What’s the Best Car Charger for Uber Drivers

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best car charger for uber drivers
You’ve been driving around for hours giving riders premium service, and you’ve made some good money doing it. Then you see the entire map go red or pink, and you think, “boom, it’s payday!” The next thing you know, your phone shuts off mysteriously. What happened? Chances are your car charger failed you, you forgot your charger, or you just thought you wouldn’t need one.
Well, we’ve all been there, so don’t beat yourself up. Having the best car charger should be a staple for all of us. If you don’t have a charged phone, you aren’t going to be making any money. Right?
Have you ever experienced the battery blues? Maybe you got into a dangerous situation and needed to call somebody? Have you ever needed to call a PAX who’s been keeping you waiting but you don’t have enough battery juice to make the call?
Well, you’re in luck. At Uber Driver Things we’ve curated the following list to ensure that your phone is always charged and ready to roll out and hit that surging wave.

Why a great car charger for Uber drivers goes a long way

One of the things I hear tons of drivers complain about is cheap or inefficient chargers. At first, this seemed to be nit-picky stuff. That is until I discovered the true difference between a quality charging cord and a cheap cord. It isn’t something that many people often think about. In fact, for most folks, a cord is a cord is a cord.

I am here to let you know that nothing could be further from the truth. There is ample evidence that shows that using cheap cords can drastically alter your charging experience. In the rideshare business, having a phone with a full battery at all times is key. If you are running a phone with battery issues, then a cord becomes even more important. It should be one of the things you should have in your car before driving.

It would be such a headache to have a dead phone when you get into an Uber accident, and you have no way of calling for help or your rideshare insurance provider for assistance. Additionally, running low on battery and not being able to hit your daily targets could affect how much your rideshare business makes in 2019.

How can a low-quality charger affect your battery performance?

First of all, the phone will not charge properly. This has several secondary effects such as slow charging, not charging, and overcharging. While some off-brand or third-party chargers won’t damage your phone initially, in the long run, they all take their toll. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but by and large, the type of charging cord and apparatus you use will directly correlate to the life and performance of your phone’s battery. If you have ever had a failed battery in a $1,000 cell phone, you know what I am talking about. This is why it’s important to choose the best car charger that suits your phone.

What features to look for in a car charger for Uber drivers

The question then becomes, what do you want to look for in a good car charging apparatus and cord? You need to think about some key aspects before you add the charging cord or charging base to your Amazon cart.

The following list is about as exhaustive as we could make it. Though it may not cover everything, we have done our best to provide you with top-notch information. If you have more information, please feel free to comment.

Speed

The fact is that we live in an on-demand world built on speed and convenience. Our phones are massively powerful. If we are not careful they can eat a battery up fast. Consequently, if we don’t have a battery, we limit our ability to be quick, speedy, and/or convenient for our riders. So, one thing to look at when choosing the best car charger is whether or not the system, which includes a base plugin and a corresponding cord to your phone, is a fast charger or a trickle charger.

The reason behind this is simple. Fast charging is all the rage these days and for good reason. It is an amazing revelation to think that you can restore up to 75% of your battery on some phones in less than 15 minutes of charging. That would be sorcery just five years ago. However, now, most charging systems feature a fast-charging system. This is often the first and only consideration that most drivers make.

Let me offer a word of caution. Fast charging, while amazing, is not always the way to go. You can and will damage your phone’s battery capacity over time if you only use a fast charger.

Intelligent Charging (Overheating Protection)

The next feature you need to consider in your search for the best car charger is intelligent charging or a system that protects the phone from overheating. This can be a bit of a confusing road to determine if you’ve addressed the issue. Most phones these days have internal systems and monitoring software that will shut down charging operations if the battery temperature reaches a certain threshold. While this is a great option to have, not all drivers have phones with a “heat governor”. Because of this, you need to see if your phone has the relevant software and that your charging system has built-in layers of protection.

If you have both internal heat detection and shut off system and a charging cord that monitors such things you are dually protected. This duo can be helpful, but it won’t always be fool-proof. I have had phones and charging systems with both and the phone still overheats. Often, this sort of a malfunction is a manufactural defect and in such cases, there really isn’t much you can do.

Charging Tech

This may seem a bit ambiguous, but there are loads of options for charging apparatuses and cords. One of my favorite features to consider is QI wireless charging. I love not having to plug my phone in or unplug it and replug it. I personally use the iOttie Phone Mount and Charging system with QI wireless tech, when I drive for Uber. This unit has a number of really amazing tech features that make my drives smoother and more predictable. I know my phone will never lose charge, and that the system will not damage my phone.
phone charger
When you consider a charging system, be sure to check out all of the tech options available. Do you want a magnetic mount? Vent mount? QI Wireless charging? Bluetooth connections? There are a number of things to consider so do your due diligence.

Durability

Rideshare drivers put a lot of mileage on our cars and we also put a ton of mileage on our cellular devices and accessories. Much like your phone mount, a charging cord and charging system are no different. You want to find the best car charger that can stand the test of time and torture. These systems need to last otherwise rideshare drivers run the risk of increasing their operational costs.

I just mentioned above how much I love the iOttie, however, just yesterday the damn thing broke on me after only ten months. It was not an entire failure, but I did have to go out and buy a second model which cost me a cool fifty-five dollars. This increased my costs for the week, despite getting some spare parts for the old one.

What I am getting at is you need to buy a quality, high-end product. I have spoken with many drivers who go the cheap route when charging cords are considered. These drivers are comfortable with spending ten to twenty dollars on phone mount systems four or five times a year. If you do the math, these drivers are outpacing my operational cost. Add in the frustration of having to replace the charging system and the potential damage to your phone’s battery and you’ve got a leak in your finances.

Price

This brings us to price, which is by all intents and purposes a key factor for everyone. Whether you choose to go the inexpensive route or go for a full-on Rolls Royce, you need to consider what the upfront and replacement costs are. Price for car charging systems can range from five dollars for a simple gas station cord and car block to upwards of one hundred dollars for a premium mount with QI wireless charging.

savings on car charger

Consider how much you can spend first, then consider the operational costs of the choice over time. Besides, you can always tag them as a tax write-off to save on costs. Remember, being a rideshare driver is a business. Your phone and car charger are business expenses. Don’t just track your mileage! Track your other costs too.

If you notice that the mount is inexpensive, but also appears to be cheaply made plastic or seems flimsy, you need to consider that it might break. If it does, how much is the cost to replace it? Does that double cost help you consider an upgrade now? My inclination is always to buy something that will last at least a year. In my case, with the iOttie, most reviews had stated that other purchasers had great results upwards of two years with the product. I guess I hulked it to death.

Compatibility

This is the most often overlooked aspect of a charging system with any battery, let alone phones or car charging. These days, most phone chargers and cords work across brands. In fact, most people just check the charging cord tip to make sure it physically fits into the phone. This can often lead to major problems for you in the long run. If you happen to buy a cord that is not compatible, you can overheat your phone, damage the port, permanently damage the battery and even run the risk of causing a fire. Now, I know what you are thinking, that’s a bit extreme. It is and it isn’t.

Like dash cams, phones are an essential investment for rideshare drivers and they aren’t getting any less expensive. It is my fully vetted recommendation that you only buy OEM products or products that are uber close. I almost always have a Samsung Galaxy Note, and I upgrade every year to a new model. That is a large investment and I protect that investment by using original manufacture charging cords when I plug in at home or into any wall. In the car, when I do use a cord, I only use the cord that came with the phone. I have had various cords overheat, damage the port, and cause hardware and software issues on previous phones. This is no joke. In fact, most engineers in the cellular world will tell you that despite their efforts to create stable batteries, you can and will damage the battery with poor charging habits.

But wait, the iOttie isn’t a Samsung brand…

This is true! It is not. However, wireless charging is a tad different than corded charging. You do not run the same risks of an overload or excess energy load being applied to the battery with wireless charging. You also do not run the risk of damaging the port, because you aren’t plugging in.

iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless Qi Fast Charge Car Mount Kit
https://www.amazon.com/iOttie-Touch-Wireless-Charge-Mount/dp/B0754NDNT8/

Finally, I did my due diligence and read dozens of reviews before sticking with the iOttie. After eleven months of using the iOttie my phone has not lost hardly any of its capacity or charging recovery, which can be attributed to normal attrition.

A quick lesson in Volts, Amps and Watts

Let’s take a quick time out and look at the nuts and bolts of charging. Before I was an Uber driver and writer for Uber Driver Things —in a life that seems ages ago— I worked for a little company called Batteries Plus. It was a retail joint that sold batteries for cars, phones, computers, and just about everything under the sun. We also sold cords and every single thing relating to batteries. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Well, it was, a bit. However, I did pick up a fairly advanced knowledge of batteries and how they function, charge, and maintain capacity.

Volts

So what the heck is a volt? Everyone kind of knows what a volt is from elementary and secondary school. But for the purposes of this article let’s just consider the definition and the basics as it pertains to us as rideshare drivers.

A volt is the unit of electric potential difference, or the size of the force that sends the electrons through a circuit.

If you imagine electric charging and batteries to be akin to the plumbing in your house voltage is the same thing as water pressure. If you were to increase the water pressure or the force with which you charge your phone’s battery you run the risk of overloading it.

That is why you need to pay close attention to the voltage of the potential charging system you purchase. Now, most chargers will have this dialed in and you don’t really have to worry about it too much. Just check the packaging and make sure that it is five volts or lower. Some cords have a trickle charger or a two-point five-volt charging capacity. Anything above five-volt capacity will damage your phone’s battery.

Amps

Next up, we have amperes or amps. This is again another one of the things that we learned in school. So let’s once again check out the definitions of Amps.

An ampere is a unit used to measure electric current. Current is a count of the number of electrons flowing through a circuit.

What the heck does that mean? Again if we consider your home’s plumbing system, we can look at amps as the rate at which your water flows. This is called current and it simply refers to how fast you are going to fill up your phone’s battery. This is basically where you are going to get your speed. If you have a 500 mAh charger and someone else has a 2100 mAh charger then you will be charging your phone four times slower. Ultimately, you want a phone charger with a higher current.

Watts

Finally, we have watts or wattage.

Electrical power is measured in watts. In an electrical system power (P) is equal to the voltage multiplied by the current.

So, once again, if we compare this to your house’s plumbing system, wattage is comparable to a combination of the voltage and amperage after considering the resistance of flow from the Ohms. When we are considering phone chargers in a car it is important to know that most phone chargers utilize a range of two to six watts.

Now, science lessons aside, it is imperative that you aren’t purchasing a charging system or cord that exists beyond the safety of those parameters. Some companies will claim it is safe to do so, and it may be for a short term fix or an emergency, but if you charge outside of those parameters long term, expect poor returns.

Charging Cables Matter Too (Especially for Maximizing Charge Speed)

This brings us to the next key consideration. If you couple a fast charging block with a cheap cable that cannot properly funnel the energy, it will slow you down. Imagine having a water pump with great power output and you attach a hose that is poorly made. What is going to happen? It will burst or tear and cause a big mess. The same thing runs true when it comes to charging your phone. A cheap cable will slow down the faster charging system.

Types of Cables

In the world of charging cords, there are a number of types of cords that you need to be aware of. The following list is a brief list of the different types of cords that you might utilize when charging your phone.

phone cables

      • Type-C (PD) to Type-C (PD)
        • This is the newest type of USB cable and it is designed with the idea of compatibility across multiple devices in mind. It is reversible and promises higher transfer rates in regards to information and power.
      • Lightning to Type-C
        • This utilizes Apple’s proprietary Lightning plug and couples it with the Type-C USB connection on the other side. This setup allows you to plug in Apple products to various sources that utilize the Type-C connection.
      • Lightning to USB-A
        • Again this is an Apple proprietary Lighting plug and couples with the USB-A that is common across multiple devices. This is one of the most common formats for the end of a charging cord.
      • Type-C to USB-A
        • This cord is a standard for alot of Samsung or Android devices. It features the Type C connection and couples it with the old school USB-A for maximum compatibility.
      • Micro-USB to USB-A
        • This is an older version of cords that is quickly being run out of the market with the advent of the Type-C. Basically, this is a cord that most new cellular device users won’t use. The only reason to have this type of cord is for passengers who might have older phones.

All Phone Fast Charging Capabilities Are Not Created Equal

The gold standard when it comes to phone charging is that not everything is created equal. Whether it is the cord or the charging apparatus itself, you need to do your research. Fast charging is no different.

You need to make sure that the product you are buying won’t damage your phone or prevent you from making a smooth pick-up and drop off. In this case, you’ll want to check the wattage on the Fast Charger to make sure that you aren’t buying something with a lower wattage. If you overshoot this, you’ll be ok. The standard is 10 watts for most phones, Apple works on 7.5 watts and thus charges a tad slower than the 10 or 15-watt androids phones.

Wireless charging is all about how quickly you can recharge as you pull energy from the battery. Therefore you want a charger that can output at least 10 watts.

Standard Car Charger Versus Wireless Car Charging Mount

The other thing to consider is whether or not you should use a standard charging cable, like the one that came with your phone or using a wireless car charging mount. This is up to you, however, I suggest going with the wireless car charging mount. Why? It is simple laziness really! I like not having to put the stress on my charging port. We often unplug and re-plug our phones to top off our battery throughout the day. The simple truth is that this port is not invincible and it does take damage with every single in and out. If you go wireless you minimize and mitigate damage to the port, which can be costly to repair.

However, if you go the wireless route, know that often the charging will be slower than your standard cord when plugged into the wall. On my iOttie I know that my phone will remain at 100% for around two and a half hours before I start to notice a drain on it. That is under full load. However, when I actually plug into the fast charging port on my Uber Beacon, I can often top the battery off again in half the time the wireless would. In some cases, the battery is under such a load from the Uber App, Navigation, Spotify, and all the background apps that I cannot keep up with the energy demand on a wireless charger.

Buying the Best Phone as a Rideshare Driver

As a rideshare driver, we need to buy the most reliable phone and the best car charger we can. I know that we don’t all make the same, and some of us are full-time and don’t have the benefit of outside work. But, I cannot stress enough the importance of investing in a solid phone and car charger.

I buy the best because I am a tech and phone geek, however, even a mid-grade phone will provide you with more stability than a cheap phone. Apple is a gold standard for many drivers, but Samsung products particularly the Galaxy Note is my personal choice for the best phone for a rideshare driver.

Charging Your Phone

When you consider charging your phone, you need to have access to at least two ports. One of these ports should be a trickle charger around 2.5 watts and the other should be a fast charger ranging upwards of six watts or more.

best car charger for Uber drivers

Keep in mind that you might also need some length on your cord, depending on your mount setup and how your dash is designed. For most drivers, the cord that came with your phone should work best. I know that some drivers like to get a long four or five-footer for their rigs.

Charging Your Riders’ Phones

You have more options when it comes to charging for passengers. Depending on the layout of your charging ports, most cars now have at least two ports for car charging, you’ll need a charging setup for you and your PAX.

As we’re in the service industry, many drivers think having a phone charger that their riders can use is a must. Note, you DO NOT have to provide charging for your PAX. It is not a requirement, so don’t stress. But, having a car charger that your rider can use could help you earn more tips. You won’t have to worry about how much riders should tip you as you’ll get good tips especially when they used your car charger.

A car charger for your pax is particularly quite handy when you’re regularly doing airport runs. And you’d want to make sure you have enough varieties that you could charge most types of phones with your charger.

If you want to go the extra mile and provide your riders with a car charger, I recommend getting a bevy of different options.

You’ll need a good two-port block to plug into your port and a number of cords. If you are an XL driver you might want to pick up a four-port block. Remember that many different phones are still out there and they all sport a different kind of connection. If you get a Type-C, a Lightning and a Micro USB you should be good to go. This will ultimately help increase your tip potential and receive a 5-star rating.

Note, that you have a choice to make here. To buy inexpensive charging cords for your riders to keep operational costs low or to buy top of the line cords. I err on the side of caution as riders have been known to pocket cords. This is often why many drivers do not offer to charge to riders. It is your decision ultimately. The golden rule of tech applies though, do unto others phones as you would do unto your own.

5 Top Rated Fast Charging Car Chargers

Well, now that we feel a little more educated about what to look out for, let’s take a quick look at some of the best chargers on the market today. Starting with the best car charger under $10.

Best Car Charger Under $10

This killer charger from Anker offers you a 24-watt option that crushes charging. Two ports for under nine bucks is a great deal and when you couple it with a worry-free eighteen-month warranty you cannot lose.

Anker best car charger
https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Charger-PowerDrive-iPhone-Nexus/dp/B00VH84L5E/
  • If you are an iPhone user grab this cable to couple it with it. The Anker Apple MiFi certified Lightning to USB-A cord is one of the highest-rated cords available to an Apple user. At a price point of $8 for a sturdy cord, you can’t miss.
  • If you are a Samsung user grab the OEM cord if you are replacing your own cord. If you are getting a cord for PAX, grab the Amazon Basics to ensure a much lower price point with a quality cord.

Best $20 Car Charger

Again we have an Anker power block that kicks the tires and lights the fires. This 3.0 charging device boasts an 80% recharge of your phone in just under 35 minutes. This thing comes in both black and white mesh styles with a whopping 39-watt output to crush the demands of power-hungry devices.

car charger for Uber drivers
https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Charger-Charge-PowerDrive-PowerIQ/dp/B01K9MQ8WW/
        • If you are an iPhone user grab this cable to couple it with it. The Anker Apple MiFi certified Lightning to USB-A cord is one of the highest-rated cords available to an Apple user. At a price point of $8 for a sturdy cord, you can’t miss.
        • If you are a Samsung user grab the OEM cord if you are replacing your own cord. If you are getting a cord for PAX, grab the Amazon Basics to ensure a much lower price point with a quality cord.

Best 4-Port Car Charger

For drivers of Uber XL or Lyft’s comparable ride platform be sure to pick up this killer 54 watt, four-port charger. This would be a killer addition to any backseat that could provide your PAX with a ton of charging capacity. This bad-boy can charge up to four tablets at once with a maximum capacity. It is also a USB 3.0 device. For only $16.99 you can’t go wrong.

Next Generation Car Charger
https://www.amazon.com/RAVPower-Charge-Charger-Adapter-Compatible/dp/B01LCFEQM4/
        • If you are an iPhone user grab this cable to couple it with it. The Anker Apple MiFi certified Lightning to USB-A cord is one of the highest-rated cords available to an Apple user. At a price point of $8 for a sturdy cord, you can’t miss.
        • If you are a Samsung user grab the OEM cord if you are replacing your own cord. Getting a cord for PAX? Grab the Amazon Basics to ensure a much lower price point with a quality cord.

Best Wireless Car Charger

While I mentioned the iOttie as being my personal favorite wireless car charger mount, this little powerhouse is another great product. At a price point of under thirty dollars, you have also assured a lower operational cost. It has both 10w and 7.5w fast-wireless-charging and includes a phone mount. If you are a new driver I highly suggest picking up this mount charger combo. The best part is no cords required!

Best Car Charger Period

For the most efficient Qualcomm certified block that doesn’t break the bank, you need to take a look at the Trianium Quick Charge 3.0 USB Type-C 63W 2-Port USB Car Charger. This thing has so much power that it can charge a MacBook Pro. That right there is enough to ensure that your phone stays charged and charges safely.

Best Car Charger for Uber Drivers

        • If you are an iPhone user grab this cable to couple it with it. The Anker Apple MiFi certified Lightning to USB-A cord is one of the highest-rated cords available to an Apple user. At a price point of $8 for a sturdy cord, you can’t miss.
        • If you are a Samsung user grab the OEM cord if you are replacing your own cord. If you are getting a cord for PAX, grab the Amazon Basics to ensure a much lower price point with a quality cord.

Closing

Ultimately there are hundreds if not thousands of options for you to consider. I have done my best to illustrate the various aspects of the phone charging world and I do hope that they have helped you decide the best car charger for your phone.

Becoming a successful Uber driver isn’t rocket science. When you have the right ride, top quality accessories like chargers and phone mounts, and a positive mindset, you’d be able to provide quality service to your riders and earn more. You might not even need to put up a rating sign or tip jar.

When it comes to getting the best car charger, my suggestion is to figure out what works best for you. Try a few of these cords and charge blocks out and report back to us at Uber Driver Things. We want to hear from you. Did we miss your favorite charging system? Maybe there is a cord you absolutely love. Let us know and we can add it to this article!

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