What to Look for in a Car Charger in 2022
While cars are getting all sorts of upgrades to become smarter, many aspects aren’t standardized yet—such as built-in USB ports to plug your smartphone into. If you need to use your phone for GPS directions or for emergency calls, you don’t want to run out of power. A car charger that you can plug into your cigarette lighter port can keep your phone powered up on the road.
Even if you do have a built-in USB port or Qi wireless charger in your vehicle, your phone can take hours to charge. If you need a faster charge, a dedicated car charger can also help.
However, while picking a car charger, you have to keep a few things in mind to ensure that you get the best, instead of something worse than what you may already have.
It’s always a good idea to buy a car charger with more than one USB port. Multi-port chargers offer a better value and allow you to charge two or more devices simultaneously. No more fighting over the one USB slot with passengers!
Additionally, the fast charging protocols supported by a car charger can impact how fast it can charge your devices. For example, you will need a USB Power Delivery (USB PD) compatible car charger to fast-charge an iPhone or a charger supporting Programmable Power Supply (PPS) to juice up the Samsung flagship phones at their top speed. Check to see what you might need before you buy.
Your car charger’s maximum wattage is also important, especially if you are looking to charge laptops on the go. Some devices need more power to charge quickly, and unless a car charger can deliver that power, your device will charge slowly, if at all. Check the power requirements of your smartphone or laptop and adjust accordingly.
With the basics out of the way, let’s jump into our recommendations.
Best Car Charger Overall: Elecjet 45W USB-C Car Charger
- ✓ Support for USB PD, PPS, Quick Charge
- ✓ Type-C port can deliver up to 45W power
- ✓ Metal construction
- ✗ Slightly expensive
The Elecjet 45W USB-C PD (PPS) Car Charger is our pick for the best overall car charger. It’s feature-rich and comes with both USB Type-A and Type-C ports. As a result, you’ll be able to charge pretty much all smartphones and even other devices, like power banks and laptops, with ease.
While the USB Type-C port works with the USB PD protocol, the Type-A port is compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge. In addition, you also get support for Programmable Power Supply (PPS) on the Type-C port, allowing you to fast charge the Samsung Galaxy phones and Google Pixel 6 series.
Since the Type-C port can deliver up to 45W of power, you can juice up laptops that support the USB PD protocol. Some popular laptops that support USB PD charging include Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, HP Spectre 360, and Lenovo ThinkPad X1.
The build quality is solid, and the charger’s metal construction will ensure a long life. Elecjet also bundles a fast-charging capable USB Type-C cable, so you can start using the charger right out of the box.
It may be a bit more expensive than other picks on this list, but Elecjet’s car charger offers great value for the price.
Elecjet 45W USB-C PD (PPS) Car Charger
The Elecjet car charger ticks all the right boxes. It has two USB ports, USB PD and Quick Charge support, and solid build quality.
Best Budget Car Charger: Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8
- ✓ 18W fast charging
- ✓ Two USB Type-C ports
- ✓ Three-year warranty
- ✗ No USB Type-A ports
- ✗ Lacks Quick Charge support
While the feature-set of the Elecjet car charger is worth the price tag, the Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8 is an excellent option if you want something inexpensive. It comes with two USB Type-C ports, allowing you to simultaneously charge two phones, earbuds, or smartwatches.
Scosche has also included support for USB PD, so if your smartphone supports the standard, it’ll get the full 18W charging.
Although the PowerVolt has a plastic housing, its build quality is good. Additionally, the company offers a three-year warranty for the charger, far longer than what charger manufacturers typically provide. If it manages to break down, it’ll be easy to get a replacement.
Unfortunately, there is no USB Type-A port or Quick Charge support. If you need those two things, you can consider Anker’s PowerDrive III 2-Port 36W Alloy charger. It features two USB Type-A ports, each supporting Quick Charge 3.0.
Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8
Scosche PowerVolt CPDC8C8 is a great car charger for people on a budget. It has USB PD support and can deliver up to 18W of power.
Best 4-Port Car Charger: Baseus 120W Multi Ports USB Car Charger
- ✓ Support for USB PD and Quick Charge
- ✓ Each port delivers up to 30W power
- ✗ Not suitable for charging laptops
If you frequently have multiple devices to charge in your car, the Baseus Multi Ports USB Car Charger is a must-have accessory. It features four USB ports—two Type-A and two Type-C. You get one Type-C port on the central charger, with the other three ports being on the end of an extension cable that’s long enough to reach the back seat of most cars.
Since each of the ports on the Baseus charger can deliver up to 30 watts of power, you will get enough juice to fast charge most of the popular smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the company has used aluminum alloy and polycarbonate in the charger’s construction, making it sturdy.
You will also be happy to know that support for both Quick Charge and USB PD fast charging standards are available.
Unfortunately, as the Baseus charger tops out at 30W, you won’t be able to charge your laptops. But in addition to phones, it’s great for tablets, power banks, wireless earbuds, and smartwatches.
Baseus 120W Multi Ports USB Car Charger
The Baseus Multi Ports Car Charger can offer up to 30W of power via four USB ports. And it supports all common fast charging protocols.
Best High-Speed Car Charger: Satechi 72W Type-C PD Car Charger
- ✓ Up to 60W charging via Type-C port
- ✓ Two USB ports
- ✓ Available in two colors
- ✗ No Quick Charge support
- ✗ No bundled USB cable
The Satechi Type-C PD Car Charger is a solid option if you want higher wattage or faster charging. The charger’s USB Type-C port can deliver up to 60W of power, which is enough to fast charge pretty much all USB PD smartphones and several laptops. The company has also included a USB Type-A port that is useful for basic smartphone charging or topping up your mobile accessories.
This charger’s build quality is excellent, and Satechi has used aluminum and polycarbonate in its construction. In addition, unlike other car chargers, which are often not offered in multiple color options, you can buy the Satechi Type-C PD Car Charger in two variants—silver with white accents and space grey with black accents.
There is no bundled USB charging cable, so you need to provide your own if you grab this charger. Satechi does recommend using the cord that came with your phone, but if you don’t have it anymore, there are plenty of other options available.
Satechi 72W Type-C PD Car Charger
This sleek car charger from Satechi is excellent for quickly charging your phone, tablet, or laptop, thanks to 60W power delivery via the Type-C port.
Best Wireless Car Charger: iOttie Auto Sense
- ✓ Multiple mounting options
- ✓ Auto-clamping arms
- ✓ Bundled power adapter
- ✗ Stability issues with extended neck
While wired chargers are great for speed, you can make charging more convenient with wireless chargers. For the best wireless car charger, we recommend the iOttie Auto Sense. It’s a great charger that you can mount on your car’s dashboard/ windshield. The company also offers variants for mounting in the cupholder or on the air vent/CD slot.
The mounts are secure, and the charger offers excellent flexibility in terms of how much you can adjust it to match your liking.
As the name suggests, the iOttie wireless charger comes with Auto Sense technology that allows it to detect when you have put the phone in and it automatically closes the arms to hold it securely. The company also bundles an optional reflective film that you can apply if the charger has trouble detecting your phone, which can happen with black or matte finish phones and cases.
In terms of charging capabilities, it supports Qi wireless charging, and you get 7.5W charging on iPhones and up to 10W on Android smartphones. Additionally, iOttie bundles the power supply with the charger, so you won’t have to buy that separately.
iOttie Auto Sense
With respectable charging speeds, auto clamping arms, and various mounting options, the iOttie Auto Sense is a no-brainer.