There are a lot of third-party cell phone chargers available for just about every model Android device. But before picking one up it’s a good idea to know what you’re doing.
You’ve got a spiffy little Android device, and you like it, maybe even too much. That’s why that little battery keeps on draining. It needs some charger love! If you want to maximize the life of your battery, you’ll either have to stick with the expensive OEM manufacturer-brand charger or learn the basics of buying from the cheaper third-party competitors.
Step 1 – Figure out what type of USB socket you need
This step is relatively straightforward. Most Android gadgets use a micro-b USB socket, also known as plain old micro-USB. But, some snarky manufacturers out there decided that they wanted to be like Apple and create their special proprietary adapter, so be sure to check.
If you aren’t sure which type of USB socket your phone has, check the specifications on the product website or within the owner’s manual. And if all else fails, I’m happy to help you figure it out if you leave a comment.
Step 2 – Voltage and mAh
When buying a battery charger you want to be sure to get one that matches the voltage of the phone. If the voltage is too low, the phone will charge too slowly and may not even be able to reach a full charge. If the voltage is too high, it could ruin the battery and possibly the device. Most phones are rated for 5.0 volts, and most chargers have the same rating. You won’t likely have to worry too much about this but if you want to play it safe then check the manufacturer’s specifications!
Milliampere-hour (mAh) is both the capacity of the battery and the energy transfer rate of the charger. Most chargers are rated at 1 amp per hour (1000 mAh). A higher ampere per hour rating on the charger shouldn’t hurt anything unless it exceeds the battery’s maximum limit which varies greatly per battery and manufacturer and is usually quite high. Usually, higher is better. The simple formula for finding out how long it will take a battery to recharge based don the mAh is:
- Recharge time = (Discharged-Percent * Capacity) / Charger-Rate
One last note about voltage. If you are going to be charging the battery separately from the phone, be sure to find a battery-only charger that matches the voltage of whatever is posted on the battery.
Step 3 – What type of charger do you need?
Generally speaking, there are four different types of chargers.
- Wall Chargers
- A wall charger is usually the default charger that comes with your device. Nowadays it is usually a small little box with a USB port on one end. These things are great!
- Car Socket Chargers
- Car chargers are built to go into the 12-volt cigarette lighter socket found in most vehicles. These suckers tend to have very high aH (amps per hour) ratings to provide a rapid charge, but be careful that the battery can handle the high amps!
- Mobile Boost / Portable Chargers
- Portable chargers, I mean “Yo dawg I heard you like batteries, so I made a bigger battery that charges your little batteries.”
- Battery-only Chargers
- Spare battery chargers are suitable for charging the extra battery while you have the other one in use. You do have multiple batteries for your device, right?
Step 4 – Reviews
Reviews are everything. The problem with a lot of chargers is that they are made using cheap components and in that case, they tend to short-circuit. If the third-party brand has an excellent reputation and the product itself has good reviews, you usually don’t have anything to worry about. But even with OEM manufacturer-brand chargers, you have to be careful because cheap counterfeit copy-cats tend to propagate sites like eBay and even Amazon. Be wary of sellers with a low reputation score.
Buying a charger for your Android device isn’t difficult, but it does require a little bit of research. You have to watch out for voltage, amperage, and lousy quality. If you can do all of that you’ll have your Android humming all day on a happy, full battery.