23 August 2023
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your laptop charger has disappeared or failed unexpectedly? There are times when you lose your dedicated charger or want to find a more versatile solution. Whatever the reason, it's worth knowing that there are several ways to charge your laptop without a dedicated charger. Check out how to do it with a USB-C port, a car charger and other practical devices.
What types of laptop charger inputs are used?
The inputs for chargers can vary depending on the manufacturer of the laptop. Among the most popular we can mention:
- DC (Direct Current) power connectors - these are the classic dedicated power connectors used on many laptops. They come in different sizes and shapes (usually round or rectangular) depending on the laptop model. This type of input also includes all kinds of magnetic connectors, such as MagSafe used by Apple.
- USB Type C - this is a universal connector that is gaining in popularity. It offers the ability to charge a laptop and transfer data using the same cable.
5 ways to charge your laptop without a dedicated charger
Contrary to what you may think, a laptop power adapter is not the only way to charge your device. There are several alternatives that can prove indispensable in emergency situations or when travelling. Here are some ways to charge your laptop without a dedicated charger:
- USB-C input: Many of today's laptops, especially ultrabooks and convertible laptops, are already equipped with USB-C ports. However, if your laptop does not have this feature, simply get a dedicated adapter for your laptop. Simply plug the adapter into the power input of your laptop and you will enable charging via USB-C.
- Universal car power adapter: If you're travelling by car, it's worth getting a universal car power adapter. Simply plug it into the cigarette lighter socket and then into your laptop using the appropriate adapter.
- Powerbank: A portable battery pack is the ideal solution when you don't have access to an outlet. Make sure the powerbank has enough power to charge your laptop seamlessly.
- Solar power pack: If you are in a place where there is no access to electricity, a solar power pack can be a saviour. By using photovoltaic panels, you can charge your laptop using solar energy. It's an environmentally friendly and practical solution.
- A charger from a different model of laptop: In some power supplies, so-called universal chargers, it is possible to replace the tip with an adapter compatible with our laptop. This allows you to charge your laptop using the power adapter from another device.
Using alternative ways of charging your laptop may differ from the classic solution in terms of performance and charging time.
How to charge a laptop via USB?
Charging a laptop via a USB-C port is one of the most versatile and increasingly used solutions. This is possible as long as the port is compatible with the Power Delivery standard.
There are many types of USB Type-C ports, not all of them have a charging function. Check which USB-C input you have on your laptop:
- USB-C DP (Display Port) or Thunderbolt (generation three or four) - these are universal ports that are used not only for video and audio, but also for charging your laptop. They are identified by the DP symbol (the letter 'D' inscribed with a 'P') or by a plug or lightning bolt sign.
- USB-C PD (Power Delivery) - a version of the port capable of delivering power so that laptops can be charged, often marked with a 'PD' symbol.
- USB-C 'transmission' - on older laptops, the USB-C port is not a charging port - such computers have a separate DC-type charging socket.
If your laptop has more than one USB-C port, one port may only be used for bi-directional charging (of the laptop from e.g. a powerbank and vice versa) and the other only for video and audio transmission. It is therefore important to check exactly what type of USB-C port you have on your equipment before connecting the power source. If you are unsure, it is worth looking at your laptop's user manual or searching for information on the manufacturer's website.
How do I charge my laptop in the car?
When travelling or on a business trip, it is sometimes necessary to charge a laptop in the car. This is slightly more complicated than charging from a normal power socket. For this you will need a special car power adapter for your laptop. It converts the 12 volts from the cigarette lighter input to a voltage suitable for your device. All you need to do is plug the power adapter into the cigarette lighter socket and then its cable with a compatible plug or a dedicated adapter into the power connector on your laptop.
However, if you do not have a car power adapter for your laptop, you can use a car inverter. With its help, direct current is transformed into alternating current, i.e. the kind found in electrical sockets. In this way, you can easily connect a traditional laptop power supply or a universal USB-C to 230 V charger.
How do I charge my laptop with a powerbank?
Powerbanks, or portable energy banks, are already commonly used to charge smartphones and other smaller devices. However, as technology advances, manufacturers are introducing higher-capacity powerbanks and portable power stations. These are also capable of handling laptop charging. Although the concept seems simple, it requires a certain amount of knowledge and preparation to make the process seamless.
First and foremost, the key to successful charging is to purchase a powerbank with sufficient power. A laptop, unlike a smartphone, requires much more power. Many modern laptops need chargers ranging from 45 watts to as much as 330 watts. It is therefore essential that the powerbank is able to deliver this power. It is even more important that the powerbank supports USB Power Delivery (PD) technology, which enables any mobile device to be charged quickly and efficiently.
Once we have the right powerbank, it is also important to have the right cable. The most common is a USB-C to USB-C cable, but it all depends on the ports available on your laptop and on the powerbank itself. Once everything is connected, some powerbanks require manual switching on, while others will start charging automatically.
How do I charge my laptop with a solar powerbank?
A solar power pack is another solution that can be used to charge a laptop without a dedicated charger. It is compact so you can take it on a camping, cycling or holiday trip.
How it works. The solar charger uses solar energy and converts it into electricity that you can use to charge your laptop. It's ideal for people who appreciate eco-friendly ways to power their devices.
Wondering which solar charger to choose? Exactly the same properties are important as when choosing a powerbank as described above. The solar powerbank must have sufficient power and parameters similar to the dedicated charger.
Usually, solar chargers have USB-type outputs, so you may need a USB-C cable (and a laptop adapter if you don't have a USB-C port on your device) to charge your laptop.
Can you charge a laptop with a phone charger?
In theory, it is possible to power a laptop using a phone charger. If your laptop has a USB-C port compatible with the Power Delivery (PD) standard and your phone charger also supports this standard, you can try to charge your laptop using it. Nevertheless, it is worth bearing in mind that most smartphone chargers deliver significantly lower power compared to dedicated laptop chargers. This means that the charging process can be much slower and, in some cases, may not even be enough to sustain the current operation of the laptop. In addition, frequently charging a laptop with the wrong power can lead to the battery wearing out faster or even damaging it.
Fortunately, a good solution to this problem has emerged. The development of USB-C technology has led to the creation of universal chargers, which are becoming the answer for consumers looking for a single charging solution for multiple devices. These modern chargers are designed to adjust the power delivered depending on the device connected. This makes them ideal for both quickly charging smartphones and powering power-hungry laptops.
A key feature of these chargers is Power Delivery (PD) technology, which allows the power to dynamically adjust depending on the needs of the connected device. In this way, the charger can deliver low power to charge headphones or smartphones and at the same time be able to deliver the high power needed to effectively charge laptops.
You don't have a USB-C input on your laptop - what to do?
What if you have a charger with enough power, but your laptop doesn't have a USB-C input? The solution to this problem is one small accessory - a laptop adapter. Dedicated adapters allow you to use USB-C chargers even on older laptop models that do not have this universal socket. Simply plug the adapter into the power input and connect the USB Type C cable to it. The adapters are compact, which makes them useful for both travel and everyday use.
Common USB-C standard for all devices - RED directive
It is worth mentioning that from autumn 2024, manufacturers will be obliged to use the USB-C charging input on small and medium-sized electronic devices. This is what the European Commission ordered in the RED (Radio Equipment Directive) of the European Union on 27 December 2022. The standardisation of charging ports will allow the use of fewer chargers. The aim of the amendment to the so-called Radio Directive is, among other things, to reduce electronic waste. Discarded chargers are estimated to account for more than 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year.
The unified USB-C charger will also be used for laptops, but in this case manufacturers have been given until April 2026. This means that by then more and more laptops will be using this universal connector.
Thanks to the new EU regulations, from 2026 we will only need one charger to charge all portable electronic devices. This is why it is worth investing in a good quality USB-C charger for your laptop.
Where to buy a laptop charger?
If you're looking for a laptop charger, it's worth looking at Akyga's wide range of laptop accessories. Our range includes both a dedicated power adapter for your laptop, as well as a USB-C charger, an adapter, a car power adapter and a universal charger. Charge your laptop easily, quickly and safely with Akyga brand chargers!
Find the charger for your laptop in our laptop power adapter finder.
How do I charge my laptop without a charger?
There are many ways to charge your laptop without a traditional charger. You can use USB-C, a car adapter or other solutions available on the market.
Now that you know how to charge your laptop in different situations, you don't have to worry about low battery when travelling or working in the field. Remember to choose the right charging power and always use accessories from trusted manufacturers such as Akyga. That way your laptop will always be ready to go!