Charging Laptops In Cars | Top 4 Options | Guide And Tips

Are you tired of your laptop dying on you when you’re out and about? I know how frustrating it is to have a dead laptop battery, especially when we’re in the middle of something important. You don’t have time to waste when you need to get work done on the go, so we want to make sure that you never lose power again while working on your laptop in the car.

 That’s why we created this guide with all of our best tips and tricks for keeping it charged while driving!

Note – Please know, some of the external links on this page are affiliate links, this means that if you purchase after following one, I make a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to yourself.

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Can I charge my laptop in my car? 

Yes, it’s absolutely possible. Provided your car has a cigarette lighter plug, you can charge your laptop on a road trip, you only need to get the right tools for the job. There are four ways you can charge your laptop in your car, and they include;

  • using a universal car laptop charger
  • using a power inverter
  • using a power bank
  • and finally, using a USB-C laptop car charger

Whether you’re planning for a road trip or you road warrior, working on your laptop in the car, keeping your laptop charged is absolutely important. Keep scrolling to discover how to quickly juice up your laptop in your car.

1. Using a Laptop car charger

Outtag 65W 45W Universal Laptop Car Charger DC Adapter Replacement for Dell HP ASUS Acer Sony...

Using a laptop car charger is one of the easiest ways to charge your laptop in your car. A laptop car charger doesn’t require any form of special connection to work, you simply connect it to your car cigarette lighter socket and plug the connector into your laptop’s power jack. These are very easy to use and absolutely indispensable if you do a lot of computing in your car.

Laptop car chargers are also inexpensive, and some come with multiple connectors to fit a wide range of laptops brands and models, an example is the Outtag Universal laptop car charger. It comes with 15 different connectors, and it’s compatible with Dell, HP, ASUS, Acer, Sony, Samsung, LG, Toshiba laptops and notebooks.

  • It’s one of the easiest ways to charge your laptop in the car
  • They are inexpensive and available in most electronic stores
  • It’s easy to find one that’s compatible with your laptop
  • Using a charger that isn’t compatible with your device may damage your battery

Tips on safety using a laptop car charger

  1. Check that the laptop car charger you choose is made specifically for your particular laptop model. 
  2. You need to make sure that the voltage and power the charger supplies matches your laptop charger’s specifications. To confirm this, check the label on your laptop and your original laptop charger.
  3. When using a laptop car charger, make sure that the car engine is on and running before you connect the computer car charger. If the charger is plugged in before the engine is started, the power surge may damage the charger or your laptop.

2. Charge your laptop with a power inverter

A man using a laptop in the car | Charging Laptops In Cars

Another universal solution to laptop charging in your car is by using a power inverter. Power inverters are basically devices that convert the DC current of your car to AC current used to power gadgets. There are two main types of power inverters, they are Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine Wave.

The best power inverter to use are the pure sine wave inverters, they provide smooth and continuous sine waves like the one supplied by the power grid, and are compatible with almost all gadgets and appliances.

Modified sine wave inverters are less desirable because they don’t produce pure sine waves, they are more compact and much cheaper than pure sine wave inverter, but they can damage your devices. To be on the safe side, get a pure sine wave car inverter, although they are most expensive, they are certainly worth it. 

  • They are efficient for charging laptops
  • An inverter with a low voltage cut-off will not drain your car’s battery
  • They can be expensive and bulky
  • If your car’s engine is not running, an inverter will drain the battery

Recommendations

Best Choice – BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter

BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V Car Plug Inverter Adapter Power...

The Bestek 500W Sine Wave Inverter is an excellent pure sine wave car inverter and provides an output voltage of 110 – 120 V, perfect for charging phones, tablets, and laptops while traveling. It comes with plenty of ports that allow you to connect several devices at once; 2 AC outlets and 2 USB ports with a maximum automatic current output of 4.2 amps.

Bestek 500W pure sine wave car inverter has integrated thermal protection sensors to protect your devices from over-voltage, under-voltage, overload, reverse polarity, overheating and short-circuiting. It automatically senses overload conditions and shuts down AC power when the load exceeds 500W. To use it at much 150 above to 500 watts, it needs to be connected to the car battery using alligator clamps.

BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V Car Plug Inverter Adapter Power...
  • BESTEK 500W Pure Sine Wave Car Inverter:Its output waveform is same as the AC power waveform of mains power grid which delivers a smoothly-varying sine...

Budget pick – YSOLX 150W Car Power Inverter

YSOLX 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Converter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Charger Adapter...

If you want an extra-compact and budget-friendly power inverter, we recommend the YSOLX 150W car power inverter. It has a very lightweight and compact build with a durable aluminum shell design.

This premium 150W car power inverter provides multiple charging options with dual USB ports and AC outlets with a max current output of 3.1A, you can simultaneously charge your phones, tablets, laptops, iPads, string lights, breast pumps, and a wide range of appliances on-the-go.

It also has a multi-protection design which features a built-in fuse to protect your devices from overheating, under and over voltage charging, short-circuiting, overloads, and overcharging. With the YSOLX 150W car power inverter comes an 18 months warranty and 100% customer service.

Sale
YSOLX 150W Car Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Converter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Charger Adapter...
  • Premium 150w car power inverter with 2 USB ports and AC outlets. Dual USB ports can charge most phones and tablets simultaneously (Max 3.1A total output),...

Tips on safely using a power inverter in your car 

  1. Don’t charge your laptop in a car with an inverter for more than an hour without starting your car, otherwise, your car battery may run down.
  2. Do not place your inverter near heat-sensitive materials or in direct sunlight, and also make sure that you place your laptop in a safe place to prevent damage.
  3. When using an inverter, the DC end should be plugged into your cars’ cigarette lighter, then connect your laptop charger (or an adapter) to the inverter and plug in your laptop.
  4. Before you make the connection, make sure that your car is on. Remember that a power inverter can drain your car battery if you plug it in when your car is off. 

3. Using a portable power bank?

A person sat in the drives seat using a laptop in his car while it is parked | Charging Laptops In Cars

A power bank is another easy way to charge your laptop in a car. Having a great power bank is like carrying an extra battery for your laptop and other devices. Power banks have different capacities, and the most ideal one for you should have a cable compatible to connect directly with your laptop’s charging port, should be able to deliver fast charging and should charge your laptop more than once. 

  • They don’t have to be plugged in while they charge your battery
  • You can charge a laptop twice or more before the power bank will need a recharge

  • Your laptop may take too long to charge
  • A power bank needs to be recharged

Tips for charging your laptop with a power bank

  1. To ensure high-powered fast-charging, make sure that your power bank is capable of at least 65W of power output. Charging your laptop with a power bank with much lower power output will result in very slow charging.
  2. Make sure that both your laptop and power bank have compatible ports to enable high-charge transfer
  3. The power bank capacity should ideally be at least 2 times the capacity of your laptop’s battery. This means that you should already know your laptop battery capacity. For instance, if your laptop battery is 5000mAh, then the best power bank to charge it should be about 15000mAh.
  4. Also keep in mind that charging cables can affect the charging process. Low-quality cables will take much longer to charge your laptop, therefore ensure that you use only cables of excellent quality. 

Recommendaions

Best Choice – Omni 20+ 20000 mAh Laptop Power Bank

Omni 20+ 20000mah Laptop Power Bank | AC/DC/USB-C/Wireless Battery Backup for Laptops:MacBook...

With a capacity of 20,000 mAh and 70wh power output, the Omni 20+ is an excellent companion for refueling your laptop during your travels. A 70wh guarantee high-powered fast charging through 60W USB-C and 100W AC outlets, which is great for charging a wide range of laptop brands; MacBook Pro, Surface Pro, Dell, HP, etc.

The Omni 20+ 20000mah also features pass-through and solar charging, plus you charge wirelessly your Qi-compatible phones. It’s a very versatile laptop power bank and TSA-approved, but it does have a steep price tag. The Omni 20+ comes with a USB cable and a USB-C cable, but the fast charger, DC cables and other PC laptops are sold separately.

Omni 20+ 20000mah Laptop Power Bank | AC/DC/USB-C/Wireless Battery Backup for Laptops:MacBook...
  • 【Power Hub For All Your Smart Devices】From laptops to cameras, drones, and smartphones, Omnicharge can keep all your devices charged up. Compact and...

We also love – HALO Bolt 58830mWh Portable Phone/laptop Charger

HALO Bolt 58830 mWh Portable Phone Laptop Charger Car Jump Starter with AC Outlet and Car Charger -...

The HALO Bolt 58830 is a portable laptop charger, with a capacity of about 57,750mWh to effectively charge both phones and laptops on-the-go. It’s an excellent universal laptop and phone charger and delivers fast charging with 63W power output.

It comes with dual USB 2.4V charging output which is compatible with plenty of devices, and a 120V AC outlet for charging most laptops. The HALO Bolt 58830 isn’t just a portable charger, it can also be used to jumpstart a car and doubles as a charger for your car battery. It’s almost the perfect all-in-one car emergency kit but it, unfortunately, doesn’t have a USB-C port. 

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HALO Bolt 58830 mWh Portable Phone Laptop Charger Car Jump Starter with AC Outlet and Car Charger -...
  • Phone, Tablet, and USB Power Bank - Never run out of battery! Two USB 2.4V charging outputs means this iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or iPad Portable Charger...

4. Charge a laptop in a car using USB Type C cable?

Our final solution to charging your laptop in your car is by using a USB type C charger, but this option is limited to the type of laptop you have.

This is also a very simple method, all you need is a universal USB-type C laptop car charger, with one end plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter and the other USB-C end plugged into your laptop’s USB-C charging port. A product like this USB-C laptop car charger is an excellent universal charger that’s compatible with a long list of laptop brands.  

Only laptops that are built to charge through their USB-C ports can be charged this way, most modern laptops are built this way. Your laptop may have a USB-type C port, but if it’s not built to support charging via that port, then this method won’t work for you. 

  • It’s a quick and easy method
  • USB-C cables are inexpensive

  • This method only works if your laptop supports charging via USB-type C port

FAQ section

Is it safe to charge a laptop in a car?

Yes, it is. Provided that you are using the right laptop charger, power bank, or a high-quality inverter, it’s perfectly safe to charge your laptop in your car. Also, ensure that the laptop car charger you use is compatible with your laptop, see the safety tips above to find out all you need to know. 

Will charging my laptop drain the car battery?

Yes and No. Charging your laptop when your car is turned off may drain your car’s battery, but if your car is on (or you’re driving), this will not happen. Therefore, it’s important you only charge your laptop in your car when the engine is on.

Are power inverters harmful to your car?

If used properly, a power inverter will cause no harm to your car battery. However, improper use of power inverters can damage both your car’s battery and your gadgets. Using a power inverter to charge small devices like phones, laptops, audio players, etc., when your car is running will not cause any damage to your car or your car battery.

What is a Sine Wave Inverter?

A sine wave inverter is a device that converts the direct current (DC) from a car battery into an alternating current (AC) that is used to power your devices. AC is the type of electrical current supplied by power grids to homes and office buildings to power up your appliances and charge your gadgets. 

Can I charge a laptop from a car cigarette lighter?

Yes and No. You can’t plug your laptop directly into the cigarette lighter in your car, but you can charge your laptop from the cigarette lighter by using a laptop car charger or a power inverter.

Can you charge a laptop in your car without an inverter?

Yes, you can. Without an inverter, you can charge a laptop in your car either with a laptop car charger, a power bank or a USB type C laptop car charger.

Can a laptop be charged through a USB port?

Yes, there are modern laptops that are designed to accept charging via USB ports. These laptops can be charged through their USB-C ports.

Does the cigarette lighter work when the car is off?

Yes, the cigarette lighter works when the car is turned off. But be careful about how you charge your device when your car is not running, because your car battery may die.

Charging laptops in cars – Final thoughts

The same way you can charge phones, tablets, cameras, etc., in a car, you can also charge laptops in cars, and it’s a very simple process. With a good laptop car charger, power inverter or power bank that can deliver enough power to your laptop, you will enjoy your road trips like never before. You can complete assignments, watch some Netflix and have your presentation ready while on the road.

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