You are on a road trip with your laptop. What good is it if it runs out of battery and you can’t charge it? Useless, right? But you can actually charge your laptop using your car’s power system with the right charger and cable. But not just any laptop though.
Your laptop must support USB-C power delivery. It’s a new-ish standard for both fast data transfer and power delivery. Unfortunately, you’ll only find it on top-end laptops like the Macbook 2015+, Macbook Air 2018+, Macbook Pro 2016+, HP Spectre x360, ThinkPad E490, among others. You want to confirm that your laptop has a USB-C port—the oval-shaped port—that also supports charging. With that out of the way, here’s what you need to charge your laptop.
Wait. Before we get any further, confirm the power rating of your laptop. Most laptops will support 30W charger as the bare minimum. Otherwise, using a charger that’s below the rated power either will charge your laptop super slowly or won’t work rightly.
Before You Buy USB-C Car Chargers
Modern cars now include USB charging ports. But most cars have a cigarette lighter port that can be used to charge your smartphone or laptop using either a standard USB-A or USB-C charger. USB-C supplies more power than USB-C and is what you’ll need to charge your laptop.
However, not all USB-C car chargers are created equal. You’ll find those that support 15W, 18W, 25W, 32W. Aim for something above 30W because that’s the minimum power input most laptops that support USB-Charging support. Below are some of the power requirements for laptops that support USB-C charging. If your laptop is not listed below, you can confirm the wattage from the BIOS setup by pressing F2 during startup.
- MacBook (2015 onwards): 30W USB-C adapter
- MacBook Air (2018 onwards): 30W USB-C adapter
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (2016 onwards): 61W USB-C adapter
- Dell XPS 13: 45W
- ASUS Chromebook Flip C302: 45W
- HP Elite X2: 65 W USB Type-C adapter
- HP Spectre x360 13/15-inch: 65W
- Surface Pro 7: 65W
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 13/15-inch: 65W
- Dell XPS Latitude Inspiron 11/12/13/15-inch: 65-90W
- Razer Blade Stealth 13/15-inch: 65W
Other additional factors to note before buying a USB-C laptop charger: one, most chargers don’t ship with a compatible USB-C to USB-C cable. You have to purchase that differently. But not all USB-C to USB-C cables are created equal. Look out for the supported power rating of the cable.
Secondly, USB-C Power Delivery (PD) is an intelligent protocol. If you get a charger with less wattage than your laptop’s rated power input, it’ll simply charge slowly. If the charger’s power output is more than your laptop’s rating value, the laptop will only draw as much power as it needs.
For instance, if you charge a Dell XPS 9350 which is designed for 45W with a 30W car charger, it’ll show 30W since that’s what is being offered. But if you charge it with 65W source, it’ll show 45W because that’s what it’s designed to draw.
1. Aukey 36W USB-C Car Charger
This 36W USB-C Aukey car charger will be able to charge your smartphones and laptops right from your car. It has one USB-A Quick Charge 3.0 port which delivers up to 18W of power and a USB-C port. For your laptop, you want to use the USB-C Power Delivery (PD) 3.0 oval-shaped port as it’s able to deliver up to 30W of power.
This USB-C car charger has been proven to charge Macbook Pro 13″(2017) by a verified buyer on Amazon, even though the ideal power it needs is 60 Watts. It just means it’ll charge slower. It’s $20.99 on amazon.com.
2. Anker 49.5W PowerDrive Speed+ 2 USB-C Car Charger
Another option for charging your laptop on the go is the Anker 49.5W PowerDrive Speed+ 2 USB-C car charger. It comes with one 19.5W USB-A PowerIQ for charging normal smartphones. PowerIQ is Anker’s fast-charging standard.
It identifies devices and tries to provide the fastest possible charge. The other 30W USB-C Power Delivery for charging Macbook Pro/Air 2018. This charger has been proved to charge 13-inch Macbook Pro by reviewers on Anker’s website and Amazon. It’s $32.99 on amazon.com.
3. Nekteck 45W USB-C Car Charger
This car charger from Nekteck comes with 2.4A standard USB-A charging port for smartphones and a much faster UAB-C PD 45W port. Its USB-C port delivers 15W more power than the 36W USB-C Aukey or the Anker 49.5W PowerDrive Speed+ 2 USB-C car charger. So it’ll charge your Macbook Pro/Air 2018 much faster and is suitable for USB-C PCs from Dell, HP and Asus, and other manufacturers mentioned above.
According to Nekteck, this charger can power the new Macbook Pro 12/13/15″ 2016/2017/2018 models and the new Macbook Air 2018. It’s $19.99 on Amazon.com.
4. QGeeM 42.5W USB-C Car Charger
If you’re tight on budget and just want something that works, then USB-C charger by QGeeM is a good option. It has great reviews on Amazon with most buyers reporting it’s been able to charge their laptops including HP and 13″ Macbook Pro albeit slowly. It has one USB-A Quick Charge delivering up to 22.5W power output and USB-C capable of up to 19.8W which is alot slower than the other chargers we have listed so far.
QGeeM is a great brand known for producing premium computer accessories such as USB-C hubs, cables, and chargers. It’s the cheapest car laptop charger you can get at just $14.99 on Amazon.
5. LinkOn 63W Car Charger
If you want to combine fast charging your smartphone and power your laptop at the same time, this LinkOn 63W car charger is for you. It comes with an 18W USB-A QC 3.0 fast charger suitable for fast charging any QC 3.0-compatible smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy S9/S10/S20/S21.
The other port is a USB-C Power Delivery 45W port capable of charging Macbooks, Dell XPS, select HP USB-C laptops, Razer Blade Stealth PC laptops. This car charger has great reviews on Amazon and for $26.35, it looks like a steal.
6. Satechi 72W Type-C PD Car Charger
With up to 60W of power output on the USB-C Power Delivery port, this car charger from Satechi is capable of fast-charging your Macbook Pro/Air, Dell XP13, HPs with USB-C laptops, and more.
It has the biggest power output of the car chargers we have listed so far. The other port is a regular USB-A port capable of up to 12W of power. So it’s not a fast-charging port for your smartphone. This car charger is available on the Satechi website for $29.99 or on Amazon.uk for 31.14 GBP.
7. Wotobeus 83W USB-C Car Charger
Looking for even more power? Consider this 83W USB-C car charger by Waotobeus. It has one QC 3.0 fast charging port to compatible smartphones and a 65W USB-C USB-C port capable of charging most USB-C laptops.
8. BatPower 120W USB-C Car Charger
We saved the best for last. The BatPower 120W USB-C car charger is what you should go for if you want to charge your laptop at its rated maximum power. The Macbook Pro 15-inch for instance takes maximum power of 81W, so this car charger will power your laptop as though it was plugged to wall socket.
With a 90W USB-C power rating, it’s ideal for powering Macbook Pro/Air, Microsoft Surface Book 2, Surface Pro 7, HP Spectre x360, HP Spectre x2 Elite x2 Pavilion x2 Elitebook (PD USB-C), Dell XPS Latitude Inspiron 11 12 13 15 (PD USB-C), Razer Blade Stealth 13/15 and Razer Pro Lenovo Yoga Acer, Asus, LG and more PD USB-C laptop Models.
While the other two QC are rated at 18W which will fast charge your smartphones. The charger comes with a USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables. This BatPower (sound like the car charger Batman would use in his Batmobile) is $59.99 on Amazon.com.
Featured image: Anker