Can You Charge A Laptop With a Phone Charger?


Laptops need to be charged fairly often because they are electronic devices. Most of the time, the easiest way to do this is to simply use your laptop charger. However, you don’t always have it available. Is there another way you could charge your laptop? Could you theoretically use your phone charger?

You can use a phone charger for your laptop. However, there’s a number of caveats to this. You can’t just plug any phone charger into your laptop. It depends on what type of phone charger you have, and you may need extra accessories to make it happen.

Don’t worry; we’ll go through all the information you need to know in order to determine how you can charge your laptop via a phone charger. If it’s not possible for your current setup, we’ll even talk about how you can change that.

Different Types of Phone Chargers

As you probably already know, all phone chargers are not the same. Namely, the plug is different. A charger that will work for an Apple phone will not work for an Android phone, and vice versa. That’s because their plugs don’t fit into the ports of the opposite phone.

This is the major thing to consider when it comes to trying to charge your laptop with your phone charger. The plug of your phone charger needs to be compatible with a port on your laptop. In most cases, this will be a USB port of some sort. That’s because most laptops have USB ports that allow them to work with many devices.

However, all USB ports are not the same. They have different purposes and are not interchangeable, so the types of USB ports you have on your laptop are vital to whether or not you can charge the said laptop via a phone charger. We’ll explain the different types in detail.

The Three Types of USB Ports

There are three types of USB ports, simply classified as USB Type A, B, or C. Each of these USB types functions in somewhat different ways. USB Type-A is the most common one found on laptops, and are often used to supply power from the laptop to a small external device.

Type-B USBs are often used for connections, such as HDMI cables. You won’t need to worry much about them. Type-C, on the other hand, is one of the newer types of USB ports found on more advanced laptops and devices. They provide both high amounts of power and speed.

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You will rarely, if ever, find a Type-B USB port on a laptop. That’s because Type-B USB ports are used for connections, rather than charging. What you really want to focus on is a Type-C USB, as these can charge your laptop, and quickly.

Not only are Type-C USB ports very powerful, but they can replace many other types of connections, such as HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jacks, and more. If you have an Apple phone and use an adapter to plug your headphones in, you have a Type-C USB port on your phone.

Type-C USB connections have many benefits: they are reversible, aren’t nearly as thick as other USBs, they have many alternate uses, and they charge faster than some of the other options when that is applicable.

So, all of that said, if your laptop has a Type-C USB port available, you can use a Type-C USB phone charger to charge it. This is where some problems come into play. As you can imagine, not all laptops have a Type-C USB port. Many of them only have Type-A.

Older Versus Newer Laptops

As times and technology change, so too do the inputs and outputs on laptops. The older your laptop is, the less likely it is to possess a Type-C USB port. And if you don’t have one of those, you can’t charge your laptop with a Type-C USB phone charger. Older laptops can often only be charged with their official charger provided by their manufacturer.

But hold on: most laptops, even older ones, have Type-A USB ports. And Type-A to Type-C USB connectors exist, right? So could you use one of those to charge your old laptop with a Type-C USB phone charger? Unfortunately, the answer is still no.

That’s because the port present on your laptop is still not the right kind to actually facilitate charging. If the port is not capable of charging, it simply isn’t, regardless of what you plug into that port. No type of adapter or connector will change that fact.

So basically, unless you have a newer laptop with a Type-C USB port for you to plug into, you cannot charge your laptop with a phone charger. But what if you do have a laptop with a Type-C USB port? Even then, should you use a phone charger for it? Is it worth doing if you could use your laptop charger instead?

Should You Use a Type-C USB Phone Charger Even if You Can

It’s important to understand that device chargers are often designed to work with a specific product. Even if they can work with other products, they will often not do it very efficiently. So even if you have a laptop with a Type-C USB port and your phone charger is the Type-C USB type, it’s rarely a better option than the official laptop charger.

Naturally, laptops have bigger batteries with longer lifespans than mobile phones do. A phone charger is designed to efficiently charge a smaller phone battery, not a larger laptop battery. It can do it, but it will take much longer to charge.

For example, most phone chargers have five volts and ten to thirty watts of power. Meanwhile, most laptop chargers have sixteen to twenty-two volts and thirty-two to eighty-eight watts. There is a very significant difference in power here.

So, ultimately, you can charge your laptop with a phone charger under the right circumstances. But it will certainly be nowhere near as fast or efficient as the actual official laptop charger, and we wouldn’t recommend it unless you had no alternative. On that note, there are some other risks to using a phone charger with a laptop.

Just like chargers are designed to put out a certain amount of power at a certain speed, devices like your laptop are designed to receive power in certain amounts and at certain speeds. Going under or over that parameter is not necessarily impossible, but it does pose a risk of damage to your laptop or its battery.

Now, this isn’t terribly likely to happen when using a phone charger for a laptop, because it is just charging the battery more slowly than is normal. It’s usually much more hazardous to try and charge a battery faster than it was intended, with larger power sources. 

Still, the chance of damaging your laptop battery when using a charger that was not designed for it exists. It is always recommended to use the charger that your laptop manufacturer recommends, just to be on the safe side. 

Summary

It is possible to charge your laptop with your phone charger, but only under certain circumstances. First of all, your laptop must have a port that is compatible with the phone charger you have. If your phone charger is not compatible with the ports your laptop has, they will not work together.

In order for your laptop to be charged by a phone charger, you must have a laptop and a charger that use Type-C USB connections. Using an adapter, such as a Type-A to Type-C adapter, will not work because it does not change the fact that your laptop’s USB ports are not designed for charging.

The older your laptop is, the less likely you will be able to charge it with a Type-C USB phone charger because most older laptops only have Type-A USB ports. Some newer laptops have Type-C USB ports, which makes things much more feasible.

If you have a compatible laptop port and charger, then you will be able to charge your laptop with a phone charger. However, phone chargers don’t have as much power as laptop chargers do, so the process will not be nearly as fast or efficient.

Finally, please note that using a third-party charger that was not specifically designed for your laptop poses some risk of damaging your laptop or its battery, although that is not a particularly likely outcome. We personally recommend using the charger that your laptop manufacturer recommends.

All of that said, it is not impossible to charge your laptop with a phone charger, but the conditions through which you could do so are quite limited, and even when you can do it, it is not particularly efficient. It should only be done if you have no other choice, and

If you have no choice because your laptop charger is broken or missing, we’d recommend replacing it as quickly as possible instead of using your phone charger indefinitely.

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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