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What is a GaN charger, how is it different and why you need one?

By Sanuj Bhatia March 12, 2022, 12:00 pm
GaN charger Source: Unsplash
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The charging technology of our smartphones in the modern-day world is as important as their battery performance. We’re no longer in 2010 when we can just swap the batteries of our smartphones whenever we want. To counter this, companies have worked on increasing the power wattage of the chargers. The increase in power wattage allows smartphones to support quick charge and fast-charge technologies.

With the increase in power wattage, companies have also been working on shrinking the size of the power adapter. And that's where GaN technology comes in. You must have heard of GaN when searching for a charging brick for your smartphone. But have you ever wondered what's behind this miraculous technology? Read along and learn everything about GaN chargers, how is are they different from traditional power adapters, and do you need one?

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What is GaN and why is it used in the chargers?

GaN stands for Gallium nitride. It's a material used in semiconductors that became prominent in the 1990s. On the other hand, most semiconductors nowadays use silicon, but GaN is slowly replacing it. It was first used for manufacturing LEDs, but today, it's used in a variety of areas including chargers. But, why this technology was introduced in chargers? We gotta dwell on how fast charging works and why GaN makes it easier to make fast chargers.

Before the introduction of fast charging to the world of batteries, most of the chargers were limited to five-watt charging speeds. Companies did this to avoid overheating a battery and to avoid shortening the life span of the battery. However, as fast charging technologies emerged, the size of chargers and the heat dissipated by them increased. And this is exactly where GaN helps.

GaN produces less heat than traditional silicon-based chargers, thus allowing for components to be tightly packed. Since the components of the chargers can be tightly packed, the size of the chargers is small which improves portability and their overall usability. Thanks to GaN, a charger can be smaller in size than ever before all while maintaining its power capabilities and ensuring compliance with safety standards.

GaN Belkin Source: Belkin

Some advantages of GaN

High power delivery for long-duration: Modern-day chargers are computers themselves. Based on the device connected, they can judge the amount of current to deliver, and other charging-related things. With GaN, this process becomes faster. GaN can determine the amount of current to be delivered quickly as compared to the silicon chargers, as well as pass a high amount of wattage for longer durations.

One port for all devices: Moreover since GaN chargers can determine the device connected and deliver current based on this, only a single port can be used for charging all the devices. So, you can use a 100W GaN charger for both charging your iPhone and your MacBook. The charger will take care of the current to be delivered.

Smaller and easier to carry: Silicon chargers used to be big in size. This is primarily because they generate a lot of heat and the components had to be placed at a distance so as to cool down the components faster. With GaN, components generate less and they can be placed much closer. So, in layman's terms, GaN chargers are the same in size as the old chargers but can deliver a high amount of current for a long time without getting overheated.

Why are there no GaN computers then?

chip shortage Source: CNN

If GaN is such a good material for computing devices, why are there no GaN chips and computers then? The main reason is cost. Silicon-based chips have been here for decades now. The industry is set and making silicon chips nowadays is cheaper for manufacturers.

Switching to GaN will require manufacturers to tweak their design and will have to adapt to the new system. Moreover, GaN production is still not defect-free. In comparison to Silicon chipsets, GaN has over a million times more impurities per square centimeter. With more R&D on the material, you can expect GaN devices to be commonly available as Silicon-based ones.

For now, GaN is an excellent choice of materials for chargers and power banks, thanks to its properties. Many companies have been embracing the new technology and rolling out products based on GaN. You can check out a few products from Anker, Belkin, and Spigen down below.

Best GaN chargers for laptops & other devices you can buy in 2022

One of the biggest benefits of buying a laptop GaN charger is that you can use it for other devices as well. All the chargers mentioned below come with multiple ports so if you're traveling, you can carry only one power adapter for all of your devices. Check out some of the best GaN chargers for laptops and other devices you can buy in 2022:

amazon basics gan charger

Amazon Basics 100W Four-Port GaN Charger

Amazon Basics 100W Four-Port GaN Charger gives you the freedom to use both USB-C and USB-A ports. The two USB-C ports deliver 65W and 18W while you can use USB A for other devices as well. It comes with a foldable plug for travel-friendly portability as well. Check out the deal using the link given below!

Spigen ArcDock 120w gan charger

Spigen ArcDock 120W GaN III Charging Station

Spigen's ArcDock GaN charger used the latest GaN III technology and provides a total output of up to 120W perfect for your new MacBook Pro. It is quite compact and provides USB-A ports as well for charging mobile phones as well. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.

Anker 65w gan charger

Anker USB C 65W GaN Charger

Anker's USB-C 65W GaN charger is a perfect charging adapter for your MacBook Pro. It is quite compact than the charger Apple provides and comes with additional ports as well. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.

Best GaN chargers for phones you can buy in 2022

While you can use the charger listed above for smartphones as well — the charger will automatically adjust power output as per your device — it's worth taking a look at dedicated smartphone GaN chargers as well. They are smaller in size, plus they come at a lower price. Check out our curated list of best chargers for phones you can buy in 2022 here:

belkin phone gan charger

Belkin USB-PD GaN Charger 30W

Belkin USB-PD GaN Charger comes in a small package and can be used to charge both your MacBook Air and iPhone. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.

anker 45w gan charger

Anker Nano II 45W GaN charger

Anker Nano II 45W GaN charger delivers 45W fast charging and comes with GaN II technology. Anker also offers 18 months warranty on the device. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.

Spigen gan charger phone

Spigen USB C GaN Charger

Spigen is one of the best smartphone accessory makers in the business. This GaN charger from Spigen doesn't break your bank and delivers up to 20W charging speed for fast charging your iPhone. Check out all the deals on the device using the links given below.

References: Wikipedia

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