Are Off-Brand Power Adapters And Cables Safe To Use?

When the time comes to replace your power adapters and cables, it's OK to use an off-brand option. But some replacements are better than others.
Posted at 9:00 PM, Sep 10, 2015

Here’s a question: Are off-brand power adapters and cables bad for my electronics?

The answer is a bit complicated. But, to put it simply, the quality of a replacement cable or power adapter tends to depend on how much the off-brand replacement costs.

When you’re replacing a cable or power adapter, your best bet is to check these three things: 

1. Is the replacement giving your device the power it needs?

Some cables or power adapters might not supply enough power to your device, so the result would either be a really slow charge or no charge at all. Other replacements supply too much. Now, this is something you really have to watch in the power adapter area because overcharging could damage something expensive.

Your best bet is to compare your old cable’s amperage, voltage or even wattage. Since amperage and voltage are used to calculate the wattage, don’t freak out if wattage is missing from the label.

With USB cables, you don’t really have to worry about having too much power or blowing anything up, because there’s a standard in place. But some USB cables charge better and faster than others. So, avoid the $5 cables.

2. Is the cable or power adapter certified to work with your device?

In most cases, off-brand power adapters will work as long as the pin fits the device. But in some cases, companies will require replacement adapters to have a chip to work with your gadget. For example, Apple does this. 

Sometimes these non-certified replacements work intermittently, and other times they don’t work at all. You might as well save yourself the hassle and go for the option that’s guaranteed to work.

3. Is the replacement you’re eyeing the cheapest option?

If you said yes, don’t buy it. In the long run, a more expensive cable will likely last longer, charge faster and won't harm your stuff. And in most cases, cables that cost more will also probably have a better warranty and better customer service.