Is It Bad That My Phone Charger Is Always Plugged In?

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

We’ve all heard that “overcharging” your phone (aka leaving it plugged in after sufficiently charging the battery) can reduce your phone battery’s effectiveness over time. But have you ever wondered about the charger itself? With your cord plugged into the wall (behind the bed, next to the sofa) around the clock, could your charging setup be costing you money or posing a safety hazard?

We reached out to energy expert, Glenn LaMay, the founder of Home Energy Solutions for help breaking down what happens when you keep your phone charger plugged into an electrical outlet.

Does a phone charger use electricity when plugged in?

If you thought simply having your phone charger plugged into a wall outlet all day was running up your electric bill, then think again. “Cell phone chargers only use electricity when they are charging,” LaMay explains. “So simply leaving one plugged into the wall shouldn’t make a difference.”

Is it safe to leave a charger plugged in?

If you’re ever concerned that keeping your phone charger plugged in all day would pose some kind of fire hazard—LaMay says not to worry. “All electrical appliances have to pass a UL safety test before they can be sold to consumers,” he explains, “including cell phone chargers.”

(Image credit: Suphaksorn Thongwongboot)

Does having your phone charger plugged in all the time wear it out sooner?

Unlike your cell phone battery, LaMay says keeping your phone charger plugged all the time probably won’t have any effect on it’s lifespan. “Chances are that you will change phones (and chargers) long before your current charger stops working,” he says.

Anything else we should know about phone chargers?

“Stick with the chargers that come with your phone and avoid the knockoffs you find at gas stations and convenience stores,” says LaMay. “They pose a much bigger threat than keeping a vetted charger plugged in all day.”