By profession, he is an IGCSE English Language Teacher, a teachers' trainer, and a creative writer.
Although it may seem simple, choosing the right USB Wall Charger can be difficult, especially when you have several types of devices to charge. Should you take an expensive USB charger? Or should we rather turn to the best? USB 2.0 or 3.0?
A USB wall charger or USB power adapter is a device for capturing and converting the energy from the mains socket. However, it is to convert into energy with the same density as the device. These chargers, therefore, make it possible to replace the charging of the devices via a USB port. Because a recharge carried out in this way can take a long time, mostly if the battery of your device was empty, while it will only take an average 2 hours on mains, and this for a full charge.
What Are the Different Types of USB Wall Chargers?
When considering wall chargers, there are two very distinct types:
- USB 2.0 chargers
- USB 3.0 chargers
USB 2.0 type chargers are the most common today. Besides, they are slowly giving way to the USB 3.0 standard (and higher). Regarding this type of charger, it works using four contact pins. The energy transfer is not optimized and, therefore, often slower. However, this type of charger is not compatible with USB 3.0.
USB 3.0 type chargers are much faster and more efficient than USB 2.0 sockets. It is because they allow energy savings. Furthermore, It has nine contact pins. And it should be noted that chargers under the USB 3.0 standard are backwards compatible with chargers under the USB 2.0 standard. It may give you an advantage over the latter type.
What Is USB Type A, USB Type B, And USB Type C?
We often hear about USB type A, B, and C, especially when talking about USB chargers. But what does that mean exactly?
USB Type-A is the most common. These are those flat, rectangular plugs, such as those found for plugs to insert into USB wall chargers or USB hubs. They are used to connect two peripherals and to transfer energy, or even data, between them.
USB type B, which plugs that are inserted into peripherals such as printers. They are square, but having two "sectioned" corners. They allow data transfer between two devices, such as a computer and a printer when printing, for example.
USB type C is the sockets inserted into your devices, smartphones, or tablets. The type C charger is multi-use. It means that this type of plug allows a transfer of both currents for charging. It also transfers data and videos, all in a speedy, secure, and reliable way.
What Are the Key Characteristics to Choose the Right USB Wall Charger?
The Number of USB Ports
The first thing to consider before looking at any other criteria is the number of USB ports you wish to have on the charger. There are two main types of USB chargers considering the number of ports:
- single socket
- multiple sockets.
Simple USB AC Outlet
As the name suggests, this is a USB charger with only one USB port, just like you might find on a Samsung charger. This type of charger is to recommend if you do not have a tablet or other device that requires charging via USB along with your smartphone. Or you think that you will not have to charge them at the same time.
USB Power Strip
The power strip, or multiple USB charger, is, as you will understand, an adapter with several USB ports, usually 2 or 4, although there are models up to 6 or 8 ports. This type of model is mainly suitable if you have several devices to charge regularly. Or for a family that wants to charge their devices together.
Compatibility and USB Standard Wall Charger
After deciding how many ports you need, ask yourself these questions: "Is this charger compatible with my devices or not?" And "Is this the right standard?"
Suppose you think that all USB power adapters are compatible with all devices of all brands. You missed it. While devices such as cameras or MP4s are no problem, you must know that smartphones, iPhones, and tablets of all kinds are demanding when it comes to USB chargers!
You're going to tell me, "Yes, but the charger is rated as universal online." A word of advice, in this case, check the manual! Some sellers describe their chargers as "universal" in the titles. But when looking at the specs and descriptions, you sometimes see phrases like "universal charger compatible with all devices except ...". So be careful!
But what exactly happens when you use an incompatible charger? At best, the charge will take prolonged hours for only around ten per cent. Or just not working at all, which is most likely the case. On the other hand, it is also possible that you encounter more severe problems, for example, damage to the battery, which would then be caused by this incompatibility.
As you have seen above, USB chargers work in standard 2.0 or 3.0. It is, therefore, essential to consider this criterion from the first moments. And to check the compatibility of your devices with these standards. Do not choose a USB 2.0 if your charger 3.0.
To prevent electric shock to you or your device, or even fire if overheated, chargers, like other devices, are tested by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL is, in fact, an organization that functions to evaluate various products. And UL proves whether they are indeed safe for the general public.
The UL certificate is given to all devices that have successfully passed the various tests. Besides, it met all the laboratory requirements. Therefore, we strongly advise you to choose a USB charger that has this certificate.
Note that UL laboratories continuously test devices, especially new versions of them. If these no longer meet the criteria and requirements, the UL certificate is immediately withdrawn to ensure as much safety as possible.
After checking that everything is up to standard, you can look at the amperage of the charger you are considering. The critical thing to remember here is that the intensity of the charger must be equal to or greater than that of the device you want to charge. The intensity you can find in the user manual. Or through a small internet search.
1A: The Phone Charger or The MP3 Charger
In general, a smartphone or an MP3 will require a charger with an intensity of 1A. However, some require higher powers. However, in this case, you will need either to take a charger of the brand, for example, a Samsung charger or an Apple charger. Or it would be best if you took a charger of 2A or more.
2A: The Tablet Charger or The Camera Charger
A charger of this type has an intensity of 2A. Or most often, 2.4A, the latter being most often intended for recharging tablet batteries. Or for fast charging of your smartphones. Also, you can even use it as a go pro charger or camera charger. Always respect the above rule concerning the equivalence or superiority of the intensity.
The Power of A USB Wall Charger
Expressed in Watts (W), the power of the charger is an important parameter to be able to charge several devices at the same time. The greater the power of the device, the more powerful it will be. Furthermore, it can quickly charge several devices at the same time.
Example: if you have a two-port USB charger with a total of 27W, and an identical one, but with a power of 32W, then be sure that your devices will charge better and much faster with the second.
Be careful not to try to compare two different chargers! If you have a 32W 2-port charger and a 32W 4-port charger, they are not as powerful as each other, since the power is distributed across all ports. We can, therefore, theoretically, consider that the 2-port USB charger will have a capacity of 16W per port, while the 4-port USB charger will have a power of the only 8W per port! So, pay close attention to this point.
Do Not Hesitate to Choose According To The Price!
Of course, do not forget to consider the price of the mains charger! Although the rule "the better quality and more ports you get, the higher the price" is often right, it is possible to find good deals, as with any device. Therefore, if you have two chargers with the same characteristics, but at two different prices, then do not hesitate to choose the less expensive one, provided that the quality of the materials does not suffer!
What Precautions Should I Take When Using A USB Wall Outlet?
It would be best if you took several precautionary measures to preserve to avoid any risk of an accident. Here are the main precautions to take:
Do Not Use in A Humid Place
Even if your charger is made with quality materials and resistant to moisture, still avoid using it in places with high humidity, such as a bathroom, for example. If you leave them in moisture, the USB plugs might oxidize. Thus, it may not work correctly.
Do Not Charge Your Devices Near Flammable Places
If your charger has problems or malfunctions, there is a risk that it catches fire. It may also get overheats. To avoid any accidents, be sure to avoid placing your device with the charger in a place free of flammable objects or surfaces.
Don't Charge Your Devices Overnight or When You're Away
It is advisable not to use a mains charger at night or when you are not at home near the charging device. It is because there is always a risk of overcharging, discharging, and even fire.
Also, leaving a device to charge overnight when you sleep will leave it plugged in for too long. Thus, it is a risk for damaging your battery and reducing its lifespan.
Avoid Dropping or Impacting the USB Wall Charger
Like any device, a mobile charger is fragile and sensitive to shocks. Furthermore, it means that you need to be careful when handling and carrying it.
If, however, you accidentally drop your phone or it has received shocks during transport, then you must check that the USB wall charger has not been damaged and continues to operate correctly.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Md Akbar Ali