Cell Phone Battery Replacement: DIY or Hire It Out?
Cell phone not charging? Phone won’t hold a charge or turn on? You probably need a new battery. Here, we compare local, online and do-it-yourself phone battery replacement options and costs so you can decide whether to replace your own phone battery or hire it out.
- How to tell if your phone battery is bad
- Phone battery replacement options compared
- Before you get started: Check your warranty and insurance
- DIY battery replacement
- Where to buy phone replacement batteries
- How to recycle your old battery
- Online phone battery replacement
- Local phone battery replacement
- Which repair option is best?
How to tell if your phone battery is bad
If you suspect your battery is bad, these clues will help you confirm it:
- It loses charge faster than it used to. For example, if you used to be able to go all day on a single charge and now your phone is dead by 3 p.m., your battery is probably bad
- It won’t charge all the way. If your battery won’t charge to 100% no matter how long you leave it on the charger, it’s probably bad
- It immediately loses charge after charging. If your battery charges to 100%, but instantly drops to 80% after you take it off the charger, that’s a sign it’s going bad
- It overheats, swells, leaks, has corrosion or water damage. These physical signs point to a bad battery
If your phone will still turn on, you can use your phone’s settings to check battery health:
- On iPhones, browse to SETTINGS > BATTERY > BATTERY HEALTH. The maximum capacity of a healthy battery should be 80% or greater. If the battery is degraded, you’ll see a message to contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider to replace your battery
- On Android phones, you can browse to SETTINGS > ABOUT > BATTERY STATUS. This will tell you the rated capacity of your battery and its current capacity, but that’s not necessarily helpful. A better option is to install a third-party app like AccuBattery, which will give you a battery health rating
If you’re a tech guru, you can also test your battery with a multimeter. It won’t indicate battery health, but it will tell you if your battery is charged – useful information if your phone won’t turn on and you’re trying to diagnose the problem.
Phone battery replacement options compared
Before you get started: Check your warranty and insurance
Start by checking if your phone is still under warranty or if battery replacement is covered by your insurance policy, if you have one. Most manufacturers offer standard one-year warranties that cover defective batteries, and carriers like Verizon and AT&T offer insurance tiers that have no deductible for malfunctioning phone batteries. Likewise, AppleCare has no deductible for battery replacement.
Some policies offer same day battery replacement if a repair center is located nearby. Otherwise, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurer. In most cases, you’ll be shipped a new phone overnight along with a box to return your defective phone.
If your policy doesn’t cover free battery replacement, you can expect the deductible to range between $9 and $299, depending on your model. For recent flagships, you might be better off paying a repair service or doing it yourself.
|Phone Insurance: Worth it or waste of money? Find out|
DIY battery replacement
Want to replace your own cell phone battery? Many older phones and modern basic phones have removable batteries that are easy to replace: simply snap open the battery compartment and swap the batteries.
Most modern smartphones, on the other hand, are equipped with embedded batteries that are more difficult to replace. In general, the process involves:
- Discharging the battery to below 25% to prevent fires and explosions
- Some combination of heating, prying and screw removal to remove the front screen or rear case so you can access internal components
- Removing screws and disconnecting the battery, then replacing it and reassembling your phone
You can find more detailed instructions for specific models in these guides:
- iPhone battery replacement guide
- Samsung Galaxy battery replacement guide
- Galaxy Note battery replacement guide
- Google Pixel battery replacement guide
- LG battery replacement guide
- OnePlus battery replacement guide
DIY battery replacement risks causing additional damage and can void warranties and insurance policies, but if you’re up to the task you’ll probably need these tools:
- Hair dryer or a heating bag specifically designed for this purpose (iFixit’s iOpener is one)
- Guitar picks or opening picks
- Suction cup
- Screwdrivers (Phillips, standoff, Pentalobe and/or tri-point)
You can purchase each tool separately or order entire phone repair toolkits online. Toolkit prices range from $5 for simple kits to $50 or more for high-quality, advanced kits. Find toolkits on sites like iFixit and Amazon. Note that some retailers offer toolkits as add-on products when you order replacement batteries.
Did you know? Many phones are worth $100+. Find the value of your phone.
Where to buy phone replacement batteries
You can find replacement batteries at the following stores. Example pricing is provided for popular models.
$19 – $26
$5 – $20
$10 – $25
$5 – $14
$8 – $20
$7 – $16
$10 – $17
$8 – $15
Be sure to compare prices and pay attention to whether batteries are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) versions or aftermarket. OEM versions tend to be better quality, though more expensive; however, you can’t always get them. Apple, for example, does not sell OEM batteries directly to the public so if you have an iPhone you’ll need a quality aftermarket battery. Avoid cheap, poorly constructed aftermarket versions that could leak, bulge or even catch fire or explode.
Here are some other places to buy replacement phone batteries:
How to recycle your old battery
Lithium-ion cell phone batteries contain cobalt, manganese, nickel and other e-waste that can leach out of landfills and contaminate soil and water. Recycling cell phone batteries not only avoids environmental pollution, it allows these materials to be reclaimed and used to create new batteries.
Use the following e-waste recycling directories to see where you can recycle cell phone batteries for free:
|Find more places to recycle phones and phone batteries. See the full list|
Online phone battery replacement
Online options include manufacturer and independent online phone repair services. In general, you can expect to pay between $25 and $100 to get your battery replaced, depending on your model and the service you select.
Turnaround time depends on your selected service and shipping options, but in general you can expect the process to take 3 to 5 business days.
Some repair services offer warranties that cover parts and/or labor if your battery fails after it’s replaced. Warranty periods typically range between 30 days and one year.
Here’s a comparison of popular online battery replacement services and how much they charge for battery replacement, less shipping fees:
3-5 business days
Same day + shipping
i Fix your i
Genius Phone Repair
24-48 hours + shipping
Same day + shipping
Shipping fees depend on location and speed. Some repair services charge static shipping fees regardless of location. For example, Apple charges $6.95 for shipping. iResQ offers multiple shipping options, ranging from $6.89 for USPS First Class to $17.49 for FedEx Overnight. Additional fees apply if you’d like a prepaid shipping label or a shipping box.
|Online Phone Repair: How it works & what it costs|
Local phone battery replacement
Options include manufacturer stores like Apple Stores, franchises like CPR Cell Phone Repair and UBreakIFix, on-site repair techs like Puls and independent repair shops. Local repair shops charge about the same as online repair service for battery replacement – $25 to $100 – but without the shipping fees.
Most local shops can replace your phone battery the same day you bring it in. Some promise to do it in under an hour, so you can get your battery replaced over your lunch break.
Before you choose a local repair shop, be sure to ask the following questions:
- How much experience and training do you have? You want to make sure the person working on your phone is properly trained, especially for newer smartphones with embedded batteries
- Where do you get your parts? It’s important to know if they use OEM or aftermarket batteries. If they use aftermarket batteries, how do they ensure they’re high quality?
- What kind of warranty do you offer? The last thing you want to do is pay for battery replacement, only to have it fail again a few months later. Do they guarantee their work? How long is the warranty period, and are parts and labor covered?
- What happens if my phone is damaged? Experienced technicians shouldn’t cause further damage to your phone, but sometimes accidents happen. If they crack the screen while trying to access your battery, will they repair it free?
- Do you have references and reviews? Online testimonials, reviews, Better Business Bureau accreditation and references can clue you in to how past customers feel about a given repair shop
|Still thinking about doing it yourself? Considering a phone repair business? Here’s where & how to learn phone repair|
Search Google for “phone repair near me” to find a local repair shop. You can also check out the following nationwide franchises:
Which repair option is best?
If you have a basic phone, battery replacement is an easy fix and you’ll save money doing it yourself. You can take the DIY approach with an embedded battery, too, provided you have the know-how and experience to replace it without damaging your phone. Otherwise, your best option is to hire it out.
Local repair centers are faster than online repair, and they’re often cheaper since they don’t have shipping fees. However, if there aren’t any trustworthy repair shops in your area or you’re able to find a better price and warranty online, you might be better off with mail-in repair services.
Next: The Surprising Value of Older Phones