How Long Should I Charge My New Tablet?

One of the things that some of the older handheld device users know is that it is important to give the devices an initial charge when they are still new. That’s why plenty of people used to empty their new cellphones before giving them a full charge of at least 12 hours. However, because of how our newer smart devices are now using different batteries, it might not be the same case that you have to give them the same treatment that you gave your older cellphones. In that case, how long should you charge your new tablet?

It is best to charge a new tablet for 5 to 8 hours or until the battery is already full. But charging your new tablet is not even a necessity as they come with a different type of battery that can be used right off the box. And most tablets have about somewhere between 60% right out of the box.

Unlike our older cellphones that still used nickel batteries, there is no need for us to actually give our tablets or smartphones a long initial charging time before we are ready to use them. In that sense, you can use your tablet the moment you booted it the first time. However, because their batteries aren’t exactly at full power when you get them, you may need to charge your tablet until it is full if you want to use it for an extended period of time right out of its box.

surface pro new in plastic

Nickel batteries and their charging time

For those who have been using mobile devices for a very long time and have lived through the time when older phone models such as the Nokia 3310 were still ruling the cellphone market, one of the things you were taught is to make sure that you drain the battery of your cellphone right out of the box before you charge it right away. As such, most of us waited for the battery to empty out before charging them as most cellphone batteries came out with a few charges when they are shipped out.

After that, we were taught to make sure that we give the batteries a thorough charge of about 12 or more hours to make sure that they are charged to their full capacity during their first charge. This is a practice that has been common in cellphones and other gadgets that used older nickel-based batteries. And, for most of us today, we still follow the same practices because we have gotten used to the older cellphones that required us to do the same.

The reason why nickel-based batteries that older cellphones used in the past needed to empty out before getting a full recharge when they are already empty. And the first full recharge needs to last somewhere around 12 hours precisely because you want to “power up” the battery and allow their “internal memory” to remember their larger capacity.

This is because of the “memory effect” that comes with nickel batteries as these batteries tend to remember smaller capacities and would, in effect, eventually hold less charge. As such, by powering up your cellphone to full in the initial charge and allowing it to charge for about 12 hours, you are basically allowing the battery to remember the higher battery capacity via the so-called memory effect.

That said, it is easy to understand why there is a prevalent thought that we need to empty out our mobile devices and then giving them a thorough charge that will last for nearly half of an entire day. However, as you will understand later on, the memory effect is no longer applicable in the more modern batteries that we have today.

three ipads next to each other

Do I need to charge my new tablet before using it?

With the introduction of smartphones, which eventually quickly replaced older cellphones as the new standard in mobile devices, newer and better batteries were also introduced. That’s why the batteries that we see in our mobile devices today are actually Lithium-Ion or Li-Ion, which are able to hold more charges compared to nickel-based batteries.

As Li-Ion batteries saw a lot of success in smartphones, the tablets also followed suit and used the same batteries when they were introduced during the earlier portion of the 2010s. As such, the modern tablets we see today used lithium batteries instead of the nickel batteries that were in use back in the day of the old Nokia 3310s that used to rule the market.

With that said, does it mean that you still need to charge your new tablet before using it just like how the older cellphones with nickel batteries needed to be charged for a long time after emptying them? Not necessarily.

So, the one thing that you should know about lithium batteries is that they don’t come with the “memory effect” that nickel-based batteries come with in the sense that they will remember the lower capacity. Even though lithium batteries will eventually degrade and decrease in terms of their full capacity, in the long run, they don’t have this so-called memory effect because the lifespan of a lithium battery is determined by the number of charges it has.

In that sense, when you get your tablet right out of the box, there is no need for you to empty it out and then charge it for a very long time because of the very fact that they don’t work in the same way as nickel batteries do. Lithium-Ion batteries don’t have to “remember” their larger capacities because they are made with a fixed number of charge cycles, which will determine how long they will be able to last throughout an entire lifetime.

As such, the moment you get your tablet right out of the box, there is no need for you to charge it right away or discharge it all the way to zero just to charge it again to full for 12 hours. In fact, you can immediately use your tablet right out of the box without any issues as long as the tablet has enough power.

Hands holding Samsung Galaxy S6 lite tablet

Most tablets and smartphones are shipped by their companies with batteries that are about 60% of their full charge. This allows you to set the phone up when you boot it up right out of the box and to make sure that it has enough power during the setup process. Also, keeping the battery power somewhere close to 60% when the tablets are shipped minimizes the chances of the battery diminishing while they are still kept in the stock room after they have been shipped out to their retailers.

That said, because tablets do have a good portion of battery life available the moment you boot them up for the first time, there really is no need for you to charge them right away. You can charge them when their batteries reach a low enough point or when you don’t need to use the tablet right away. However, it really isn’t a necessary requirement for you to charge the tablet’s battery for nearly half a day during the very first time you charge it.

How long should I charge my new tablet?

So, while we did establish that new tablets are not required to be charged right out of their boxes because of how their batteries don’t work in the same way that nickel batteries do, you still can charge your new tablet if you want to. After all, there actually is no harm in charging a new tablet right out of its box especially if you are no looking to use it right away and you just want to make sure that it comes with a full charge when you do need to use it.

First of all, let us establish that different tablet models have different charging times because it really depends on the type of tablet you have and on the capacity of their respective batteries. Naturally, bigger and more powerful tablets usually come with more powerful batteries that will require longing charging times while the smaller tablets with smaller batteries might not need to be charged for a very long time.

shield tablet back

However, some of the newer tablets that we have today come with quick-charging features that will allow them to gain a full battery in two hours regardless of whether or not you are charging them for the very first time. Meanwhile, there are still some tablets that tend to require longer charging periods because they are yet to incorporate fast charging and because of how they have larger batteries that simply require several hours of charging.

That said, the usual standard when it comes to charging new tablets right out of the box is somewhere between 5 and 8 hours. However, there are some tablets that tend to reach their full charge in less than 5 hours or in less than the prescribed number of hours that their manuals require during the initial charge. Again, there is no harm in not charging your tablets for the prescribed number of hours during the initial charge.

Still, because of how you want to make sure that your tablet’s battery is in the best shape possible right out of the box, you might want to charge it for as long as the manual says you should even though it might have reached 100% in only a few hours. And, unlike older tablets, you shouldn’t fear charging your tablet for 5 to 8 hours even though they are already full because newer tablets have batteries that are never meant to take more charge than they can handle.

As such, if you want to give your tablet an initial charge of somewhere between 5 to 8 hours, that is totally fine because your tablet’s battery will be perfectly safe even when it has already reached 100%. The battery won’t “drain” itself unlike the older versions of lithium batteries and the nickel batteries that tend to degrade when you charge them past their full capacity.

So, with that said, to be on the safe side of things, you might want to charge your tablet for somewhere between 5 to 8 hours during the initial charge or as prescribed by its manual. However, after the initial charge, you don’t need to charge your tablet for at least 5 hours as long as it was able to reach its full charge. The moment the tablet is already fully charged in all of the subsequent charges, you are good to go.

What are the best charging tips for new tablets?

Now that you know that you can either use your tablet as it is or charge it right away right out of the box, you should look at these tips so that you will know how to properly charge your new tablet and take care of its battery in the long run:

surface pro screen and keyboard
  • It is very important for you to make sure that you thoroughly read the manual of your tablet so that you will be able to know how to charge it properly during the initial charge. There might be special instructions that some tablets might not have but are present in the manual of your tablet. That’s why the manual is a very important part of your tablet.
  • When you want to charge your tablet right out of its box, always use the charger that it comes with and not the charger of any other smart device that you may have at home. Even if your smartphone’s charge has the same plug, that doesn’t mean that they are the same in terms of voltage and wattage. If you want your tablet’s battery to be healthy and safe, you need to only use its original charger.
  • Most of the manufacturers ship their tablets with somewhere between 60% and 70% of battery life. That means that you can use the tablet right out of its box. However, as you will learn later on, you should not try to empty out the battery.
  • Because of the very fact that your tablet comes with battery life right out of the box, you should only charge it when you want to. There really is no need for you to charge it immediately the moment you boot it up for the first time.
  • Avoid emptying the battery before the first charge or even throughout the tablet’s entire lifetime. That’s because lithium batteries come with a limited number of charge cycles that you want to maximize. The charge cycles are based on how many times you charged the battery from 0 to 100. So, if you empty the battery out and then charge it to full, you will be consuming one charge cycle.
  • For the best results, try to charge your tablet when its battery is somewhere between 20% and 80%. That’s because charging it when it is yet to fall below 20% allows you to maximize its charge cycles because you are not consuming one charge cycle when you do charge it to its full capacity.
  • Even though tablet batteries are made to be able to be charged for a long time because they won’t take in more charge than they can possibly get, it still is better to avoid charging it well past 100% after the initial charge. Only charge it for 5 to 8 hours during its initial charge.


I'm Rob, the founder of I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade.

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