Top 3 Ways to Charge a Laptop With USB

Laptops continue to be indispensable components of our personal and professional lives. Regardless of your laptop’s configuration and features, the power supply continues to remain a fundamental part that facilitates its seamless operation. However, what if you don’t have access to power at any point?

You may have left your home in a hurry and may have forgotten to pack your charger. It is also possible for your charger to give up on you and merely stop working. Sometimes, efficient charging may be impossible due to faulty port of the charger.

Regardless of why you can’t use a charger, it is worth noting that the correct USB cable can come to your rescue. How? Let’s find out!

How To Charge a Laptop Without a Charger

The right USB cable can help you charge your laptop even if you don’t have the stock charger. For a while now, USB cables have mostly been used to charge smaller devices like Smartphones or audio players.

However, you can use modern cables like the USB-C to charge your laptop. However, it is important to note that your laptop needs a USB-C port that allows device charging. Moreover, every laptop with a Type-C port may not allow charging.

So, you must verify with your device’s manual or manufacturer’s instructions to see if it will work for you. If it does work with your laptop, all you need is a suitable USB-C cable and a power source to charge your laptop.

USB Power Explained

Before we get into the specific instructions, let’s understand how USB power works. Traditionally, USB cables were used for data transfer, as opposed to power supply. The focus on data transfer efficiency is clear when you look at the improvement in transmission speeds over the years.

Version nameSpeedReleasedRate of transmission
USB 1.1Full Speed199812 Mbps
USB 2.0High Speed2000480 Mbps
USB 3.0SuperSpeed U20085 Gbps
USB 3.1SuperSpeed+201310 Gbps
Source: CMD’s Table on different versions of USB

However, with a few updates, USB cables developed the secondary role of delivering power along with data. Although the initial power levels were low, USB technology developments over the last decade have transformed this scenario. USB cables have gone from charging phones and powering mice to charging monitors and laptops.

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In 2010, the Battery Charging Specification – BC 1.2 bumped up USB’s power transmission from a measly 4.5W to a more respectable 7.5W. Also called the CDP (Charging Downstream Port), this new transmission provides a higher current of 1.5A for charging devices.

After undergoing further updates, today, USB cable offers increased power delivery along with improved data transmission. Consequently, it is capable of charging bigger devices that were previously too heavy for USB cables.

Can You Charge a Laptop With a USB?

Yes. With the right cable and port, you can charge your laptop using a handy USB cable. The 2013 update on USB 3.0 further increased its power delivery to 100W, creating the new USB 3.1.

With subsequent improvements to USB technology, today, it’s not that difficult to charge your laptop via USB. Of course, your laptop must be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port, and you’ll need further access to a power source too. But that aside, getting some much-needed juice for your laptop is possible even without your stock charger nearby.

You can also choose between different power sources based on your situation. Whether it’s an extra power bank or your car’s charging port, there’s more than one alternative for charging your laptop if you use a USB cable. The crucial part is knowing your laptop’s ports and choosing the correct cable.

For your convenience, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide on how to charge your laptop with the proper USB cable.

How to Charge a Laptop With USB-C

The safest way to charge your laptop with a USB-C cable is if your device came with one. Laptops with USB-C chargers usually have an adapter/power brick and plug on one end and a connecting Type-C cable on the other.

One thing to note here is that not all USB-C ports are meant for charging. While all of them work for data transfer, only specific Type-C ports can help charge your device. Look up your laptop’s user manual to find out whether your port supports charging. For instance, if your laptop is an ASUS Notebook, there are several symbols that indicate what the various ports can do.

If your laptop comes with slots for a dedicated stock charger as well as a USB-C charging port, the former port tends to be more efficient. But the USB-C port is a convenient alternative when you don’t have your stock charger.

Depending on your laptop’s make and model, you may experience different charging speeds. In fact, both the laptop’s power delivery mechanism and your choice of cable determine the charging speed. For example, a basic Chromebook may charge at about 40W, while a high-end MacBook may charge at above 80W.

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How To Charge Your Laptop in a Car

Your car’s alternator provides power to every electrical component in your car. So, a power source that can power your music system or light up your headlamps can certainly charge your laptop too.

Of course, you’ll need to arrange a couple of things first, as your car wasn’t originally meant for charging laptops. The most basic setup involves an AC Adapter and a car charger with a USB slot. The AC Adapter should have the traditional USB-A connector on one end with a USB-C on the other side of the cable. A lot of modern cars today come with in-built USB ports within the dashboard. So, the USB charger may not even be required.

Once those are ready, charging your laptop is as easy as simply plugging in the device.

  • Step 1: Turn on the ignition to get the engine running. With the right voltage, you may be able to charge the device by merely turning on your car’s battery/accessory mode. But a running engine is the safest bet.
  • Step 2: Plug the USB charger into the car’s charging/lighter port. The Type-A connector should go into this end.
  • Step 3: Connect the other end (USB-C) to the relevant port in your laptop.

That’s it! You can now simply wait or continue using your laptop (which will take longer to charge).

How To Charge Your Laptop With a Power Bank

Another alternative to charging your laptop without a charger is by using a power bank. A fully charged power bank is essentially a spare battery waiting to transfer power to a dying device.

However, note that you must consider the power output that your laptop needs and the output that the power bank provides. For example, the general ordinary power banks meant for smaller devices have an output of around 5V. However, a laptop may require about 15-20V of output capacity.

So, purchasing a power bank that can dish out something around the 20V mark is a good idea. Yes, they’re more expensive, but they work much better for bigger devices. The MAXOAK 50000 is a beast that’s specially meant to fulfill your high-charging requirements. The RAV USB Power Bank has less capacity but offers full portability.

Once you get a power bank of your choice, it’s only a matter of plugging in the cable to get your laptop charging. The only downside of a power bank is that once you charge your device a few times, the power bank also runs out of power.

So, it’s the best alternative during emergency situations, when there are no other options.


We hope that this brief but informative article has prepares you for those times of need when your charger gives up on you. If it has helped you in any way, feel free to share it with your friends and family.

Do you know of any other methods of charging your laptop with a USB cable? Let us know about your alternatives in the comments section. If you’re lucky, we might just include your suggestions in our next article.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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