Plugable USB-C VAMETER Review: Easy Plug-and-Play Diagnostics

Rating: 9/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $30
The Plugable VAMETER on a desk, screen down
Cameron Summerson

If you’ve ever had charging issues with a USB-C device, you know how frustrating it can be. Is it the charger? The cable? The device itself? Who knows. An easy way to whittle down the issues is with a USB-C voltage/amperage meter, like the USB-C VAMETER from Plugable.

Here's What We Like

  • An easy way to diagnose charging issues or power draw from accessories
  • Good build and bright screen
  • Display can be rotated 180 degrees

And What We Don't

  • Limited use for many users

It’s a simple little gadget that’s about the size of a flash drive that you can use to monitor the flow of electricity to your gadgets. You can use it with phones, laptops, or anything else that uses USB-C. Just toss it in between the power source and your device, and watch it do its thing. It’s neat.

The USB-C VAMETER has a small OLED screen that outputs voltage, amperage, and wattage. It’s bright and easy to read. There’s also a little button on the side that rotates the display 180 degrees, so you can use it on basically any USB-C port regardless of orientation. That’s a nice touch that not all USB-C meters like this have.

The Plugable VAMETER hooked up to a computer
Cameron Summerson

The other cool thing about the VAMETER is that you can use it to read the draw of power from external USB devices. For example, if you often use an external hard drive over USB-C and wonder how much juice it’s pulling from your laptop, you can put the VAMETER between the drive and your laptop to read power draw.

In my testing, the VAMETER just works. Plug it in, click the button to get the proper display orientation, and let it do its thing. I used it while testing various charging bricks and whatnot, and it reacted exactly as expected, making it easy to discern the difference between two charging bricks in real time.

The button on top of the VAMETER
Pressing this button flips the display 180 degrees. Cameron Summerson

The VAMETER is built primarily from plastic, but it feels solid and well-made to me. I read some reviews about older models with less-than-ideal construction, but those seem to have been fixed with this particular model. Plugable also offers a two-year warranty on this meter, which should provide some peace of mind if you plan on using this for any sort of work-related gadget repair or whatever.

Overall, there’s not a lot to say about the Plugable VAMETER. It’s $30, is well made, and just works. I can’t think of any reason not to buy it if you need a gizmo like this.

Rating: 9/10
Price: $30

Here’s What We Like

  • An easy way to diagnose charging issues or power draw from accessories
  • Good build and bright screen
  • Display can be rotated 180 degrees

And What We Don't

  • Limited use for many users

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and serves as an Editorial Advisor for How-to Geek and LifeSavvy. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read Full Bio »

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