AC Adapter Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong AC Adapter

There are a variety of reasons why you might need a new AC adapter. The function of an AC adapter is to power electronics, such as your computer's printer or laptop. Laptop batteries and power adapters also help you use your laptop while on the go. These and other computer accessories, such as iPad chargers and adapters, make laptop use easier and more versatile.

If you decide to buy an AC power adapter and would like some help, use this guide to teach you how to buy an AC adapter.

>> Find the identification numbers on your electronics

Your electronics, such as your laptop, have special identification numbers printed on them so that you can order specific parts that are compatible with them. These numbers include the model number and the serial number. For laptops, you can find your model number on the bottom or side. If you can't find your model number, you can also try looking at your user's manual or under your laptop's system properties.

Once you have the identification numbers, you will want to ensure that the AC adapters you are looking at are compatible with your electronics. This is absolutely the first step in how to buy an AC adapter as you must ensure that the AC adapter will be able to run your equipment.

>> Determine your voltage requirements

After you find your model and serial numbers, you need to figure out your voltage requirements. Laptop adapters can have different voltage outputs, and you want to make sure that you match the right adapter voltage with your laptop to prevent any damage to the computer. If you are unsure of what the voltage requirement might be, check your user's manual, where it is usually listed as DC voltage.

>> Choose the type of AC adapter

When learning how to buy an AC adapter, you need to figure out which type of AC adapter you want to go with: a model-specific adapter or a universal adapter. Either will work, but the two can vary in availability and price.

Universal power adapters have different plugs that works for different-sized inputs for various laptop models while the power source of the adapter is the same. If you choose a universal adapter, check the adapter's description or packaging closely to ensure that it supports your model number and that there is an adaptable plug for your specific laptop. Not all universal adapters fit all laptops, so it is important to be sure before making a purchase.

The other option is to buy a model-specific type of AC adapter. This type of AC adapter uses only the type of plug that matches with that specific laptop. Once you find the model number on the back or side of the laptop itself, simply search for that brand and model number's AC adapter.

Once you have selected an AC adapter that is reported to match your laptop, and you've made sure that the voltage and plugs are the same, you will have gone a long way in picking out which AC adapter to buy that will suit your needs. At this point, you will have found an AC adapter that works for your electronics, and all that will be left in deciding which AC adapter to buy will be to decide on personal preferences that might affect your purchase.
>> UPS power adapters

UPS power adapters, or uninterrupted power supply adapters, also contribute to optimum AC adapter performance. UPS adapters provide emergency power when the main source of power cuts out. This prevents your computer from being damaged by unexpected power outages or power surges. They also allow for uninterrupted work for short periods of time so you can save files accordingly should you so desire. You might want to consider purchasing a UPS power adapter along with your laptop AC adapter just in case this situation arises.

>> Other types of AC adapters

Besides laptops, other devices require AC power adapters to function. There are model specific adapters for these other devices, but most devices simply need a universal AC adapter. Do the same research as you would for a laptop adapter to find a replacement adapter for any of your other electronic devices. Look up the model numbers, check the voltage for any AC adapters recommended or listed and ensure that the plug will match.

Even if you do not need a laptop AC power adapter as a replacement, consider getting one as an extra to have on hand. Whether you need it in a pinch, want to have an extra for work, travel or home or have one on hand to lend to someone else, having another laptop charger around is always a good thing. When considering these AC adapter uses to help make your purchasing decision, remember these tips about how to buy AC adapters.

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