Are Car Chargers Universal
It’s a tale as old as mobile technology time: buy a new phone or gadget, buy a new 12v car charger for it, repeat again next year. We’re here to give you some simple advice. Stop it. The days of device specific car chargers are over. Read on as we outline why you should switch and what products we recommend.
Device Specific Chargers Are an Expensive Waste
If you’ve been around the mobile gadget block a time or two you know the drill. Anything that gets any regular use in your car needs a charger. Phones, tablets, your kid’s Nintendo DS, the portable battery you’re trying to top off before you get to the airport, and so on.
The slow push over the last few years to move more and more products to the Micro USB standard has helped cut down on the number of chargers you need to keep on hand (which is wonderful) but it’s still very easy to have a mix of devices in your car that need everything from the old Apple 30-pin cable to the new Lightning cable along with some Micro USB and even some old devices with Mini USB like many Bluetooth handsfree devices and GPS units.
Not only is such an arrangement a big cluttery mess as it necessitates keeping multiple bulky chargers on hand that each have their own 12v transformer that needs its own plug (which in turn often requires you to use an adapter for your adapter just to get the right number of 12v charging ports) but it’s a waste of money as it requires you purchase more adapters for different standards as they arise. Further, for those that care about such matters, it generates extra waste as all these adapters are eventually discarded.
What’s the solution? Stop buying the bulky and inefficient dedicated chargers and start buying universal USB chargers that offer you both the flexibility to use any device with a USB charging cable and the power to charge multiple devices simultaneously.
Before you rush out to buy a universal USB car charger, let’s take a hard look at the features you want (and the tech specs you might not realize you need to check) then offer some recommendations for rock solid products that’ll be easy on your pocket book and useful in your vehicle.
What to Look for in a Universal USB Car Charger
There are hundreds, nay thousands, of USB car chargers on the market. You’ll find them in spades on eBay, in troves on Amazon, and to a lesser degree they’re even cropping up in big box stores (with the expected big box price hike). How do you make any sense of it? You look carefully at the specs and reviews. Devices that are underpowered (or don’t perform as advertised) are a waste of your money.
Demand High Amps
The humble little cigarette lighter receptacle in your car is more than capable of putting out enough juice to charge many many portable electronic devices. The average American car, for example, has a 12 volt 10 amp receptacle. It’s an outright waste of those precious little receptacles to just plug one device into them as they can happily support a plethora of USB-based devices without any undo strain on your car’s electrical system or risk of blowing a fuse.