As USB-C becomes the new standard for charging laptops, you may be asking yourself- Is it safe to use a 3rd party USB-C charger to charge your laptop? Can I charge my Razer laptop using the newly launched Pixelbook Go USB-C adapter? Are all the USB-C laptop chargers the same? I would love to say yes to all these questions, but the answer is a little complicated. Hear me out.
Not All USB-C Chargers Are Created Equal
Just because your laptop uses USB-C for charging doesn’t mean that all USB-C chargers will charge your laptop. Although USB-C seems to be a universal standard- it isn’t that straight forward.
Just a few years ago, if you didn’t use the right USB-C charger, the charger would fry your laptop. It happened with a lot of users who owned the early Pixelbooks and the MacBooks.
The situation is a lot better now. But that’s not to say any charger will work with your USB-C charging laptop. You will need to look into things like the charger wattage and the charging technology used.
You Will Need USB-C Power Delivery Charger
Thankfully, most laptops OEMs use USB-C Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard for charging their laptops. Major brands like Apple, Dell, and Razer all use USB-PD technology, which makes their chargers cross-brand compatible.
You will need to look at the wattage, however. A 45-Watt Razer laptop charger may not be enough to juice up the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which requires an 87-Watt power adapter. Sure, the MacBook Pro will charge but at a significantly slower rate. And if you are using the laptop as you charge, you may even notice a drop in battery percentage also while you are plugged-in.
That’s not all. There are different versions of USB-C Power Delivery. For instance, the Pixelbook will not charge with a USB-PD charger of spec 1.0. It will need a USB-PD spec 2.0 (spec 3.0, preferably) to charge up properly.
If you confirm the proper USB-PD specs and the charger output wattage, you use a USB-C charger from a 3rd party manufacturer. Just make sure that the 3rd-party brand has a solid reputation (Anker and Aukey are two great 3rd party USB-C charger manufacturers).
USB-C Cable Makes A Difference
It’s not just the transfer speeds, though. The charging rate of the device varies by the type of USB-C cable, as well. For instance- I wasn’t able to able to charge the Pixelbook at its optimum speed using the Galaxy Note 10 USB-C to USB-C cable.
Lucky for us, most reputable USB-C cable manufacturers mention the output a cable can deliver. For example, the Anker Powerline II USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable is rated for speeds at up to 100W (5A). This is a kind of wire that you would want to get if your laptop can charge at a very high speed.
To sum up, if you follow a few simple steps, it’s completely safe to charge your laptop using a 3rd party USB-C laptop charger. You need to note down the wattage and the USB-C charging technology before purchasing a new 3rd party laptop charger.
Also, make sure you are buying your charger from a brand that has an excellent reputation for reliability. You don’t want to fry your $1000+ laptop by using a cheap knock-off USB-C charger.