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True or False: Off-brand device chargers work just as well

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Photo Credit: Flickr/Theilr

True or False: Off-brand device chargers work just as well

By Carolyn Hauck on June 09, 2015

You run into a convenience store for something to drink and while you’re there you see an inexpensive phone charger and realize you need to replace yours. Do you spend the $3 on the off-brand charger, or do you save your money and spend the extra cash on a brand name one?

It might depend on how tech-savvy you are.

Three things need to match up between your device and a charger: the plug, Voltage and Amperage. Matching the size and shape of the plug is easy enough to do, but checking the Voltage and Amperage can be a little trickier. Voltage, given in numbers such as 150V, is the power supplied to your device and Amperage, also knows as Amps is the current sent to your device, and is denoted as something like 1A. If the numbers from the power source and the device don’t match up or exceed your device you could end up damaging your device. Watts or wattage is simply the total amount of power in your charger, which is obtained by combining Voltage x Amps, and is denoted with a W next to the amount of power, such as 5W or 10W.

If you feel comfortable checking devices for the correct Voltage and Amps, you’re probably ok going with an off-brand charger, but we decided to check with a Tech Expert first to get an expert take on it. We asked Richard, a top Technician on JustAnswer, what he thought of off-brand chargers and his reply was a little surprising: “I’ve been using no-brand chargers for 15 years I’ve never had a single problem. The key factor is making sure it is made for your device (so the Voltage and Amps are correct and the plug fits). Speed is based on Amps so if you do not get the correct Amps the charger chargers slower and can over heat.

Any cheap device can pose a safety hazard, so I wouldn’t recommend getting a fake brand charger, but legitimate no-name chargers are not a problem.”

Of course, none of this relates to Apple products, which only work with Apple brand chargers.

So according to Richard, the verdict is: True. Off-brand chargers work just fine as long as you know how to make sure you’re using the right one.

But if you’re not sure about reading the charger’s Voltage and Amperage, the extra money you spend on your device’s brand charger or a brand name one might be worth it for the peace of mind.