Apple is notorious for being expensive, and if you have shelled out the money to buy one of their devices or computers, the last thing you want to do is pay a premium price for a second charger or cable.  You probably heard the news story last year of the woman electrocuted while charging her iPhone, but was it an isolated problem?  The fallout from investigations into her death revealed she was using an aftermarket charger; a charger that wasn’t made by Apple, but was made to work with Apple products.  These products are frequently sold online and at mall kiosks, but are not always safe to use.  Numerous reports have shown that non-OEM products not only function differently, but are sometimes made of entirely different products.   Now, we have some detailed pictures from inside that prove how different they are, thanks to this link:

Personally, I’ve had an aftermarket MacBook charger overheat and melt the plastic on the case (a safety and fire hazard), and I’ve had a non-OEM iPhone data cable cause sporadic resets, confirmed by an Apple engineer to be caused by aftermarket charging cable.  I’m always one to save a buck, but after those issues, all of my non-Apple cables and chargers were pitched. 

Moral of the story….it’s worth a couple of extra bucks to buy Apple’s original adapter, or cables.

NOTE: This only applies to Apple products.  Why?  Because their design is unique, and optimized for style, and therefore hard to copy exactly.  Manufacturers cut corners, and because they didn’t design the product themselves, they don’t know the specifics on engineering (and can’t afford the thorough research to make a lower cost charger worthwhile to produce).  For most other laptop manufacturers, as long as the power outputs match, and it’s purchased from a reputable source, it should be safe to use.  The same is true for standard cables like micro-usb.