Can a smartphone charger catch fire?

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Dernière mise à jour: 16 mai 2024

Incidents related to smartphone chargers regularly make the headlines on social networks. They are left plugged in for whole days unattended and sometimes they set off house fires. Corn how can a charger start a fire ? What causes charger burns? Is it really possible that a charger plugged in empty can catch fire? In this article, I will answer all of these questions.

Can a smartphone charger really catch fire?

In normal use, if the charger is good quality and suitable for smartphones, the answer is no.

However in some cases, most often on counterfeit chargers, cases of fire have been reported. They can be linked to different causes leading to a short circuit.

The causes of fires caused by chargers

First cause

The first cause may be related to USB cable connecting the charger to the phone. If he is damaged, or too bent, its internal conductors may short circuit. From then on, the charger still tries to ensure the voltage of 6 volts necessary for charging. But the short circuit causes the transformer to overheat... until a fire breaks out.

Second cause

Un poor quality charger can also overheat and start a fire. The transformer circuit generates heat when converting alternating current to direct current. Heat can slowly build up and cause inflammation of nearby tissue or wood. This is why it is safest to charge your phone on cold surfaces and away from flammable objects.

To protect yourself and your device, avoid counterfeit chargers, chargers for different devices, even if they appear to be compatible, and ensure that their USB or Lightning cord is in good condition.

Why should you unplug your charger?

You must always unplug your charger for two reasons:

  • The first of these is the energy bill. When you leave chargers plugged in, electricity is consumed, even when the charger is not in use. Not only does this waste energy, but you're paying for electricity you don't actually use.
  • The second reason follows from the first. As the energy "sucked" by the charger is not used, it heats the device, which can cause fires to start.

It is therefore recommended to unplug all your chargers and even more devices being charged if you leave your home.