The Relationship Between Adapter Wattages and Fast Charging

The Relationship Between Adapter Wattages and Fast Charging

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You’re in the market for a new charger, and you want to choose a power adapter that will enable fast charging on all your devices. But you quickly become confused by all the options. Do you really need a 50W charger? Is 20W too much or too little power for your phone? What do all these numbers mean anyway?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about adapter wattages and how to choose the perfect power adapter to fast charge all your devices. Here’s what you need to know before buying your next power adapter:

Everything You Need to Know About Adapter Wattages and Fast Charging

If you’ve never looked deeply into power adapters, you might assume that they are made equal and each offers roughly the same amount of power to charge your devices. But this isn’t true. Not only do adapters come in different power levels, different devices require different adapters for optimal charging. For chargers, this power is expressed in terms of “watts” or “wattage” — the higher the watts, the more power the adapter can deliver within a set amount of time.

For instance, an iPhone, an iPad and a laptop all have different size batteries that require different amounts of power to charge. An adapter that offers 20W of power is perfect for a smaller phone battery, but will take much longer to charge the bigger batteries of an iPad or laptop vs. an adapter with more wattage.

To make matters even more complex, the optimal amount of wattage varies by brand as well as by device and model. For example, a Samsung phone can handle a relatively large power adapter of 45W, but iPhones charge better if the adapter has a smaller wattage output. (For reference, the iPhone 13 Pro maxes out at about 27 watts.)

In order for fast charging to happen, you need to give whatever device you have the optimal amount of power. If the adapter wattage is too low, the device will take longer to charge, which is perfectly logical. But the device will also take longer to charge if the wattage is too high, which can be a little bit harder to wrap your head around. In the next section, we offer some tips for choosing the best wattage to fast charge your device.

Choosing the Best Power Adapter for Your Devices

If the idea of having to buy a different power adapter with a different wattage for every single device you own is daunting, we’ve got some great news for you. Now, there are power adapters that will optimize how much power they give to your device to enable fast charging — even if that optimal power level is below the max wattage of the adapter.

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As an example, let’s look at our 20W adapter Smart Power Regulator from our FUEL fast charging line. The Smart Power technology ensures the adapter only passes through the wattage that your device can handle. This is a great feature to have because a lot of phones can only accept 10W of charge at a time, so our 20W adapter will safely and quickly charge your phone without overdoing it. If you need to charge a device that accepts more power, such as a tablet, then the Smart Power technology will enable the full 20W to be delivered to the device.

What if you need a power adapter that can charge multiple devices at once? In the past, you may have encountered charging adapters with multiple ports that provided differing levels of power. You plugged the device into the most appropriate port. Thanks to advances in technology, we now have adapters that will automatically allocate power between the two ports depending on what device needs the most power.

Take our FUEL 50W Dual USB-C Power Adapter as another example. If you plug in one device that accepts 40W of charge (say, an iPad) and another device that accepts 10W of charge (like an iPhone), it uses Smart Charge Technology to divide the 50W of power accordingly so both devices can fast charge at once. It can also just send all 50W to one of the ports if you're only charging one device that accepts more power, like a laptop.

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These advances in technology mean that you can buy a single power adapter to fast charge all your devices. At Case-Mate, we offer adapters for several different devices and device types, so browse our selection to find the perfect one to fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to stock up on other tech accessories, too! In addition to power adapters, we’ve got phone cases, screen protectors and more to help keep your technology safe.