There’s nothing more annoying than your phone running out of juice mid-journey, especially if you’re relying on it for music, important calls, or, worst of all – directions.
Using a USB charger powered either from your bike’s battery or its own power source is a great way of making sure your phone won’t ever die on you mid-ride, no matter how far from home you are.
It’s a low-cost, low-effort mod you can make to your bike that’s infinitely useful.
So how different can motorcycle USB chargers really be, and what should you be looking out for?
Read on to find out…
Best Motorcycle USB – Quick Picks
Installing a USB charger
If you’re installing one, you’ll want to put it near your phone’s mount.
Depending on your bike and the charger you buy, you’ll usually be able to stick it on the fairing near your instrument clusters or on the handlebar itself.
For instructions on how to fit the charger, see this article on Instructables.
There are usually three types of chargers:
- DIN, which can fit into an existing port on your bike (like a car ‘cigarette lighter’ charger)
- SAE types that require connection to your battery via an SAE lead
- Ones that connect directly to your battery
If you have the latter, after you’ve picked its position, it’s a matter of running the wire from your charger, tying the cables to the pathway as neatly as possible, and connecting to the battery. Now, when your engine is on, your USB ports will be ready to power any devices you may need.
Happily, this is another motorcycle accessory that’s easy and inexpensive to buy and fit yourself – you don’t need to spend more than around £30 at the absolute maximum for something really handy.
What can they be used for?
Most people will probably use their USB charger to keep a mobile phone running, but they do have other key uses like:
- Sat Nav/dedicated GPS devices
- A dedicated music player
- To power a handlebar-mounted camera
- Running lights mounted on a windscreen
Best Motorcycle USB Chargers Reviewed
These are our top fivechargers to suit every rider.
Perfect if you need to charge more than one device, Ultimateaddon’s effort is robust and unobtrusive and will look the part on almost any bike. Attaches via cigarette lighter (DIN).
- Excellent rain seal
- Super easy to install
- Somewhat bulky
It’s chunky and not stylish, but the fast charge will get your gadgets singing in no time at all and is an easy install if your bike has a DIN socket.
- 300mA fast charge means even the biggest batteries can get back to life as fast as possible
- Has an auto-off feature that shuts down automatically after three hours if you forget to switch it off after leaving the bike.
- It’s a fairly ugly block, so may not be great if aesthetics are important
- The two USB ports are at 90-degree angles to each other, which looks odd
A more streamlined option that will get power to your bike with minimal fuss, with two different connection options.
- Very cheap
- Has a complete waterproofing system
- Has a flimsy feel
- Might not last more than a season of hard weather
Some chargers can drain your battery while you’re not using them – that won’t be a problem with this, which has a handy switch to stop over-charging your devices.
- Switch so you know if it’s powered or not
- Indicator light tells you if it’s on
- Included cable is a little on the short side
- Only one USB port