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How do I Choose the Best Universal USB Charger?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

In choosing the best universal USB charger you should consider the type of device you will need to use the charger with and the settings in which you are most likely to use the charger. If, for example, you need a charger to work with your media player device, then you should look for a charger that will work with your particular device or a number of different devices you have and use. It is also a good idea to look for a charger that will work in a variety of different settings, such as by connecting to a wall outlet, connecting to a computer, and connecting to a car lighter outlet.

A universal USB charger is an electronic device or cable that can be used to charge another device through a universal serial bus (USB) port and a connection to a power outlet. Despite the term “universal,” there is not necessarily a single charger that can be connected to any device and provide a charge or recharge. There are pads and mats that can be plugged into an outlet and then provide a charge for a device that is laid on top of it, but these do not necessarily work for every type of device and are not typically considered to be a universal USB charger since they do not use a USB port.

A variety of USB charger cables.
A variety of USB charger cables.

You should consider any device or devices you want to use with a universal USB charger and look for a charger that is compatible with your device. If you have a few mobile phones from the same manufacturer, for example, then you should look for a charger that can work with all of your phones. You may also be able to find a charger that functions with multiple media player devices made by the same manufacturer, though one charger that works with devices from multiple manufacturers is often harder to find.

The way in which you want to charge your devices will also typically have an impact on the sort of universal USB charger you should use. Most chargers will be able to charge a device by connecting to its USB port and then plugging into a power outlet of some kind. You may be able to find a universal USB charger that can connect to multiple types of ports, which will provide you with functionality in multiple settings. A charger could be able to connect to a computer’s USB port and pass a charge from the computer into your device, and come with adapters that will turn the USB connector into a plug for either a wall outlet or a car lighter port. This would allow you to charge your device in nearly any setting.

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Discussion Comments


@Soulfox -- Even that is hard to estimate. For example, my smartphone will charge up a lot faster if I connect it to my powered USB hub than just my USB port on my computer. The external power source, I think, makes it possible to run more power through that USB cord and that leads to faster charging.

That's my theory, at least.


Keep in mind, too, that a USB charger will probably take longer to charge something than one hooked up to a wall outlet will. You just don't get as much "juice" with a USB charger, so plan accordingly.

In my experience. a USB charger can be as much as half as slow. That is no problem so long as you realize that up front and take steps to give your device enough time to receive a charge.

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    • A variety of USB charger cables.
      A variety of USB charger cables.