In the computer industry, a universal power adapter most often refers to a single power supply kit with various interchangeable tips and manual or automatic voltage/current settings that adapt the unit to work with many devices out there.
For example, laptop manufacturers make laptop power adapters come in all shapes, sizes, and power ratings – so it becomes difficult sometimes for manufacturers to create a single power adapter for every model type out there. Instead, some of the major universal power supply makers – such as Targus, Kensington, FSP, and others – come out with a few base models that match the different wattage ratings and include 4-12+ “changeable tips” that you can use to adapt the unit to fit your power jack.
Believe it or not, there are actually some advantages to using a universal adapter over a power unit that was built specifically for your laptop. One main advantage is that a lot of times the universal models are much cheaper as they are not specialty devices, but rather, items designed to target a whole slew of laptops. It’s also easier to match up a universal unit to several different laptop models because of the fact that the connect tips can be changed. In my experience, a good quality notebook universal power adapter is oftentimes built tougher and stronger than the manufacturer original parts as well. Lastly, a huge bonus with the universal adapter is that in many cases the ability of the adapter to disconnect from its tip means that if the tip does break it’s a very cheap fix to replace it AND since it can slide out slightly there is a little room to absorb some shock if you yank your cord or if your laptop falls over.
Be sure to visit our notebook power adapter section for a complete lineup of laptop power adapters and more!