You are probably wondering what’s all the commotion with the new USB-C cable? Well, apart from the fact that it’s more lightweight, slimmer, can easily be plugged into devices, and can transfer data much faster, some tech fans have also rated it as the fastest charging solution.
USB-C can charge faster than normal USB cables. Standard USB uses 12W to charge, while USB-C can use up to 100W. To get those faster charging rates, you’ll need a USB-C cable, power brick, and device that are all equipped with high power charging as a feature.
Still not convinced? There are several things you need to know about charging with a USB-C; why it is better than the traditional USB, how you need to use it to guarantee the fastest charging possible, whether all USB-C ports can provide fast charging, and whether fast charging can damage the device batteries. So, let’s look at some answers!
Differences Between USB-C and the Traditional USB
I’m sure we’re all more than familiar with the traditional USB, but let’s look at what exactly sets the USB-C apart:
- Traditional USB has a flat rectangular shape, while USB-C is more rounded, smaller, and symmetrical.
- USB-C is reversible, meaning that no matter which way you insert it into a port, it will go in. The traditional USB is non-reversible.
- Traditional USB is much heavier than the slimmer USB-C.
- Traditional USB is limited to 12W power, but USB-C can power devices using up to 100W, which is 20 times faster. So, if you’re in a hurry, just a 10-minute charge using a USB-C cable can make all the difference.
Types of USB-C Connections
When trying to find out why the USB-C is better for charging, you may come across terms such as power delivery or quick charge. The meanings of these phrases may seem obvious to most people, but they have slightly more unique meanings in this case. Let’s explain a little before going further:
Standard charging is at a level of 5 volts (5V) and 2.4 amperages (2.4A); quick charging pushes the voltage up in 5, 9, 12, 18, or more, intervals. The amperage also increases to 3A and beyond.
By definition, voltage means the strength of the current, while amperage signifies the amount of electricity that flows from the battery to the connected device.
When a USB-C is said to support fast/rapid charging, it can detect the exact amount of voltage required for your device. It then provides your device with adequate voltage, even going beyond the typical rates of 5, 12, 18. However, the device and charger must be compatible for this quick charging system to work. In the link below, you can see an example of a USB-C that supports fast charging.
Power Delivery (USB-PD)
Power delivery is a little like a negotiation between the device and the USB-C; the device tells the cable how much power it needs, and the USB-C tells the device how much it can provide.
They then compromise on a rate that they can both support. This agreed rate means that at no time will the power delivered to the device be too much and possibly damage it.
USB-C devices without power delivery typically use 5V/3A, but with power delivery included these values can go as high as 20V/5A. However, not all USB-C ports can support power delivery.
The most interesting thing about power delivery is that it allows power to flow both ways. For example, if you have two phones and both support USB-PD, one can charge the other and vice versa.
What Do You Need for USB-C Fast Charging?
Having a USB-C is not the only condition for fast charging- you’ll also need a device with a compatible USB-C port. While you’ll find that the charging rate may vary, most modern devices these days can support fast charging.
The next thing you’ll need is a high-quality USB-C cable. You’ll need to figure out whether you need a USB-C to USB-C cable or a USB-C to USB-A cable first. Of course, this will be determined by the charger you are going to use.
The third item you’ll need is a charger that can support high wattage amounts. The best are cables that can support 18W, but if you’re charging devices with higher charges, you’ll need one that can support even higher wattages. Try using a 30W charger, which can be used for all sorts of devices.
Are All USB Type C Cables Fast Charging?
Generally, all cables look the same on the outside but can be very different on the inside. You’ll find some are fast charging while others will have normal-speed charging capabilities.
Cables have four wires inside; red, white, green, and black. The white and green are for data, while red and black determine the charging speed. The size of the two wires will determine the amount of power your cable can carry.
You will find that not all USB-C cables support fast charging. Depending on the size of the two wires the manufacturer has used. A cable with large internal wires of about 24 gauge, that are able to carry currents of 2A and above, will always be faster. Larger wires carry more current, and that’s why they’re usually a bit more expensive.
The length of the USB-C cable will also determine if it charges quickly or not. The longer the cable, the slower it will charge due to resistance levels, meaning it loses more power while charging. The quality of the data interface will also affect charging speeds.
Are All USB-C Bricks Fast Charging?
Bricks determine the charging speed of a device because they determine the current, voltage, and maximum output. All bricks are marked, indicating their power, with a label of V/A. If you see a brick marked 5V/3A, it means it has a power output of 15W. So a brick can play a significant part in cranking up the charging speed.
However, there must be compatibility between your fast charger, cable, and device. For effective fast charging, the brick, cable, and device must all speak the same language, so to say. While you might have a USB-C brick that enables fast charging, it must be used with a cable and a device that also supports fast charging.
Is USB or Lightning Faster?
Lightning cables are eight-pin connectors created and designed by Apple Inc. To ensure that third-party manufacturers can’t produce compatible accessories without approval from the company, Apple inserts an authentication chip into each one.
They are made exclusively for use with Apple devices. In terms of charging, USB-C is faster as it can deliver up to 100W, while lightning cables can only produce up to 20W.
Is Fast Charging Bad for Batteries?
One of the many things we consider when contemplating buying a new device is the battery life. So obviously, you’ll probably want to know whether fast charging can be damaging for your device’s batteries.
Unless there is a technical flaw with the charger or the battery, fast charging should not cause any lasting damage to your battery. However, you should consider that just like any battery made from lithium-ion, its components will oxidize over time and gradually lose capacity.