Updated September 15, 2019 by Ezra Glenn

The 10 Best USB Car Chargers

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This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in May of 2015. If you're in need of power on the go for your mobile devices, check out our selection of reliable and powerful USB car chargers. They're capable of keeping all of your family's electronics juiced up, including phones, GPS systems, MP3 players, and more, so you and your youngsters can stay entertained, informed and in touch no matter how long the journey. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best usb car charger on Amazon.

10. TeckNet PowerDash D2

9. Jebsens Volt Meter

8. iXCC Road Trip

7. Nekteck 5.4A

6. MaxBoost Smart Port

5. Ailun Fast Charger

4. RavPower Quick Charge 3.0

3. Aukey CC-T8

2. Belkin Road Rockstar

1. Anker PowerDrive 2

Understanding USB Devices

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.

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.

By plugging an e-reader into a car charger, one can have instant entertainment.

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.

People with children may appreciate a car charger with a protective cap — this will prevent damage if somebody spills a beverage in the car.

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.

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Ezra Glenn
Last updated on September 15, 2019 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label operator from New York City. He has traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again. Ezra holds a bachelor's from Bard College, and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. His professional experience includes a stint at the Brooklyn-based website “Rap Genius,” and he has run his own artist management and development agency. For the Wiki, he has developed expertise in the areas of travel, exercise, and home goods, and has researched extensively in the areas of electronics, furniture, and pet care.


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