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* Useful gadgets to make the most of your car’s electrical system
* From LED signs to cool splitters
* Plus, how to charge your laptop in the car
One day, the universal car 12V dash outlet may become as much of an obsolete, quaint mystery as Napoleon’s optical telegraph, but until then, these “cigarette lighter” outlets are still surprisingly useful.
Perhaps indeed one day their name will be forgotten, since most modern cars no longer come with the actual “lighter,” but only have the empty lighter port with a plastic cover. Yet long ago, when cars were less about “connected mobility” and more about doing toxic things in style, the primary purpose of these 12V sockets was to heat up the built-in wind proof electric lighter. Then you could light up your smoke, even with the top down, and talk about the Moon Landing or that young, up and coming indie director Stanley Kubrick.
Even today though, while you may no longer smoke or even text, in your car, it turns out you can do more with these vestigial 12V plugs than just slowly charge your phone.
1. Splitter Adapter
This handy device upgrades your car’s 12V cigarette lighter outlet and makes it able to charge up to four devices. It also includes a cool voltage display.
2. Phone Holder and Charger
An upgrade to the regular 12V car charger, this two-in-one phone charger and holder also gives you a convenient place to hold your phone while it charges. Unless you drive a Nissan Z, on which they hid the 12 outlets behind your elbow and in the passenger footwell.
3. Two Socket Splitter
This splitter comes with an LED display showing you the voltage output and it allows you to charge your devices at an actually normal charge rate.
4. Flush Fit Dual USB Charger
This sleek dual USB 12V charger lets you replace the antiquated “cigarette lighter” function with a pair of useful USB charging ports.
5. 150W Inverter
Turn your lighter plug into a real 110V outlet with this useful inverter. Great for road trips, it lets you plug in laptops and more.
6. LED Uber Sign
This easy-to-use and easy to stow away “Uber” sign is great for saving you and your passengers time when picking up Uber riders. And unlike some of the more cumbersome and/or sticky “Uber” decals, it’s easy to stow when not in use. Because no one likes random people trying to get in their car when they’re not driving for Uber. Chances are, if you drive a late model 3-series, Jetta, Prius or any black sedan in Los Angeles long enough, this will happen to you.