- USB wall chargers are convenient for charging electronic devices such as smartphones, but they do have some drawbacks.
- USB PD standards allow for higher power levels and bidirectional charging.
- Some USB wall chargers may slow down charging or damage devices.
- Older devices may not work properly with USB ports using the Battery Charging Specification.
- USB-C charging is faster and safer than traditional USB wall chargers.
USB wall chargers are popular options for charging your smartphone and other electronic devices. They’re handy to have around the house when you need them. But just like any other technology, USB wall chargers have their drawbacks. Let’s look at some reasons to avoid a USB wall charger, but first, here’s some background on them.
Some Background on the USB Wall Charger
USB means Universal Serial Bus, an industry standard for the interfaces and protocols to connect, transfer data, and host power. USB aims to standardize connecting peripherals, like keyboards, to computers. They communicate with and between devices, as well as supplying electric power. Additionally, USBs are a common way to power or transfer data to/from cameras, game consoles, power banks, and other devices.
Four generations of USB specifications exist, with USB4 as the newest. It supports Thunderbolt 3 protocol tunneling, like PCI Express and DisplayPort. And it adds the ability for host-to-host interfaces.
When many electronics first came out, they had proprietary chargers and cables. But that added to electronic waste as devices wore out and consumers replaced them. So companies began shifting toward universal chargers as a way to eliminate e-waste.
The USB PD (power delivery) standards raise power levels to 100 watts, so more devices can now charge through USB ports. Even Nintendo Switch and portable monitors charge through USB. In addition, the new standard lets power charge both ways. One port was the power source in the past, while the other received power. But now your phone or other device can deliver power instead of only receiving it.
Reasons to Avoid a New USB Wall Charger
Long ago, in technology’s dark ages (aka 2007), the Battery Charging Specification standardized faster ways to charge USB devices through wall chargers or by sending more amps to your PC’s ports. And that made a difference in keeping wall chargers safer. But there are still valid reasons to avoid a new USB wall charger.
Quick Charging Variances
Some fast-charging USB wall chargers feature Qualcomm technology, so you get speedy device charges. But not all chargers are made equally. So check to see if your selected charger has the latest technology and a higher maxim output (V/A – volts to ampere.) For example, 5V/1A means it delivers a max power of five watts, which is slow but suitable for overnight charging.
Multiple Ports Slow Charging Down
You might like the convenience of plugging multiple devices into one charger. But that might actually slow your charging down. Generally, a USB wall charger discloses the total wattage it supplies, but that doesn’t mean each port gets the entire amount.
So if your charger has four USB ports and puts out 100 watts, each port gets 25 watts. On the other hand, single port chargers get the whole charging capability, so they work faster.
Charger Damages Your Device
There is the potential for some USB wall chargers to damage your phone or device if they don’t have current control. Additionally, some cheaper chargers don’t always meet safety standards and could start a fire if the worst happens.
So verify the wattage as well as whether the charger and cable have the required technology to protect your devices. Newer chargers can recognize your plugged-in device to provide the optimal current for fast charging.
Older Devices Might Not Charge Properly
Modern USB devices should work fine with high-amp USB ports, so you’ll benefit from fast charges. But older products (like some e-readers or older generation tablets) may not work with USB ports using the Battery Charging Specification. So you might need an old-school USB 1.0 or 2.0 PC port.
USB-C Charging Is Faster and Safer
Many smartphones no longer come with dedicated chargers, making it harder to choose the proper one. But a great reason to avoid a new USB wall charger is that USB-C charging is faster and safer. It’s the new universal charging standard, and it’s three times faster than Apple’s free older iPhone charger. But the best thing about USB-Cs is that they are inherently smart, so they recognize your device and charge accordingly.
Alternatives to a USB Wall Charger
If you want to avoid buying a new USB wall charger, here are some excellent alternatives.
TOPGREENER USB-C Outlet
- Power: 15A
- Ports: 2 x 15A plugs, 1 x USB-A (2.4A), 1 x USB-C (3A)
- Fast charging not supported
If you’re handy around the house, switch out your power outlet or receptacle with one that lets you plug your USB-C cable into the wall. No charger block is needed, so you can avoid a USB wall charger altogether.
This set of six receptacles is UL listed to ensure your family’s safety. And you’ll know your electronics are also in good hands due to the IntelliChip technology. It recognizes the plugged-in device to provide optimal charging speeds. So there is no overheating or overcharging, which could damage your device.
Anker USB-C Wall Charger
- Supports fast charging with Anker's PowerIQ
- Ports: 1 x USB-C (60W), 1 x USB-A (45W)
- Small and compact
- Warranty: 18 months
Depending on your needs, a USB-C charger might be a suitable alternative to a new USB wall charger. They are flexible and offer easy portability. Here are a few reasons they’re a better choice for your devices.
- 18-watt output for full-speed charges
- Universal compatibility so your device gets recharged safely
- An additional USB port for slower charging and older devices
- Charge everything from laptops, MacBooks, tablets, and more
Anker Portable Charger
- Charge multiple smartphones, tablets, and small gadgets
- Can charge an iPhone 12 to 50% within 30 minutes.
- 18W USB port to charge an extra device.
- Massive 20,000mAh capacity to charge your devices
- Includes USB-A to USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-C cable, and travel pouch
A portable charger will help keep your devices powered on the go. And Anker products continue providing leading technology and safety features. A 20-watt USB-C port gives your smartphone a 50% charge in only thirty minutes. Plus, you can easily use it even while it’s charging.
And the 20,000mAh battery cell gives you 4 to 5 full charges, depending on your smartphone, or two tablet charges. We like that you can charge anywhere, even in an Uber, so you’re never out of touch because of a lack of battery power.
This portable charger comes with two cables: a USB-C to -C and a USB-A to -C. And the convenient travel pouch keeps it all organized, so you never have to worry about where your plug is or where your cables are located.
Yootech Wireless Charger
- Compatible with AirPods and AirPods Pro
- Multifunctional and intelligent technology from Yootech is responsible for short circuit prevention, surge protection, and temperature control.
- Features LED indicator light
- USB Type-C connector
If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative that will let you avoid a new USB wall charger, this wireless charger has you covered. It’s an excellent price for a quick charge and is compatible with most smartphones in the market. You can even toss your AirPods and AirPods Pro (with or without their case) onto the wireless charger. There’s even a rubber ring around the charging area to keep your earbuds in place. Now that’s what we’d call handy!
In addition, intelligent protection technology keeps your devices safer with surge protection, short circuit prevention, and temperature controls. The UL Certificate assures you of a quality product at an affordable price.
Wrapping Up: Reasons to Avoid a New USB Wall Charger
Now you know some of the reasons to avoid a new USB wall charger so that you can make smarter purchasing choices. USB wall chargers have varying output degrees, might not charge properly, and can potentially damage your devices.
So, you’d want to consider all options before making a purchase. Your other options are USB-C wall outlets and chargers or portable and wireless chargers.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©The Toidi/Shutterstock.com.