Time's up for shoddy, device-bricking USB chargers with new cert program

The group responsible for the USB Type-C spec has launched a 'Certified USB Charger' logo to help buyers avoid inferior and dangerous USB chargers.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

When buying a USB Type-C charger, keep your eye out for this certification logo.

Image: USB-IF

A certification program has been launched to make it easier to spot USB chargers that can cook PCs and phones.

Google software engineer Benson Leung is on a mission to uncover every USB Type-C charger on the market that doesn't comply with the certification from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group responsible for the USB Type-C spec.

Thanks to his ongoing product safety reviews, more consumers are aware that some cables can be dangerous and may even cook a phone or laptop. His reviews may have even prompted Amazon to prohibit the sale of USB Type-C products that don't comply with USB-IF specs.

Despite these efforts, it was still difficult for most consumers to tell at a glance which USB-Type C chargers don't meet official specs.

Now, it should be easier for buyers to tell which chargers are safe. On Tuesday, USB-IF launched a new compliance program and a 'Certified USB Charger' logo for chargers based on the USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery specifications.

Only chargers that pass USB-IF compliance testing will be allowed to carry the logo, which can appear on packaging, the charger itself, or its cable. The logos will also identify the charger's power output in watts.

Besides potential fire hazards, USB-IF notes that non-compliant chargers risk undermining the interoperability and functionality of electronic devices. The hope is that the new certified logos will reduce the need for each device to have a different charger and in doing so cut e-waste.

"Certified USB Chargers will give users an interoperable power source and a seamless experience. From displays, to smartphones and docking stations, the industry is aligning behind USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery as the last wire you'll ever need for faster charging," said Rahman Ismail, USB-IF CTO.

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