The Dangers of Cheap Chargers for Electronics
Updated: Apr 20
We all like to save money, in our everyday lives we all hunt for deals. It’s important to understand however a good bargain versus a cheap knock off. A good bargain is getting a quality product for less. Cheap, often costs more in the long run! In fact buying cheap often means buying twice... or even three times. This is as true for technology.
Chargers and batteries are NOT something one should skimp on. That’s not to say don’t shop around and see if you can find a QUALITY item for less. However today many chargers found on eBay, Amazon or elsewhere on the internet are sub-par.
DO NOT BUY CHEAP KNOCK OFF CHARGERS OR BATTERIES!
We’ve encountered several cases where saving $20 on a generic knock-off charger killed a laptop. Hind-sight being 20/20 – most people feel the $10 or $20 saved wasn’t worth killing their computer which was worth considerably more. This is also true for cell-phone chargers. It doesn’t make sense to shell out hundreds of dollars for a flag ship smartphone, only to risk destroying that same phone with a knock-off charger.
Beyond the risk of destroying your electronics – there also comes an increased risk of the knock-off charger or battery catching fire.
Least important but still worthy to note – the quality of the product is likely to be sub-par. It may charge your device slow or over-heat if it doesn’t damage what it’s plugged into.
An example we've personally experienced deals with cheap USB charging cables. The $4 USB charging wire would only charge a phone via the slow-charge method. After 12 hours, the phone would go from 15% to 60%. Replacing that cheap USB cable with an Aukey USB charging cable allowed the phone to charge from 7% to 60% in about 20 minutes.
Companies obviously will mark up their equipment; but that’s not all they are doing. They are also ensuring quality and safety. A reputable company doesn’t want to risk millions in a lawsuit over defective equipment. A no-name off-shores company would simply fold and start under a new name if you could file any kind of suit against the company for selling you something that destroys your electronics or even causes injury.
There have been cases of DEATH caused by knock-off cheap power devices (
Just one example can be found here. It’s just not worth it over $20-$50 bucks.
Again, we like saving money just as much as the next person – but this is one area where we don’t go cheap; it’s just not worth it. You could find yourself playing with fire… literally.
So what DO you look for?
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This means if you have to replace the battery in your Dell laptop, an OEM battery would be a Dell battery. There’s something very important to note here: a lot of sites trying to sell knock-off batteries say “OEM Compatible”. That’s NOT an OEM battery. It’s an attempt to get someone to buy their stuff by putting “OEM” in the listing.
You don’t necessarily need to buy OEM. You can get a non-Dell charger, but get one manufactured by a company with a reputation. It may be hard to tell but often if you can find it in a store, it’ll be a decent brand. Targus, Belkin, Anker, Aukey, Ugreen are just a few.
Do yourself, your family and your electronics a favor; get something reputable and safe!