We tested 5 MacBooks in 2023 — this one has the best battery life

MacBook Pro battery life increase
(Image credit: Future)

We love testing battery life here at Laptop Mag. Personally, it's my favorite test. After all, isn't it important to know which laptop will keep you untethered from outlet prison? I don't know about you, but getting the "battery low" message too often gets to me!

Since Apple ditched Intel for its own in-house chips, MacBooks have been on fire with their battery runtimes. I mean, have you seen our "Laptops with best battery life" page? Half of that list is all MacBooks!

However, some MacBooks last longer than other configurations, depending on the chip, battery size, and other variables. This year, we had the privilege of testing five MacBook Pro configurations, and yes, one reigns supreme on the battery front. Which one? Stick around to find out.

Which MacBook Pros did we test?

Before we reveal the battery-life winner, let's dive into the configurations we tested:

MacBook Pro 14 (2023, M2 Pro)

MacBook Pro 14 (2023, M2 Pro) (Image credit: Future)

1. MacBook Pro - 14-inch - M2 Pro (12-Core CPU, 19-Core GPU)

Memory: 16GB of RAM

Storage: 1TB 

2. MacBook Pro - 14-inch - M2 Pro (12-Core CPU, 19-Core GPU)

Memory: 32GB of RAM

Storage: 2TB

3. MacBook Pro - 14-inch - M2 Pro (10-Core GPU, 16-Core GPU)

Memory: 16GB of RAM

Storage: 512GB 

4. MacBook Pro - 14-inch - M2 Max (12-Core CPU, 38-Core GPU)

Memory: 64GB of RAM

Storage: 2TB

5. MacBook Pro - 16-inch - M2 Max (12-Core CPU, 38-Core GPU)

Memory: 96GB of RAM

Storage: 4TB

Which MacBook Pro lasted the longest?

No surprise here! The monstrous, beastly 16-inch MacBook Pro, packed with an unfathomable 96GB of RAM and 4TB of storage, is our longest-lasting configuration. 

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max, 2023) review: The baddest MacBook in the land

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max, 2023)  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

After all, The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 100-watt-hour battery while the aforementioned 14-inch models have a 70-watt-hour battery. Apple claimed that the 16-inch MacBook Pro lasts a whopping 22 hours on a charge, and it wasn't far off from its assessment.

On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Herculean MacBook Pro lasted 18 hours and 56 minutes -—  just 4 minutes short of 19 hours!

Keep in mind that we tested the 16-inch MacBook Pro twice. The first time, it lasted 19 hours and 5 minutes; the second time, it survived for 18 hours and 47 minutes. Our final battery runtime figure is the average of the two.

Curious about the battery lives of the remaining models? Check out the chart below.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Battery life of 14-inch MacBook Pro configurations
M2 MaxM2 Pro (10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU)M2 Pro (12-Core CPU, 19-Core GPU), 1TBM2 Pro (12-Core CPU, 19-Core GPU), 2TB
12 hours, 51 minutes16 hours, 37 minutes14 hours, 23 minutes13 hours, 56 minutes

Interestingly, the M2 Pro chip with fewer cores netted better life in our testing. The more powerful M2 Max chip did the worst, only lasting 12 hours and 51 minutes. Gross! It's like a Windows machine.

Bottom line

Truth be told, no matter which MacBook Pro configuration you get, you'll be in good hands when it comes to battery life. The best you can get is nineteen hours with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but even if you get the M2 Max 14-inch MacBook Pro, 12 hours is still pretty darn impressive. To put it into perspective, the average laptop lasts 10 hours on a charge, so with a MacBook, you'll get two extra hours — at the very least.

If you're looking for something other than an Apple laptop, check out our laptops with best battery life page for more options.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!