What Is a Cell Phone Charger?

Ken Black

A cell phone charger is a device used to recharge the battery in a mobile phone unit. Often, a basic charger comes with the cell phone when it is purchased. In some cases, additional chargers may be purchased that have added features.

A cell phone charger.
A cell phone charger.

There are many different types of cell phone chargers to choose from. Among the most popular are wall chargers, car chargers, travel chargers, rapid chargers and instant chargers. Many mobile phone owners may own one or more of these other types of chargers, depending on situations they may find themselves in.

Cell phones must be recharged routinely.
Cell phones must be recharged routinely.

The wall charger is the most common type of cell phone charger. It has a standard plug designed to fit the outlets in the country in which it was sold. In some cases, this cell phone charger may come with some added features, such as a docking station for the phone. However, this may actually decrease the phone’s functionality, as it cannot be used while charging. The travel charger is usually very similar to the wall charger but is usually less bulky and may include prongs that fold down for easier travel. In some cases, the travel charger has replaced the wall charger as the standard one included with the phone.

Cell phone travel chargers are designed to plug into a vehicle's cigarette lighter.
Cell phone travel chargers are designed to plug into a vehicle's cigarette lighter.

The car charger is another very popular option. This charger has an adapter that allows it to be plugged into a vehicle’s DC port, commonly known as a cigarette lighter. It is especially useful for those who do a substantial amount of traveling and need constant access to their mobile phones.

A rapid charger looks very much like a wall charger, but is a more powerful cell phone charger, able to charge phones in just a fraction of the time it would normally take. For most models, charging a phone takes two to three hours. Rapid chargers advertise the ability to charge the phone in less than an hour, in many cases. However, consumers should be aware that some rapid chargers can shorten the effective life of the battery.

Instant chargers are really one-time, non-replaceable batteries. They usually do not replace the installed battery, but rather connect to the phone just like a normal charger would. These are useful in emergency situations when a cell phone battery is low or dead. The job of this type of charger is simply to transfer current from one battery to the next.

When buying a cell phone charger, it is important to understand that just because it works with your brand of phone, it may not work with your model. Be sure to cross reference the model number on the packaging to your own phone. In many packages, the connecting portion of the charger to the phone is outside the rest of the packaging, giving the consumer a chance to test the connection, if they have their cell phone with them. This is the most foolproof way of making sure you have the right connection.

If a battery will no longer hold a charge, it should be replaced.
If a battery will no longer hold a charge, it should be replaced.

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Discussion Comments


I always thought it was nothing but a racket that there were no universal chargers for phones. It was obviously a way to add on more to the cost of a phone. I'm glad most phones have USB style plugs that can go anywhere.

@Grivusangel -- I'd seen those adapters at the store, but didn't know whether they worked well or not. Since you say they do, I'll venture a few dollars on one. It just gripes me to think about shelling about $40 on a car charger when $5 will get the same darn thing!


Nowadays, a lot of drugstores sell car charger adapters that have a USB port. You just buy the adapter, plug it in to the charging outlet and plug your regular charge cord in to the USB port and then plug in your phone. So handy! I think they cost about USD$5 or so. They also sell cords for different phones, as well as wall charger adapters. You can pick up a complete set for under USD$20, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than you can get them at the retail phone stores!

I always hated buying a car charger because they were expensive, but now, for five bucks, I can plug in my phone anytime I want to.

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