What Are the Different Types of Mobile Phone Chargers and Docks?

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What Are the Different Types of Mobile Phone Chargers and Docks?

The excitement of getting a new mobile phone can make buying the right type of charger and dock easy to forget. The charger and dock type is important for carrying out all those necessary functions without running into trouble. This buying guide explores the different mobile phone chargers and the type of docks available. With this knowledge, mobile phone owners can make an informed buying choice.

Overview of Chargers and Docks

It doesn't take much to become deceived when confronted with the terms chargers and docks. They both accomplish the same function; to charge a mobile phone. The difference is where they charge a phone. On the most basic level, a dock differs from a charger because it's usually connected to another electrical device like a computer or a car. While there doesn't seem to be many differences between the two, making the right buying choice can impact a user's flexibility and the way they use their phones.

The Importance of a Charger

Chargers play a big role in keeping mobile phones going. Without a charger, the battery in the phone will die and the device becomes unusable. Most people can expect to charge their phones once every 24 hours, but many phones can last for longer, if needed. Chargers work by sending a DC voltage through to the rechargeable battery inside. DC voltage is slightly higher than a battery voltage. Since chargers connect to the household AC power supply, a transformer in the charger breaks the voltage down and converts it into a DC voltage, using an AC-DC convertor.

Mobile Phone Charger Types

With the increasing role of technology in the 21st century, manufacturers have come up with a variety of chargers and docks. This offers users a vast amount of flexibility in how they charge their mobile devices. They can fit different needs, desires, and lifestyle requirements.

Wall Chargers

The wall charger is one of the oldest charger types. A cable plugs into the phone and is connected to a plug which harvests the household AC current. Using its convertor and transformer, it's converted into a DC current direct from the main electricity supply. Many wall chargers also have adaptors which make them compatible with other countries and their electricity supplies.

Car Chargers

Car chargers use either the cigarette lighter outlet or a dedicated outlet, usually called an auxiliary plug, in the vehicle. This allows users to charge their phones while on the move. It takes its electricity supply directly from the car's battery. There are four major types of car charger, though, and this is where many customers find picking the right product complicated.

Universal Charger

The universal charger does exactly what it says. It's compatible with any phone and any vehicle, which makes it a great option for people living in households with multiple cars. There have been some concerns over its compatibility with certain makes, though. It's why some buying guides suggest buying a charger dedicated to the specific phone model.

Fast Charger and Rapid Charger

The fast charger and the rapid charger appear as separate models. There are very few differences between the two, however. The benefit of both of these chargers is it charges the phones faster, and can also use their phones in the car while they're charging. The only real difference is a fast charger has the tendency to overheat if left plugged in after the battery has finished charging. The higher voltage and speed at which it charges the phone can damage the battery through overheating.

Trickle Charger

The trickle charger shares the fast charging speed of the fast charger. The difference is the trickle charger has a special sensor inside which automatically shuts off the DC cord when the battery has fully charged. This eliminates the risk of the battery overheating. A summary of each charger has been given below:





Most Expensive (1-3)

Universal Charger

All phones (with some minor exceptions)



Wide compatibility (2)

Fast and Rapid Chargers

Dedicated charger types


Risk of overheating

Added speed (3)

Trickle Charger

Dedicated charger types



Added sensor (1)

Emergency Chargers

Emergency chargers are for people who regularly go on treks into the wild, or who are regularly away from home. These chargers don't require a mains supply of electricity to work and can be powered by pne or two AAA batteries for a short amount of time. They aren't strong enough to completely charge a mobile phone because the DC current used to charge a mobile phone battery is stronger than the one found in batteries. They can offer up to an hour of time to talk in case of an emergency.

Green Chargers

Green chargers started to come into being as a result of the focus on Global Warming and its potential threats. Makers like IST SideWinder and ElectroHiFi have made a number of ingenious crank chargers. A crank charger works by simply turning a crank to power the current. Other chargers are solar-powered and some can attach to bikes. Nokia, for example, created a charger which charges a phone as the cyclist pedals. The sheer variety of green chargers means potential buyers must review each product separately. They differ so much that it is impossible to concoct a hard and fast rule for who green chargers might be useful for. In general, anyone who is concerned about the environment and going green ought to favour them.

Docking Types

There are fewer types of charging docks available, and most of them have very few differences between them. For certain lifestyles, these types of mobile phone docks are absolutely ideal.

Computer Docking Station

The computer docking station uses a USB cable to connect the mobile device to the computer. It charges the phone using the computer's battery. In the case of a desktop computer, it uses the household supply, whereas laptop connection will use the computer battery. When using a docking station with a laptop, plug the laptop charger in as it will suck the battery dry quickly. The added advantage is the computer docking station allows users to transfer data between the phone and computer at the same time.

Speaker Stations

Phones connected to speaker stations use the household supply current. As well as charging the phone, it also amplifies its sound. This is ideal for small parties and other gatherings which don't have a sound system in place. It's a niche option, though.

Portable Chargers versus Stationary Chargers

The different docking stations and chargers are either stationary or portable. Each option has its pros and cons, and it's crucial to take them into account before settling on the right charger.

Portable Charger Advantages

It's portable so that phones can be charged anywhere, any time. Businesspeople and other mobile phone owners who travel regularly benefit the most from portable chargers. Emergency chargers offer a way to get in touch with family and friends in the event of a problem. This is a vital piece of safety equipment for campers, hikers, and lone travellers.

Portable Charger Disadvantages

Some chargers only have a certain amount of charge to give. This is particularly true with chargers which use batteries or some other external power source to power them. They lack many of the additional functions which make stationary chargers so valuable, such as speakers and data transfer capabilities. Portable chargers can overheat and damage the phone. Overcharging the phone doesn't stop the voltage from transferring from charger to phone, so the battery starts to overheat. An overheated battery needs replacing.

Stationary Charger Advantages

They offer a number of added functions to turn a normal mobile phone into something entirely different. Users can connect it to speakers and make it into a sound system, or they can be connected to a computer enabling transfer of important data between the two devices. Overcharging the phone doesn't overheat the battery and prevent it from working. The voltage from the household supply isn't strong enough to cause any damage.

Stationary Charger Disadvantages

Lack of portability is the main disadvantage because they usually require a mains power supply to function. It takes a long time for a stationary charger to charge a phone using a household supply. Phones with low battery can take up to eight hours to charge fully.

Buying Chargers and Docking Stations on eBay

A range of different chargers and docking stations are available on eBay. To start searching, navigate to the homepage and click on Electronics & Technology on the left-hand menu. This will bring up the list of electronic products. From here, find the Mobile Phones & Communication category. Click to reveal a list of more specific categories. Click on the Chargers & Docks and this will bring up all the products to do with chargers and docks and from there various options are presented to select to narrow down the search such colour, manufacturer, and price. These options can be used to find specifics such as Wall Chargers or products by Samsung.. Further options outside the category choices are the type of listing. eBay offers products as either Buy it Now or Auction.


Phone chargers and docking stations are essential for anyone who owns a mobile phone. There are chargers to suit any brand and any situation. While there are always new brands and chargers coming onto the market, the classic chargers favoured by many will always remain available. eBay has the latest docking stations and chargers, so there's always something to suit.

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