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How do I Choose the Best USB Car Charger?

Troy Holmes
Troy Holmes

With the expanded use of USB technology in computers and audio equipment, USB car chargers have become a hot commodity. These car chargers are designed to charge computers, music devices, and cell phones in the automobile. Selecting the best one typically depends on the budget and number of units that require charging.

Several types of USB car chargers can work with many types of electronic equipment. A single-port charger is a small device with only a single USB connection. Multiple USB port chargers are larger and can simultaneously connect to multiple devices.

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

Most 12-volt DC/AC power inverters also support USB connections. These special inverters enable the connectivity of standard plugs into an automobile 12-volt power system. Most inverters include USB connections, which provide connectivity of standard computer electronic devices into the plug.

A solar-powered USB car charger is another example of a portable charging unit. These are typically more expensive then a standard power plug charger but can charge equipment without draining the battery of the automobile. The solar panels spread across the dashboard and are connected with a USB port. These units typically can charge multiple devices.

A multiple-port charger is more expensive than a single-unit charger. These chargers include multiple input ports. Having this type of USB car charger provides more flexibly for people who use multiple devices while on the road.

USB car chargers can recharge cell phones.
USB car chargers can recharge cell phones.

The USB car charger typically connects to the internal power or cigarette lighter of an automobile. These devices are available in many designs but are relatively compact units that can be easily stored in a glove compartment. It may be necessary to purchase a USB charger made specifically for the device you want to charge, but this is typically unnecessary because generic models usually provide adequate charging capabilities.

Many smartphones can also be charged with a generic USB car charger. These phone chargers require a special adapter that converts the USB plug into a plug that matches the phone input jack. A USB charger is convenient because it can work with multiple phones.

Most modern cars feature USB ports in the audio system. This connection option is an additional power unit that is connected to the stereo system of the vehicle. Having a USB input lets the driver listen to portable music files through the automobile stereo system, which also charges the portable device.

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Discussion Comments


@Melonlity -- Good point, and that is why there is still a good market for those standalone USB car chargers.

Now, the question is how do you find a good one? Simple. Get one made by a company you have actually heard of or ask the guy down at your local cell phone store if you are looking for one for your phone.

Whatever you do, don't just pick up a cheap charger. Those things break.


If you want a USB charger, you might be careful about those ones built into car audio systems. Quite often, those are also used to sync music and the ones that do tha job automatically can get annoying. Every time you plug in your smartphone, tablet or other audio device the thing will flip over and start playing whatever music is on that device and interrupt what you might have going on the radio.

Also, every USB port I have ever seen on a car audio system charges quite slowly.

Considering all of that, you might want to think about going out and finding a USB car charger to plug directly into your car's power point.

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    • A variety of USB charger cables.
      A variety of USB charger cables.
    • USB car chargers can recharge cell phones.
      By: anderm
      USB car chargers can recharge cell phones.