Vape chargers come in a wide variety of output voltages and currents. They also feature several different threading configurations and polarities. Matching your device to the correct charger can be a difficult task if you don’t know what you are looking for. More importantly, with so many stories in the news about batteries exploding, you must understand what makes a charger compatible to prevent overheating, battery failure or worse.
The best way to ensure that your batteries are charging safely is to always use the manufacturer’s charging cable that came with your vape device. Even when you are using the manufacturer’s recommended charging cable, you should never leave your device charging overnight. The best practice to protect your batteries is to always unplug the charger as soon as they are fully charged so that it doesn’t continue to drain power and accidentally overheat itself.
If the batteries start to overheat or if you see signs of bulging or disfiguration on a battery, it is a sign of damage. You need to be aware at all times and have the ability to unplug and move your batteries to a safe place to cool down.
All battery chargers come with multiple ratings for compatibility. Before you begin looking at these ratings, make sure you are looking only at chargers that share the same threading as your device. Over-tightening and cross-threading your battery will cause permanent damage, so this is the best place to start your search.
Next is the voltage. You should never use a charger that has a different voltage rating than your original charging cable. Voltage is defined as the potential difference in electrical potential between two points. A charger that has a higher voltage rating can create thermal runaway as the device tries to make up for that difference, as it is not self-limiting. Again, there are some smart chargers that can automatically sense the type of device you have plugged in and adjust the output voltage to match. You may see these marketed as universal chargers, but many of them include a chart that shows which devices they work with.
On the other hand, amperage is simply the strength of the current. It is generally acceptable to use chargers of different amp ratings because it only affects how fast or slow the charging happens. A higher amp rating means you can reduce the amount of charging time it takes to get a full battery, which can be especially useful if you are worried that charging during the day will cut into your vape time.
It is worth noting that there are many non-branded charging cables floating around on the market. Many of them are not certified for use, and have not been inspected for quality. Not all USB cables are created equal, and you should be extremely careful of picking up cheap cables at your local big box store if yours get damaged.
Cell phone manufacturers and laptop manufacturers have already dealt with this issue extensively when it caused lithium-ion batteries to overheat in smart phones during charging, leading to meltdowns. The batteries in your vape device are no different. Devices that are safe to use will generally be labeled or stamped with the initials of a certifying agency showing that they have been inspected.
All right, if we know that it’s not safe to use chargers of different voltages with our devices, how do we know which chargers are safe to use without checking each cable one by one? The answer is compatibility charts. Most charger manufacturers have tried to assist vapers by publishing reference charts for all of their devices. You can find these charts online and they show a detailed list of which brands and devices they work with. This will save you time while shopping and ensure that you are making the right purchase, especially if you are ordering online and can’t check the voltage on the charger in person.
It’s bound to happen. One day your charger just doesn’t seem to be working quite right, and the next thing you know you are struggling to get your batteries up to a full charge. When it’s time to replace that old charger, the most important thing to remember is to do your homework first. At VaporFi, we are proud to carry a wide variety of chargers and other vape accessories for your needs.
Using the wrong charger puts you and your batteries at risk of explosions and fires. All of this is preventable if you take the time to ensure that the charger you are using has the same voltage as your device battery. You will also need to double check things like the threading and polarity, just in case. A good place to start is visiting your vape manufacturer’s web page and determining which chargers they approve.
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.