Useful Tips for Buying Laptop Power Chargers

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Useful Tips for Buying Laptop Power Chargers

Laptops are very popular because of the convenience they afford users. Laptops are easy to transport and can be used most anytime and anywhere. However, no matter what kind of laptop a user has, its battery must be charged in order to power the computer. The frequency and amount of time it takes for a battery to fully charge varies depending on the type of battery and the brand of laptop.

Although most new laptops come equipped with power chargers, it is sometimes necessary to replace a lost or an old charger that no longer works. However, buying a new laptop power charger is not as simple as it sounds, because not every charger works with all laptops. Therefore, consumers must do some research to find the proper power charger for their laptop. Knowing the types of chargers available as well as what things to look for when searching for a charger is important.

Electricity 101

There are a few helpful terms to know when looking at electrical supplies. There are only two currents, or voltages, that electricity comes in: AC and DC. As such, chargers work using one of these currents or a combination of the two. Most electrical devices, like laptop chargers, use DC but plug into a household AC outlet. A power supply within the laptop charger converts household AC to low-voltage DC, which the laptop then uses as an energy source.

DC Current

DC stands for "direct current". Accidentally discovered in the 1790s by scientists who were experimenting with chemical batteries, direct current is a simple form of electricity. It flows only in one direction; thus, the polarity of the electric charge does not switch back and forth. This explains why one end of a battery is positive and the other end is negative. An electrical current travels from the negative end of the battery, through the device being operated, and then back to the battery at the positive end. Direct current devices use batteries or a power supply device that converts household AC to DC at the correct voltage. DC device can run on batteries instead of having to be plugged into a wall outlet. However, DC cannot travel long distances.

AC Current

AC stands for "alternating current". This type of electrical current was discovered in the late 1800s by several scientists. It is a complex form of electricity, and the polarity of the electric charge rapidly alternates back and forth from positive to negative. Those devices that operate on AC current use more energy because AC is easily transmitted at high current levels, which is called amperage. AC is used in homes, businesses, stores, and other buildings. AC is beneficial because it travels long ways without losing power.

Types of Laptop Power Chargers

There are only a few basic types of laptop power chargers available. Knowing what to look for ahead of time saves time and money when shopping.

Universal Adapter Chargers

Choosing a universal adapter is ideal for users who have several electronic devices that require their own DC adapters. Universal adapters are also a good choice if a custom-built charger adapter is no longer available or is extremely expensive. When choosing a universal adapter, check the voltage and amperage to make sure it is compatible with the laptop. Even though the charger is called universal, there are still some restrictions that apply when talking about electrical currents.

Specialised Device Chargers

Specialised chargers are built for the specific laptop; as such, they are a perfect match. After all, the manufacturer best knows the needs of their products. In addition to having a perfectly sized connector tip, the power supply voltage and amperage of the charger are perfectly tuned to provide the proper amount of power to the laptop.

Car Chargers

A car charger is available as either universal or specialised. However, car chargers are unique in that they are plugged into a cigarette lighter or power port within the car, instead of a grounded outlet. Because the battery supplies direct current and you need alternating current to run the laptop, you must use an inverter with the charger to give your laptop power. Whenever the car engine is running, the laptop is charging.

Choosing Laptop Power Chargers

When choosing a new laptop power charger, whether universal or specialised, be sure to carefully look at all of the writing and symbols on the charger, because there is important information listed, such as the manufacturer, model name, and safety marks, among others. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that the new charger is compatible with the laptop.

Input and Output Range

The AC input gives the range of alternating current consisting of volts and amps. And, the DC output gives the direct current consisting of volts and amps. Checking the voltage and amperage of the current charger against the new charger is the best way to ensure the compatibility. If the amp of the new charger matches the old charger's voltage, it is ideal. If the new charger has a higher amperage but a matching voltage, it is also safe to use. However, never use a charger with over two times the amperage. It is important to choose the correct voltage, because the internal components of the laptop can be damaged if the wrong power is chosen.


When shopping for a new laptop charger, know the manufacturer of the current laptop. Popular manufacturers include: Acer, Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, HP, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba. Because some chargers are compatible with several brands, but not all brands, it is important to know who the maker is.

Model Name and Number

In addition to knowing the laptop manufacturer, it is also important to know the model name and number. Sometimes, laptops have a separate name and model number, such as Dell's Alienware M11 series. Other times, the name is part of the model number, as with the Gateway 3018GZ. Knowing this information makes it easier to find a new compatible charger.

Part Number

Every laptop charger has a part number, which is usually found after the letters "SN" or "PN". Many times, the number has a few letters in front of it. If the number cannot be located, check the user manual or company's website.


All laptops have input slots where the chargers are plugged in. These pin connections allow the charger to properly fit into the laptop. There are several types of pin connections, and they vary among laptop makes and models. Check to see if the current laptop takes a centre pin, bullet pin, large yellow connector, or yellow cover of the edge of the connector.

Laptop Batteries

Choosing the right laptop charger is impacted by the battery used in the laptop. The battery is supplied with energy when hooked up to the charger, and once the battery is full, the power charger is removed so the laptop can run without being plugged in anymore. This makes the laptop totally portable and accessible. However, the amount of time the battery lasts varies depending on what kind it is. There are three types of batteries seen in laptops: nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and lithium-ion. Lithium-ion is the battery most commonly seen in the latest laptop models.

Name of Battery


Length of Charge

Other Details



2 hours

Original batteries used in laptops; can explode if overcharged

Nickel-Metal Hydride


3 to 5 hours

Second generation of batteries used in laptops; known for self-discharging



4 to 6 hours

Latest batteries used in laptops; very light and thin; low self-discharge rate

Each type of battery requires a different method of charging in order to work at the highest degree. Most manufacturers recommend fully charging and discharging new power chargers three times to achieve optimum performance. However, always read the owner's manual to confirm this method.

Extending Battery Life

There are a few things that users can do to extend the life of their laptop's batteries. Doing so reduces the frequency that the battery requires charging, and cuts down on the wear placed on the charger. One way to extend battery life is to lower or darken the monitor's brightness. The brighter the monitor is, the more energy it uses; thus, darkening it saves energy. Another strategy for extending battery life is to decrease the number of applications used at a single time. Each application uses energy, so if one or two are not being used, close them.

Additionally, batteries must work harder when exposed to extreme temperatures. Therefore, always charge the battery at room temperature, and avoid using the laptop in environments that are too hot or cold. Finally, when finished with the laptop, do not wait for it to hibernate on its own; instead, set the laptop to hibernate using the "shut down" menu options.

Buying Laptop Power Chargers on eBay

Once you have determined what kind of power charger you need for your laptop, check out eBay for a large selection. There are many different options, both universal and specialised models, from various manufacturers all over the world. Using eBay saves time and money.

Searching for Laptop Power Chargers on eBay

To start a search on eBay, type in exactly what you are looking for in the search box on eBay's home page. Whether you want to find a new or used charger, enter "laptop power charger" to bring up a large selection of makes and models from many different manufacturers. For a more refined search, be more specific in your search criteria and enter the brand, make, or model for which you are looking. For example, if you want a charger for your Dell laptop, type in "Dell laptop power charger." This returns numerous listings, from which you can narrow down your selection. After seeing the listings, you may want to narrow down your options with the available refinements so you do not feel overwhelmed.

Buy Laptop Power Chargers on eBay with Confidence

There are so many advantages for consumers on eBay, such as an endless array of shopping possibilities, all under one safe and secure username. And, setting up an account is free and easy. Furthermore, eBay's partnership with PayPal allows users to protect their personal financial information and save time when completing transactions. Such benefits enable buyers to comfortably shop from their homes at any time of day or night.


Personal, portable laptops give users the freedom to use their computers virtually anywhere without the constraints of having to remain at a desk. In addition, chargers allow for a laptop's batteries to fill up on energy when it is convenient to do so whether in a car or at home or office. When choosing laptop power chargers, consumers should carefully consider several pieces of information, all of which are typically found on the charger. Knowing the manufacturer, model, make, and number of the original charger ensures that the new charger is compatible with the laptop. Consumers should also take care to use their new chargers correctly and charge batteries fully according to manufacturer recommendations.

When ready to purchase a laptop power charger, consumers should check out local electronics stores as well as online retailers. Also consider the convenience of using eBay to discover a wide variety of laptop chargers, both used and new, from a plethora of sellers.

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