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Smartphones & gadgets

True or false: You can use any charger with your phone or tablet

Your device’s battery life is only as good as the care you put into it. Bad charging habits are common, and while the manual that comes with your phone contains charging tips, you have to read it to understand them.

There are first and third-party apps for everything you can imagine. Some are great and do what you expect, while others perform poorly or are outright scams. Some apps claim to charge your phone faster. Is this fact or fiction? The answer isn’t so black and white. Tap or click here for the story behind these quick-charging apps.

Aside from matching up a charger to your phone’s port (primarily Lightning or USB-C nowadays), does it matter which one you use? Some chargers are faster, while others are more affordable. If you want to have a backup charger or replace the one that came with your phone, consider a few factors.

Any charger will do? Not really

You can upgrade to a fast charger, but it has to support your phone to utilize its full potential. This is based on three measurements: voltage, amperage and wattage.

  • Volts determines how much force is needed to cause electric current to flow.
  • Amps measure the flow of electricity.
  • Multiply volts by amps and you get watts, which measure the amount of energy. The higher the wattage, the higher the power output and the faster your device will charge.

Let’s say you have a 5V/1A charger. You can get a 5V/2.1A charger or one measuring 9V/2A to get a faster charge, but there’s a limit. Modern smartphone batteries have a limit to how much wattage they can handle. Modern chargers are compatible with this smart charging tech.

RELATED: True or false: Never charge your phone overnight

You won’t blow up your phone if you use a large tablet charger to charge your phone, but your tablet’s battery may charge faster, as it has a higher tolerance.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G supports up to 25 watts, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max supports up to 27 watts. Using a 40-watt charger won’t make them charge any faster. Neither of these phones comes with a wall adapter, so you’ll have to get your own. At least now you can make an informed decision.

The same can be said for plugging old phones into modern fast chargers. They will only charge as fast as that old battery allows.

RELATED: Tips for extending your battery life

What to avoid

Stay away from cheap, uncertified cables/adapters. They can overload your battery and shorten its life, and fire risks involved can lead to property damage or injury. They are poorly made and typically don’t support the smart and safety features of better chargers.

Tap or click here for our report on how to choose a safe and speedy charger for your iPhone.

What to look for

While Apple and Samsung OEM chargers can be a little pricey, other brands have reliable options. When it comes to Apple, look for MFi certification for both charging adapters and cables. MFi certification stands for Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad and ensures Apple approved these third-party products.

RELATED: Warning: Charging powerbanks sold at Amazon, Best Buy and Target recalled for fire risk

Companies like Samsung recommend you use its chargers, but you can look into reliable brands like Anker. Here are a couple of cable recommendations for both iPhone and Android phones:

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

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