Charging a smartphone: Charge rates explained

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Charging a smartphone and charge rates are quite important and they also seem a bit complex and hard to understand. But don’t worry, we’ll avoid going too technical and we’ll keep things as plain and simple as possible.

In fact, I’ll try to explain it in a simple way so you know enough for you to know how to choose a charger or powerbank without being an expert.

A few years ago it was common for a phone charger to supply 5 volts and up to 1 ampere. That’s why it would read 5V/1A on its shell.

By default, most phones have been charging at 5V. Some up to 1A, others up to 2.1A and even higher.

How much is enough?

There’s a mistake I’ve seen people making without noticing until the current day. In this day and age don’t go for any charger that supplies less than 2.0A. Many stores still sell chargers or powerbanks which supply 5V/1A. That takes too long to charge a recent smartphone.

1A will be good to charge a bluetooth headset or other small device. It will be perfectly fine if you charge your smartphone at night while you sleep.

But not when you’re active and you need your phone. In most cases charging up or your phone with a 1A charger will take about 4-6 hours if you’re not using it.

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The same can be said of a tablet. And it will take even more time to charge a powerbank or a Bluetooth speaker, in some cases over 10 or maybe even beyond 20 hours.

1A or 1.5A could be ok a few years ago but not so much today. If you’re fiddling with your phone while charging at 1A rate you might risk being consuming more energy than what it’s being fed.

For that reason, it’s best to have an input charge rate of 2A or even greater, like 2.1A, 2.4A or even less common 3.0A.

You’re powerbank is only as useful as the charge it has available and you don’t necessarily need the fastest charging speed. But if you’re short on time, avoid using anything that charges at less than 2A.

We hope now you understand how replenishing a smartphone and charge rates influence how fast you charge your devices.

Can it get even faster?

Yes, it can. If your phone supports fast charging than it’s a good thing if the powerbank is also compatible with that technology.

Check out our article to learn what is fast charging.

To make sure your phone is powered up on the go check out our article on How to choose a powerbank.