Wireless earbuds come with charging cases that serve multiple purposes. This includes initiating pairing between your devices, protecting your earbuds, as well as, of course, charging your earbuds. However, should you keep your earbuds in the case when not in use? even if it’s adequately or even fully charged?
Let’s take a look at what the research has to say about leaving your earbuds in the charging case.
Should You Keep Wireless Earbuds In the Case When Not In Use?
Wireless earbuds are intended to be kept in the case even when they are fully charged. This is to ensure the safety of your earbuds and prevent exposure to certain temperatures, direct sunlight, and prevent them from getting lost or damaged.
When it comes down to the battery, there are typically two concerns. The first is regarding battery safety, and the second is battery longevity.
When it comes to battery safety, you wouldn’t need to worry about your earbuds overcharging since almost all modern wireless earbuds use lithium-ion batteries, which have a built-in safeguard that stops charging once the battery reaches 100%.
When it comes to battery longevity, however, the answer can get a bit complicated. If your earbuds don’t feature an off button, then keeping them in the charging case when not in use would be the best solution for prolonging their battery life.
However, for earbuds with an off button, a 75% to 25% charge cycle has been shown to prolong battery health the longest. This means never charging over 75% while never dropping below 25%.
Let us explain, Lithium-Ion batteries work in charge cycles. A charge cycle is consumed once you have used up equal to 100% of your earbud’s battery life. So if you use 50% of your earbud’s battery life today, charge it back to 100% tomorrow and use another 50%, you’ve then consumed one charge cycle.
A device’s battery capacity will begin to degrade after consuming a certain number of charge cycles. So ideally, you wouldn’t want to drain your battery life when not in use as you’ll be using up precious charge cycles.
Certain wireless earbuds, such as Apple’s Airpods, don’t feature an off button. While it does only consume minimal battery when not in use, the battery will still continue to deplete nonetheless. In this case, keeping them in the case would be ideal for battery preservation.
Additionally, Apple states that placing your earbuds in the case will shut them down. Apple also recommends keeping the Airpods in the case when not in use.
As for earbuds that don’t feature an off button, as mentioned above, a 75% to 25% charge cycle has been shown to be ideal. The reason being is that Lithium-ion batteries tend to heat up slightly when reaching over 80% battery or dropping below 25% battery. This is not a safety concern; however, it does add additional stress to the battery causing it to chemically age at a faster rate when done continuously. So much so that a few earbud models, including Apple, use optimized battery charging to reduce its impact.
Other Factors That Affect Earbud’s Battery Health
Exposure to Extreme temperatures
Extreme temperatures can drastically reduce the lifespan of your earbuds’ battery. This includes both hot & cold temperatures. Most wireless earbud manufacturers recommend storing your earbuds in temperatures between -10º and 45º C (14º to 113º F). So avoid leaving your earbuds in hot temperatures, such as in your car or on in your bathroom when taking a hot shower, as well as in extremely cold temperatures, as this can cause permanent damage to your earbuds.
Exposure To Moisture:
Although most earbuds can handle water and sweat, others can’t. Even if your earbuds are labeled waterproof & sweatproof, they can still be at risk of getting damaged if you exceed their limitations. For example, all earbuds are given an IPX rating which is an industry-standard rating for their moisture tolerance.
Even if your earbuds are labeled waterproof, they come with certain limitations; exceeding those limitations can put your device at risk. This is why it’s important to look at what IPX rating your device holds and its limitations and capabilities.
An IPX7 rating, for example, is labeled as waterproof, it is capable of being immersed in water at a depth of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, but anything more can cause permanent damage.
Exposure To Chemicals:
Exposure to chemicals such as soaps, shampoos, or bathing products can damage your earbuds’ battery, so avoid exposing your earbuds to any form of chemicals.
As we mentioned above, exposure to certain temperatures or even direct sunlight can degrade your earbud’s battery expectancy. So it’s important to store your earbuds in a relatively steady temperature area away from sunlight, humidity, and heat.
The Importance of Regular cleaning
Uncleaned earbuds collect earwax, dust, moisture, and sweat, which can have a negative impact on battery health. So it’s important to routinely clean your earbuds in order to properly maintain their function and health.