Should you charge your devices using your computer’s USB port?

I don’t know about you but I have about ten things I use on a daily basis that charge over USB. And in a lot of ways I wish there were more. Starting with streaming sticks and TV amplifiers, the list progresses to phones and tablets. Sometimes finding a spare USB port can be a challenge.

So, like you, I sometimes use what I can. I connect stuff to my computers. I connect stuff to my satellite TV equipment. I connect it wherever I can so everything can charge at the same time.

But is that really a good idea? It isn’t, and I’ll tell you why.

USB charging isn’t all the same

In order to qualify as a “standard” USB port, there only needs to be capable of supplying 250mA of power. That’s barely enough to get one of those cube-style power adapters to work. Keep in mind that’s one cable straight from the computer. If you use an unpowered USB hub you’re cutting that number in half or in quarters.

So if you use your computer to charge, you may find that it’s a slow experience. If you hook up a wireless charging puck to your computer, it may not work at all.

Most computers do supply 500mA through USB and that’s enough to charge a phone at “regular speed.” It’s still not enough to do “fast charging” though. There are very few computers out there that supply more than 2A (2000mA) and that’s the entry point for most fast charging. Even fewer sport USB-PD ports for doing QC 3.0 charging.

If you’re talking about the USB-C standard, you’re looking at supplying a bit more power. Usually, though, the USB-C ports on a computer don’t supply any more power than the USB-A (good ‘0l USB) ports.

The better option

The device at the top of this article is the CHARGESTATION from Solid Signal. You’ll get the ability to charge seven regular devices at a time, plus one device that uses QC 3.0 charging. You can push 2.4 amps through the four USB-A ports, which is enough to charge one tablet or multiple phones. You can push an additional 2.4 amps through the USB-C ports. So you can really fast charge three devices with this one little box. As far as regular speed charging, you won’t need much more than this device to cover it all.

If you have a lot to charge, you’ll appreciate having this device around. You’ll also enjoy watching the real-time display of current going through it, which will tell you how fast your devices are really charging.

Get the accessories you need from Solid Signal

Solid Signal is your home for all the best cables and accessories. You’ll find everything you need, even obscure USB and HDMI variants that you can’t find anywhere else. It all starts with a visit to where tens of thousands of hand-picked products await you. Still not finding what you’re looking for? Call us at 888-233-7563. Some of our best selling products have come from customer recommendations. Our team of experts is here to help you get what you need!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.