The Best Cigarette Lighter Splitters (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Make your travels easier and run all your tech with these cigarette lighter splitters
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON February 19, 2021
Americans are driving more every year, setting records for miles driven each of the last three years. As we traverse the nation’s surface streets and highways, often that means a slew of electronics are part of those trips. If you have a cell phone or GPS navigation system, you’ve already discovered that you may have more devices than you have 12-volt charging points to power them. If you have teenagers in the car, you’re going to need to find a way to charge up all of those smartphones. Fortunately, providing power for all of the electric stuff that allows us to talk to others or find that specialty shop or watch movies can be done from one cigarette lighter outlet by using a splitter. A splitter permits two people or more to charge or power their devices at one time. To help make your next car ride easier, we’ve listed the best cigarette lighter splitters on the market, along with some tips on finding the right fit.
Offering seven different powering ports, this device can optimize the function of your 12-volt outlet.
- Lets you charge via USB and 12/24-volt ports
- You can run multiple devices at the same time
- Includes safety features to prevent damage
- Small size and somewhat awkward structure
- Won’t fit well into a cupholder, meaning it requires the use of the full cord
Featuring a sleek design, this small lighter splitter lets you power three devices at any given time.
- Comes at an affordable price
- Compact and easy to use
- Powers via USB and 12-volt ports
- Includes overcharge safeguards
Only has three outlets after splitting
Two USB outlets are close together, which could result in overheating
With a modern design and compact structure, this lighter splitter gives you two 12-volt ports and two USB outlets.
- Includes LCD screen highlighting battery status
- Flexible design to optimize reach
- Protected against overheating and overcharging devices
- Can be difficult to repair
- If one part of the splitter fails, the rest will stop working
- Bending part subject to wear and tear.
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Cigarette Lighter Splitters
- More convenience. Especially for older vehicles that don’t have a USB outlet, splitters make driving a lot easier. It lets you run multiple pieces of tech simultaneously, usually including devices powered by both USB and 12-volt systems.
- Function as an emergency supply. A splitter can enable you to use heavy-duty devices while you are out on the road. You can use this to fill a tire if you break down unexpectedly. The ability to use your tech (particularly communication devices) is essential to safety.
- Keep devices charged. Not having to choose between a charged tablet, cell phone, and laptop means that all your devices will stay functional throughout the ride. It limits worries related to dead phones and missed directions since everything stays operational thanks to easy charging.
- Make travel more enjoyable. If you’re traveling with kids, a splitter can help you power entertainment for the back-seat passengers. Instead of having to remove another device from the charger, everyone can access the power they need.
- Improve vehicle function. Cigarette splitters are relatively simple pieces of tech though they can overhaul the function of your vehicle. It’s a small investment with a payoff in convenience and security.
Types of Cigarette Lighter Splitters
Representing the most traditional type of cigarette lighter splitters, these far predate USB technology. Essentially, it consists of the main plug that goes into the 12-volt port. From there, it will either feed to the main structure or break into wires. You can find 12-volt splitters with several attachment points or those with only two. Usually, while fairly basic, this tech is very durable and will last for a long time.
As technology adapts, lighter splitters have adapted with it. With the introduction of USB tech onto the market (and most of our devices requiring a port to charge), lighter splitters have begun to include USB outlets. This type works the same way as a 12-volt splitter, though instead of feeding to multiple 12-volt ports, it leads to a structure with multiple USB ports for charging.
Perhaps the most common type of cigarette lighter splitters, the hybrid refers to a splitter with both USB and 12-volt ports. With these, there will be a central plug that attaches to the 12-volt port that spreads the current over multiple devices. The main structure (where the USB and 12-volt ports are) will either be connected directly or fed by a wire.
Opening its doors in 2012, Otium continues to focus on creating cutting-edge electronics and accessories. Expanding into the international market, this business continues to supply everything from cell phone chargers to lighter splitters. One of its top offerings is the Otium USB C Car Charger Lighter Splitter.
With its beginnings dating back to 2011, Yantu keeps a focus on providing electronic supplies for vehicle operators. The business operates internationally with a focus on tire inflators and vacuums that are compatible with vehicle electronic systems. A leading selection is the Yantu Cigarette Lighter Adapter Splitter.
A manufacturing company based in Paris, France, Bes Tek engineers and supplies advanced circuitry for the tech industry. It offers everything from prototype support to automotive supplies to its global customers. Among its top products is the BesTek Cigarette Lighter Splitter.
Cigarette Lighter Splitter Pricing
- Under $10: In this range, you can find cigarette lighter splitters that are either 12-volt exclusively or have very few additional ports.
- Between $10 and $20: Most splitters fall into this price range, so you can find everything from a hybrid to a traditional 12-volt splitter.
- $20 and up: In this price range, you can find high-end splitters with multiple outlets (usually seven). These will support both USB and 12-volt systems.
Perhaps the most critical feature of any cigarette lighter splitter is the part that plugs into your vehicle’s built-in adapter. Most of these designs are fairly standardized across the industry (for both the outlets and the plugs). This part is sometimes able to move, letting you angle the cords in multiple directions. Proper care of this component is necessary for optimal performance.
Another feature essential to the functionality of the cigarette lighter splitter is the outlets. The plug relays the electrical current through to these outlets where you place your devices. In most cases, the splitter will have both 12-volt and USB options. There are options with multiple outlets (which are generally more convenient though less efficient) and those with few which offer charge quickly.
The final feature of this electrical accessory is the safeguards. This includes the hardware and insulation used to prevent overheating. It also includes fuses that will trip in the event of a surge and protect your devices. It’s important for there to be controls for excessive amperage and voltage. Often, these will pair with an indicator that keeps you apprised of your vehicle’s battery and what it’s supplying.
- Fit. When you go to purchase any vehicle accessory, an important step is to ensure compatibility. This applies to both your vehicle and the devices you plan to use with it. Consider if you will be able to plug in the desired amount of devices without encountering any issues with the electrical capacity.
- Design. This refers to the structure of the splitter itself. Are you looking for something compact that will stay out of your way? Or do you want something bigger that can handle a bit of wear and tear from multiple passengers using it? These will tell you whether you want something large or something basic.
- Type. Think about what you plan to run using the splitter. Is it a power tool? Are you going to use it for your GPS? It could be for phone chargers or heated seat covers or as an emergency supply to run your power inverter. Make sure that it will be able to handle the demand and is compatible with the plug-in on your other accessories. Hybrids are usually a safe bet since they have both 12-volt and USB ports.
- Maintenance. Everything needs some upkeep, and cigarette lighter splitters are no different. Usually, all the device needs are to be stored properly and dusted occasionally. Blasting the ports with compressed air helps in most cases, though each model will have slightly different needs.
- Durability. Finally, consider how long it is going to have to last. Simply because of the increased demand and added wear and tear, options with more outlets tend to break down sooner (though offer more performance value). Balance the need for outlets against the amount of time you’ll need it for.
Best Cigarette Lighter Splitters Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Care and Maintenance of Cigarette Lighter Splitters
To get the most value out of your cigarette lighter splitter, be sure to keep it in good condition. With these accessories, it’s pretty simple to keep everything in working order. Simply store it properly, don’t get it wet, and prevent damage to the plug and the outlet. Be careful when plugging in devices (and when removing them) and it should keep working over the long term. There are some other steps you can take, too.
- Keep an extra fuse close by in case you need to swap one out (most splitters come with a spare).
- Dust the outlets occasionally using an aerosol container of compressed air.
- Store the splitter away from moisture to prevent rust and corrosion.
- Unplug your devices carefully after use to keep the port working well on your USB car charger.
- When in use, keep the splitter in the proper position to prevent overheating and damage.
- Keep a cigarette lighter splitter with your emergency supplies.
- When it isn’t in use, unplug your cigarette lighter splitter and put it away.
- Keep debris out of the outlets to prevent damage to the electricals.
- Avoid pulling on the wire to avoid issues with the wires.
- Ensure that the splitter is kept in a well-ventilated position.
- Use the minimum possible amount of devices at any given time.
- Give the splitter a break if you’re taking a long drive to let it cool down.
- Remember to unplug your splitter to prevent issues with your car battery.
Q: What is the best cigarette lighter splitter?
The best cigarette lighter splitter is one that fits easily into your vehicle and is compatible with all your devices. A popular option is the BESTEK 3-Socket 200W 12V/24V DC Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter since you can use it for all sorts of tech. It’s durable and functions intuitively.
Q: Are cigarette lighter splitters safe?
So long as the splitter has the necessary safeguards against overheating and surges, yes, they are safe to use. It’s important not to overload them and to ensure proper ventilation. As long as you keep it in good condition, it’s a safe thing to have in the vehicle.
Q: How much power can a cigarette lighter splitter handle?
The amount of power these devices can handle varies based on the model. Some can handle up to 200 watts while with others it is substantially less. Most are powerful enough to run a 12-volt cooler and charge your phone at the same time.
Now that you’re familiar with the nuances of cigarette lighter splitters, you can make your pick. It could be the BESTEK 3-Socket 200W 12V/24V DC Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter or the value of the UGREEN Car Charger Adapter. There’s a splitter for every situation.