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Seven tips for safer mobile phone charging

Lynn Wright / 04 February 2016

Using a fake mobile phone charger can have life-threatening consequences. Put safety first with our essential guide to safer mobile phone charging.

Mobile phone charging its battery
Avoid leaving your phone charging unattended, particularly overnight

Unsafe mobile phone chargers have been blamed for a growing number of house fires in recent years. And with more than 1.8 million mobile phone chargers bought online in the UK each year, it’s easy to fall victim to fake and dangerous phone chargers. 

Counterfeit or poor quality phone chargers can be deadly – so follow our tips for safely charging your mobile phone.

1. Avoid cheap chargers

Phone chargers can be bought online for as little as a £1 – far cheaper than branded counterparts. But, there’s no guarantee they meet stringent UK and EU safety standards. 

Cheap phone chargers may explode once plugged into a wall socket – the result, say fire and safety experts, of cheap wiring and sub-standard components. They may also fail to charge your phone properly and even damage the phone’s battery.  

Top tips to extend your phone's battery life.

2. Issues with universal chargers

Although many phones now use standard USB-connection chargers, avoid buying cheap universal chargers online that claims to work with a wide range of mobile phones and tablets. 

Different mobile devices typically require varying levels of charge, so a single charger may cause your phone’s battery to overheat or charge less efficiently.

Seven ways an iPhone could save your life.

3. Buy genuine chargers

Despite being more expensive, always buy an official charger for your particular phone as they’ll have been thoroughly tested and meet UK safety standards. 

You’re not paying extra just for the name – you’re actually buying peace of mind. 

If you must use a third-party charger, buy one from an approved, trusted brand.

Nine essential iPhone and iPad security tips.

4. Don’t cover your charger while in use

We’ve all heard stories of phones bursting into flames or exploding while being charged. Along with using a genuine charger, make sure nothing is covering your phone as it charges so that the heat generated is able to dissipate safely.  

What to do if your phone's screen cracks.

5. Don’t leave a charger plugged in overnight

Avoid leaving your phone charging unattended, particularly overnight. 

While your phone is clever enough to stop taking a charge once the battery is full, a problem may occur if the charger itself overheats, especially if left on a flammable surface. 

You’ll be less alert to a fire breaking out when asleep. Install a smoke detector and check regularly that it’s in working order.

Read our guide to fixing common phone problems.

6. Check the charger for damage

Frayed cable? Loose connections? Wobbly plug pins? If your phone charger looks worn or damaged, buy a new one. 

Damaged chargers pose a fire risk and could electrocute if you touch an exposed part of the charger when plugging and unplugging it.

10 handy tips and tricks for the iPad.

7. Don’t overload sockets

Don’t be tempted to plug several mobile phones and other devices into one wall socket using a multi-plug adaptor. Long strip adaptors are safer, but can take only a total of 13 amps, so don’t overload them either.

For more tips and useful information, browse our technology articles.


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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