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Can You Charge a Laptop with a Car Cigarette Lighter?

Can You Charge a Laptop with a Car Cigarette Lighter?

We spend so much time in the car and the laptop is almost always with us… so in order to keep your device charged, can you just plug your laptop into the car cigarette lighter to charge it?

You can definitely charge your laptop in your car through the cigarette lighter, but your vehicle needs a special piece of equipment to make it possible for you to charge your laptop in your car or truck.

This special piece of equipment is called an inverter, which makes the energy from your car suitable for charging your laptop. The good news is that an inverter for charging your laptop in your vehicle is really cheap.

My favorite one is this product from BESTEK (affiliate link), which can be easily plugged in to your car’s cigarette lighter to charge your laptop. It also has two additional USB slots for charging your phone, tablet or to use products that need an USB connection. Great value for the money and the best I have tried!

And now that we have all the basics covered, let’s get a bit more in depth and answer all the questions and concerns you might have regarding charging a laptop using the cigarette lighter of your car or truck.

How do you charge your laptop with your car?

car cigartte lighter

You simply plug in your inverter into the cigarette lighter spot in your vehicle. Its location varies from vehicle to vehicle, but it’s usually near the main panel of your car, around the stereo area. For some vehicles – especially the ones that use a stick – it’s located near the gear stick.

With the car running and the inverter plugged in, you simply connect your laptop’s charging cable and it will start charging. It’s as simple as that!

Have in mind to only use the inverter for charging your laptop when your car is running, otherwise the battery will drain a lot faster. And never leave a laptop or any device to charge overnight, as this could completely drain your vehicle’s battery.

Is it safe to charge a laptop in your car?

Yes, as long as you use an inverter, it is perfectly safe to charge your laptop in your vehicle. Take all the precautions needed for safety (like having your hands dry) and make sure that you use a high quality inverter similar to the one recommended above when charging the laptop in the car.

Can you charge your laptop in your car without an inverter?

bestek power inverter
Our recommended power adapter for the car.

No, you can’t charge your laptop directly from the cigarette lighter in the car. You must use an inverter, as it turns the 12V from your battery to the required values of a laptop, which are around 20V.

Will charging a laptop in a car drain battery?

Yes, if you charge your laptop in the car, the battery can be drained. However, in order to avoid this, make sure that the vehicle is moving and not stationed when you are charging the laptop. This way, the battery will not be drained as the battery itself gets charged up as the vehicle is moving.

The battery will drain faster – and even potentially getting completely drained – if you leave the laptop charging overnight or for longer periods of time when the engine is not running.

Since the batter is responsible for powering the electrical system of your vehicle and the engine is not running to recharge it, it will drain slower or faster, depending on how much electricity is used.

So if you are charging a laptop, a mobile phone and a tablet and also have the headlights on, the battery will be killed much faster, potentially making it impossible for you to start the vehicle again.

This is why it’s recommended to only charge your laptop in the car when the motor is running and ideally when the car is moving, as that is when the highest amount of electricity is produced and your vehicle’s battery will charge easily.

How long can you charge a laptop on a car battery?

If you really need to charge your laptop while the engine is off, you can usually do it safely for around 1-2 hours. This will give your laptop enough power to run smoothly and still leave some juice in the vehicle’s battery to restart the engine.

However, doing this repeatedly will reduce the life of your battery. This is why you should do this only in emergency situations and instead charge your laptop when the car is running.

using laptop in the car


Charging a laptop using your vehicle’s cigarette lighter is easy to do and safe as long as you follow the advice in this article.

Make sure that you invest in a high quality power inverter created specifically for cars, like our favorite available on Amazon (affiliate link). This will turn the 12V from the car battery to the amount needed by the laptop and charge it without problems. (Read here about how many watts laptops need when charging)

Try to only charge your laptop while the engine is on and the vehicle is moving in order to avoid draining the battery. If you really must charge your laptop when the car engine is turned off, try not to do it for longer than 1-2 hours and only charge one laptop during this time in order to reduce the risks of killing your car’s battery.

But otherwise, as long as the engine is running and the car is moving, it’s perfectly safe to charge your laptop without running the risk of draining your battery.

If you still have questions on how to charge your laptop from the car’s cigarette lighter, don’t hesitate to ask below in the comments section and we’ll answer ASAP.


Saturday 1st of July 2023

The message my laptop shows is that it cannot charge and the laptop charging light does not light up. It's as though it's just ignoring it. I followed the steps and used the inverter whixh I regularly use for charging my phone. The laptop has a usb c charging connection so my cable is usb a to usb c. The laptop even temporarily shows an error message stating that it will not charge using this method. So this does not always work.


Monday 23rd of May 2022

I am looking at the BESTEK 12-volts to 110v 75 watts power inverter to charge computer from solar panels and 100 Amp Hour storage battery in a field lab that only operates on 200 watt solar power system. Question. Once the computer is fully charged, does the inverter continue to pull 75 watts or does it draw less and/or shut off? I do not want to draw more from the solar power system and battery than absolutely necessary so that the battery will last longer on cloudy days. Optimum would be to charge computer, maintain charge, but shut off when computer fully charged. Thanks.


Tuesday 19th of October 2021

I have a Lenovo Legion 5 Laptop for gaming, and sometimes at my job we need to sit in vehicles for an extended period of time. To pass the time I want to be able to play games while it is plugged in. I plan on using the cigarette lighter port, so would this be a good fix?


Thursday 21st of October 2021

Yes, but this will use up more from the car battery since games require more resources.