We’ve said it plenty of times in this website: If you’re going to invest on an expensive Apple gadget, you should be able to afford supplementary products that protect your investment for as long as possible. Install tempered glass to lessen the risk of breaking your screen, protect your phone’s exterior from scratches with a durable case, and, if applicable, use quality earphones or headphones that won’t damage your phone.
But, did you know that your choice of charger is also damaging your phone? All iPhones and iPads come with a charging cable when you purchase it from an authorized Apple seller, but when that breaks from wear and tear, you have plenty of options in the market. You might be tempted to buy the cheapest cable you can find, thinking it does the same job of charging your phone for much less.
However, buying a fake charger – that is, a charger made to look exactly like an Apple charger and claims to be an original charger despite only costing a fraction of the price – can actually damage your battery and the overall lifespan of your phone. A real Apple charger protects your phone from overcharging or drawing too little power. Too much or too little, and you’ll find your battery dying out pretty quickly in a short amount of time.
That’s not to say that effective chargers have to be expensive. We’ve compiled a list of the best high-quality lightning cables you might want to consider for your iPhones or iPads that are just US$ 20 and below.
Apple Store: USB-C to Lightning Cable / Lightning to USB Cable
When you think of the word “affordable,” chances are, you’re not necessarily thinking about the Apple Store. But if you’re looking for the best replacement cable for your original iPhone or iPad cable, there’s no better place to go than the actual manufacturer of your device.
The Apple Store offers two kinds of lightning cables: the USB-C to Lightning Cable, which connects your iPhone or iPad to the USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 on your Mac or iPad Pro for syncing and charging; and the Lightning to USB Cable, one that allows you to either connect to any USB port for charging and syncing your phone, or, with a USB power adapter, any wall outlet nearby.
At $19, both of these are only a meter long. I don’t see the need to buy its more expensive version, which is exactly the same but two meters long. Even though I own a MacBook, I prefer to buy the latter. One reason is that I already have the Apple USB Power Adapter that is only compatible with this. Another is that I already have the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. It just seems more convenient to buy one that can be multipurpose – for now.
If you buy your cable from Apple, you can bet that it will work like your original cable. The one risk of buying a non-Apple cable is that it’s either a hit or miss. I can’t remember which iOS update it was, but there came a point when devices could detect non Apple-certified cords and not charge your phone. Some OEM lightning cable manufacturers have worked their way around it, but when buying these products, you really have to test them out to see if they will work. With an authentic Apple cable, you won’t have that kind of problem.
My only drawback is its price. While it is lower than $20, it is pushing the max and costs more than the other cables on this list. At $19 also, the Apple USB Power Adapter is out of the question when you’re buying this, nor is any good quality adapter. If you’re looking for both the cable and adapter under $20, you’re going to have to look outside the Apple Store.
AmazonBasics: Double Braded Nylon Lightning Cable
Available in four sizes ranging from four inches to ten feet and with prices ranging from $11.99 to $15.99, AmazonBasic’s lightning cables* are Apple MFi certified, meaning you don’t have to worry about compatibility as these will definitely work with your iPhones and iPads that have the appropriate outlet.
Its main selling point is its durability. Double braded cables are much stronger than your ordinary plastic cables, especially if you’re prone to bending or pulling at your cables. These are made with durable nylon fiber cloth, which protects and strengthens your cable while still allowing you some flexibility.
According to AmazonBasics, this cable can be bent up to 95 degrees, and unlike your ordinary mall kiosks selling OEM cables, they offer a one-year limited warranty to vouch for its quality.
The only downside I can see comes from the reviews. Some users who purchased the product claim that it has a loose connection. It’s easy to unplug the cable from some models as its size is supposedly not totally compatible with all models. There’s also the issue of its thick plastic near the outlet, as some users had to remove their phone case to make it fit. And if you have to remove your case each time to charge it, the charger may last, but your case will stretch out from having to pop your phone out each time.
If you have both an Android and Apple devices or want to be prepared in case someone who needs either asks if they can borrow your charger, Poweradd’s 2 in 1 charger* services both Apple devices compatible with lightning cables and Android phones.
At $9.99, you’re getting a one-meter cable for a USB cord and an Android outlet. However, this one comes with a Lightning Cable extension, allowing you to plug the Lightning Cable outlet into the Android outlet and letting you charge either Android or Apple. It’s made with an aluminum connector, ensuring that you have a high-speed charge.
My one hesitation with this cord, though, is the Lightning Cable’s plug to the rest of the cable. I’m a believer that, despite what businesses say, their products will eventually break through wear and tear. Other 2-in-one cables in the market have a reliable design where you simply plug the USB to either a PC port or an adapter to plug into any wall outlet. This one, however, is connected by two metal rings and a clear spiral plastic. It reminds you more of a keychain than a cable, and I’m worried about how strong it will hold with wear and tear. Should this Lightning Cable break and go missing, Apple users are stuck with a useless Android cable.
When purchasing your own Lightning Cable, choose one that provides durability, quality, and efficiency. You don’t have to choose these over price when these cables prove that quality is just as affordable. Be sure to look at other user reviews and, preferably, find one that provides a limited warranty guarantee to ensure you get your money’s worth.