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Exploring the Diversity: Types of Desktop Power Adapter

Views: 11     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-11-17      Origin: Site

In the tech realm, power adapters play a vital role, bridging our devices to the energy source. Various types cater to specific devices, making it crucial to understand them for seamless functionality and device longevity. This knowledge prevents compatibility issues, and potential damage, and promotes energy efficiency. Making informed choices about power adapters enhances technology's reliability and sustainability, ultimately extending the device's lifespan.

In this article, we will introduce the different types of power adapters to help you understand the relevant knowledge.

Desktop adapters with different DC output current

Desktop power adapters vary based on their DC output current, measured in amps (A), which represents the flow of electricity through the adapter. The wattage, measured in watts (W), reflects the adapter's ability to deliver power to the device and is directly tied to the DC output current. Higher current results in higher wattage, emphasizing the importance of understanding a desktop power adapter's wattage to assess its effectiveness in powering diverse devices.

48W desktop power adapter

Suitable for smaller electronic devices and peripherals, the 48W desktop power adapter is compact and energy-efficient. Ideal for small monitors, its moderate wattage ensures reliable power without unnecessary excess for less power-hungry devices.


60W desktop power adapter

Balancing versatility and efficiency, the 60W desktop power adapter is perfect for laptops, monitors, and various consumer electronics in everyday use. With ample power for standard computing tasks, it remains energy-conscious and adaptable.

60W desktop power adapter

65W desktop power adapter

Optimized for laptops and portable devices, the 65W desktop power adapter strikes an ideal balance between power and portability. Versatile and efficient, it efficiently charges a wide range of portable computing devices, making it practical for users on the move.

65W desktop power adapter

96W desktop power adapter

Geared towards high-performance laptops and gaming consoles, the 96W desktop power adapter handles substantial energy demands. Its higher wattage ensures sufficient power for resource-intensive tasks and peripherals, catering to users with advanced computing needs.

96W desktop power adapter

120W desktop power adapter

Reserved for robust electronics like gaming laptops and high-end computers, the 120W desktop power adapter is a powerhouse designed for demanding applications. Delivering maximum power capacity, it ensures uncompromised performance for devices with high energy demands.

120W desktop power adapter

Having explored the nuances of DC output current in power adapters, the focus now shifts to another crucial aspect: the power adapter plug type. Understanding how the physical connectors differ becomes imperative, as they play a pivotal role in ensuring seamless power delivery to devices. Let's delve into the world of power adapter plug types and unravel the reasons behind their diverse designs.

Desktop adapter plug/power cord connector type

C6 interface power brick adapter

C6 interface power brick adapter

The C6 connector has a distinctive three-pronged shape resembling a cloverleaf or Mickey Mouse ears.The C6 connector is commonly used in various electronic devices, including laptops, power adapters, and other equipment requiring a compact and standardized power connection.

C8 interface power brick adapter

C8 interface power brick adapter

The C8 interface power adapter features a distinctive two-pin connector, often informally known as the "figure 8" or "figure eight." Features a two-pronged design similar to the C7 but with a different orientation. The prongs are positioned vertically rather than horizontally.

Commonly used in smaller electronic devices, such as domestic audio, video, radio equipment and doubly insulated power supplies, this plug type is recognized for its compact design and versatility. The C8 interface provides a reliable power connection, making it an ideal choice for applications where space is a consideration.

C14 interface power brick adapter

C14 interface power brick adapter

The C14 interface power adapter, also recognized as the "IEC 320" or "kettle lead," boasts a three-pronged plug with a ground pin. Widely employed in computing equipment, particularly desktop computers, and servers, the C14 interface ensures a secure and reliable power connection. Its versatility makes it a staple in various electronic devices, contributing to the seamless operation of technology in diverse settings.

Other interface desktop power adapter

Plug Type


Max. current(A)

Remarks and example uses



Found on many electric shavers, for example.



A connector resembling C5/C6 but featuring a key ridge instead of an earthing conductor has been removed from the standard.



Roland Corporation utilizes this type of plug in various synthesizer and drum computer models, such as the TR-909 and D-50. Additionally, Revox employed it in numerous older models of their hi-fi equipment, including A76, A77, A78, B77, and B225. Moreover, it was extensively utilized in Marantz hi-fi equipment during the 1980s and 1990s.



Similar to C9 with a slot in the connector, withdrawn from standard.



For use in high-temperature settings (for example, electric kettle). Also used in some network appliances that provide PoE.



For use in very-high-temperature settings, such as some stage lighting instruments. Similar to C15/C16, but the top is narrowed to exclude the C15 cord connector.



Xbox One and some Xbox 360 power supplies, some vacuum cleaners, CPAP machines, audio equipment, televisions, medical devices, IBM Wheelwriter typewriters.



Common for supply of power to enterprise-class servers, UPSes, datacenter rack-mounted power-distribution units and other equipment that draws too much current for C13/C14 type to be used.



High-temperature variant of C19/C20



Ungrounded variant of C19/C20

Desktop adapter with different output voltage

When choosing a desktop power adapter, it is important to consider the output voltage of the device. The output voltage of an adapter is determined by the device it is powering and must match the input voltage of that device in order for it to work properly. Some common output voltages include 5V, 12V, 24V, and 48V.

Common applications for power adapters with different voltage outputs are as follows:

3V desktop power adapter

Used for certain battery-operated devices, small electronic gadgets, and some specialty applications.

5V desktop power adapter

Used for charging and powering various small electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth devices, and USB-powered gadgets.

9V desktop power adapter

Commonly employed for musical instruments, effects pedals, certain routers, and various low-power electronic devices.

12V desktop power adapter

Commonly employed for electronics like LED strips, computer peripherals, routers, and certain audio equipment.

15V desktop power adapter

Found in some laptop chargers, audio equipment, and specific types of LED lighting.

18V desktop power adapter

Used for certain audio devices, guitar pedals, and other specialty equipment.

24V desktop power adapter

Found in applications such as LED lighting systems, industrial equipment, some audio devices, and certain types of cameras.

48V desktop power adapter

Typically used in networking equipment like PoE (Power over Ethernet) devices, certain audio equipment, and communication systems.

AC DC adapter DC connector type

The AC DC adapter DC connector is also often called a DC plug. It is a connector that connects the power adapter to the product it powers, that is, the output end of the power adapter. DC connectors generally consist of metal cylindrical contacts, insulating bases, transverse sockets, longitudinal sockets, directional keyways, etc.

The specifications of the DC connector are: outer diameter × inner hole diameter( × length of the barrel).

You can see in following picture as reference:

specifications of the DC connector

  • 2.1mm: This is the inner diameter of the barrel of the connector. It indicates the size of the central pin or core that carries the positive (+) voltage.

  • 5.5mm: This is the outer diameter of the barrel. It represents the size of the circular metal sleeve that surrounds the central pin. The sleeve is usually connected to the ground or negative (-) voltage.

  • 10mm: This dimension usually represents the length of the barrel, indicating how far the connector extends from the device.

There are many types of AC DC adapter's connectors, you can see the following picture:

DC connector:

DC connector

AC connector:

AC connector

Currently, the commonly used circular DC connector specifications are as follows:

  • 2.5×0.7: Mainly used for small electronic products with limited size such as tablets. Currently, tablets are charged with Micro USB or Type-C USB.

  • 3.5×1.35: Mainly used for network set-top boxes, USB HUB external power supply, IPcamera (network camera also known as shaking head), LED desk lamp.

  • 4.0×1.7: Mainly used for mobile DVD, EVD, PSP, some network set-top boxes and smart speakers.

  • 5.5×2.1: Currently the most widely used DC round head interface, surveillance cameras, some set-top boxes, LED desk lamps, digital home appliances and other electronic products.

  • 5.5×2.5: Mainly used for slightly larger power devices, such as some laptops, electric vehicles, etc.

Different desktop adapter types with some additional features

The right desktop power adapter is essential for any application, but there are some additional features worth considering when selecting the best option for your needs. From high-powered and multi-port adapters to waterproof and specialized options, here are a few of the different types of desktop power adapters available.

Standard power adapter

A standard power adapter, also known as a wall adapter or plug-in adapter, is a device that converts electrical power from a standard electrical outlet into the specific voltage and current required by electronic devices. These adapters typically consist of a compact casing with prongs or connectors for plugging into an electrical outlet and a cable or connector that interfaces with the device. Widely used for smartphones, laptops, and gadgets, these adapters ensure compatibility and safe device operation globally.

Multi-port power adapter

Multi-port adapters are ideal for powering multiple devices at once. They are usually separated by a conversion cable with different plugs, so they can be used in a variety of scenarios. Before using these types of adapters, it is important to check the voltage rating of each port to ensure compatibility with your device. In addition, make sure the power bricks meet safety standards, such as UL marketing approval or CE certification. Multi-port adapters are ideal for powering multiple devices at once. They are usually separated from other different plugs by switching rings, so they can be used in a variety of scenarios. Before using these types of adapters, it is important to check the voltage rating of each port to ensure compatibility with your device. In addition, make sure the power bricks meet safety standards, such as UL marketing approval or CE certification.

High power power adapter

These powerful adapters offer higher current output than standard models and can be used to power gaming consoles, laptops, tablets, printers, and other high-power electronic devices. They are also capable of powering multiple devices at once as they often feature multiple ports. When selecting a high-power adapter, it is important to look for safety certifications such as CE or UL listing approval, as well as an appropriate voltage rating for each device.

Waterproof power adapter

Waterproof desktop power adapters are designed specifically for outdoor applications where there may be exposure to water or moisture. These types of adapters may feature higher current outputs than standard models so they can provide enough energy for high-power applications such as gaming consoles and laptops in wet conditions. It is also important to select an adapter with adequate protection against shock hazards from water splashing onto live components and electrical shock from touching live parts during use in wet conditions.

Choosing the right desktop power adapter is crucial for any modern office. This article explores various types, from DC output current to safety features like surge protection. To ensure suitability, consider factors like output current, safety certifications, plug types, output voltage, and additional features. It's essential not to exceed voltage ratings to prevent damage or hazards. By carefully considering these elements, users can confidently select an adapter that meets their specific needs, ensuring safety and optimal performance.

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