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How do I Choose the Correct Travel Charger?

By S. Gonzales
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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A travel charger is a device that allows users to replenish the battery power in an electronic device. When consumers speak about travel chargers, they usually are referring to portable chargers that can recharge their mobile phones, but travel chargers also can recharge other electronic devices such as a digital camera or a personal digital assistant (PDA). When choosing a travel charger, one should consider compatibility, functionality and any special features desired.

Compatibility should be addressed first when looking for a travel charger. Consumers should identify the manufacturers and models of their devices so that they can find a travel charger that works with them. Not all travel chargers are universal and can be used for multiple different devices. In fact, using model-specific chargers for other models is not recommended. Many cell phone manufacturers warn against using noncompatible chargers to charge phones because of fire hazards or other dangers.

Those interested in a travel charger might look for specific features. For example, some consumers might choose to buy chargers that have Universal Serial Bus (USB) connections so that devices that use USB, such as a digital camera, PDA or cell phone, can be charged through a USB port. Consumers might also look for travel chargers with a charging status feature, which allow the user to monitor the device's charge and be notified when the charge has completed. This can spare the user from overcharging a device and potentially damaging its battery.

Consumers might also consider buying a travel charger capable of charging multiple devices at one time. These charges usually come with a single power cord attached to adapters that can be changed out to correspond with the device's manufacturer and model. This means that different types of cell phones, PDAs, headsets and other devices can be charged on one hub. In addition, these travel chargers are typically compatible with foreign adapter wall plugs. Along with significantly reducing the amount of hardware that a consumer needs, choosing one of these travel chargers can save a consumer money because a separate charger won't have to be purchased for each device he or she owns.

As when buying any other electronic device, it's best to verify the functionality of the travel charger before making a purchase. If a user is interested in purchasing a secondhand travel charger, he or she should inspect the charger to ensure that the wires are in good condition and that there is no damage to it. Purchasing a charger that is damaged can result in the charger malfunctioning and could put the owner's device and safety at risk.

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Discussion Comments
By indigomoth — On Nov 14, 2013

I quite like my travel solar charger. It's not much good for a laptop or anything large, but it's better than nothing and it charges my phone surprisingly quickly on a sunny day. It clips to my backpack so I don't even have to worry about leaving it somewhere where someone might steal it.

That's the thing that always gets me. It's so difficult to find a way to charge a device without someone stealing it when you're staying in hostels. You basically have to babysit it until it's ready and that takes forever. Not the kind of thing I want to be doing on my trip.

By browncoat — On Nov 14, 2013

@umbra21 - These days I think it's easier to just use devices that can be charged by USB and then get a USB travel charger that can plug into the wall. That way you can charge your device by plugging it into a laptop or you can charge it by plugging it into the wall.

I think you can get USB car travel chargers as well, but I don't usually travel by car so I've never looked for one of those.

By umbra21 — On Nov 13, 2013

Something I've always found useful is to get a travel charger with a transformer that will link up with a wall plug. That way you just have to buy a new wall plug in different countries and not have to worry about voltage or anything like that.

The wall plugs tend to be fairly cheap as well, but the trouble is finding the charger that will fit your device.

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