Dear Lifehacker, I just bought a new laptop with USB type C charging. The manufacturer’s wall charger is rated 45W, and is not modular – the USB-C cable is all one piece with the power adaptor. I’d love to minimise the gear I take on the go, so ideally I’d like a wall charger that is modular so I can plug in a micro USB cable for my phone / Bluetooth headset, and a USB-C cable for my laptop.
But I’m having trouble finding a modular wall charger that can output 45W. I’d also love to use a modular external battery that can output 45W, but can’t find one either. Any recommendations? Or do I just need to bring multiple chargers? Thanks, Carrying Cumbersome Chargers
As a general rule of thumb, you should only use chargers that were made and/or approved by the same manufacturer as your laptop. Otherwise, you could run into compatibility issues ranging from a sluggish charge to a fried battery. In extreme cases, it can even cause fires. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer modular chargers and there are no approved partners on the market, you’re basically out of luck.
With that said, if you’re willing to risk a third-party product, we’d go for a multi-port wall charger with USB type-C and 2.0 on board. These products are obviously a bit bulkier than a standard charger, but it means you can plug in multiple devices at the same time. (There are plenty of options over on eBay – just be sure to buy a reputed brand from a local seller.)
It’s also worth keeping in mind that you don’t necessarily need to match the wattage of your laptop – if the power supply has a higher rating, it just means your laptop will draw the required watts and the PSU will probably run cooler as a result. (You definitely don’t want a charger under 45W though, and the output voltage needs to match.)
We’ve heard good things about the Anker PowerPort+ which boasts a USB-C port, four PowerIQ USB ports, surge protection, temperature control and an aluminum construction. As for external battery packs, our friends over at Gizmodo just put together a guide on this very topic. You can read it here.
Alternatively, just bring your phone’s cable (sans charger) and plug it into your laptop’s USB port whenever you need some extra juice.
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