Charging your phone when you don’t have a charger can be a tricky situation. But it’s something that can be done if you’re willing to think out of the box. Here are just some methods of charging your phone without a phone charger:
- Laptop USB output ports
- Portable chargers
- 12V cigarette charging ports
- Portable solar chargers
- 9V batteries
- Hand crank chargers
Regardless of the approach, you will need to use a charging cable to provide power to your phone. You could also rely on wireless charging if your device is compatible.
Here, we provide an in-depth explanation of the different charging techniques. Let’s take a look!
Charge your phone via a laptop’s USB port
Whenever there is a power outage, you may feel inclined to use your smartphone more than your laptop, and for good reason too. It’s capable of connecting to the internet/mobile network and can be used to make an emergency call. Of course, you can only power up your mobile device through the laptop, as long as it still has some charge left.
All you need to do is connect your phone to your laptop’s USB output port to provide power. However, you should be aware that charging it in this manner will most likely take longer than usual and it will consume energy from the laptop’s battery. The main reason why it’s much slower than a standard phone charger is that laptop USB ports are not designed for high-power outputs. They usually only have an output of 0.5A, which is sufficient enough for communicating with devices that are plugged in, like a mouse or memory stick.
This is a good method to use when you want your available power to last for as long as possible. That’s because laptops consume more power than smartphones. So not using your laptop and instead using its battery to recharge your phone, will give you the longest runway before you run out of power.
Connect your phone to a power bank
Power banks are generally very useful devices when you need to charge your smartphone during a blackout or when you don’t have a phone charger nearby. These can be big lifesavers, especially when you will most likely need quick access to a power source. They basically are fancier rechargeable batteries, so they are the ideal devices to use as a backup.
Portable chargers also come with all sorts of fast phone charging technologies, which may be beneficial if you’re looking to quickly recharge a device. Not only that but depending on their capacity, they can hold enough energy to recharge your phone several times. So if you’re stuck in an emergency situation for a while, then these are perfect for you.
To begin charging your phone, simply connect a USB cable to the output port. Charging cables normally come packaged with power banks, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing a new one.
As soon as you connect your device, the recharging process will start automatically. Otherwise, you may need to press the power button to turn the portable charger on. Speeds may vary, depending on fast charging technology, but most output ports usually have a 5V/2.4A rating or higher. For a wide array of power bank options, you can check our review section.
Use the 12V cigarette charging port in the car
Most cars have a 12-volt power socket (cigarette charging port) that can provide power to your mobile device. However, most phones are not equipped with a charging plug that fits the 12V power socket. So you will need to purchase a special adapter for the charger to plug into.
In order not to drain your car’s battery, you’ll need to turn on the engine. Please note that running the car’s engine to charge your phone is a bit risky in an enclosed space, like a garage, and should be done in a safe area to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide exposure.
This is a good method to use during an emergency especially if you have enough gas in the tank. Refilling your tank from a gas station will dramatically increase your access to power.
Use a portable solar panel charger
Yet another method of recharging your phone is to use a portable solar panel. Basically, these devices collect and harness solar energy and deliver power to your connected smartphone. However, you should keep in mind that these are only useful and convenient on clear, bright days. Otherwise, you may not be able to provide power to your mobile device.
Solar panel chargers do not have any input ports since it obtains energy from the sun. Instead, they usually have one or more output ports, allowing you to connect your device with a USB cable. However, charging speeds depend entirely on exposure to the sun, so it’s not as slow or fast as you might have thought. If it’s cloudy outside, you can expect the phone charging speed and performance to decrease.
But even in the best of conditions, a solar charger will take hours to completely recharge your phone. Still, for emergency situations, this might just be enough to get through.
Look for USB ports on wall power outlets
Some of the more modern wall sockets come with built-in USB ports. This way, you can plug your USB cable directly into the wall outlet and you’ll be charging your phone without a charger in no time!
This one is quite easy to overlook because we’re not yet accustomed to wall sockets having USB ports. So even if we’re in a building that has this feature we don’t even consider this option although the solution can be right in front of us.
Try wireless charging solutions
With wireless charging, you can charge your phone without a charging cable as well, not to mention a wall charger. The only catch is that your phone will need to support wireless charging.
Once you place the phone on a wireless charging pad, your phone will automatically start topping up. If you don’t have a dedicated wireless charger, then you should think out of the box because there might be other alternatives too.
For example, some cars have integrated wireless pads in their dashboards. Likewise, some power banks come with wireless charging too, such as the Anker 622.
Get power from another phone via battery sharing
Some phones come with a feature that enables them to share their battery wirelessly with other compatible phones. You just need to activate this feature on both phones, set them back to back, and watch as one of them charges the other without a charger.
This only work on some phones that have wireless charging. This means you’ll be able to charge your phone using the previously described method as well. Charging wirelessly offers a few extra benefits compared to regular phones.
Improvise a charger from a 9V battery
While it does not involve a paperclip, this is one of those methods that you’d expect MacGyver to use for charging his phone in an emergency situation. It’s a bit limited, but it can give your mobile device just enough juice to make a call or send out a few texts. This can be very useful if you don’t have access to power through a charger, power bank, etc. Don’t expect it to last long though because the 9-volt battery only has a 500mAh rating.
Get a hand-crank charger
You can order a hand-crank charger online. This is a device that provides power from physical inputs via a hand-crank mechanism. As long as you turn the handle, the device will continue to provide power.
The downside is that you will need to constantly crank the charger in order to provide power to your phone. Furthermore, these will not provide a lot of power. This means you’ll need to put in quite some effort in order to see a meaningful charge of your phone’s battery.
Other ideas to try out
If none of the above apply to your situation, here are some other quick ideas you might find helpful:
- Depending on the area you live in, you might be able to connect your smartphone to a free USB slot at the train station, local library, or even in public parks. Many cities offer free public charging spots, some of them running on solar energy, thus they should be able to provide power even if the grid is out.
- Are pubs or restaurants open in our area? You can ask the staff there if they can help you charge your phone while enjoying a nice cup of coffee.
- Ask people for help: your friends, neighbors, or even a policeman if the situation requires it.
- If you have the wrong charging cable (for example a lightning cable, while you need a USB type C charging cable), then you can get around it using a charging adaptor. There are quite cheap and can even be found in gas stations.
These methods are pretty effective when it comes to charging your phone without the portable charger it came with. Suppose you find yourself in an emergency, like a blackout or some other event, a power bank would be your best option since it provides more energy with additional features. For best practice, you should ensure it’s fully charged, so you won’t run out of power at any given time. The other methods are a bit slower, but otherwise, they can get the job done just as easily, even if it’s not as effective.
Stay safe while trying to charge your phone without using a charger
However, regardless of the situation please DO NOT take your phone apart or remove the battery. Also, please DO NOT attempt to use any of the hype methods you can find online such as charging your phone with fruit or paper. They will not work and might even be dangerous for you or for your phone.
It’s also important to remember that most of these methods will be less efficient than charging your phone using a charger. This means it will usually take a longer time until you reach full capacity.
In order to be fully on the safe side, make sure to read the user manual of your phone before attempting any alternative charging methods.
Can you think of any other methods you can use to charge a phone without a charger? Let us know in the comments!