Pay Attention To Charger Amperage To Juice Up Your Gadgets Quickly

Pay Attention To Charger Amperage To Juice Up Your Gadgets Quickly

You might think that all chargers are created equal, but nothing could be further from the truth. Wired explains that picking the right charger with the right amperage (a measure of current) can mean the difference between getting your phone charged while you work versus waiting all day before you can unplug it.

Photo via Alex Washburn

This isn’t as simple as “charge your device with the charger it shipped with”. You can actually use higher amperage chargers, like the kind that come with tablets, to charge your phone in less time than it would if you charged via USB or using the charger the phone came with, and it won’t cause a problem. Here’s how it breaks down:

For example, consider these charging scenarios for the Retina iPad mini. You could use a Lightning connector plugged into a computer (via USB), an iPhone charger connected to a wall socket, or an iPad charger connected to a wall socket. A PC USB charger delivers 2.5 Watts of power (5 volts at 500 mA). An iPhone charger delivers 5 Watts (5 volts at 1000 mA). A Retina iPad mini charger delivers 10 watts (5.1 volts at 2100 mA).

While all of these will charge your iPad, using the USB connected to a PC will charge your Retina mini four times slower than if you used the iPad charger it came with. Conversely, if you use the iPad charger for your iPhone, it’d charge up faster than normal. If you play mix-and-match with these types of chargers like this, don’t worry — you’re not going to blow up your phone or anything crazy like that. And the myth that charging your device at a faster rate will reduce the life of your device’s battery is false. For some older devices, the higher specced charger just won’t work at all, while newer devices will just charge faster.

Ultimately, it’s really the amperage that determines how fast a charger will supply power to your device. If you want quicker charging, look for a wall or car charger that delivers 2100 mA of current at 5 volts (or whatever voltage the device you’re trying to charge is specced at).

The lesson? Look for reliable chargers that offer high amperage and use the same connectors as the device you’re trying to charge. If you have a high amperage charger, you can cut down on your overall charging time.

Choose the Right Charger and Power Your Gadgets Properly [Wired]


  • Bonus fact: i-devices and almost all USB charging phones detect if they are connected to a USB host or a USB power supply. They will only ever draw 500mA from a USB Host.

    USB chargers should bridge the two data pins to indicate that they are a charger, not a USB host. You can plug your iPad into a 3,000mA charger, but if it’s a cheap Chinese one that doesn’t bridge the data pins, it will only draw 500mA and take ages to charge.

    • The good news is that there’s cables out there that do that for you :).

      I’ve been doing this for years though. Just be careful you don’t go too high. Don’t expect your phone battery to be very thankful if you try to charge it with a 5A charger when the one it came with was 750mA.

  • i dont completely agree with the link provided in regards to quick charging not damaging batteries. the main thing that will freak a Lithium battery out is heat. this can happen during either charging very quickly, especially if the battery is a little old and no longer holding its full capacity – these days though the charge circuit integrated with the battery is quite could at cutting out the in-going current once the battery is full, but varies from device to device. and also happens when you discharge the battery very quickly. (notice how your phone heats up when you game on it? majority of the heat is coming from the battery). its this heat that will often cause a lithium battery to start bloating (remember when nokias started using lithium, they would start to bloat around the 2 year mark, again, newer technology suffers less from these issue, but it still happens) and also cause the chemicals to deteriorate at an accelerated rate.

  • The link provided about fast-charging not damaging batteries refers to NiMH batteries – I doubt ANY mobile phones or tablets still use these. It’s always a lithium-based battery in such modern devices.

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