The 10 Best USB Car Chargers

Updated October 27, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best USB Car Chargers
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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If you need to have power on the go for all your mobile devices, check out our selection of reliable and powerful USB car chargers. They're capable of keeping all 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 picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best usb car charger on Amazon.

10. TopG Smart Mini

If you drive a small vehicle or you just want to save space in your SUV, the compact TopG Smart Mini is likely a good fit for your power needs. It provides 3.1 amps of output, with 2.1 amps from one port and 1.0 from the other.
  • less than three inches in length
  • fuse-free design
  • some units have a poor connection
Brand G-TOP
Model EL-271104
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

9. Jebsens EL-04338

The Jebsens EL-04338 reports the voltage of your car battery, a bonus safety function that sweetens the already good deal, considering it boasts dual 2.4-amp ports to keep your phone, tablet, and whatever else needs juice powered up for the journey.
  • display also shows real-time output
  • intelligently self-adjusting current
  • cannot dim display for night driving
Model EL-04338
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

8. Ailun EL-03266

The Ailun EL-03266 features a non-overbearing blue LED light for easy nighttime access to its two powerful ports. It's built with voltage regulators, so it won't overheat, and accepts all USB cables. A 12-month warranty doesn't hurt, either.
  • 35 watts of power
  • compact design takes up little space
  • charge speeds are not as advertised
Model EL-03266
Weight 1.1 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

7. 1byone 3-Port 7.2A

The small and mighty 1byone 3-Port 7.2A is a great choice for the family that has a mix of tablets and cell phones. It can power multiple devices at the same time without slowing down, and its compact form factor won't take up much room.
  • resists overheating
  • small non-distracting led indicator
  • snug fit won't fall out of socket
Brand 1byone
Model O00EL-0422
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

6. Scosche USBC242M

For a connection that sits virtually flush with your vehicle's 12 V accessory socket, the Scosche USBC242M is a great choice that provides two ports. It's available in four luxurious colors and maintains an unobtrusive profile while offering decently fast charging rates.
  • circuitry designed for apple devices
  • also available with a single port
  • a bit hard to pull out of the socket
Brand Scosche
Model USBC242M
Weight 0.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Tronsmart 33W

If you're in need of a solution for keeping your USB-C-powered device juiced up, the Tronsmart 33W has you covered. It has a built-in 3.3 foot cable, plus a USB A port compatible with virtually everything, as long as you bring your own cord.
  • overcurrent protection
  • up to 3 amps per port
  • not compatible with most mazdas
Brand Tronsmart
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Crave CarHub 54W

The Crave CarHub 54W not only brings your gadgets to full power quickly, but it also prevents overcharging and short circuits. All four of its ports boast Qualcomm 2.0 technology to ensure your whole family stays connected on those long car rides.
  • well built and reliable
  • one high-voltage port
  • some units burn out quickly
Brand Crave
Model CRVCH101
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. PowerGen Smart 4 Port

The classy PowerGen Smart 4 Port packs a whopping 48-watt punch to keep your devices fully powered. It's got an all-over glossy finish and a blue face with no varying voltages to fuss with, plus it identifies connected gadgets for tailored efficiency.
  • good value at under ten dollars
  • universally compatible
  • no distracting leds
Model 4079000
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Anker PowerDrive 2

If you just need two ports, the Anker PowerDrive 2 comes in black or white, and reliably delivers 2.4 amps to each of your connected devices. It also includes a handy and durable three-foot long USB to micro USB cable, all for less then $10.
  • exclusive poweriq technology
  • compact but easy to remove
  • includes an 18-month warranty
Brand Anker
Model B2310012
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Omaker Intelligent C-04

The impressively powerful 33 watt Omaker Intelligent C-04 is ideal for use with larger devices, like tablets, GPS units, or camcorders. It's designed to charge your electronics at maximum speed, with two 2.1 amp ports and one 2.4 amp.
  • hassle free replacement guarantee
  • protects against overcharging
  • made of top-grade aluminum alloy
Brand Omaker
Model C-03
Weight 1.4 ounces
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.

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Last updated on October 27, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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