The cable you use to charge your phone could kill your battery
There are very easy and simple ways to extend your battery life (or destroy it), beginning with the cable you use to charge your phone.
When it comes to buying a new smartphone, one of the most important features people tend to lock onto is the battery life. It needs to be durable, long-lasting, and – ideally – not catch fire and explode. It’s the little things.
Most mobile devices use a lithium-ion battery, the same type that made headlines thanks to the Samsung Note 7’s habit of catching fire. Part of that was down to poor manufacturing, but it was also a matter of the battery just being too big. When combined with bad charging habits, the risk of a fire jumped exponentially. That’s not to say that following good charging guidelines would definitely have prevented the problems, but making sure the phone has the right accessories couldn’t hurt.
Beyond the battery used in the phone itself and the threat of a fire, there are a few ways to help you maintain your battery for longer, starting with how you charge your phone and even what cables you use. It all matters, and choosing poorly can cost you.
To begin with, it’s tempting to buy cheap charging cables. Authorized cables can sell for $30 or more normally, so it’s tempting to head to Amazon and buy the cheap ones for $5. Like the saying goes, however, you get what you pay for.
Knockoff chargers are generally built using substandard components, which can lead to faulty chargers. In most cases, that just leads to an inability to charge. In the worst cases though, it can actually fry the battery out of a smartphone or tablet. Again, it’s rare, but it happens. Enough that it’s worth paying a few extra dollars for.
And while the focus of this article is on smartphones and tablets, the same is very much true of all electronics. Laptop charging cables can also be an issue if you purchase a knockoff, and given that there is significantly more power coming to a laptop than a smartphone, the risks increase. Surger protectors are also subject to faulty manufacturing, so make sure you have a good one.
The company MyCharge has a few tips to help you get the most out of your smartphone or tablet charging. We’ve added a few as well.
- Look for the UL label – Authentic cables and chargers frequently go through UL testing. Those that do receive a UL logo, confirming the cable and charger meet a basic level of quality. That doesn’t mean all cables that are UL approved are risky, but those with the logo are tested.
- Double check the brand – If you buy a charger and cable online, don’t be fooled by a stock image. It’s not always that the reseller is trying to fool the seller, but more often than not it’s just a matter of finding a proper, well-lit image of the charger to use in the online posting. It’s just easier to grab an official one, even if it isn’t accurate.
- Opt for the official versions – If you are concerned with the quality of a charger, the easiest “trick” is simply to buy an official charger and cable from the company that makes your smartphone/tablet. The downside to this is, of course, that the official versions will almost always cost more, but you can usually assume a level of quality. Look for the official logos on the chargers.
- Double check the product details – If you do purchase a generic charger, take a minute to ensure that it is the right type of power charger. For the most part, they are universal, but some may require specific power needs. If you are buying a charger for something larger than a smartphone or tablet, make sure there is some form of built-in surge protection.
- Charge the device in a safe environment – If your charger starts to act strangely – it goes on and off, it needs to be jiggled in a certain way, there’s an off smell, etc., – err on the side of caution and don’t charge the device near your body or on anything flammable. Of course, if you are dealing with any of these problems, you should get rid of the charger immediately anyway.