Pros and Cons of Universal Laptop Power Adapters

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Pros and Cons of Universal Laptop Power Adapters

Laptops make it easy for business professionals, students, teachers, doctors, tradesmen, and other individuals to take care of business and personal matters while travelling or commuting. A laptop is often carried in a laptop case,, so that the owner can keep all the documents, photos, and programs in one place for convenient access.

A laptop has a battery that can sustain normal function for several hours at a time. When a user is near an electrical outlet or when the battery runs low, the laptop can be plugged in via a laptop power adapter.. The current from the outlet powers the laptop and recharges the battery. Laptop power adapters or power cords sometimes fail from damage or age, in which case they must be replaced. If one plans to buy a universal power adapter through eBay or from another retailer, then one needs to understand the basics of power adapters. Additionally, being aware of the pros and cons of universal laptop power adapters is also important.

Regular Power Adapters vs. Universal Power Adapters

When one purchases a laptop, it comes with a power adapter that is designed specifically for that brand and model of machine. The power adapter changes the current flowing from the electrical outlet into controlled, usable current that the laptop can handle safely. The owner must use the power adapter that came with the laptop. One cannot expect to take the power adapter from a laptop of a different brand and use that instead.

A universal power adapter gives buyers an alternative to the original power adapter. Universal power adapters are designed to be used with various types of laptops, not just one brand. Many laptop users choose a universal power adapter if the original adapter is lost or has suffered damage.

OEM Power Adapters vs. Aftermarket Power Adapters

A laptop typically comes with a power adapter from the original equipment manufacturer, or OEM. For instance, a Sony laptop comes to the buyer with a Sony power adapter in the box.

A power adapter that was not developed and marketed for a specific product under the same brand is often called a third-party or aftermarket item. Universal laptop power adapters fall into this category. They are not manufactured to go with specific laptops and are made by companies other than the OEM.

Pros of Universal Laptop Power Adapters

Many laptop owners enjoy having a universal laptop power adapter so much that they never revert to an OEM power adapter. Three of the key benefits of universal laptop power adapters are the value, the portability, and the versatility they offer.


Power adapters from third-party manufacturers are often priced lower than OEM power adapters. However, this may not always be the case for universal adapters, since they include many more tips than a regular laptop power adapter. The increased number of tips raises the price, but it also means more value for the cost. One can use a single universal power adapter for several laptops. If laptop owners need to invest in power adapters, they may figure that spending a little extra for more functionality is worthwhile.


A single universal laptop power adapter can be used to charge several laptops. The laptops cannot be charged at the same time and must be plugged in separately. Families or groups of friends on vacation together can share a single universal power adapter and use it to charge their laptops at separate times, even if they each have a laptop from a different manufacturer. Instead of bringing along multiple power adapters with long cords and heavy power blocks, users simply need one or two universal power adapters.


Many universal power adapters have removable tips which are stored separately in a bag or a case. When a laptop must be charged, the user selects the tip that is compatible with that laptop and connects it to the correct spot on the power adapter. The tip end of the universal power adapter is then plugged into the laptop, while the other end is plugged into the electrical outlet.

Universal laptop power adapters may come with just a few tips, or they may have seven or eight to choose from. Buyers should look for adapters that are compatible with many of the major laptop brands, including HP,, Dell,, Acer,, Toshiba,, Sony,, Compaq,, Fujitsu,, ASUS,, and others.

Variable Voltage

Universal power adapters for laptops are designed to customise the amount of voltage that a particular laptop needs. A sensor within the adapter identifies how much the laptop needs to draw and adjusts the current flow accordingly. However, if the sensor is damaged or burns out, the resulting current fluctuation can overload the laptop and can cause significant damage to its interior components. In some cases, certain laptops do not work well with the regulator in the power adapter. If the laptop does not accept the current from the universal adapter, the user should consider returning to an OEM power adapter that provides stable current straight to the machine without any interference from a sensor. For these reasons, the variable voltage of a universal power adapter may be considered both a pro and a con.

Cons of Universal Laptop Power Adapters

In spite of the numerous advantages of universal laptop power adapters, users do experience some drawbacks from time to time. Two of the primary drawbacks for a universal laptop power adapter are compatibility and reliability.


A buyer must be sure that a universal laptop power adapter can work with the laptop in question. The word "universal" does not mean that all universal adapters work with all laptops. Some include fewer tips, while others have more for greater compatibility. Buyers should read all the details on the label or on the item listings to ensure that they are paying for adapters that meet their needs.


Some brands manufacture and market durable, high-quality universal laptop power adapters that work well with any brand of laptop. Other universal laptop power adapters may not be so reliable. Buyers should be wary of adapters that claim to support all laptops but are priced very low. Whenever possible, buyers should handle and test the power adapter before buying it. If the adapter's power block feels light and the plastic seems cheap, users may want to look elsewhere for a universal laptop power adapter.

In some cases, users have reported adapters that seemed to work well with some laptops but not with others. The majority of the tips provided with the adapter may work, but a few might fail to function as they should. Users can avoid such problems by looking into consumer ratings and reports regarding universal laptop power adapters.


Third-party manufacturers try to ensure that the tips on their adapters closely match those of the original equipment manufacturer. However, not all universal laptop power adapters achieve a perfect fit for all the tips. A poor fit can result in a lack of sufficient power. Users may find themselves jiggling or angling the adapters or the laptops to get them to charge properly. Testing the adapter first or consulting reviews from other customers can help buyers avoid the issue of faulty fit.

Buying Universal Laptop Power Adapters on eBay

When you shop on eBay for universal power adapters, begin on the home page. Enter your search term, such as "universal laptop power adapter,," into the search bar. Search results may number well into the hundreds, so if you do not have time to sift through all those listings, you can apply eBay's search filters. The filters allow you to select your preferences regarding the condition, brand, price, location, and shipping options for the universal laptop power adapter. As you make your selections, eBay instantly narrows the search results to match your needs. To keep an eye on current listings for universal laptop power adapters, save your search,, and eBay notifies you whenever a seller posts an adapter for sale.

As you shop, look for listings that offer free shipping, a return policy, or a package deal that includes more than one item. Some eBay sellers have the Top-rated seller seal on their listings, indicating that they have high feedback ratings from most of their customers. Choose these sellers whenever you can in order to receive professional service and quality products.


When a laptop power adapter fails, the owner needs to replace it as quickly as possible. For one who has a tight budget, a universal laptop power adapter may be a cheaper alternative to an OEM power adapter. Universal laptop power adapters are also helpful for users who have more than one laptop, as they simplify the charging process.

However, there are some drawbacks to the use of a universal laptop power adapter. Some buyers feel that third-party manufacturer's adapters are not as reliable as an OEM power cord or power adapter. Others find that compatibility is an issue. As buyers contemplate the decision between an OEM adapter or a universal one, they should weigh the pros and cons of both. They should also read some reviews and reports about universal laptop power adapters in order to find a brand that has a reputation for quality, efficiency, and durability.

No matter what the choice may be, eBay can help laptop owners find and purchase the right power adapters for their needs. Prior knowledge about the products and knowing how to leverage eBay's functionalities can help one find the right product at the right price.

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