Comparing Magnetic Power Adapters for USB-C MacBooks

MacBook users miss the old MagSafe power adapters. Third-party products offer an alternative in the age of USB-C power cables. You insert one part into your MacBook and leave it there, and the other part connects to it magnetically. However, since they stick out somewhat, people are afraid that they could inadvertently damage their MacBooks if they catch that edge on something. I take a look at three popular magnetic power adapters for the MacBook and MacBook Pro and compare them.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Comparing Magnetic Power Adapters for USB-C MacBooks.

Hi, this is Gary with When Apple moved away from the Magsafe adapters for MacBooks a few years ago people were really upset. They liked the Magsafe adapters. Somebody could trip over the cable or you could walk away with your MacBook and it was still plugged in and it would just breakaway painlessly. Right. You wouldn't do any damage to the cable, or the adapter, or your Mac Book. Apple probably moved away from that because people didn't like that it was proprietary. You had to buy the adapter from Apple. There were third party ones but they were never very good quality.

So going to USB-C was a good move because now it's a standard. You can get good USB power from other devices and things like that. But if you want to go back to Magsafe you can actually get these adapters. They fit into the USB-C port on your MacBook and then the cable on the other end also has a magnet on it. So you can get some of that convenience of having a magnetic connector for power back.

Now a lot of these products, when you take a look at them on Amazon, you seem to see the same thing over and over again. The same product with different names for it from different companies. That's because a lot of them are probably produced in the same factories and then they're just branded differently. So I went through and I saw what some of the most popular ones were and I tried to eliminate ones that seemed to be the same as other ones. I came up with three that I wanted to test out. So I ordered all three. I want to add I paid for these with my own money and I'm not getting any money from any of these companies. I just wanted to go and kind of look at them, see which ones were best, and do a video to show you in case you're interested in buying one of these maybe it helps you in your buying decision or at least gives you a head start while doing some research.

So the first one I looked at was one that kind of has a generic name and I'm going to call it the Upmely one. That's what's printed here on the device. This one was selling at Amazon for about $27. Had a decent number of customer reviews. Tons of ones looked like this on Amazon. I also looked at one called ElecJet MagJet Connector. This one was a little bit cheaper and has 260 reviews. So a lot people were getting this one as well. Then I noticed out of all the names one old name here. Griffin has been making stuff for a longtime and they have one here that I wanted to grab. This is selling for less than twenty bucks at Amazon and had 229 reviews. So I grabbed these three.

So you can see the packaging is very different for all of these. So the first one here, looks like a jewelry box. Very simple. This is the Upmely one. So really basic packaging there. The second one, the ElecJet MagJet, comes in a plastic bag but in there is a carrying case. So you get a carrying case with this to carry the cable in. Then the Griffin one comes in a real box, like one you might find in a retail store.

So let's start by looking at the Upmely one. When you open it up there's really nothing inside except a little plastic bag with the two pieces in it. So this is the only one that doesn't come with a cable. Now this design you can find like a dozen of these on Amazon. The basic look the same. They look just about like the same kind of two pieces here. I bought the one that just had the most reviews. There's the two halves there and you have to connect your USB-C cable to that. So you have to use your existing cable. The other part goes inside your MacBook.

Now if we take a look at the ElecJet one so we'll get rid of the bag here. Then take a look at what's in the case. You can see that it's a nice little carrying case. It looks a lot like the ones you get with camera lens for the iPhone. Things like that. You can can use this definitely to carry your USB-C cable which is nice. A little extra. Then there's a bag in there that's going to be the cable and the part that goes into your MacBook. The cable is a lot thinner than the normal cable. Here's the part which is really small. It fits in pretty well. It's a pretty small piece that goes into your MacBook. So let's take a look now at the Griffin box and open that up. It's a much thicker more substantial cable and the end is much larger. It also has a very strong magnet. Definitely seems like higher quality than the other two right off the bat.

So let's actually use the Upmely one with my MacBook Pro. I'm going to take the entire thing and I'm going to insert it in. I think that's the way you work with all of these. You insert it in with it attached magnetically to the other end. Push that one in. Goes in easily enough. Now I've got it connected. So that's how it fits in there. I'm going to have to use my regular cable with this. So let's attach my regular cable to it and put that in. This is an advantage of using this one actually as you still have your regular cable with you that you can still plug in if anything should happen to the magnetic one. So it works. It works pretty well. I believe it's reversible as well. Now you can see here it doesn't always snap right into place like the Magsafe kind always did. But it's pretty obvious when it's not connected. It pulls right out with your fingers which is great. I've heard some of these you have to use a pliers or something to get them out.

Now let's look at the ElecJet one. This one has its own cable so I'm going to insert the whole thing together in there and then break it apart magnetically. That seems to work pretty well. A much weaker magnetic connection. Maybe not much but definitely a little bit weaker. It will also do the thing where you can kind of get it partially in and it's not really connected. Like that. But it's pretty obvious when it's not. But it's just not like the Magsafe. This is also reversible as well. The cable is definitely a lot thinner than my cable that came with my MacBook.

Now let's take a look at the Griffin here. More substantial cable but much larger part that goes inside. Sticks out way further. But I think that's the use case for this one isn't to actually have the thing plugged in all the time but to actually have the two halves magnetically attached all the time. Plug it in and it just protects you in case somebody trips over the cable. It isn't reversible. You can't attach it both ways. The magnets actually won't let you attach it the wrong way. So that makes this one a little bit different.

So if we compare the Griffin to the ElecJet you can see there's no comparison in terms of how far one sticks out. If you're concerned about how far it sticks out, that's a lot. Now if I put in the first one you can see that that one sticks out a little bit more but not much. They're both pretty comparable to how far they extend from the body of the MacBook.

So here's a little chart I made comparing them. So the Upmely doesn't include a cable but that may not be a bad thing because having your original cable with you might be a good idea. It gives you another option. The magnetic strength is pretty good. It doesn't extend too far and it's reversible. By removable I mean it's easy to remove the magnetic part that's inside of your MacBook. They all are. So they all match there. MagJet had kind of a weak magnetic strength but it wins out in how far it extends. As a matter of fact the case that I have on my MacBook it barely extends past that. So it's probably going to be the one that I'm going to be trying to use on a regular basis and see how it goes.

The Griffin is definitely meant to be used as just a regular cable that has the added benefit of being able to break apart if somebody were to trip over the cable or something. That's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for something that could always be inserted in and kept in the MacBook. I think that's what a lot of other people are looking for too. So each have kind of an upside to them. As I said the Griffin is kind of its own thing. But the other two you can find ones that look just like them. Especially the Epmely one. You can find ones that are obviously the same product, made in the same factory, distributed by different companies online. So I just picked these three because they had the most reviews on Amazon so it seemed to be the ones that most people were looking at when wanting to buy one of these.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Comparing Magnetic Power Adapters for USB-C MacBooks”

    Alan Meyer
    1 month ago

    I found the following adapter at Solid Signal and purchased the Lightning version. The part that inserts into my devices is so small that it is barely noticeable and it appears to work well. I ordered two more so that all my device connectors are interchangeable.

    Lightning to Magnetic Charging Adapter for iPhone (MAGSNAP-LTN)

    Bill Waggoner
    1 month ago

    I would be interested to hear if the charging performance is less than the Apple standard cable for any of these.

    1 month ago

    Bill: I would expect it would be exactly the same. It is just a cable, really. Power will flow through it at the same rate.

    Charles Stewart
    1 month ago

    I love my USB C MAGNITTO Magnetic Charger-Adapter 87w with a high-quality 6.6ft cable and very nice small round zippered case it all fits in which I bought from Amazon (Prime) for $29.99. The reversible connection and extra length of the cable are perfect for me, and I’ve had no problem with it whatsoever.

    1 month ago

    The ideal adaptor would be able to use the old Magsafe charger to USB-C. I have 5 Magsafe chargers, one is plugged in in my family room, one in the bedroom, one is in my car, the other is in my office, and I keep one in my briefcase. The only reason I don’t buy a new MacBook Pro is because I do not want to buy 4 new additional power adaptors on top of the already ridiculously overpriced MacBooks. At least if I could keep using the power adaptors I currently own, I could save $250-300.

    Charles King
    1 month ago

    I’m looking forward to Gary‘s follow-up comments regarding durability and reliability over time. And thanks for the product information!

    Roger Emnett
    1 month ago

    I have been using a Basevs Magnetic USB C Cable for MacBook Pro for a year now and have had no problems, I probably connect and disconnect at least 5 times a day or more and it has been very dependable. Coms with a quality braided cord. Was $16.90 when I purchased it however I checked today and it is listed at $24.90. I would still buy it again if the need arises.

    Lali Raj
    1 month ago

    I bought “NewerTech Snuglet for MagSafe 2” from Amazon. Description says: “S/N: 19874279 MFG: 2715004781” It is a very little piece that goes inside the MagSafe 2 port. So for it has been working ok. It cost me $15.00. Do you think it is ok. I am not able to attache a picture with this comment, sorry.

    1 month ago

    Lali: That’s a very different type of thing than what I am describing in the video. You have an older Mac with a MagSafe adapter already. The product you got just makes the connection stronger, so I guess you figured you needed that. I’ve never used it so I can’t give you an opinion on it.

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