Choosing the correct charging cable is something that most of us don’t think about when we go to replace one that broke or split or otherwise stopped doing the ONE thing it’s supposed to do: charge our devices. Some important aspects of charging cable construction are the gauge of wire used, the length of the cable, and amperage but we’ll get more into that later.
Before we define the differences in cables and how that affects our charging speeds, let’s define the three most important terms that will be used when getting into the basic technical specifications of charging cables and how using the right one will help you get the most out of your power bank: voltage, amperage, and watts.
Voltage (V): The pressure from an electrical source that carries electrical current. Measured in volts.
Amperage (A): The strength of an electrical current. Measured in amperes or amps.
Watts (W): The rate, or simply the speed, at which energy flows. Measured in wattage or, well, watts.
Of course, these definitions are as simple as simple gets, but under these circumstances we don’t need to explore electrical engineering just to make sure we have the right charging cable for our power bank to charge our devices the fastest. Now, what does the inside of a USB charging cable look like?
There are four wires inside a USB cable, a white, a green, a red, and a black wire. The white and the green wires are designated solely for data transfer while the red wire is what carries energy from a source, like a power bank, to the device you intend to charge and is rated at 5V. The black wire is just a common ground wire.
For the purposes of charging, the data wires aren’t important, but the red energy wire definitely is, and what’s most important about it is length and thickness. A 28 gauge wire will carry 0.5A of power while a 24 gauge wire will carry 2A or maybe even more. Simply put, the greater the wattage, the faster the charge. Now there is a caveat to this: no matter how high the wattage is, there is a point where too long of a cable will prevent energy from reaching your device at all. Therefore, a shorter and thicker cable will charge your device faster than an equally thick yet longer cable.
Now, these cables with thicker gauge wires are generally going to cost more, but the expense may very well be worth it if charging a newer device from 5% in 35 minutes sounds better than 1 hour and 25 minutes.
It should also be noted that not all batteries for modern devices are capable of handling faster charging speeds so even if one were to purchase the highest quality charging cable, charging speeds may not change at all. It is therefore incredibly important to know what charging compatibility one’s device has which can be found in the owner’s manual for your respective device.
We hope this brief overview of charging cables assists you in finding the right cable to meet your needs and makes your power bank work the best for you in every way.