The Ultimate $16 USB-C Tester for Your Repair Kit (And How to Use It)

MakerHawk Type-C USB-C Meter Tester

MakerHawk Type-C USB-C Counter Check Device.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

If you’re thinking of taking your tech toolkit beyond screwdrivers and pry tools, the tool I recommend adding to your arsenal is the USB port tester.

And since the ports are making the transition away from USB-A to USB-C, I recommend going with a USB-C port tester.

The MakerHawk Type-C USB-C Counter Check Device It can cover just about anything you can throw at it, which is why it’s become my favorite test gauge for a whole host of applications.

also: Using the wrong USB-C cable can damage your technology. Here’s how to avoid that

Tech Specs Check MakerHawk Type-C USB-C Device

  • Voltage: 4-30 volts
  • Stream: 0-5A
  • capacity range: 0-999999 mA
  • energy range: 0-999999 mA
  • timer: 0-99 hours
  • Energy: 0-150 watts
  • Charge resistance measurement: 0-999.9 ohms
  • Indoor thermometer range: 0-80°C
  • data voltage range: 0-10 volts

I like that this meter’s power range is up to 150 watts because this covers talk with ease 100W USB-C chargers (a number of older USB-C meters did not), and having a 150W ceiling also means this meter can work with Apple 140W USB-C MagSafe Charger for the latest M1 and M2 powered MacBooks.

also: Top 5 MagSafe Accessories

Another feature that I really like about this scale is that there is only one button. It’s easy to use, especially compared to some gauges that feel unnecessarily complex or poorly designed. Instructions for these gauges are never the best (if you use any in your language at first), so having a gauge that’s easy to use makes all the difference.

I also love the color LCD which shows me all the information I need to see without having to browse through endless screens. However, the text is small in size, so keep that in mind if this is something that might be a struggle for you.

I tested the accuracy of the meter, and the error range seems to be well under 5%, which is perfectly acceptable to me.

And all this for the price of $16. Yes, $16. This makes the MakerHawk Type-C USB-C Device Checker a complete steal.

USB-C test device connected

For a $16 USB charge, this is an excellent value and supports a 140W Apple MagSafe charger.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

So, what is the purpose of using USB testers?

a lot of things. Here are some of the things I use it for:

  • Is the device responsible? This can tell you if the device is completely dead (since it won’t charge), or maybe the screen is dead (I find this a particularly useful test for things like Nintendo Switch consolessmartphones or in-vehicle GPS units).
  • Does the charger work and provide the power it claims? Plug in the meter, connect the charging cable to the device, and find out.
  • Is the charging intermittent? Plug in the meter and watch. Maybe wiggle the port or cable to see if charging is interrupted.
  • Is the rechargeable battery worn out? Run the device until you reach zero percent, plug the meter in and charge it, and the meter will record how much milliampere was delivered. You can check this against the device’s published specifications.
  • Does the power bank give you the capacity it claims? Again, turn it flat and plug the meter in and charge it, let the meter record how much mAh was delivered, and check it against the device’s published specs.

It is a really versatile tool, and it can be used to test and diagnose all kinds of problems.

also: This little USB-C charger packs a lot of power

USB-C tester connected to power bank

Test the outputs of the power bank.

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

The MakerHawk USB-C meter is one of my main devices for testing and diagnosing problems. And at just $16, that’s cheaper than a decent set of screwdrivers.