Whether you’re making an all-day road trip or just your normal half-hour commute, the car is the perfect place to top off your shiny, new Android phone. After all, your phone should be stationary in a car mount for Android Auto or stowed away so you’re not tempted to use it while driving. Car chargers come in many styles and shapes, but with the advent of USB-C Power Delivery charging, we now have a widely used standard that can be used for charging a phone or even laptops off the same port. Here are the best car chargers to replenish your battery on the road.
Anker 49.5W PowerDrive Speed+ 2 Car Adapter
This charger features a 30W USB-C Power Delivery port that can charge your Chromebook decently or charge most phones at top speed, and a USB-A port to charge older phones and accessories. Anker’s build quality also means this charger might outlive your car.
iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless 2
Who wants to plug in and unplug every single time they get in the car? No one with wireless charging! iOttie’s second-gen wireless car charger supports EPP, so whether you have a Samsung, Pixel, or any other phone, you’ll get good charging speeds with this mount.
Best for Samsung
Elecjet 63W Total PD PPS Car Charger
Samsung’s latest phones require a standard within Power Delivery called Programmable Power Supply (PPS) in order to charge at its highest speeds. This means that Elecjet’s charger is one of the only ones to support Samsung’s top speeds in the car, and it’s good for laptops, too.
Low profile, high speeds
Aukey 21W Car Charger
Aukey’s super-small charger will sit practically flush with your car’s outlet, but it’s also very adaptable. You can use the USB-C port to charge at up to the new iPhone 12’s 20W speeds, or you can charge at up to 18W with the USB-A port. When both ports are used, you get 17W total.
Charge both at once
RAVPower 48W Power Delivery Car Charger
If you need to charge two phones at top speed, or a tablet/Chromebook and a phone, then RAVPower has a great option for you. This charger has a 30W USB-C port and an 18W USB-A port, and they don’t interfere with each other when both are in use.
ZeeHoo 15W Wireless Car Charger
Tension-spring clamps are SO 2013, so ZeeHoo’s wireless car charger uses motorized clamps instead to keep your phone perfectly in place. While this charger says it’s 15W, that’s only for LG phones; Samsung phones will charge at 10W and other Android phones charge at 5W.
USB-C all the way
Anker PowerDrive+ III Duo 48W Car Charger
While USB-C is the port almost all of your tech will be using going forward, there are very few car chargers on sale right now that have two USB-C ports. Thankfully, this Anker one sports a 30W port for charging more powerful devices and 18W for charging your phone.
Futureproof for less
Aukey 36W PD Car Charger
Another two USB-C option comes from Aukey. This model is more affordable, but it only has a combined output of 36W: 18W for each port and no more. This is great for charging phones, but it won’t be as useful for tablets, laptops, or refueling power banks during a camping trip.
For laptops and beyond
MANINAM Metal Adaptive USB-C Car Charger
Like the Elecjet, this charger supports PPS for fast-charging Samsung phones like the Galaxy S21 or the 45W Note 10+, but that port can reach 55W for PPS-supported laptops, as well. There’s also a 18W USB-A port for topping off your phone at the same time.
Power Delivery makes the best car chargers better
USB-C Power Delivery is five kinds of awesome, with the best being that it can charge a wider variety of devices at a wider range of speeds. If you want to charge a laptop in your car — hey, it happens more often than you’d think — then you can go overboard with the MANINAM Metal Adaptive USB-C Car Charger and its 45W PD output, but if you’d rather stick with a more well-known brand, Anker’s got you covered with the PowerDrive Speed+ 2 with its 30W PD output.
If your phone has Qi charging, you should really consider grabbing a Qi car charger. Not having to plug and unplug every single time you get in the car is nice, especially during an afternoon of errands. There are other Qi charging mounts out there, but iOttie’s Easy One Touch Wireless 2 is available in three modes: a dash mount, a CD slot mount, or an AC vent mount, so you can grab the type that’s best for you. If you live in a warm locale, I definitely suggest the vent model so that your AC can help keep things cool in the summer since Qi charging tends to gather a little heat.
The iOttie is also one of the few car mounts that supports EPP and is Made for Pixel, so we know it’ll work with the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4 series.
Why cables matter even more in the car
You’ll notice that many of these chargers — especially the chargers that boast PPS support for Samsung phones — will have pockets of reviews claiming that they don’t work while most say that they do. What gives? Well, the problem isn’t with the charger itself: it lies with the cable!
See, cables are rated to support certain speeds and certain specs. For PPS, you need an e-marked cable that supports 5A charging, but most USB-C cables are only rated for 3A (60W) charging. This is further compounded by the fact that a cable sitting in a hot car every afternoon all summer can cause the cable to degrade over time, so you need to grab yourself the best USB-C cables you can. If you’re getting one of the PPS-rated car chargers, manufacturers usually ship a compatible cable in the box, but if they don’t or you break it, look for a 100W Power Delivery cable.
Also, consider cable length: the longer a cable is, the more chance there is of it snagging on something or getting caught under a seat or around a shifter. While I love long USB-C cables when traveling, I try to stick to 3ft cables or shorter in the car. That gives you wiggle room for letting passengers use the phone while you drive while keeping things relatively tidy.
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