What Docks and Chargers Are Compatible with Your Phone?

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What Docks and Chargers Are Compatible with Your Phone?
Mobile phone chargers and docks only work with certain phones. This is why there are branded chargers geared towards certain models. When buying a new phone, the last thing anyone wants to have to deal with is a charger which doesn't work. This buying guide reveals how to choose a charger which is compatible with a specific model, as well as why chargers and docks can't fit in to any old phone.

How Do Chargers and Docks Work?

Each phone uses a rechargeable battery to power it. After the charge leaves the battery, the chemical reactions powering the phone need reversing, which a charger initiates. In the phone, a reversible reaction occurs. The charger causes the reaction to occur in the opposite direction, which replenishes the phone's energy stores. Chargers and docks work by plugging in to the mains via socket plug. It needs a DC current to charge the phone. The mains electricity current has a slightly higher voltage AC current. An AC-DC transformer inside the charger converts it to the DC current. The current filters through the charger to the plugged in phone to recharge the battery. Most chargers and docks take between six and eight hours to fully charge a phone, assuming it started from a battery with practically no charge. The primary reason why docks and chargers don't work with every phone is the components inside both charger and phone differ.

What About the Universal Charger?

The universal charger is a type of charger which supposedly works with any phone. Buying one removes the need for owning more than one charger or dock per household. Even though these chargers can work with more than one type of phone, there are some phones it won't work with. The reason why universal chargers have a wider range of compatible electronic devices is they share the same standard components. One of these devices won't charge two phones which utilise radically different elements. They'll work with phones which have largely similar parts. Even with a universal charger, it's still vital to check which models they're compatible with.

Other Charger Types

Generally, a universal charger is a standard type of wall charger. Trickle chargers, fast chargers, and green chargers will only have specific models they're compatible with. Again, look at the list of compatible models available with each charger. There's one exception, though. Emergency chargers are simpler more primitive devices. They can only offer a small amount of power (usually 30 minutes of talk time), but they can charge more than one type of phone. Their level of simplicity allows them to do this. Advanced chargers have been programmed to work with specific models to offer maximum efficiency. While it enhances their performance, their level of compatibly suffers as a result.

Compatibility Breakdown

To help make an informed buying choice on the correct type of charger, here's a brief breakdown of the compatibility issues surrounding each product category:


Mains Electricity

Car Charging

Compatible with How Many Models?

Wall Charger

Designed to work with mains electricity.

Does not work in a car due to lack of plug socket outlet.

Compatible with multiple models, as long as the phones are similar in type.

Portable Charger

Can work with the mains with a special adapter

Designed to work in cars.

Usually compatible with more models in more environments than a wall charger

Green Charger

Doesn't use mains electricity.

Dependent on the model, but many don't need a dedicated electricity source.

Most green chargers only work with one model of phone. The additional complexity prevents universal charging.

Emergency Charger

Doesn't use mains electricity.

Doesn't use car electricity sources.

Works with most phone models for a very limited period of time.

What Influences Compatibility?

It's important to become aware of the factors which come into play in determining whether a phone will work with a charger. Just because the charger or dock cable can fit into the phone doesn't mean it will work the way it's supposed to. Here are the major factors which influence compatibility.

Speed Considerations

A major consideration when choosing a charger is the speed at which it charges. This also influences whether a charger can work with a phone without damaging it. Every device has a maximum power output it can withstand. The data for this normally appears on the battery itself, or in the instruction manual which came with the phone. Different chargers have a different power output. These can range from 200 milliamps to two amps. Pick a charger with a higher than recommended power output and it can destroy the battery through overcharging.


Chargers and docking stations have different sized power cables. Sometimes they can't fit due to their physical size. Part of the reason for this comes down to the phone's design. Some slimmer phones won't fit a standard USB cable due to this slimmer casing. On the other hand, some manufacturers purposely choose an alternative size to make sure only certain chargers can work with it. A common tactic to bolster sales of branded chargers is to create a less common, or entirely unique, size. No other charger will fit in the phone exactly. Try to plug a similar size charger into an incompatible device and it won't start charging. This is because the tiny gold pins inside don't line up sufficiently.


Some ingenious phone users have turned towards customising their chargers to make them work universally. They do this by shortening the data pins and soldering certain components. Doing this isn't recommended, though. It can permanently damage the charger or dock, and there's no telling whether it will cause any damage to a phone if it does work. While it can increase compatibility, it isn't a recommended course of action.

Why Not Have Standard Compatibility?

It's a question people tend to ask when they learn about phone compatibility. It's down to basic economics and technical requirements. The economics of the matter is standard compatibility would make brand-specific chargers practically obsolete. Why spend money on a certain brand's dock or charger when it's cheaper to just buy a cable which works with all phones? There's very little appetite from the industry to move towards a standardised charging type. Phones have vast differences. Batteries have different needs. All devices have alternative power output requirements. Using a more powerful charger with a phone can ruin the battery. And the same type of battery also wouldn't work due to the vast changes in phone models. What works with an iPhone won't work with a cheap Nokia phone from five years ago, for example.

Choosing a Charger or Dock Which Works

Picking the right charger or dock depends on a number of characteristics. While shopping, bear them all in mind. Making a mistake can lead to a lot of lost funds. And some brands and retailers don't automatically entitle their customers to a refund if they've already tested the charger.

Buying Characteristics to Look For

Start by looking for brand matches. In the case of an iPhone, look for dedicated iPhone chargers. Make sure it has the Apple logo and it isn't just a charger which happens to work with the iPhone. Look at the power output. As already mentioned above, different chargers have different power levels. Inspect the recommended power output either in the instruction manual or on the battery itself. Compare this with the power levels of the desired charger to see if they match. Make sure the type of charger has the right sort of characteristics. Someone who is always on the move needs a portable charger so they can replenish their phone's energy stores without having to stop and wait.

Shopping for Chargers and Docks on eBay

There's a range of docking stations and chargers on eBay, each compatible with a different type of phone. To start looking for the correct charger, go to the eBay homepage and hover over Electronics & Technology on the menu to the left. This will bring up a small dropdown menu with a number of categories on. Click on Mobile Phones & Communication to open the main eBay shop. There's another list of categories now. Look for the Chargers & Docks category. This will reveal every type of charger and docking station currently in the eBay store. Narrow down the results by picking anything from the colour to the price. It's simple to find a charger which works with a certain model. Search by brands by ticking one of the boxes at the side. And it's also possible to pick by the type of charger. For example, one buyer might tick Wall Chargers and Samsung. There are two ways to buy on eBay. The classic auction format involves bidding for a product. The highest bidder gets the product. Alternatively, the Buy It Now format has a limited number of items available with a fixed price.


A charger is an essential part of owning a phone. Without it, the phone becomes unusable. This buying guide teaches how to make the right buying decision. The eBay store features chargers and docking stations from all the major brands, so there's always an ideal charger or docking station available. Check the product description to find out which phones each device works with.

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