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Saving energy (and money) is always easier when you know how much you’re using. But because many of the convenient smaller appliances we use seem to draw little amounts of power, we all too often discount how their use really does impact our electricity bills. With our How Much Energy Does This Appliance Use? series, we’ll examine what’s watt in small appliances to see approximately how much they use. To help you understand very basic electrical consumption calculations, you’ll need to keep a simple equation in mind: Volts (V) x Amperes (I) = Watts (W). What you’ll discover is how just how small appliances can contribute to your home’s energy usage and how these little conveniences can make big differences on your bill.
If you own a smartphone, chances are good that it serves some vital purposes in your life. It may be what wakes you up each morning, how you check traffic reports, how you navigate, how you take photos and video — even how you make phone calls. But do you ever wonder what it’s costing you to keep that technological powerhouse running? How much does it cost to charge a phone?
how to check wattage of mobile charger
How To Calculate Watt Of Mobile Charger
The answer is reassuring.
Don’t Stress Over Smartphone Power Consumption
It’s now the norm for American households to have no landline phone. According to 2016 data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, 50.8 percent of American homes rely entirely on mobile phones for communication.
As more consumers leave landlines behind, they’ll also be getting rid of their cordless landline phones, which tend to consume about two kilowatt hours (kWh) per month. At a typical rate of about 12 cents per kWh, ditching those landline phones could save you just under a quarter per month per phone — not something most electricity customers will notice on their monthly bills.
But would you believe that smartphones use even less electricity?
How Many Watts Does It Take to Charge a Phone?
In spite of the fact that your smartphone does the work of dozens of gadgets, it doesn’t ask for much in terms of electricity. Forbes took a look at this issue in 2013 and found that if you fully drained and recharged an iPhone every day, it would cost you about two kWh per year — that’s less than a quarter for an entire year of smartphone convenience.
Smartphone batteries and chargers have changed a little since Forbes’ test, but not enough to make a noticeable dent in your monthly electric bill. The biggest smartphone batteries of a few years ago clocked in at 1,440 milliamp-hours (mAh), while today’s iPhone X holds almost twice that amount of energy with its 2,716 mAh battery.
And while it’s still fine to use standard five-watt USB charging adapters when time is no object, smartphone users who need super-fast charging can opt for “fast” chargers that draw up to 30 watts.
The higher iPhone charger wattage will consume more electricity in a shorter length of time, but compared to slower chargers, they’ll cost you about the same in the long run. The bigger difference maker is the size of your smartphone battery, but even the difference between a 1,440 mAh battery and a 2,716 mAh battery comes out to about a quarter per year.
The bottom line: smartphones run on pocket change.
How Many Watts Does a Phone Charger Use?
You may have heard that it’s wasteful to leave phone chargers plugged in all the time, but we have good news for you there, as well.
It’s true that a plugged-in charger draws electricity even when there’s no phone on the other end of the cable, and therefore the best practice is to keep them unplugged when not in use. But when it comes to your monthly bill, diligently unplugging these chargers won’t make much of a difference.
How-To Geek ran its own experiment to discover how much energy these gadget chargers can really waste. They used a Kill-A-Watt electricity meter to measure the energy consumption of a variety of common chargers, and discovered that no one charger used a detectable level of electricity. In the end, the experiment’s designers simultaneously connected six gadget chargers plus a power strip to achieve a measurable reading of .3 watts, which amounts to a little more than 30 cents per year. So even if you make a point of always unplugging your chargers when not in use, the savings potential comes out to a rounding error.
We should always be on the lookout for ways to conserve electricity — it’s good for our budgets, and it’s good for the planet. But our phones and chargers use such small amounts of energy that they really aren’t worth fussing over. Instead, it’s better to focus on reducing the energy consumption of big things like our air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters and kitchen and laundry appliances.
How to Charge Your Phone Faster
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We’ve all been there: You hail an Uber, only to notice you’re at 2 percent battery power. You applaud yourself for remembering to bring your charger but then realize you’ll be lucky to reach 3 percent before you have to unplug your phone and leave.
If your phone is a newer model and you don’t use it much, it may last the day anyway, but features such as voice navigation and video streaming will put a major dent in your battery life. If you’re nowhere near the end of your day, being left with a dead phone or having to wait while you charge up can be a drag.
Enter rapid chargers, which can charge a drained phone battery at least twice as fast as standard chargers.
how to calculate power consumption of a charger
Batteries work by holding a charge of electricity to power the phone. In theory, the larger the battery, the longer it should last, but battery life is strongly influenced by the power requirements of the phone. Bigger screens, for example, use more power.
A battery’s capacity, measured in milliampere-hours (mAh), indicates how much charge it can hold. The term amps refers to how much charge (or current) a charger can deliver, while voltage refers to how quickly it can be delivered. The device’s overall power — how quickly and how much charge is delivered — is measured in watts.
Standard chargers that come with iPhones and older Android phones carry 1 amp of current and put out 5 watts of power. New rapid chargers with technology such as Quick Charge support 2 amps and 12 watts or more, potentially charging your phone up to four times faster.
How Quick Charge works
Android phones such as the LG G8 and HTC U12+ that support Quick Charge 3.0 technology can be charged to 80 percent in 35 minutes. (Quick Charge 4+, which will enable five hours of battery life from five minutes of charging, will be rolling out to devices this year.) Samsung says its fast-charging wall charger with Quick Charge 2.0 tech can deliver five hours of battery life in 10 minutes — still impressive, and a godsend on a night out or long day.
Quick Charge 3.0’s optimization feature charges your phone very quickly when the battery is close to empty and then slows down when it’s about half full. This helps prevent overheating the battery and damaging its long-term lifespan.
Find out if your phone supports Quick Charge, and check your manual to see what type of charger was included with your phone.
Fast charging without damage
Not every phone can support the full power of a rapid charger. For example, the iPhone 6 supports 1.6 amps and comes with a 1-amp charger. A 2.2-amp charger like the charger for your iPad will not charge your iPhone twice as fast; you’ll only charge as quickly as your phone can handle. Older iPhones that support only 1 amp can’t be charged faster at all.
To find out your phone’s amperage, search online for your model. If your phone’s battery can be removed, pry open the case and check the fine print.
To avoid battery damage from rapid charging, use only authentic chargers, says Joe Silverman, CEO and owner of New York Computer Help. Fast charging from certified chargers (from your manufacturer or a third party) will not damage your phone’s long-term battery life. What might hurt your battery are knock-offs or generic chargers made from cheaper materials that don’t ground electricity properly, which causes a leaking charge that can damage the battery — a problem for about 10 to 15 percent of customers who come in with battery issues, Silverman says.
Even if you use a higher-amperage charger on a lower-amperage phone, remember that certified and in-box chargers are designed for particular devices. They will not let through more power than the phone can support.
How to charge your phone faster
Whether or not your phone supports fast charging, you can boost how fast your phone powers up.
1. Use the wall plug
Anker PowerPort 2 Port
Got a USB cable? Forget charging from a laptop. Stick your cable into the AC plug that came with your phone and plug that into the wall. Standard AC plugs deliver 1 amp of current, twice what’s possible via the USB 2.0 socket found on many computers. Third-party AC plugs may support higher amperage up to 2.4, although you’ll be limited by the amperages of your phone and your USB cable.
Our picks: The Anker PowerPort 2 Port USB wall charger ($28.97 on Anker.com, check price on Amazon) supports Quick Charge 3.0 and can charge other devices with current up to 2.4 amps. Or, if you also need to charge your laptop or game system, go for the Anker PowerPort Atom III USB-C Charger ($42.99 on Anker.com, check price on Amazon) which can deliver up to 45 watts via the USB-C port.
2. Use a faster-charging wireless charging pad
Popular phones, including the iPhone Xs and Samsung Galaxy S10, support wireless charging. Wireless charging is slower than wired charging, but if you want to go wireless, make sure the charging pad supports the Qi charging at 7.5 watts.
3. Use a higher amp car charger
Aukey USB-C Car Charger with Quick Charge 3.0
Just like you’ll want a higher amperage wall charger, you’ll want a car charger with Quick Charge and/or the ability to deliver more than 1 amp. You’ll find car chargers that support Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 as well as regular chargers that deliver up to 2.4 amps
Our picks: The Anker PowerDrive Speed 2 with Quick Charge 3.0 dual USB car charger ($25.99 on Anker.com, check price on Amazon) plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and charges two devices—tablets and smartphones—at the same time. If you need to charge a higher-drain USB-C product, step up to the Aukey USB-C Car Charger with Quick Charge 3.0 ( $15.99, check price on Amazon).
4. Use a quick charge portable battery charger
Like wall and car chargers, you can pick up a portable charger with Quick Charge and/or the ability to deliver a faster —charge wired or wireless. Look for the same standards: Quick Charge 3.0 and Qi 7.5-watt fast charging.
Our pick: The Jackery SuperCharge Portable Charger ($119.99 on Jackery.com, check price on Amazon) is a 45 watt USB-C charger capable of quick charging your phone and even powering your laptop or portable game machine. Jackery claims to charge an iPhone 8 to 54 percent in 30 minutes, compared to 28 percent with the charger that comes in the box. With 26,800 mAh of capacity, you’ll get about 10 charges from a full SuperCharge 26800.
5. Upgrade to USB 3.0
Anker Powerline+ USB-C to USB 3.0 cable
The USB 3.0 standard supports up to 1.5 amps of current when charging without data transmission. Using a USB 3.0 cable in a USB 3.0 port charges your phone faster, assuming your phone supports 1.5 amps or more.
If you charge your phone from a USB 3.0 port on your computer, turn on Airplane Mode to ensure your phone won’t try to sync or interact with the computer. Otherwise, the allowable current is capped at 0.9 amps. Check online to find out if your computer model has USB 3.0 ports.
Our picks: Try the RAMPOW Micro USB cable ($7.99, checkprice on Amazon) for USB 3.0 to Micro USB. And for USB-C Phones, the Anker Powerline+ USB-C to USB 3.0 cable ($10.99, check price on Amazon) is an extra-durable cable for rapid charging and data syncing.
6. Use your iPad charger for your iPhone 6 or newer iPhone
The standard iPhone 6 1-amp charger can take the phone from zero to full in around three hours, and the 2.1-amp iPad charger can halve that, says Silverman. Or pick up an Apple-certified third-party wall charger.
7. Turn off your phone while it’s charging
Without Pokemon Go or email sucking up processing power, more juice goes where it’s needed sooner. The difference in charging speeds, though, is small. So weigh the inconvenience of turning off your phone with slightly faster charging.
8. Lock the screen
If you can’t live with a turned-off phone, let your screen go black to get more power to the battery.
9. Leave low power mode on
When you hit a certain battery level, this handy setting for iOS and Android devices automatically dials back screen resolution, animations, background app refreshing and other battery drainers. It’s an impressive extension of battery life, and Silverman says this feature doesn’t affect how fast your phone charges