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To help you keep your phone and other devices charged while traveling, check out this guide to buying the top USB car chargers in 2022. We all know just how annoying it can be when our device dies on us while we're out and about. A phone without any juice means you can’t binge the next episode of your favorite podcast while out on the road, but more importantly, it means you can’t contact anyone in case of an emergency.
This is why you need to have some means of charging your phone inside your car. The only difference between a car charger and a regular charger is that a car charger plugs into your vehicle’s auxiliary power outlet instead of a wall outlet. Car chargers allow you to plug your device's cable into this outlet and juice it up using your car's battery — pretty neat if you ask us. Today, we'll be giving you a complete guide to buying a USB charger for your car, with the top picks of 2022 as well as some helpful information.
The best USB car charger models of 2022 in detail
AINOPE USB Car Charger: Recommended
Coming in at the top spot on our list is this impressive USB car charger from AINOPE. This charger comes in five different color options to match your car’s interior, and it also boasts a flush-fit design that offers a cleaner look, since its edges won't protrude past the outlet too much. The dimensions of this super compact car charger are 1.7” x 0.9”, allowing it to blend in and making it a lowkey option for your vehicle. Despite this USB charger’s compact size, you still get two USB ports that you can use at the same time. Each of these USB ports can offer a maximum 12W output for fast charging speeds, and this fast charging speed, combined with its robust zinc alloy body, has earned this USB car charger the first spot on our list.
- Maximum output of 12W
- Robust zinc alloy body
- Compact, subtle design
- Does not support Android Quick Charge
Anker USB Car Charger: Another great option
Next up is this USB car charger brought to us by Anker. It features two charging ports at its front, which provide a combined output of 24W to allow for super-fast charging speeds. You also get to choose between silver, red, and black color options to fit the look of your car, and the charger’s exterior is made out of aluminum alloy, making it both durable and scratch-resistant. The inner circuitry of this USB charger is gold-plated to provide your device with maximum charging speeds and efficiency while also producing less heat during use. The charger comes with an 18-month warranty which is a great plus, and its compact dimensions won’t take up too much space in your vehicle.
- Features gold-plated circuitry to reduce heat
- MultiProtect system for added safety
- Comes with an 18-month warranty
- Does not support Android Quick Charge
AILKIN USB Car Charger: Stylish pick
This compact USB car charger from AILKIN features six flashy color options to choose from and, more importantly, boasts two USB ports capable of providing an output of up to 17W for charging your device on the go. You can also be sure of this charger’s reliability since it’s FCC, CE and RoHS certified to protect both you and your devices from harm while charging. This USB charger is made using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) material which is fireproof and can help keep you and your car safe. There’s also an LED indicator that will tell you when your device has been successfully connected, and the one-year warranty this product comes with is like a cherry to top it all off.
- Available in six color options
- Features two USB charging ports
- Fireproof design
- Could be more powerful
TECKNET USB Car Charger: High quality
If you want to charge multiple devices at the same time then look no further. This USB charger from TECKNET features a QC3.0 port which can provide an 18W output alongside three USB charging ports each capable of producing a 12W output. This brings the charger’s total output to 54W, giving you a powerful charger with excellent speed for all your devices. This USB charger’s compact body can blend in well with your car's auxiliary port without looking out of place or taking up too much space. This charger also features an advanced intelligent safety system for its circuitry that prevents any overheating, short-circuiting, or overcurrents. This charger’s body is also pretty robust, and this is because it’s made out of metal instead of plastic, setting it apart from other USB chargers.
- Boasts a total charging output of 54W
- Includes a QC3.0 port for faster charging
- Heavy-duty, compact design
- Lack of color options
Amazon Basics USB Car Charger: Budget option
The final USB car charger on our list is a compact design that’s brought to us by Amazon Basics. It features two USB ports that provide a charging output of 24W and also boasts device detection for lightning-fast charging speeds. There’s also a convenient LED light above the ports to tell you whether your device is connected or not — there’s nothing worse than plugging your phone in and not being sure why it isn’t charging. This USB car charger is RoHS, CE and FCC certified to provide a high level of safety for both you and your car, and its built-in safety system protects against overvoltage, overload, and short-circuits. The charger also fits nicely into your car’s charging port without sticking out too much, and its red and black color scheme goes well with most car interiors.
- Two 12W charging ports
- Built-in safety system
- One-year warranty included with purchase
- Only one color option
Finding your next USB car charger: A buyer’s guide
Finding a great USB car charger with the many options available on the market is not easy. To help you with your search, here’s our guide to buying this handy device:
What to look for when buying a USB car charger
To help you find a great USB car charger for your vehicle, here are some things to look for when shopping around:
Trust us, you don’t want your car’s look to be ruined by a bulky USB charger. A more compact, easy-to-store, and portable charger would be a much better option, and it will better integrate with your car’s dashboard and make for much more convenient use. You can check a USB car charger’s size by going through the product description, where the dimensions are usually stated.
You also need to make sure that the USB car charger you get is compatible with your phone, or else it might damage your device or not provide enough output to charge it quickly. The devices that a USB car charger is compatible with are usually stated in its product description or FAQs.
How much do USB car chargers cost? Are they worth buying?
USB car chargers are pretty inexpensive compared to other car accessories, so you should have no trouble finding a good two-port charger in the price range of $8 to $20. A four-port option, however, could cost a little more.
The price of a car charger is determined by its build quality and output capacity. A charger with a metal body will cost you more than a plastic one, and the higher the output capacity a charger has, the more expensive it will be.
Car chargers are not just inexpensive, but they’re also worth every penny that you spend. The biggest reason why USB car chargers are worth buying is that they can save you tons of time and hassle. Without a USB car charger, if your phone’s battery is low you’ll have to wait for it to charge up before you can leave the house, and we all know the unbearable amount of time it can take to get your phone fully charged, right?
Even then, there’s always a chance of your phone running out of battery. Breaking news — USB car chargers can fix this problem! They let you charge your phone while you’re traveling, saving you valuable time. By using a car charger, never again will you have to delay your trip and wait for your phone's battery to fill up — with a USB car charger, your car can become the only charger you’ll ever need (well, at least when you’re driving).
How we chose our favorite USB car chargers
To ensure you get the highest quality USB car charger for your car, here are the factors we took into account when shortlisting our top picks:
Multiple charging ports
A USB car charger with only one USB port is not really worth it. Don’t get us wrong, it’s definitely handy, but we want you to be able to charge at least two devices at the same time. This is why we only chose car chargers with multiple USB ports, capable of providing a fast charging speed even when both ports are being used simultaneously. You can check how many ports a car charger has by going through the product description or simply looking at the pictures (you’ll usually be able to tell right away).
Phones nowadays are one of the most expensive items we own, and this is why we must consider their safety when deciding on a car charger. A USB car charger’s safety features are mentioned in its product description, and our team made sure to only pick chargers that boasted solid safety features against overheating and overcurrent.
Common USB car charger terms
To help you get a good deal, here are some explanations for the technical terms which you may come across when shopping for USB car chargers:
The wattage of a USB car charger is the amount of power it can output. As a rule of thumb, the higher the wattage, the faster your phone will charge. A good car charger will provide at least 12W of output for charging your device quickly, and you can easily check the wattage a charger provides by going through its product description.
CE, FCC and RoHS
Speaking of product descriptions, you may notice terms like CE, FCC or RoHS certifications while shopping around. These certifications signal that your charger complies with the safety standards that are in place to keep you and your devices safe.
USB Car Charger FAQs
Q: Should I get the highest wattage USB car charger I can find?
It’s generally a good idea to go for the highest wattage you can find when buying a car charger for your phone, but you should check the maximum charging wattage your phone supports as going over this limit would be overkill. You can find out the maximum wattage your phone can handle by taking a look at its box or doing a quick search online.
Q: Where is the auxiliary power outlet in my car?
An auxiliary power port is a deep circular-looking port on your dashboard — in modern cars, it’s often covered with a lid. You may also have multiple auxiliary power outlets if you own a larger vehicle, such as a van.
Q: Should I unplug the charger once I’m done using it?
Depending on the product you chose, your car charger may continue using up power while the car is turned off. It’s a good idea to take it out once you’re done using it, but you should be fine if you happen to leave it in since the charger’s power usage is usually insignificant.
Q: Can I connect USB fans to chargers?
Yes, you can connect any compatible accessory with a USB car charger, but be sure to check if the device you’re connecting is reliable and safe. You can do this by looking for safety certifications such as CE and FCC.