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If you purchased your car in the last few years or so, there’s a high chance that it came with a means to charge your phone. This can be either via USB charging ports or a wireless charging pad. But, if your vehicle is several years old, it may not have such provisions. To this end, you will need to find a means of charging your devices.
And this is where car chargers come in. Car chargers provide a convenient means of charging electronic devices. Hence, they can be a handy accessory for someone who commutes daily, truckers, traveling salespeople as well as outdoor enthusiasts.
About Car Chargers
So, what exactly is a car charger? Well, a car charger is simply a small adaptor, which will plug into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter or accessory port. Almost all cars come with this provision.
Hence, if your car didn’t come with USB charging ports, you just need to buy this adaptor and plug it into the port. And from there, you can begin charging your devices via the USB ports on the charger.
You can use this charger to charge most portable electronics such as tablets, smartphones, cameras, power banks, and tablets, just to name a few. It’s worth mentioning that the accessory port or cigarette lighter will only work when the engine is running. It’s intentionally designed this way to prevent devices from accidentally draining the battery.
Considerations When Choosing a Car Charger
There are numerous types, makes, and models of car chargers on the market. So, how do you make sure you choose the right one? Well, here are some of the main things to look for when you are purchasing a car charger.
Car chargers come with varying numbers of charging ports. Some will come with a single charging port, two charging ports, or four charging ports. The number of charging ports that you choose will depend on your charging needs.
And as you may expect, the higher the number of charging ports, the higher the cost of the car charger. However, if you usually travel with several devices that need regular charging, you should choose a charger that has several ports. While it may cost you more, it will be highly convenient for you. With multiple charging ports, you can charge your different devices simultaneously.
Also, if you frequently go on road trips with your friends or you have a big family, you should consider choosing a car charger that comes with several ports. This way, everyone in the car will have a chance to power up their devices.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a car charger is the design. In most cars, the accessory port or cigarette lighter is usually positioned close to the gear or other important vehicle controls.
So, if it’s too large, it may end up obstructing some of those driving controls, leading to various safety issues. Therefore, when you are shopping for a car charger, you should make sure it’s not too large or too big, as accommodating it in the car will be a challenge.
Different car chargers come with different power outputs. As you may expect, the lower the power output, the longer it will take to completely charge your device, be it a phone, tablet, camera, or any other device that you may be charging.
So, when you are buying a car charger, you should make sure that its output is high enough for the devices that you will be using it to charge. Also, you need to ensure that the charger’s output is available across all the ports. Some car chargers may have a high output on a single port only. Therefore, pay close attention to all the details.
Ideally, you should go for a charger with a minimum output of 2.1 amperes. Any output below this may not be adequate to power a smartphone. And if it does manage to power the smartphone, it will take forever to charge it completely.
If your budget can allow it, you should opt for a 2.4-amp car charger. A charger with this output will be adequate for almost all the electronic devices that you may want to charge in your car.
Some smartphones, especially the latest ones come with fast charging. With this feature, a phone can be fully recharged within 15 minutes. Also, it will take approximately five minutes to take a phone from 0 to 50%.
If your smartphone has such a feature, you should consider getting a car charger that supports fast charging. This way, you will be able to power up your phone within a few minutes.
Some car chargers come with inbuilt charging cables. While this may appear like a handy feature, it will be advisable to stay away from such chargers. And, there are two main reasons why you should avoid chargers with inbuilt charging cables.
First, a charger with an inbuilt charging cable will limit the number of devices that you can charge with it. As you may probably know, different electronic devices come with different types of charging USB cables. They include USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, USB-3, micro-USB, and mini-USB, among others.
So, if your car charger came with an inbuilt charging cable carrying one of these connectors, it will mean that you can only charge a device that has that provision. Assuming that your smartphone comes with a USB-A connector, it means you can’t charge USB-B, USB-C, USB-3, micro-USB, and mini-USB devices.
Also, if you have a USB-A phone and you purchase a charger with an inbuilt USB-A connector, it will become useless when you change your phone and purchase one that has a USB-C extension.
Second, the USB cable will be one of the first parts to fail in the charger. So, if it breaks or fails in any other way, it will become useless, meaning you will have to replace the entire adaptor.
With that in mind, it will be advisable to avoid buying a car charger that has an inbuilt charging cable. The drawbacks of a car charger with an inbuilt charging cable outweigh the positives by far.
Another key factor to consider when you are choosing a car charger is the quality. And in most cases, the quality is directly proportional to the price. While you may want to purchase the cheapest car charger that you will find, there’s a high chance that such a charger won’t last long.
Cheap chargers are usually made of poor-quality materials. Therefore, you will be forced to replace it after a few uses. Furthermore, cheap car chargers may also lead to safety issues or other complications. For instance, they may end up damaging your phone’s battery.
To this end, you should stay away from cheap car chargers. Instead, you should go for high-quality ones from renowned brands. While you may have to pay a little more for such a charger, it will last you for a long time, meaning you will get value for your money. Besides, such a charger won’t damage your device’s batteries.
Wrapping It Up
There is a wide range of car chargers on the market. And, choosing the right one can feel like an overwhelming task. But, by following the tips we’ve shared in this article, you should be able to find a car charger that will align best with your needs.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding