Never buy a cheap or off-brand Apple charger or power adapter. Here's why

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Apple iPhone and iPad chargers have a reputation for being easy to break — despite the expensive price tag. You've probably been through several Lightning cords due to their tendency to tear apart. Those costs add up, so hey, you might be thinking: Why not buy a bunch of cheap, off-brand backup cables and power adapters?

Not so fast. 

The BBC reported a staggering 99% of counterfeit Apple chargers failed a "basic safety test."

Investigators commissioned by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute found that nearly every third-party power adapter they tested lacked insulation to protect users from electrical shocks. 

"It might cost a few pounds more, but counterfeit and secondhand goods are an unknown entity that could cost you your home or even your life, or the life of a loved-one," Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, told the BBC

How to make sure you have a quality power adapter

Trading Standards urged consumers to double-check any potential chargers for manufacturer markings and ensure the plug pins are the proper size. For a full list of guidelines, check out CTSI's list. They're simple precautions that could help prevent a potentially fatal mistake. 

The best Lightning cables to buy instead

Anker PowerLine Lightning Cable  Amazon

Our pick: Take the Wirecutter's advice and spend a few bucks more on an Anker cable, which comes with an 18-month warranty. The 6-foot length is perfect if you've got outlets that are far from your bed or desk. 

Also, we've been testing the slightly cheaper Amazon Basics version (which has a one-year warranty) with no issues so far.