Best Car Chargers USB Adapters to keep your phone charged in UK 2020

by Samir Raj on March 16, 2020

Vibe Car Chargers

The Best USB, UBS-C, and iPhone chargers for your car.Best USB car chargers for your phone.

This Vibe Car Charger is suitable for most units, making it ideal for a back-up or replacement of an original charger. Alternatively it would be suitable to be kept in a second vehicle for when you decide to switch cars in a hurry.

What Is a Car Charger?

Car chargers have been around for quite a while now, so most people are familiar with what they are. For those who aren't, however, car chargers are devices that are used to provide charging power to a mobile device in a car while driving. USB car charger is a small gadget that plugs into vehicle's cigarette lighter, and provides one or more powered USB sockets. You can choose from single USB socket or two or more sockets. It will allow you to charge more than one device at the same time.This allows for the constant use of mobile devices without the need for worrying about the device running out of battery power.

Car chargers work by plugging into a car's cigarette lighter socket, which actually outputs a large amount of electrical power. As almost all cars contain such a socket, this allows for the ability to power or charge a device in almost any car. The device simply plugs into the cigarette lighter socket and is ready to use. The power used by the device is actually drawn from the car's electrical system instead of directly from the car's battery, which means that using the socket for such a purpose will not drain your car's battery.

These small but powerful converters provide a source of stabilized low voltage suitable for running many different items of equipment. Their output is atomically isolated from the system ground and constant current limited. Continuous operation in current limit is allowed making them suitable for battery charging providing charge time is controlled. Connection to the battery is by a plug with a flying lead, that fits a standard cigar lighter socket, and output is by flying lead terminated in a popular 2.5mm concentric plug, The converters are mainly designed for use with notebook computers that have two wire input. These converters are current limited above a certain level of demand. The output isolation of the converter from system ensures that earth currents do not flow.

As the cigarette lighter socket is generally used by a myriad of different devices meant for cars, such as radar detectors and GPS navigation devices, many car chargers will include more than one power output to allow for using more than one device through the socket. This, however, will depend entirely on the model of car charger that is purchased.

Charge on the go at Warp speed : Don’t let low power slow down your journey. The Car Charger offers the same power as the Power Adapter, getting you ready to go in just 20 minutes.

Always ready on the road : The Car Charger will fill almost half of your One Plus 7 Pro’s battery in just 20 minutes, making sure you’re always ready for the day ahead.

Beautifully designed to go miles and miles : With a low-key gray matte finish and premium build, the Car Charger is designed to enhance the interior of any vehicle.
Add some light to your day or night : An illuminated ring of red light on the Car Charger, inspired by vehicle rear lights, is a simple touch that will brighten up every journey.
Made with safety in mind : Thanks to its smart chip-set and variable voltage capability, the Car Charger can be used safely with any One-plus (or other) smartphone. Multiple safety mechanisms mean you can plug in and drive without any worries.

 

Vibe Car Chargers : 

  • Compatible with most units on the market
  • Ieal as replacement or spare
  • Plugs straight into vehicle cigarette lighter

Keep your smartphone powered on the go.

There are plenty of options for keeping your phone or tablet charged while on the go. We’ve already taken a look at portable USB battery packs, as well as the USB-C variety. Now were ready to take a look at car chargers.

These small devices don’t differ from each other all that much. Some have an indicator light, others have illuminated ports. Some feature Quick Charge for devices that support it, others don’t. One attribute they all share, however, is two USB ports—i.e., the days of the single-port car charger are long over. 

USB charging ports and Bluetooth are quickly becoming par for the course on most new cars, but step back in time just a few years and it’s a very different story. Less than a decade ago, these were optional extras on many vehicles, yet today’s dependence on smartphones - for music and navigation primarily - makes the lack of USB and Bluetooth feel like you’ve bought a car from the middle of the 20th century.

But fear not, as the humble 12V socket - also known as the cigarette lighter socket - can come to the rescue. There are a huge range of devices which slot into the 12V socket, which is often conveniently located somewhere between the front two seats, to power your smartphone, dash cam and sat-nav, and even give your car Bluetooth connectivity via the radio.

These devices are often very cheap - as in, less than £10 in many cases - and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors to help them fit in neatly and complement the interior of your car.

HOW TO BUY THE BEST CAR CHARGER?

There are a few key questions you must ask yourself before buying any of these products. Firstly, will they fit in your car, and once in place will it be easily accessible? Most cars locate their 12V socket somewhere obvious between the front seats, and some even offer a second socket in the back.

But some are tucked away, hidden from view, or located close to a piece of interior which could obstruct anything you plan to plug into them. Some cars even locate the 12V socket deep in the front passenger footwear, out of sight and almost out of reach; great for subtly installing a dash cam, but not so helpful when trying to charge your phone.

Next you’ll want to decide if the charger will be left in place all the time, or removed after each journey, and whether it will complement the aesthetics of your car. Thankfully, many of these products come in a variety of colors to help out with that last point.

You should be aware that the charging capabilities of these products depends on how many devices are plugged into them, and you should avoid leaving devices - especially larger ones like iPad's - charging while parked, as they could drain the battery.

Connection

Input: The converter just plugs into the vehicle via its cigar lighter socket, using cable mounted plug provided. Do not leave the converter plugged in when not in use. It will still slowly discharge the vehicle battery.

Output: The output connector, with centre positive, plugs into equipment if suitable. If the output connector is not appropriate, a different one may be fitted after cutting off the existing one. the output cable has a brown positive wire and blue negative wire.

Battery Drain

These converters draw about 1 amp from the battery for every 10 watts of actual load applied. Start your car periodically for 15 minutes to boost the battery is you use anything for a long time.

3 Port USB Car Charger - Vibe

How we tested

Determining whether a car charger lives up to its promise entails more than connecting it to a phone and charging. Testing requires special equipment to measure output and verify stated performance claims.

  1. Testing began by plugging each car charger into the same port in a car.
  2. Then a  Vibe USB Power Monitor was plugged into a given car charger, with a USB-A-to-USB-C or Apple Lightning connecting the USB Power Monitor to either a Samsung Galaxy S8 or an iPhone X. With the display off on each phone, we monitored the charger’s output.

The allows us to see the volts and amps output of a car charger. We repeated the test for each port on a car charger and recorded the results.

What to look for in a car charger

Without fancy testing equipment, it can be hard to gauge whether you’re getting what you paid for. Vendors, especially in Amazon, E bay  listings, like to throw around a lot of terms and certifications. For those with a Quick Charge 2.0-, 3.0-, or PD-compatible device, make sure the car charger is certified for that spec. This can make a big difference in the time it takes to charge your device.

And if you’re just driving across town, the faster your phone charges, the better. If you own a QC 2.0 device, however, ask yourself if paying extra for a QC 3.0-capable charger is worth it.

Vibe Car Charger

I’ve reviewed car chargers for Wire cutter since 2014, monitoring every noteworthy new charger. Additionally, I’ve tested hundreds of other charging accessories, researching and writing our guides to USB wall chargers, USB-C laptop chargers, and USB-C accessories, among others. Previously, for three years I was the accessories editor , where I reviewed more than 1,000 products, including numerous charging options.

Because USB-C can be dangerous business, Car Chargers and cables can fry innocent phones and laptops, I’ve also used specialized testing hardware to ensure the safety and reliability of every charger we’ve considered for this guide. This step allows us to definitively say that our picks work exactly as advertised, putting out the right levels of power and adhering to safety standards.

Even if your car has a USB port for integrating music playback and phone calls with your car stereo, and even if that port can charge your phone. That’s because the built-in USB ports in most cars put out only 5 watts, which isn’t enough to charge a tablet or even newer smartphones at full speed. If you’re running an app like Ware or Google Maps, your car’s USB port may not charge your phone faster than your phone uses power, so you can end up at your destination with the same battery level on your phone as when you got into the car. Good USB-A chargers can charge more than twice as fast (12 watts), and the latest USB-C chargers can charge modern smartphones at up to 18 watts as long as you use a cable that plugs into the smaller port instead of the USB-A cable that probably came with your device.

Even if your car’s USB port does offer higher-speed charging, most cars have only one port. All of our picks let you charge two or more devices from a single accessory outlet—something your family and friends will appreciate.

Newer USB-C ports can charge phones, tablets, and even laptops much faster than the USB-A ports included in new cars or less-expensive chargers.

However, if you recently bought a multi-port USB charger that provides at least 2 amps from each of its ports (look for the “output” listing in the small print on the body of the charger), you have less reason to upgrade. Although you’d be able to charge some devices slightly faster with our top picks, the difference wouldn’t be big enough for you to spend more money on a new model right now.

You can find hundreds of USB car chargers that plug into your car’s accessory-power jack. Over the past few years, these models have become significantly smaller, more powerful, and less expensive—just like USB wall chargers. But most of the car chargers available aren’t even worth considering because they don’t have enough power to simultaneously charge two devices at faster speeds, something even very inexpensive models can now do. These days, a good USB charger for the car should offer the following:

  • At least two USB ports: The cost and space savings of a single-port charger aren’t significant enough to justify the limited output. It’s almost always a better value to choose a charger with two or more ports, whether those ports be USB-A, USB-C, or a combination of the two.
  •  USB-C ports with 18- to 45-watt output: A USB-C port will charge most modern phones faster than a USB-A port will (if you’re using the right cable), and can even charge tablets and laptops. Phones that support USB Power Delivery (USB PD)—the standard that allows for fast charging over USB-C—generally draw up to 18 watts, while larger devices can take 45 watts or more. But your device will pull only as much power as it’s rated for, so there’s no safety concern about your phone being damaged or overheating when you’re using a more-powerful charger.
  • USB-A ports with 12-watt or Quick Charge 3.0 output: There’s no reason to choose a charger with USB-A ports slower than 12 watts (5 volts, 2.4 amps), because they’re not much less expensive and they offer slower charging to Apple and Android devices.
  • A detachable USB cable: A permanently attached USB cable is limiting because you can’t swap out the cable (to use, say, a Micro-USB, Lightning-to-USB, or USB-C–to–USB-C cable) to charge different kinds of devices, attach a longer cable, or have any other control over what kind of connections you use. Just as important, if a built-in cable fails, you have to replace the entire package, charger and all.
  • Good power-to-dollar value: We added up the total power across each charger’s ports and divided by the price to determine the value. This step let us rule out unnecessarily expensive models. Ranges varied from 1.2 watts per dollar at the most expensive to around 4 watts per dollar as the best value.
  • USB-IF certification: Although this was not a requirement, we gave higher credence to chargers that have been certified by the USB Implemented Forum (PDF), which means they have passed the USB-IF Compliance Program and have been tested for safety.

For our latest update, we tested another 20 chargers, including some with only USB-A ports, some with just USB-C ports, and some with both. To find the top options in each category, we put the finalists through a number of tests.

  • Chargers with USB-C ports: USB-C uses digital communication between devices to verify charging speeds in a way that USB-A doesn’t; with the right tools, you can interpret exactly what’s going on in the communication between the charger and the device you’ve plugged in. We used the Total Phase USB Power Delivery Analyzer and its Data Center Software to measure and record this data, including the advertised power profiles, the steady state output, and whether any errors occurred in charging.
  • Chargers with USB-A ports: We tested the maximum power draw from each port by plugging in a variable power load and an ammeter. This setup allowed us to finely control the power flow and determine whether it matched the advertised rate. We started with the power load set to 0 amps and then turned it up until it matched the promised amperage, ensuring the voltage stayed between 4.75 volts and 5.25 volts. Then we repeated that test on each charger’s other ports, confirming that every port behaved as expected and that, combined, they matched the right output.
  • Combined power output: After testing each individual port, we tested the combined output when each was pushed to the maximum. The best chargers support their fastest rates on each port at the same time, with added devices slowing nothing down.

 For a few Pounds, a good USB car charger can charge your phone and other devices faster than the port that came in your car. After testing more than 60 models, we think the best car charger is the dual-port. You can fast-charge phones, tablets, and laptops from its USB-C port, and simultaneously charge a second phone on its USB-A port. No other charger offers as much power for a better price.

Compared with the familiar USB-A port, the smaller USB-C port can charge most modern phones faster (if you’re using the right cable) and can even charge tablets and laptops provides the best of both worlds.

Yes, some chargers are so small, they’re hard to remove from a car’s outlet when you need to. Although in our evaluation we paid attention to each charger’s size and fit in a car’s dashboard, we concluded that the smallest car charger isn’t always the best choice.

When you’re using a the charger’s USB-C port can charge an iPhone about three times faster (at 18 watts) than the USB-A wall charger that comes in the box from Apple; your phone can charge from empty to roughly 50 percent in just half an hour while you’re sitting in traffic, say, or running errands around town.

This Vibe charger’s 45-watt output and included USB-C–to–C cable also support the maximum charge rate on Android phones (such as the Samsung Galaxy S10), the 2018 iPad Pro, and even many laptops. And you can use the 12-watt USB-A port at the same time to charge a second phone or other device with any USB cable you already have.

BACK TO TOP