Choosing the best universal travel charger is a matter of knowing exactly what devices you wish to charge or power. Even travel chargers that are advertised as universal are often not compatible with every type of electronic device on the market. The most common devices that require a universal travel charger are cell phones and mp3 players. It often depends upon where a person plans to travel most frequently, because a universal travel charger designed for the United States will not be compatible with electrical outlets in Europe and vice versa. This is due to the varying types of current and fixtures in use in each region.
To achieve the highest level of versatility, you should find a universal travel charger that features a USB-to-outlet adapter. This will allow the universal travel charger to power and recharge any device that has a USB host port. Numerous types of cell phone now feature this type of port, as do most types of mp3 players, mini netbooks, and even some laptops.
If you are looking specifically for cell phone travel chargers, look for the inclusion of a set of adapters, which offer compatibility with a variety of types of cell phone. Chances are that the universal travel charger will outlive a successive series of cell phones. With a variety of adapters, you may be able to ensure that the one charger will not become obsolete every time you buy a new cell phone.
For those who travel across the globe frequently, the most suitable charger may be one that fits North American outlets. These types of outlets are common across North and South America, Japan and numerous Asian nations. For those who travel primarily between North America and Europe, there are a few travel adapters that fit both types of outlet, but there may be compatibility problems with the devices that you wish to charge.
There are alternatives to travel chargers that require electrical outlets. A solar travel charger is capable of powering a wide array of devices, but a solar charger will require a considerable amount of exposure to direct sunlight in order to function. These chargers may be ineffective for travelers heading to regions with dense cloud cover or where the daylight hours are short.
Another drawback to universal travel chargers is that repeated use can wear down your battery at an accelerated rate. This will cause the battery-powered device to require more frequent charging which in turn further degrades the battery's ability to hold a prolonged charge.