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

usb-c-charging-laptop-techmalakThankfully, 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

usb-c-cable-differencesAll USB-C cables are the same, right? Wrong! All USB-C cables have the same shape and size, but the protocols and transfer speeds can significantly vary among wires.

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.