In this digital age, our most loved and trusted gadgets tend to have one thing in common. Whether it’s your phone, your tablet, your laptop or your e-reader, it needs charging on a regular basis.

With genuine chargers costing upwards of £30, many people are attracted by cheap generic chargers, which are often available for less than a pound, or by counterfeit branded chargers, and it’s easy to see why.

Cheap, But Dangerous

Fire brigades and consumer safety organisations are campaigning to raise public awareness of the safety risks these cheap devices pose. A fire in Sheffield in 2014 which killed five people was most likely caused by an electrical problem in a faulty charging device, according to the investigation, and minor fires and burns are increasingly being reported.

The charity Electrical Safety First tested a number of cheap chargers bought online from places like eBay – and found that not a single one of them met the legal safety standards in this country. Around half of them had significantly fewer components than genuine chargers – with the missing components often being critical for the prevention of overheating and electrocution.

Safer Charging of Your Devices

The current safety advice therefore is to always buy a genuine charger for your specific device, rather than to buy a cheap charger which claims to be able to charge multiple devices.

If you do have chargers which might not meet proper safety standards, try to replace them as quickly as you can – and in the meantime, if you do use them, ensure they are not placed on flammable surfaces, and avoid leaving items to charge when you are not present or overnight.