phones, you can do this by using a sliding switch in the Display menu.
- Set the screen to go to sleep after 15 or 30 seconds of inactivity.
- Turn on airplane mode when you’re in a location with no WiFi or cellular-data signal.
- Reduce the frequency of updates for email, social network feeds, and other apps to once every hour.
- If you’re streaming content over a WiFi network to stretch your data allowance (and doing other data-intensive tasks such as internet gaming), keep a power adapter handy. Our tests have found that performing tasks over WiFi can drain batteries significantly faster than using cellular-data connections.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2019, Consumer Reports, Inc.