As someone who’s worked on a laptop (and, uh, played the Nintendo Switch) in the passenger seat of a car on more than a few occasions, I’m all too familiar with power inverters that convert your car’s power outlet into an AC outlet. They’ve been around forever, and they work fine, but they’re way too big to keep plugged in all the time. Heck, some of them even have cooling fans!
That’s one of the many reasons that USB-C-powered devices have been such a boon. Now, you can get small, affordable car chargers with powerful USB-C ports built right in, no cooling fans required.
Anker’s 42W PowerDrive Speed+ Duo packs a 30W USB-C PD port, which is plenty of power for most smaller laptops and tablets, as well as the Nintendo Switch. It’ll also charge your iPhone at the fastest possible speed with a USB-C to Lightning cable, which can come in handy if you want to increase your battery percentage on a short drive while simultaneously streaming music and using the GPS.
Below the USB-C port, you’ll also fine a 12W USB port that can charge any phone or tablet under the sun.
Maxboost’s charger cranks up both the USB-C and standard USB port. The former to 45W, and the latter to Quick Charge 3.0. The 45W USB-C port can charge larger laptops faster than the Anker charger, and the latter can quick charge compatible Android phones, which can come in handy when you’re using your phone as your radio and GPS simultaneously.
For context, a MacBook Air comes with a 30W charger, and a 13" MacBook Pro comes with a 61W charger, so this sits right in between. That said, you can still charge a MacBook Pro with a lower wattage charger, it just won’t charge as quickly, obviously.
Smaller devices like phones or the Nintendo Switch won’t see any appreciable difference in charging speeds here, and the more powerful ports comes at the expense of size. The Maxboost has a really large face that might not fit well in every car.
Satechi’s brand new USB-C car charger raised the bar with a 60W Power Delivery port. That’s essentially a match for Apple’s 13" MacBook Pro charger, and is powerful enough to charge just about any laptop, even if you’re using it for gaming or video editing while you roll down the highway.
Not for nothing, it’s also extremely small, especially compared to the Maxboost, though its spare USB port is only 12W, and not Quick Charge compatible.