How do I Choose the Best Mini USB Charger?

Keith Koons

There are dozens of types of universal serial bus (USB) chargers available for consumers on the market, and at a glance it may appear difficult to tell one from another. While each of them conveniently plug into a standard USB outlet, there are actually many subtle differences that are very important to consider. Consumers should start by looking for smart chargers since they protect their electronics from unintended damage. A universal mini USB charger is also highly preferable since it can work with multiple devices. The charge time is also a large factor for consumers, but some devices can be dangerous if they work too quickly.

A variety of USB cables, including a mini USB cable in the middle.
A variety of USB cables, including a mini USB cable in the middle.

A mini USB charger with smart technology is a device that can track how much power is left inside an electronic device. While this may not sound like an important innovation, the majority of failed batteries are due solely to overcharging. Overcharging can also lead to circuit damage, and most warranties do not cover this type of problem. It makes little sense to save a little money only to have the battery's effective life cut in half, so consumers should always purchase this innovation when it is available. Most smart mini USB chargers often pay for themselves after the first few uses.

Another important factor to consider in a mini USB charger is whether or not it is universal. These chargers normally come with several adaptors so that they can fit an MP3 player, a camera, a cellular phone, or several other electronics at once. Some of the more expensive ones can also charge multiple devices at once, which really can come in handy. The average cost increase for a universal mini USB charger is about 30% more than standard models, but the versatility often makes them well worth it.

Determining a good charging time on a mini USB charger is more complicated than it seems. Some models claim to fully charge any device in under an hour, but because the power is distributed so rapidly it may damage the battery. On the same note, inexpensive chargers may require as much as 24 hours to accomplish the same task, so there is definitely a middle ground to consider. A safe mini USB charger with smart technology can usually charge a cellular phone in a few hours; anything faster is risking the health of the device. If the average charge time is not clearly stated on the packaging, consumers should probably consider a different brand.

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Discussion Comments


I have a USB car charger and I don't think it's a smart charger or anything fancy, but I love that thing. I can use it to charge my cell phone, my tablet, or my ereader on the go. It's so convenient!

Obviously I try to keep all my devices charged before leaving the house, but sometimes when I'm rushing around I forget. That's why it's so nice to have a car charger. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but I don't think it was very expensive.


@starrynight - A lot of devices that need a USB wall charger come with a wall charger included. However, I've noticed a trend lately that some devices now only come with a cable, and you have to buy a wall charger separately. So in the future, you might have to worry about purchasing your own charger.

With that being said, usually the mini USB chargers that come with devices aren't smart chargers. And they can't charge multiple devices at once. I think it actually might be worth it to purchase a separate smart charger instead of just using the one that's included.


I had no idea that there was so much to consider when choosing a mini USB wall charger! I have a lot of devices that need a USB charger to charge, but most of them came with a charger to plug into the wall.

Also, you can charge USB devices by plugging them into the USB port of a computer. Of course, this takes longer, so I usually don't do this unless I can't find my wall adapter.

Either way, I'm going to keep all this in mind in the event that I lose the mini USB chargers that I currently have.

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