My kingdom for a durable phone charger cable! Is that really too much to ask? Who else is with me?
Unreliable USB cables are like that crappy pen in my drawer: almost useless, but annoying enough to work 80% of the time.
There are plenty of usb cables that seem durable at first, but if you’re shopping on Amazon, pay close attention to high-volume customer reviews.
Take the Fuse Chicken Titan, for instance. While its metal jacket may look tough, from buyers reviews we find it actually isn’t that tough at all.
Anyway, for the good of all mankind, I’ve heroically researched and sifted out the crap to help other poor souls like me escape the purgatory of living with junky USB cables. (Yes, your welcome!)
So, here’s a quick rundown of some of the most durable phone charging cables out there right now(with their links on Amazon):
|Native Union |
|10,000||4 ft / 10 ft||4 ft / 8 ft||6.5 ft 3-in-1|
|30,000||3 ft / 6 ft||3 ft / 6 ft||3 ft / 6 ft|
|UnbreakCable||30,000||3.3 ft / 6.6ft||3.3 ft / 6.6ft||3.3 ft / 6.6 ft|
|5000||3 ft / 6 ft||3 ft / 6 ft||3 ft / 6 ft|
Bend Tests: What are they?
Typically, charger cables fail first where the wire meets the connector. This is due to fatigue over time through repeated bending from normal use.
Cable manufacturers often test the durability of charging cables by using a bending machine. This machine applies tension to the cables with a weight while simultaneously gripping and bending the connector back and forth 90 degrees in both directions thousands of times.
The cable is then rated by how many 1000s of bends it can endure before finally failing to deliver power.
I’m a bit skeptical of these bend ratings. As far as I can see, these tests are not standardized. So, its totally believable that a manufacturer may choose to use less tension, reduce the degrees of bend or the frequency of the cycles to get more favorable results.
At the very least, these “bend ratings” give us a ballpark understanding of a cable’s durability.
Bend Tests Compared:
- UnbreakCable: 30,000+
- Anker Powerline+ II: 30,000
- Native Union: 10,000
- Amazon Basics Dual Braided: 5000
Note: Native Union’s inclusion of a little elongated slat on the strain relief collar(see above). This slat allows the strain relief section to hinge more easily and reduce stress on the connector pin and device port when it is plugged in.
Anatomy of USB Charger Cables That Lasts
Typical factory-supplied Samsung and Apple charger cables have three distinct external parts on their connectors:
- a shallow strain relief band
- a plastic connector sheath
- the pin connector
A durable USB charging cable typically features a substantially larger strain relief band and a robust connector sheath combined into a single unibody molded piece. This allows the whole connector to be much more resistant to twists and accidental pulls.
Thicker Power Conductors
Simply put, copper and aluminum cost more. This is where cheap USB cables skimp the most.
USB cables are actually comprised of a bundle of several conductors for data and power delivery. The thicker the power conductor is the stronger it is. This also allows the cable to charge your device more quickly.
The thickness of thes power conductors are measured in # AWG- the higher the AWG # the thinner the conductor.
If the info is available, look for a USB cable with a power conductor under #25 AWG.
This may seem obvious, but it bears mentioning.
When was the last time you saw an item on Amazon with over 12000 glowing reviews? A few UNBREAKcables like this one do. That’s a heck of a lot of social proof!
While glowing reviews doesn’t mean an item is durable, I do find that Amazon’s certified buyer reviews are a very helpful indicator as to whether a product has had sufficient time on the market to be trustworthy.
My point is, let others be the guinea pigs on newer products.
I’d be hesitant to buy a USB charger cable that had less than a 4.5 star rating across fewer than 200 reviews.
My Top Choices
Here’s a quick description of my top four recommendations for long-lasting charging cables.
NOTE: All of these cables are available for Lightning(MFi certified for iPhone), as well as USB-C and Micro USB variants for Android phones in various lengths.
Check the latest price on Amazon
Of all the durable cables available online UNBREAKcables have garnered to most high rating buyers (at least on Amazon that is)
They do offer some more budget-friendly versions but even those have garnered a lot of high ratings. UNBREAKcables aren’t a bad deal at all especially considering that they have one of the best bend ratings out there.
UNBREAKcables come with a one-year warranty or two-year warranty if you register it online.
Anker Powerline+ II
Check the latest price on Amazon
Anker’s Powerline+ II line of charging cables come with a hassle-free lifetime warranty for any quality problems.
I’m especially impressed by the quality of the conductors and shields on these cables. The internal conductors are protected by four layers of shields. Most only have two.
The outer shield is heavy braided nylon that will last for years.
Native Union Belt Cables
Check the latest price on Amazon
Native Union’s Belt lightning are more expensive and arguably not at as tough as others. However, they are the nicest looking and come with a lifetime warranty similar to Anker’s.
The classy leather clasp is a nice added touch for keeping the cable organized when you travel or when you don’t need to use the full length of longer cables.
Amazon Basics Double Braided Cables
Amazon Basic’s double braided cables aren’t the toughest but they are a really good deal for what you get.
The cables feature copper conductors and Kevlar infused nylon braided armor. They are a decent value proposition and come with a 2-year warranty from Amazon.
Cables-Be-Darned! Just Go Wireless.
If you have a newer phone, chances are it can be charged wirelessly. Less moving parts translates to less wear & tear. That’s why wireless charging makes a lot of sense.
Consider investing in a wireless charging pad for overnight charges while keeping the charging cables for your car or for your bedtime Netflix binges.
Heck! Get two…they’re cheaper than cables these days!
Durable charging cables may cost more than those convenience store cables, However, my opinion a few extra bucks is a very small price to pay for years of sanity.
By the way, if your into high-quality, durable products you may enjoy perusing around wellrigged.com. That’s what this site is all about!