Three Things to Consider When Buying a Charging Port for Your Car’s Lighter Socket

Choose the best car power adapter for your needs so you can concentrate on your driving rather than a phone with a low battery

man behind wheel of car holding phone
Don't be a dead battery dead beat. Keep a phone charger in your car.Anton Murygin via Unsplash

The portable electronic devices we carry have transformed the way we do things in the 21st century, allowing us to communicate and compute, bank and buy, date and diagnose and much more, all from wherever we happen to be. We rely so heavily on our phones and tablets that if yours runs out of power, you might as well be Ferdinand Magellan, stuck on a boat in the windless horse latitudes in the 16th century, waiting for a breeze to get powered up again.

So it’s very important to carefully choose the accessories that allow us to keep our devices going. That’s especially true if you rely on your vehicle to charge up a device in a short amount of time, to keep a device going as you’re driving, or if you’re driving through or to an area where there are no outlets connected to the power grid and rely on your device as a connection to the outside world.

Here are three things to keep in mind as you shop for a cigarette lighter power adapter.

Fast Charging

Hussell car charger
This simple charger is designed to recognize the type of phone you’re using so it’ll charge it as fast as possible.Amazon

If you rely on your vehicle to charge up your phone during, say, a daily commute to work that takes less than half an hour, get an adapter that provides a quick charge. Some adapters will charge a device faster than a wall outlet.

Multiple Ports

cigarette lighter car charger
This multi-port splitter is designed to shut off automatically if you exceed 120 watts or the unit heats up beyond 170 degrees Fahrenheit.Amazon

Life would be easier if everyone had the same type of phone, or if every phone had the same type of power plug. Of course, that's not the case, and you and your family or friends may want to charge devices with both USB and cigarette-lighter style plugs. Some multiple-port power adapters include both kinds.

Integrated Cord

amazon basics car charger
This simple charger is designed for iPhones and comes in two models, one with a 3-foot cord and another with a 1.5-foot cord.Amazon

Get a power adapter with an integral cord if you keep the factory cord plugged in at home. This eliminates the need to buy both an adapter and a cord. You simply leave the charger in your vehicle and plug in your device when needed.