The 10 Best USB Car Chargers
10. TopG Smart Mini
- less than three inches in length
- fuse-free design
- some units have a poor connection
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
9. Jebsens EL-04338
- display also shows real-time output
- intelligently self-adjusting current
- cannot dim display for night driving
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
8. Ailun EL-03266
- 35 watts of power
- compact design takes up little space
- charge speeds are not as advertised
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
7. 1byone 3-Port 7.2A
- resists overheating
- small non-distracting led indicator
- snug fit won't fall out of socket
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
6. Scosche USBC242M
- circuitry designed for apple devices
- also available with a single port
- a bit hard to pull out of the socket
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
5. Tronsmart 33W
- overcurrent protection
- up to 3 amps per port
- not compatible with most mazdas
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. Crave CarHub 54W
- well built and reliable
- one high-voltage port
- some units burn out quickly
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
3. PowerGen Smart 4 Port
- good value at under ten dollars
- universally compatible
- no distracting leds
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
2. Anker PowerDrive 2
- exclusive poweriq technology
- compact but easy to remove
- includes an 18-month warranty
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Omaker Intelligent C-04
- hassle free replacement guarantee
- protects against overcharging
- made of top-grade aluminum alloy
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Understanding USB Devices
Technology manufacturers understand that making device-specific chargers is unsustainable and their solution has been to create more USB-chargeable products. Thanks to USB connectors, people no longer have to carry chargers everywhere they go. Smartphone owners can plug their device into a friend’s computer, or any product that has a USB port.
Within the USB network, there is always a host and a device. If the user plugs a phone into a laptop, the laptop is the host and the phone is the device. The host always delivers power to the device, but data can flow in both directions. When a smartphone is plugged into a laptop, the phone can send photos to the computer, but the computer can also send data – like music or apps – to the phone. Whether or not information can be transferred depends on the port. A standard downstream port — the type found on most laptops — delivers power and allows for an exchange of data, but a dedicated charging port only allows for charging. An AC wall plug with a USB port is an example of the latter.
Some ports deliver power faster than others. Many people report that their smartphone charges much quicker when it’s plugged into a laptop, than when it is plugged into a wall charger. The difference in charging speeds is due to the fact that not all ports are created equal. In fact, there are three main USB port types commonly found in devices. USB 1.0 and 2.0 sockets have four pins that carry a 5-volt power supply. USB 3.0 sockets have an additional 5 pins, and can deliver nearly twice as much power. The emergence of the stronger USB 3.0 has caused some people to worry about overpowering their devices. Smartphone owners who received a USB 1.0 or 2.0 wall charger are concerned that by plugging their device into a 3.0 port, they will cause an over surge. But you can plug any USB device and any USB cable into any USB port, without an issue.
How A USB Car Charger Can Save The Day
USB car chargers have a USB port on one end and plug into a cigarette lighter on the other end. The standard American vehicle’s cigarette lighter can send out 12 volts of power, which is more than enough to rapidly charge any personal electronic device.
Most individuals travel with several devices in their car at once, from smartphones to e-readers. It’s common to rely on a GPS app — such as Waze or Tom Tom — to receive proper driving directions and as such, one can be completely lost if their cell phone dies. Stopping at a business and asking for directions is not an option when on a remote road. Having the option to charge a phone through a car could save you from a dire situation.
A USB car charger can be extremely useful when a person is stuck in traffic, late for an important call, and their phone dies. There’s also the possibility of being the passenger on a long car trip with no way to pass the time. By plugging an e-reader into a car charger, one can have instant entertainment. Photographers who need to capture images while traveling can’t afford to have a dead camera on a road trip. Most digital cameras are USB compatible, so photographers can use their vehicle’s power to keep their camera on at all times.
How To Choose A Charger
A car battery can deliver more than enough power to charge several devices at once; it is one of the strongest USB hosts one can find. To make use of this unique resource, buy a charger with multiple USB ports and you could conceivably charge a smartphone, e-reader and camera all at once, and at a rapid speed.
If broken or unresponsive chargers have been a problem, one might appreciate a car charger with an LED light. The light confirms that charging is occurring. Trying to charge and use a device from the backseat is nearly impossible without a charger that includes a long USB cord. If the user can’t sit in the front seat for every ride, but wants access to a power source for their device, a cord that extends a minimum of 3-feet must be chosen.
Some car chargers tell the driver information about the car, like the charge in its battery, or the ambient temperature inside, which can be useful. People with children may appreciate a car charger with a protective cap — this will prevent damage if somebody spills a beverage in the car. It will also stop curious toddlers from putting their fingers inside the socket. If one’s car has an all-black interior, they should avoid the standard black chargers and buy a brightly colored one that is easily spotted between the seats.