Phone Charging Without a Cigarette Lighter in a Car

Phone Charging Without a Cigarette Lighter in car

Do you always find your phone battery low while driving and your car doesn’t have a cigarette lighter port? Well, there are a few methods how to charge phones in cars without a cigarette lighter.

This article will reveal some perfect ways to charge your phone in vehicles without cigarette lighters, from USB ports to portable chargers.

3 Main Methods of Phone Charging Without a Cigarette Lighter in a Car

It is hard to admit it, but the low battery signal on phones can be pretty troubling, much more for drivers.

Nevertheless, cigarette lighters have served as one power outlet for charging phones in cars for years.

However, most recent cars out do not come with a cigarette lighter port.

Not to worry, these modern cars offer even easier ways for people to charge their phones once they turn on their vehicles.

There are three main methods of charging a phone in a car without a cigarette lighter; these include using a built-in USB port, wireless charger, or portable charger.

Here are the details of the three practical ways you can charge your dead phone while in your car.

Method 1: USB charging

The multimedia interface of present-day cars has USB ports, and you can use it to charge your phone. Although the location of these ports varies, you can check through the center console and stereo control interface.

Common places for USB Charging ports are:

  • Stereo/radio console
  • The lower middle console area
  • Glove box
  • Armrest storage

You can see an example location in a BMW one series below:

USB port location in a BMW
USB port location in a BMW

For most people who would like to listen to music as they drive. You can do so and at the same time charge your phone using the USB as they often connect to your stereo system.

An excellent option for a USB cable would be the Anker Powerline II, as Anker is a robust brand, and the cable is universal for all major phone types.

If you’re car also has Apple CarPlay, you may want to opt for a Carplay iPhone charging cable.

Method 1.1: Installing a USB Port

While most modern cars have a USB port, some don’t.

In this case, if you also don’t have a cigarette lighter, you’ll have to install one. The easiest and often cheapest method would be to install a basic aftermarket radio which also has a USB port.

Even the most inexpensive single or double-din car stereos will come with a USB port for charging and data transfer.

Method 2: Wireless Charging

Auto manufacturers like Honda, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota introduced wireless car charging as a standard feature over the past five years. These wireless charging pads can effectively allow drivers to get their phones charged while driving.

NOTE: You’ll usually need a USB port to plug the wireless charger in unless you are using a built-in one. Or it can be hard-wired if you’re skilled enough to install it this way.

So, how does this work?

This process occurs through electromagnetic induction and can work with any phone provided it is compatible (Most modern phones will: See list). The following are three ways of maximizing wireless charging within your car.

Fixing Wireless Charger Adapters

The use of wireless charger adapters can help car owners charge their phones within the car while offering a natural look. This option may not appear very common, as it only works for vehicles that have dedicated slots for such purposes or that come built-in from the factory.

Installation of Wireless Phone Charging Mounts

Phone Charging mounts remain one of the most flexible options that work with most modern cars and are easy to install. Once you fix them correctly on the vehicle’s dashboard or windscreen, you can quickly charge your phone while accessing features like calls, Waze, or music.

Using Charging Pads/Cup Holders

Cup holder options may seem like the easiest way to charge your phone while driving for Qi-compatible devices. You can get suitable charging pads or cup holders that would effectively charge your phones.

Since wireless charging does not come with all cars, you should check the various ways to add wireless charging to your vehicle.

Method 3: Use of portable chargers

Also known as power banks, portable charges are one of the biggest boosts when your phone’s battery is out. To charge, connect your phone to the power bank via a USB cord. And always remember to charge the power bank at home when it’s drained.

Efficient power banks like the Anker Portable Charger are worth considering, as the large ones can charge around 7 full phone charges, which should be enough to keep you going for a while!
It would be best if you considered the following when getting suitable portable chargers:

Capacity and size

Power banks come in varying battery capacities; 5,000mAh, 10,000mAh, and more. If you need higher capacity, it would be best to look for portable chargers with bigger batteries. Although smaller battery options come in portable sizes, you would find power banks with larger sizes offering more ports.

Fast charging option

It would help to look out for effective options to charge your phones faster, such as Ankers’s “High-Speed PowerIQ.”

Output and input ports

You can find the standard USB-A port and other practical solutions with USB-C ports.


Most modern cars don’t come with cigarette lighter sockets due to upgrades and the lack of smokers in today’s health-conscious world.

Hence, many people are keen on knowing how to charge phones in cars without a cigarette lighter.

As we’ve discussed, the best option would be to use a built-in USB port, but failing that install one and, as a last resort, use a portable charger.

Picture of Alex
I loved my car but was frustrated with my media system. So I upgraded my stereo, making silly wires and precarious phone mounts a thing of the past. The Apple Car Play stereo was so good I wanted to show more people how this could be done and truly upgrade their cars multimedia system! Founder
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