Charging all of our electronic devices can be a hassle. It seems every gadget uses a different type and many people have to charge on the go. I can't even count how many times I left the house and forgot to bring my charger.
Problem is, they only come with one cable. So you end up buying one at the drug store that costs $5 and was made by who knows who, with who knows what integrity.
Herein lays the issue, fake chargers.
Fake chargers can kill
Researchers from Electrical Safety First conducted a test on chargers and found that 98 percent of fake Apple chargers have the possibility to cause a deadly electric shock. We have seen reports of deadly chargers many times, most recently in November.
The research also found that 58 percent of the knock-offs failed electrical strength tests. This typically means that there isn't enough insulation inside the charger. If that's the case, normal usage could result in a severe risk of electric shock.
Why are fake chargers so dangerous? The answer to this is simple, they are cheap knock-offs.
These no-name brands don't spend a lot of money developing the product to ensure your safety. Look at this.
Image: Comparison of genuine Apple charger vs. knock-off charger. (Source: Electrical Safety First)
Genuine Apple chargers have more than 60 individual parts inside, fake ones average just 25! That's why you see such huge price differences between real and fake ones.
How to spot a fake charger
First, you want to look for markings on the charger. Does it have UL Listed and CE marked on it? Make sure it has a manufacturer, model number, and voltage ratings on it. If it does, that is a good sign, but don't trust everything you see.
These markings can be artificial, so you want to look closely at it. If the markings are fuzzy or look like cheap ink, it could be a knock-off.
Is the plastic on the charging block and USB plug cheap looking? If it doesn't have a high-quality finish, it could be fake.
Here are a couple more knock-offs, note how the shape is off from genuine Apple chargers as well as the cord length.
Another good check, how easily does it plug into your device and the wall? Real, genuine products are made to precise specifications and fit together perfectly.
Other issues that can spark a fire
Knock-off chargers aren't the only thing that can cause electrical shock or house fires. Obviously, if you have a charger with a frayed cord, your risk of injury or fire skyrockets, even if it's authentic.
Don't take the risk that comes with damaged cords. Your safety is worth the minor expense of replacing it with an authentic charger.
Making sure you don't have damaged or fake chargers can save your life, so paying a little more is worth it. If you have come across any knock-offs, let us know in the comments.
Secret ways to extend your phone's battery life and reduce charging time
If you always find yourself with a low power, there are ways you can extend the battery. Check out this article for tips on how you can get your phone through the day.