Best USB Car Chargers: Stay Charged Wherever You Go
Our top picks for the best USB car charger for your devices
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PUBLISHED ON April 2, 2019
Did you know that the average American spends 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year? That’s about 293 hours of driving. If you are driving that long, you’ll need a reliable car phone charger adapter to keep your mobile devices running. In the information age, a missed call is just as bad as a missed opportunity. Fortunately for you, the best USB car chargers combine stylish looks and an affordable price tag with dependable functionality.
- Best OverallAnker PowerDrive 2 Elite 24WSummarySummaryLightweight, 2.4 amps per port, out-of-the-way design car USB adapter with advanced PowerIQ Technology.ProsPros
Compact design pushing 2.4 amps per port. Capable of charging two devices simultaneously.
CE- and FCC-approved.
MultiProtect Safety System safeguards your device from surges.ConsCons
Does not have enough wattage to charge larger devices like laptops.
Does not come with a cord. Pricey.
- Best ValueRavPower 24W 4.8ASummarySummaryAn affordable, tiny, solid-build USB car charger that is compatible with all USB-powered devices. It is designed with quick-charge capabilities.ProsPros
Small compact design. 2.4 amps per port. Smart-charge technology.
Affordable 18-month warranty.ConsConsNot compatible with quick-charge 2.0/3.0 devices. Two ports might not be enough for some users.
- Honorable MentionScosche ReVolt Compact Dual Port USB ChargerSummarySummaryCompact design supports two USB 2.4A (12W) power that offers enough juice to charge two full-sized tablets at once. This device has a sleek build and a variety of colors to choose from.ProsProsSleek design. Variety of color choices to match the trim. Relatively inexpensive.ConsConsMight be better with more ports. Tiny build.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of a USB Car Charger
- No more dropped calls. Using a cellphone car charger regularly create the habit of charging your smartphone whenever you get into your vehicle. This is an ideal time to charge up your phone’s battery, making sure it doesn’t run out of juice during the day. Ultimately, this means fewer embarrassing dropped calls due to a dead battery.
- Stay ahead of your schedule. If you have a nine-to-five job, you may spend quite a few hours a week traveling to and from work, not forgetting the occasional out of town trips. Getting the best USB charger is advantageous—you will stay ahead of your schedule without getting disconnected.
- Charge more than one device. Depending on the mobile devices or type of phone you own, there are a variety of USB car chargers available. Nonetheless, a universal car phone charger will allow you to charge many different devices with a single car charger. Having a car USB charger with multiple ports will save you additional time charging multiple devices at once.
- Charge while traveling. When traveling on the road, you don’t necessarily have access to your home sockets. Purchasing a USB car charger adapter is the best alternative. This device will keep your smartphone, as well as other mobile devices, stocked up on power while you are on the road.
Types of USB Car Charger
The wired car USB charger is an older format that dates back to the early cell phones. Since most people didn’t need many devices in the past, the charged only need to cover a single phone. Therefore, the chargers were wired and simply ran from your cell phone to your car’s accessory port.
Unwired USB car chargers are a modern version of the USB car charger adapter, and they make up a bulk of the USB car chargers available on the market today. The unwired USB car chargers are popular due to their versatility. They can connect to a variety of electrical devices and charge them all at the same time.
Multiport USB Car Chargers
Traditional USB car chargers had a single port. A multiport USB car charger has the capability of charging up to four different devices at the same time. Using smart-charging technology, they can guarantee that all devices docked on the charger are charging at their maximum speed.
Anker is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. It was founded in 2011 by a former Google software engineer. The company develops its products using proprietary PowerIQ technology that (according to the company) can detect connected devices, automatically optimizing the electric current delivered to charge it faster. Apart from mobile phone accessories, the company also develops smart home appliances, portable speakers, headphones, video projectors, and other car accessories. Its most popular product is the Anker PowerDrive 2 Elite 24W.
Scosche is a US-based electronics and car audio product company founded in 1980. The company began as a consulting business in a residential garage in Southern California. The company offers dash kits, antennas, tools, amplifiers, harnesses, speaker enclosures, subwoofers, Bluetooth speakers, installation accessories, and mobile accessories. One of its popular products is the Scosche ReVolt Compact Dual Port USB Charger.
RAVPower is a US-based consumer electronics brand founded in 2011. The Chinese company, Sunvalleytek, owns RAVPower. The consumer electronics company primarily focuses on manufacturing battery chargers, solar chargers, power banks, cellphone and laptop accessories, and batteries. One of its popular products is the RavPower 24W 4.8A.
USB Car Charger Pricing
- Under $10: There are a variety of USB car chargers available at this price. The devices in this price range only have basic functionality, with most having a dual port. They are very popular due to their decent performance and low price.
- Under $10-$20: The best USB car chargers are available in this price range. These chargers will have extra ports for multiple devices, with a strong design for durability.
- Over $20: There aren’t too many USB chargers in this price range. However, the few that exist have a quality build and additional features such as smart-charging technology, extra ports, and a solid design.
The amperage of a car USB charger is the amount of electric current it uses to charge mobile devices. Therefore, the higher the amperage of a USB car charger, the more powerful it is. Most mobile devices like Android tablets and iPads only need one amp to charge at normal speeds. An iPhone, on the other hand, needs about 2.1 amps for efficient charging. Keep this in mind when shopping. If you are looking for the best USB car charger, you’ll want to look for something with 4.8 amps. This means each USB port provides 2.4 amps, which is more than enough to charge two iPads simultaneously.
It's important to shop for a USB car charger that can support all of your devices. For instance, if you have more than two devices, look for a USB charger with more than one port. Also, check on the specifications of the USB ports. Advanced USB chargers have a slightly higher specification. Depending on the specification, your charger might be able to charge faster or accommodate several smart devices safely at the same time.
- Charging Cable: If you’ve owned a few mobile devices, then you understand that cables are prone to failure. The best USB car charger does not have a permanently-attached cable for convenience and flexibility. USB car charger adapters that have cables are not advantageous. When the cable malfunctions, you will have to repurchase the entire device. Consider getting a charger without a permanent cable that you can easily replace when it fails.
- Compatibility: There’s nothing that will turn your lights off like buying a USB car charger that is not compatible with your phone. When shopping for a car charger for your mobile devices, make sure that you check the specifications of your preferred charger beforehand. Also, make sure it supports your car’s cigarette lighter port.
- Fast-Charging Capabilities: While all USB chargers supply an adequate amount of power to your devices, you can shop for one that is more powerful and efficient. Fast-charging car adapters have the capability of charging your mobile devices with more efficiency than an ordinary charger. Before purchasing a USB charger for your car, check the output specification and select the right one for your smart device. An inefficient charger might not be able to charge your device quickly or as required.
Best USB Car Charger Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Anker PowerDrive 2 Elite 24W
There are a few simple reasons why the Anker PowerDrive 2 takes the top spot as the best car charger. First, it’s FCC- and CE-approved. It also combines all the goodness you’d want in a USB car charger into one device. Here’s why: The PowerDrive 2 is a 4.8 amp Dual USB car charger producing 2.4 amps on each port.
The charger has a PowerIQ feature that helps it manage the power load on docked devices. This feature helps it funnel power to the desired port, making it something of a fast charger. It's also compatible with a host of devices including Apple, Android smartphones, and nearly every device that allows USB charging.
Any drawbacks? Well, considering its superior qualities and price tag, it's a big let down that this car USB charger does not support Qualcomm fast charging. Also, since it doesn't come with a cord, you’ll have to spend more getting one, adding to its high price tag.
Best Value: RavPower 24W 4.8A
There’s a reason why we ranked this charger as the best budget USB car charger. It's affordable, durable, and compatible with a variety of devices. RavPower claims that this device is the smallest USB charger currently on the market. For a device that weighs less than half an ounce, it's hard to contest the fact.
Apart from being tiny, the RAVPower 24W Dual USB boasts a variety of impressive features. A big advantage is its 2.4 amp charging ports. The charger runs on iSmart 2.0 charging technology. This feature learns and adapts to the amp output to better match the device being charged. Remember, not all the devices you use will need 2.4 amps of power.
One of its drawbacks is that it’s not the best charger to get if you have a high-end or quick-charge 3.0 compatible device; this charger is somewhat slow. It’s also not a good idea to use apps such as Google or Apple Maps while using the charger since the power draw will be greater than normal and may cause issues.
Honorable Mention: Scosche ReVolt Compact Dual Port USB Charger
The Scosche ReVolt is a compact dual-port USB charger with the capability of supporting two 2.4-amp full-sized tablet devices at once. Due to its high output, you will enjoy a slightly faster charging experience compared to a normal car charger. This device is easy to use at night, thanks to its integrated LED lighting.
The charger is small with a stylish design that is aesthetically pleasing. It's available in four different colors, including black, gold, gray, and silver. While it's optimized for Apple mobile devices, this charger also supports a host of other devices. With 24 watts of total power output, the Scosche car charger can charge two iPads simultaneously at full charging speed.
Does the Scosche USB car charger have any limitations? Well, It’s pretty tiny, which is a good thing and a bad thing. Its size offers a great fit in most cars but can be a nightmare to find in case it falls off. Due to its size, it can sometimes loosen while driving on rough roads, disconnecting your device in the process.
- Avoid draining your car battery. Make sure you unplug your charger from the cigarette lighter port when the engine is not running. Leaving your USB car charger plugged in may drain your car battery, depleting its power when the engine is shut off.
- Ensure your devices are compatible with the charger. When purchasing a car charger, make sure it supports all your mobile devices. Although most car charging adapters are compatible with the universal USB charger specification, some of them might have been manufactured before the standards were set.
- If your device is low on power, switch it off once you plug it into your car charger. Turning it off helps to reduce the rate of power consumption, increasing its charging rate significantly.
- Store your charger when not in use. Leaving your charger plugged in full time exposes it to dust, liquids, and wear and tear. Leaving your charger and cables hanging also makes your accessory area clustered and untidy.
Q: Are USB car chargers water-resistant?
A: Most USB car chargers are not built with water-resistant features. Therefore, it’s best to keep them away from water or, better yet, store them when not in use.
Q: Will a bad charger affect my phone?
A: Yes. A bad charger may deliver more power to your device than needed, affecting its battery. To be on the safe side, shop for a charger with surge protection.
Q: Can I charge my devices with my car engine off?
A: Yes, you can, but it’s not recommended. Charging your devices with your engine off will drain your car battery, leading to a no-start situation. If you are charging your phone and decide to make a pit stop, unplug your car charger. You could also invest in a smart car charger that stops when your devices are fully charged.
Our top product for the best USB car charger is the Anker PowerDrive 2 Elite 24W USB car charger. It has a 4.8 amp dual-power capacity. It’s also compatible with a host of portable devices.
In case you are looking for something more affordable, consider the RavPower 24W 4.8A.