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Understanding Common Car Charger Specs

car charger

When seeking to buy a car charger, have you ever scratched your head at what all the specs mean? Technical specs can appear a bit intimidating, but once you understand what they mean, it’s pretty simple. So that the next time you’re shopping for a car charger, you can choose one that best suits your needs.  

What is amperage, aka “Amps” or “A”?

Simply put, Amps is the electrical current available to charge up a device. Consumers should always pay attention to the advertised Amp output and look for as high of an Amp output as required by the device that they are charging. For instance, a smartphone typically needs only 1.0A, while tablets can require 2.1A. If you need to a car charger to charge both tablets and smartphones, it’s always wise to go with the highest Amp charger.

What is the voltage (V) of typical car chargers?

When you charge your devices via your car’s power socket, you’re likely to be using a 12V power socket, which can supply more than enough voltage to support a typical car charger with 2.1A to 4.8A. The voltage or also known as the electrical potential will go down however when you plug in the car charger since the car charger will do the work of converting 12V into 5V. This will happen, regardless of the amperage of the USB charger.

What is wattage (W) and how is it useful?

First of all, a watt is the total amount of power supplied and is calculated by multiplying the amperage by the voltage. The danger you get into if you don’t pay attention to your wattage is the possibility of blowing a fuse in your car. For example a car cigarette lighter fuse has 15 Amps and most cars uses a 12V system, you take 15 and multiply it by 12 and you get 180 Watts which is your safety zone. If you happen to surpass that 180 Watt ceiling, then your fuse will blow. However, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to USB car chargers, which outputs a maximum of 24W or lower. Hopefully now you have a better understanding of the common car charger specs to help you when you're looking to buy your next charger.

For a car charger that can charge both your tablets and smartphones at their fastest speed, click here to learn more about ZUS smart car charger (4.8A / 24 Watt).