Having the right cell phone charger can be the difference between having a phone that is ready to use when you need it and dealing with a dead battery at an inopportune time. There are many universal battery chargers available with a variety of features to suit different needs. As editor of LoveToKnow's Technology channels, I received a variety of chargers to review and also conducted additional research in order to identify ten of the best available options.
Favorite Wall and Car Combination Charger
Symtek TekPower Universal Charging Trio
If you're looking for a universal charger that does it all, this one is hard to beat. I travel frequently for business with my Android phone and iPad, so I absolutely love the fact that this handy universal charger kit does it all. The Symtek TekPower Universal Charging Trio comes with a car charger plug and a wall adapter, both with USB-plug-in slots. It comes with one USB cable featuring both a MicroUSB connector and a 30-pin plug (for the iPad). This kit replaces the need for separate phone chargers for my rental car and hotel room plus an additional iPad charger, saving precious space in my carry-on luggage.
This product is relatively new, so consumer reviews are not widely available. However, as someone who has tested numerous chargers, I can confidently recommend this product (as long as you don't own a BlackBerry, as it does not work with them). It is absolutely my favorite car/wall charger set because of the fact that works very well for a variety of devices and allows me to reduce the number of plugs and cables I have to carry when I travel. The only drawback I see is that the plugs on the wall charger are fixed in place rather than being designed to fold down flat.
- Works with iOS devices, Android phones and tablets and Kindles
- Weighs less than .15 of a pound
- Wall charger dimensions are about 2.5" L x 1.5" W x 1.5" D
- Car charger dimensions are about 4" L x 1" W x 1" D
- Included cable features dual ends (micro USB and 30-pin)
- Cable length is 4 feet
This great charger kit is available from Wayfair (pictured) for around $30.
Two Great Wall Chargers
Zagg Sparq 3100
I you're looking for a speedy wall charger (that serves double-duty as a portable charger), Zagg Sparq is a terrific choice. When you plug this charge into the wall, what you are actually doing is charging its battery, though your cell phone (or other USB mobile devices) can also be connected at the same time via a USB cable. Once the Sparq is charged, it functions as a portable battery, providing a way to keep your device(s) charged while on the go.
The 3100 model has a 3,100 mAh (milliamps per hour) rechargeable battery, which can charge a smartphone twice when it is fully powered.
I use this charger at home and in my recreational vehicle. I particularly like its dual functionality for RV camping, because I can plug it in to recharge at the end of the day, then pull it out of the wall, fold in the prongs and toss it in my purse or backpack to keep my phone or other mobile devices going strong for hours. A Business Insider review confirms the battery's ability to provide two full charges to a smartphone. The Sparq is also very durable, as noted on AndroidFanNetwork.com, where the durability and "build quality" is described positively.
- Works with any mobile device that charges via a USB cable
- Built in wall adapter prongs eliminate the need to use a cable or other electronic device to charge this battery
- An on/off button makes it easy to conserve power
- View remaining power level via a series of five LED lights
- Includes a 28" USB cable
- Dimensions are about 4" L x 2.5" W x 1" D
- Weighs 3.6 ounces
Purchase from AceDepot for around $15.
Enercell AC Charger with Dual USB
If you're looking for a wall charger that will charge two devices at once via separate USB cables, the Enercell® AC Charger with Dual USB plugs is a great choice. It works on most tablets, smart phones and eReaders and has the ability to charge up to 3.1A at the same time. This style is great for home or office use, making it possible to charge two devices at one time from a single wall plug. It is a stand-alone wall charger, meaning that it does not also function as a portable battery.
While I have not used this specific model, I have used another Enercell wall charger with positive results (one designed specifically for iPhone5). As it seemed important to include a wall charger with two USB ports, research and my past experience with this leading brand indicates it's a good choice. Other customers also recommend Enercell, stating that the brand makes "makes a good mid power wall unit." I found that to be true with my brand-specific Enercell model, which is also sturdy and well-made.
- The charger has a foldable plug for easy storage and portability.
- It has 100-240V inputs, so by purchasing appropriate plug adapters you can use it while traveling internationally.
- Cable not included; use any USB cable with and end that fits your device(s)
- Dimensions are about 2" L x 1.5" W x 1" D
- Weight is under 1 ounce
This charger is available from Amazon for around $10.
Three Portable Power Supplies
MyCharge Power Bank 3000
If you like the idea of a portable charger that will provide juice to your cell phone and other electronic devices while you are on the go, the MyCharge Power Bank with a 3,000 mAh rechargeable battery is a great item for you to consider. I received one of these devices to test and have found it very handy to use during sightseeing and nature outings.
My cell phone battery dies very quickly if I use it to take photos while I am out and about, a problem that this device has made a non-issue. By keeping my phone plugged into this device while it's in my pocket, backpack or purse, I am able to keep my battery charged for a full day without having to use a wall or car charger.
QVC reviewers rate it highly, describing it as "dependable" and as a "life saver," an assessment that matches my personal experience with this product. The built-in cables are particularly handy, because they snap into the unit when not in use and there is no need to carry cables with you.
- Can charge up to three devices at a time, though not three devices that require the same type of connector
- Includes a built-in Apple(R) lightning connector (for iPhone5), a built-in micro USB cable that will work with just about any cell phone
- Features a USB port, so you can use a USB cable to charge another device; this port must also be used to charge the portable battery itself via a laptop or charger (wall or car)
- A 2-foot micro USB cable is included
- A 30-pin adapter (for pre iPhone 5 Apple devices)
- Has a rechargeable, 3000 mAh battery
- Dimensions are 3-3/4"L X 2-1/8"W X 1/2"D, a size that I find easy to transport
- Weighs around 4 ounces
- Does not have a wall plug; can be connected to one via a USB or charged off another USB device (like a laptop)
Order your MyCharge Power Bank (pictured) from QVC for around $50.
INFOtainment Portable Charger With Flashlight
If you're looking for a portable charger that includes a flashlight feature, the INFOtainment Portable Charger with Flashlight is a great option. I received one of these items to review and am very impressed with its capabilities. It features a 5,600 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery from Samsung, so it has more power than the MyCharge Power Bank 3000.
It can charge two devices (a 1A device and a 2A device) simultaneously, and also has a built in flashlight feature. I keep this device in the glove box of my car so that I'll never find myself in a situation where I don't have access to charging power and to have easy access to a flashlight at all times.
Many QVC customers describe this charger as a "great product" and "good item to have" that is "convenient" and easy to use, assessments that match my experience. It would work well for sightseeing, like the MyCharge unit, but is particularly beneficial for safety in emergency situations due to the built-in flashlight.
- Works with many types of devices in addition to phones, such as tablets, cameras music players, gaming devices, etc.
- Two 12-inch USB cables are included, along with interchangeable tips (two each micro USB and 30-pin)
- Lightning cable for iPhone 5 and iPad mini (not included) can be used with the battery
- Dimensions are about 3-5/8" L x 2" W x 1" D
- Weighs about six ounces
- Comes with a soft carrying case
- Does not have a wall plug; can be plugged in to one via a USB or charged off another USB device
Order this versatile charger from QVC (pictured) for around $50.
Halo 5500 Power Charger
The Halo 5500 Power charger is also a good option for on the go charging of tablets and cell phones, and it's one that I use regularly with great results. With a 5,500 mAh battery, this unit is nearly as powerful as the Infotainment charger.
Like the MyCharge Power Bank model, this unit features two built-in power cables. However, one of the built-in cables is a USB-in connector, which you'll use to connect the portable battery itself to a power source (like your laptop or a wall or car charger) when it needs to be powered up. You can charge two devices at the same time, but only one using the built-in cable. To charge another, you'll need a separate USB cable (which is included).
The Review Stew blogger agrees, saying "My favorite part is that it's compact enough to fit in a purse or pocket and is very easily transported. I just leave it in my purse at all times so that I know I will always have a way to charge my phone."
- Works with any mobile phone, as well as gaming devices, cameras and various Bluetooth devices (such as portable speakers)
- Built-in charging plug is micro USB
- 1-foot cable included
- Three interchangeable tips are provided for the included cable - micro USB, mini (something not provided with most other portable chargers) and 30-pin
- Dimensions are 3" W x 4" L x .5" D
- Weighs about 3 ounces
- Does not have a wall plug; can be charged off another USB device or connected to a wall plug that has a USB port
Order from Halo2Cloud.com for around $60.
Heavy Duty Chargers
If you are looking for a charger that has more battery power than the portable charges described above, but don't find the idea of having 9 volt or 12 volt charging capacity to be appealing, the Joltz J8600 model, which features an 8,600 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery can be a good option for you. Like the AstroPro2, this heavy duty charger is not designed to be pocket-size, but can easily be transported in a briefcase or similar bag.
Joltz is a relative newcomer to the mobile device charger market and is not yet widely reviewed. My observations indicate that this is a high quality charger in a battery strength that is not as widely available as other options. It is a great option for those who want maximum charging capabilities specific to USB devices.
It performs as indicated, making it a quality charging device, and the fact that it's available for imprinting is a great plus for companies looking for tech-oriented promotional items.
- Will work with most USB mobile devices
- Features two USB charging ports (one 1A and one 2A) that can be used at the same time
- Comes with 7 adapter tips to accommodate most mobile devices and digital cameras
- A four-light display indicates power level
- Shuts off automatically once attached devices are fully charged
- Does not come with a wall charger; will need to connect to a USB device or wall plug to charge
- USB cable not included
- Fully charges in 9 hours
- Dimensions are 5.5" W X 23.2" L x 0.63" D
- Weighs 8 ounces
- Available in black and white
Purchase directly from Joltz for around $90.
Choosing the Right Charger
Cell phone owners are always looking for ways to simplify their cellular experience, and universal chargers are a great way to do just that. When selecting a charger, consider the various types of cell phones and other devices that you use (as well as other members of your household) and how you plan to use it. Choose one or more charger option that work with all - or most - of the devices you use to minimize the number of separate charging gadgets you will need.
Consider getting separate options for your car and home, as well as at least one that you can use on the go. This way, all of your charging needs will be covered. You may also want to check customer forums or speak with a customer service representative who works for your cell service provider for recommendations specific to your particular phone model.