How to Choose a Safe Replacement Laptop Charger
Replacement Laptop Chargers: Often Overlooked
When you buy a new laptop, it’s normal for people to look for the best combination of performance, reliability and value for money. However, the same isn’t always applied for a replacement laptop charger which is often substituted with the cheapest possible option when someone looks for a spare.
This is why a lot of people who hunt for replacement laptop chargers first look at the larger, auction-based websites. On sites like these there are lots of chargers for sale at incredible cheap prices, including some for potentially less than £20 or even £10! A percentage of these are even supposedly genuine, but if you were to look closely by buying a test on any of these you can see a large number of these chargers are in fact fake.
Example of a Fake Replacement Laptop Charger
Take the below example of an HP laptop charger posted on an auction site. The photo in the auction was very different to what another website received when they ordered a test.
The above is what was shown in the auction, but the below is what was ultimately received:
There are two mistakes here for anyone wanting to look closer. Firstly, the manufacturer’s name of the OEM supplier is actually spelt wrong. Secondly, there are two mentions of HP part numbers which don’t match up and are for totally different replacement laptop chargers. Most people won’t pick up these differences but this goes to show how easy it is to fool people with a cheap and fake replacement laptop charger. The fake also weighed a lot less than the original.
Safe Laptop Chargers: Why This Is Important
Now this isn’t surprising. Ultimately any electrical component can fail (a fact of life) but some are built better than others. It costs more to manufacture a charger that has thicker cables, for example. People don’t like weight, so the fakes are made to be as thin as possible to make these light and also reduce costs. That’s fine UNTIL a break in the cord happens and sparks are sent flying!!
Manufacturing a charger to comply with the Restrictions on Hazardous Materials (RoHS) laws in the UK is also more expensive. However, many manufacturers flout this to be able to make their products at a cheaper price – again, a real danger of buying a cheap, fake replacement laptop charger.
Even OEM Chargers are Poor Quality
Finally, it’s worth reminding everyone that even some OEM chargers can sometimes (not always of course) be of poor quality. Take the example of the poor boy who got burnt by an official laptop charger last month. Obviously chargers must be made to a minimum safety standard, but often manufacturers make them to this standard and no higher.
Manufacturers make money on the laptops themselves, not the chargers (perhaps except for Apple who charge significantly more for their chargers. Incidentally, our Apple laptop charger tips are compatible with both MagSafe and MagSafe 2 if you need one, and is cheaper than the Apple store). This is why they want to make their chargers as cheaply as possible. It’s not surprising, therefore, when one fails.
Safety Features on Good Replacement Laptop Chargers
A couple of safety features to be mindful of when you buy a new replacement laptop charger:
- Thick cabling. This will make the charger heavier but also means the cables are more resistant to damage. However, no matter how thick a cable is, if you bend it often and there’s a gap visible, replace it! It is never a good idea to have exposed wiring, regardless of how good or bad a charger is. If you had to choose though, always go for a power supply with thicker cables.
- A heavy charger unit / brick. This is because one of the core pieces of safety in universal laptop chargers is a number of layers of plastic separating the circuitry from the outside. In more expensive and safer chargers, there are more of these layers and the addition of surge protection as well (which will break your charger of course, but MUCH better than breaking your laptop!).
When buying a charger, look for a reliable and reputable company based in the UK. Don’t just look at the domain name, because anyone can buy a .co.uk domain and sell but actually ship from elsewhere. Check that they are UK based and actually ship your product from the UK (which we do).
Also remember that cheap chargers are almost always cheap for a reason. Often these will have no brand name as nobody actually wants to have their name associated with a dodgy product.
Finally, any charger that claims to be a genuine or OEM charger but looks very cheap, is often just a fake – and even the genuine ones can sometimes be of shoddy quality. So choose carefully and be wary of auction websites!
As a high quality laptop power supply shop, Imperial Gadgets is committed to giving chargers that we are proud to put our name on. Every sale is covered under a replacement warranty and we are compatible with all major brands of laptop charger and manufacturer.