Cables Can Significantly Impact The Charging Speed Of Your USB Devices

Cables Can Significantly Impact The Charging Speed Of Your USB Devices

USB chargers can impact how fast your device’s battery gets back to 100%, but they’re not the only determining factor. The wrong cable can slow down charging speeds as well.

Photo by Paul

Redditor Esteef explains.

USB cables have a data wire and a charging wire within the cable itself. Most USB cables, probably over 99+% are 28/28. Buying after market micro USB cables will pretty much always result in getting cheap quality 28/28 cables and your device will barely break 500mah when it charges, maybe even less. This isn’t the only issue though. After you use a cable for a while it pushes slight stresses on the micro USB connector itself and compresses it. This causes poor connectivity between your device and the wire. This is why it seems like your device port feels like it’s getting loose and you think something is wrong. It’s most likely the cable being slowly damaged over time. Solution? Get a 28/24 gauge cable. 24 gauge is ~ 60% larger and can handle 2amps. This is what is usually sent when you buy a tablet or large phone device. Your wire slowly gets damaged over time or may even stop working entirely. You order a cheap cable off Amazon or eBay and it never appears to charge at the correct speed anymore.

I noticed this problem a while back when I bought a bunch of cheap USB cables on Amazon. I got 12 for $5, and the reviews noted that charging speeds were very slow. I figured it was worth the risk for $5, so I went with it. It turned out they were right. Now I only use these cables in my overnight charging drawer where the speed is irrelevant. So, if you need a cable that charges at an adequate speed, heed the advice of Esteef and go with 28/24 gauge USB cables.

Know why your smartphone is charging slowly [Reddit]


  • I have a 3m and a 10cm usb cable for recharging my phone. The 10cm cable takes about half the time to charge my phone.

    • That could also be due to Voltage Drop..
      The longer the cable, the lower the voltage (especially if it’s thin wire)

  • I went to a Teds Camera store and bought this flat micro usb cable, looks like a sata cable or the cable on Beats ear bud style headphones. It works better than any other I’ve tried and it was only $9 and it’s about 10cm longer than the standard cable the S4 came with. It cut about 10min off my charge time which is great as I flatten my 2 S4 battery’s on average 2 times each a day.

    • Do you have your screen permanently on and not use Snapdragon Battery Guru? Chewing through effectively 4 batteries a day is ridiculous…

  • I had a 3m cable that I used in the car and despite having a nominally 2A charger I would still drain the battery running the screen and GPS. I switched to a new and shorter cable and the problem disappeared.

    Also whilst trying to solve the issue I came across a Kickstarter project by Power Practical who where developing a USB to microUSB charge indicator ( I did get one however by the time it arrived I had already solved the issue. Still I is a good tool to have in the box for diagnosing problems with charging.

    • That kind of inline measurement device is a great idea. Unfortunately the Power Practical doesn’t go to high enough currents to match many new USB power supplies. It only measures up to 5W, which is 1A at 5V.

      • I will have to have a look but I think that they uprated it to do 10w with some trickery around the sequence of leds.

  • The old IR squared problem.

    The longer the cable the larger you need the cross sectional area (CSA) of the wire to prevent losses.
    Keep the cable short, or if it must be long have thicker cable.

    Hooking a long power cable (usb) up to a device that is running Wi-Fi, now that presents more problems (RF). No doubt it will get an airing here or in Gizmodo at some stage.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!