6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Top Tested Charging Cords

6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Top Tested Charging Cords

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(ABC 6 News) – Phone charging cords—without them, we’d all be lost. You can buy them just about anywhere, some are cheap, some are expensive—so how do you know which ones will last? 

Consumer Reports recently tested charging cords and reveals if you really need to pay a premium to get a cord you can count on.

Consumer Reports took a close look at low-priced charging cords sold at retailers like Amazon, Five Below, and Walmart to see how well they stack up against cords sold by Apple and Samsung.

They bought seven cords in all, ranging in price from $4.88 to $29.

“We found the best of the bunch could last you more than six years, while the worst ones may not last you six months,” says Consumer Reports’ Chris Raymond. 

CR’s experts estimate that we all bend or twist our charging cords in some way about five times a day. Using that number, they calculated how many bends and twists each cable would have to endure to last for a year and a half. 

First, using a motorized rig, they repeatedly bent one end of each cord at a 90-degree angle until it stopped working. In the second test, the rig twisted each cord more than 2500 times.

“All the cords passed the twist test. But, only two passed the bend test,” says Raymond. 

The cords that did the worst lasted fewer than 800 bends.

The ByTech USB-C cord from Five Below died before 710 bends.

Lightning cords from AmazonBasics and Walmart’s Onn brand both stopped working before 796 bends.

Walmart’s Onn USB-C cord did better, hanging on for close to 1,656 bends.

Those that did the best were Apple’s Lightning cord for iPhones 5 through 14 and the AmazonBasics USB-C cord for the iPhone 15, Android phones, laptops, and tablets. Both survived 11,500 bends—which means they could last you more than six years!

“The bottom line here—you can’t always rely on brand, price, or things like thickness to guide you when buying a charging cord,” says Raymond.

That’s because both the $29 Apple cord and the $6.55 AmazonBasics cord did the best in CR’s tests and because Apple’s thin lightning cord outperformed thicker ones!

And if you’re not sure what to do with your old cords, Best Buy says on its website it accepts them as part of its recycling program.