What are the Different Types of Phone Chargers?

Jessica Ellis

A phone charger is an important accessory for any battery-charged phone. Chargers are most frequently used with cellular phones, which tend to have a relatively short battery life. With the enormous popularity of battery operated phones, phone chargers have been developed to match nearly any type of situation. It is not unusual for a person to possess more than one type of charger, to ensure that battery life can be extended regardless of location.

There are various types of cell phone chargers.
There are various types of cell phone chargers.

Probably the most common type of phone charger is called a wall charger. This is a simple device that plugs into an electrical outlet on one end and the phone on the other. Wall chargers come standard with most cellular phones, and are usually the simplest choice for charging a phone at home. Wall chargers are not usually universal, however; most phones cannot be charged by a wall charger from another company or even an older or newer phone from the same brand.

A smartphone with a touch screen.
A smartphone with a touch screen.

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Some people use a computer charger at work or home. This type of phone charger may use a USB connector that allows the phone to charge while the computer is on. This may be a good choice for people that need to charge their phones in a place with limited outlet space, such as an office with multiple computers. Computer phone chargers can also sometimes be used with laptops, making them a good option for people that work with portable computers on a daily basis.

A car charger is a useful form of phone charger that can be used in nearly any type of car. These use a specialized plug that hooks into a vehicle cigarette lighter, which is a standard feature in most cars. This can allow a car to be charged while on the move, which makes it a great option for travelers. A car charger can be an excellent back-up should a wall charger fail or be forgotten at home.

A rapid or fast charger can provide a dying battery with a quick jolt of revitalizing power, but may come with a risk. These chargers, which are somewhat rare for standard phone use, can charge must faster than a standard wall or travel charger. Though many incorporate a small fan for cooling purposes, poorly made fast phone chargers can damage the battery if left plugged in for too long. Overuse can reduce the life of the battery and make it less able to charge to full power.

Some unusual phone chargers are available on the market for those who enjoy gadgetry or are looking to reduce energy use. Solar phone chargers use small solar panels to capture the energy in sunlight and use it to restore the battery. These can be a very good choice for people on camping or hiking trips who will be away from standard power sources. A similar alternative is a hand-cranked charger, which uses manual power to provide a charge. These phone chargers may take serious arm work to provide a decent amount of charge, but have the benefit of not needing sunlight to charge in remote locations.

Some phone chargers are designed to work in a vehicle's cigarette lighter.
Some phone chargers are designed to work in a vehicle's cigarette lighter.

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Discussion Comments


@Grivusangel -- I've seen those, but didn't know if they worked or not. Good to know they do. I can now save myself a considerable amount of money when I need a car charger.

One of the popular things in my office is the charger that looks like a phone cover, but you put your phone in it and it keeps it charged. I guess that's pretty good, but I have a car charger, and I always plug my phone in every night so it can charge overnight. I rarely go through a full charge in one day. Only if I'm doing a lot of texting, which I rarely do.


It's great that so many cell phones have a USB plug. Now I don't have to shell out $50 for a car charger. I just bought the little plug part that goes into the outlet and plug my phone's charger cord into it. It was, like $5 at the drugstore. So if this one burns out, $5 will get me another one.

I've also seen just the wall plugs at the drugstore too, so if you have a cord, you're good to go. Sometimes you can even find the cord, too, so you spend maybe $10-$15 for a charger instead of $40. And you can buy one cord, a wall plug and a car plug, and you're good to go wherever you are. The little wall plugs are great for travel.

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