Information Technology Services

Welcome to Tech Spotlight, an ITS series providing regular updates on the most exciting new technology products and services. With the advent of the smartphone, the USB charging cable has become increasingly important and a very heavily used item since smartphone batteries generally only last a day or two between charges. Thankfully there are some affordable options for durable Micro USB, Lightning, and USB-C cables. Anker is one of the most highly rated brands of USB charging cables, with their great PowerLine series of cables, which we will explore today.

What Can it Do

Most of us have seen a charging cable with a frayed cable or a broken end. It’s quite a common occurrence but an annoying one. Like many portable electronics, USB charging cables get used and abused often. The cheap cables included with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are generally not designed to be very durable or high quality. Anker’s premium cables, currently under three PowerLine product lines with different specifications and warranties, are available in various cable types, lengths, and colors to fit almost any need, as detailed below:

Anker PowerLine

Cable Sizes and Colors:

Anker PowerLine+

Cable Sizes and Colors:

  • Micro USB to USB-A: 1ft/3ft/6ft/10ft (white/gray/red/gold)
  • Lightning to USB-A: 1ft/3ft/6ft/10ft (white/gray/red/gold)
  • USB-C to USB-A: 3ft & 6ft (gray/red)
  • USB-C to USB-C: 3ft & 6ft (red)
  • Multi-Packs:

Anker PowerLine II Dura

Cable Sizes and Colors:

  • Lightning to USB-A: 1ft (white/black) & 3ft/6ft/10ft (white/black/blue/red)

What Does it Cost

As of this writing, Anker’s Powerline series of USB charging cables range in price from $4.99 to $17.99 for a single cable or up to $29.99 for a multi-pack plus shipping/tax from Amazon. Prices depend on PowerLine variant, length, and color. Anker also offers various other thinner cables with a 4000+ bend rating not under the PowerLine series. Compared to Apples official Lighting cables, they are even cheaper than the $19 3.3ft or $29 6.6ft cables. Anker’s cable prices are actually a lot lower for an immensely more durable product. You can find simple Micro USB and USB-C cables a lot cheaper since they don’t require the Apple MFi certification, but you’d run into the same quality and durability issues all cheaply made cables have.

What Are the Competitors

The RAVPower Unity M (Micro USB) and L (Lightning) series of cables have a 12,000+ bend rating and a lifetime warranty, similar to the PowerLine II Dura series. The Unity cables start at $10.99 for a Micro USB 3-pack and $16.99 for a Lighting 2-pack. RAVPower also offers slightly lower quality cables and bundles with 5,000+ and 8,000+ bend ratings and a 1 year warranty. The Nonda ZUS series of nylon braided cables have a 15,000+ bend rating, the highest of all the brands, and a lifetime warranty. Nonda offers them in one length at 4ft and color of black only, the available right angle USB connector is very convenient in tight spaces, and the cable is reinforced with Kevlar from DuPont. They are $16.99 for a Micro USB or USB-C cable and $19.99 for a Lightning cable. The Native Union beautiful nylon braided cables have a 10,000+ bend rating, a lifetime warranty, and come in various colors and designs. Their beauty comes at a cost and they start at $24.99. The funny named Fuse Chicken Titan series, might be the cable for the sky is falling Chicken Little types, are extremely heavy duty cables that are covered in two layers of high strength steel and have a lifetime warranty. Given their steel construction, they are expensive at $34.95 for the 3.25ft Micro USB cable and a bit cheaper for the shorter travel cable.


Anker PowerLine II Dura Lightning vs. Apple Lightning Cable

What More Can You Learn

There are definitely some great options available for quality durable USB cables, which makes it clear we shouldn’t buy cheap cables anymore. In my opinion Anker offers the best balance of price, color choice, durability, and warranty. The newest PowerLine II Dura cables are the most interesting, as of this writing they are only available in Apple Lighting cables, which come with a 12,000 bend rating and a stellar lifetime warranty after online registration. I’m not the only one impressed by Ankers cables, below are just a couple reviews that singled out Anker’s PowerLine series as their favorite:

The Wirecutter

Lifehacker

Anker doesn’t just make USB cables but also a plethora other quality smartphone and computer accessories as well:

 

Disclaimer: This is for information purposes only. ITS does not have any contract or agreement that requires us to recommend any specific product or service. We encourage you to read reviews and research available USB charging cables. Note that prices and availability are subject to change and may be different, depending on market conditions or discounts. Products directly tested by ITS include the Anker PowerLine+ Micro USB and Anker Powerline II Dura Lightning cables. The views and opinions expressed by other sites linked in Tech Spotlight, may not be those of ITS or the University of Michigan-Flint.