What should you pay attention to in a car charger in 2022?
While cars get all kinds of upgrades to get smarter, many aspects are not yet standardized, such as built-in USB ports to connect your smartphone. If you have to use your phone for GPS directions or emergency calls, you don’t want to run out of power. A car charger that you can plug into your cigarette lighter port can keep your phone powered up on the go.
Even if you have a built-in USB port or Qi wireless charger in your car, your phone can take hours to charge. If you want to charge faster, a dedicated car charger can also help.
However, when choosing a car charger, keep a few things in mind to make sure you’re getting the best, rather than something worse than what you may already have.
It is always a good idea to buy a car charger with more than one USB port. Multi-port chargers are more economical and allow you to charge two or more devices at the same time. No more arguing about that one USB slot with passengers!
In addition, the fast charging protocols supported by a car charger can affect how fast it can charge your devices. For example, you’ll need a USB Power Delivery (USB PD) compatible car charger to quickly charge an iPhone or a charger that supports Programmable Power Supply (PPS) to bring Samsung’s flagship phones to top speeds. Look before you buy what you need.
The maximum wattage of your car charger is also important, especially if you want to charge laptops on the go. Some devices require more power to charge quickly, and unless a car charger can provide that power, your device will charge slowly or not at all. Check the power requirement of your smartphone or laptop and adjust it.
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s move on to our recommendations.
- Support USB PD, PPS, Fast Charging
- Type-C port can deliver up to 45W of power
- metal construction
The Elecjet 45W USB-C PD (PPS) Car Charger is our pick for the best general purpose car charger. It is feature-rich and comes with both USB Type-A and Type-C ports. This allows you to charge almost all smartphones and even other devices, such as power banks and laptops, with ease.
While the USB Type-C port works with the USB PD protocol, the Type-A port is compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge. In addition, you also get support for Programmable Power Supply (PPS) on the Type-C port, so you can quickly charge the Samsung Galaxy phones and Google Pixel 6 series.
Since the Type-C port can supply up to 45W of power, you can use laptops that support the USB PD protocol. Some popular laptops that support USB PD charging include Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, HP Specter 360, and Lenovo ThinkPad X1.
The build quality is solid and the metal construction of the charger ensures a long life. Elecjet also bundles a USB Type-C cable that can be charged quickly, so you can use the charger right out of the box.
It may be a little more expensive than other choices on this list, but Elecjet’s car charger is a great value for the price.
Best car charger overall
- 18W fast charging
- Two USB Type-C ports
- Three year warranty
- No USB Type-A ports
- No support for fast charging
While the Elecjet car charger’s feature set is worth the price tag, the Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8 is an excellent option if you want something inexpensive. It comes with two USB Type-C ports so you can charge two phones, earbuds or smartwatches at the same time.
Scosche also has support for USB PD, so if your smartphone supports the standard, it will get a full charge of 18W.
Although the PowerVolt has a plastic housing, the build quality is good. In addition, the company offers a three-year warranty on the charger, much longer than what charger manufacturers typically offer. If it manages to break, it’s easy to get a replacement.
Unfortunately, there is no USB Type-A port or Quick Charge support. If you need those two things, consider the PowerDrive III 2-Port 36W Alloy Charger from Anker. It features two USB Type-A ports, each supporting Quick Charge 3.0.
Best Budget Car Charger
Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8
Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8 is a great car charger for those on a budget. It has USB PD support and can deliver up to 18W of power.
- Support for USB PD and fast charging
- Each port delivers up to 30W of power
- Not suitable for charging laptops
If you often have multiple devices in your car to charge, the Baseus Multi Ports USB Car Charger is a must-have accessory. It features four USB ports: two Type-A and two Type-C. You get one Type-C port on the main charger, while the other three ports are on the end of an extension cable long enough to reach the back seat of most cars.
Because each of the ports on the Baseus charger can deliver up to 30 watts of power, you’ll have enough power to quickly charge most popular smartphones and tablets. In addition, the company has used aluminum alloy and polycarbonate in the construction of the charger, which makes it sturdy.
You’ll also be pleased to know that support is available for both Quick Charge and USB PD fast charging standards.
Since the Baseus charger reaches 30W, unfortunately you cannot charge your laptops. But in addition to telephones, it is also perfectly suitable for tablets, power banks, wireless earbuds and smartwatches.
- Up to 60W charging via Type-C port
- Two USB ports
- Available in two colors
- No support for fast charging
- No included USB cable
The Satechi Type-C PD car charger is a solid option if you want a higher wattage or faster charging. The USB Type-C port of the charger can supply up to 60W of power, which is enough to quickly charge almost all USB PD smartphones and various laptops. The company has also added a USB Type-A port which is useful for easily charging smartphones or topping up your mobile accessories.
The build quality of this charger is excellent and Satechi has used aluminum and polycarbonate in its construction. In addition, unlike other car chargers, which are often not offered in multiple colors, you can buy the Satechi Type-C PD car charger in two variants: silver with white accents and space gray with black accents.
No USB charging cable is included, so you’ll need to bring your own when you pick up this charger. Satechi recommends using the cord that came with your phone, but if you no longer have it, there are plenty of other options available.
- Multiple mounting options
- Automatic clamping arms
- Bundled Power Adapter
- Stability issues with extended neck
While wired chargers are great for speed, you can make charging easier with wireless chargers. For the best wireless car charger, we recommend the iOttie Auto Sense. It is a great charger that you can mount on the dashboard / windshield of your car. The company also offers variants for mounting in the cup holder or on the vent/CD slot.
The mountings are secure and the charger offers excellent flexibility in how much you can adjust it to your liking.
As the name suggests, the iOttie wireless charger comes with Auto Sense technology that allows it to detect when you place the phone and automatically close the arms to hold it securely. The company also bundles an optional reflective film that you can apply if the charger can’t detect your phone, which can happen with phones and cases with a black or matte finish.
In terms of charging options, it supports Qi wireless charging, and you get 7.5W charging on iPhones and up to 10W on Android smartphones. In addition, iOttie bundles the power supply with the charger, so you don’t have to purchase it separately.
Best wireless car charger
iOttie Auto Sense
With respectable loading speeds, automatic clamping arms and various mounting options, the iOttie Auto Sense is a no-brainer.