For those of us who are tired of the nests of tangled and broken phone-charging cables cluttering up our homes—and replacing said charging cables with relative frequency—wireless chargers can be a life- and money-changing tech upgrade. They’re also terrific additions for families with both Android and iOS phones in the home, because the same charger can be used to power up devices from both operating systems.
The term “wireless chargers” is a bit of a misnomer since the charger itself has to be plugged into an electrical outlet or other power source. All those charging cables you have stashed, though? They get to go. The best wireless chargers replenish your devices quickly, support all devices in your home, and give your countertops and desks the clutter-free look you’ve been craving. Read on to learn about the features and factors to consider as you shop for a wireless charger, and see why the following models stand out among the best on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Anker Wireless Charger with Power Adapter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Yootech Wireless Charger, Qi-Certified 10W Max
- BEST CHARGING PAD: Anker Wireless Charger, PowerWave Pad 10W Max
- BEST STYLISH: Native Union Dock Wireless Charger Stand – High Speed
- BEST PORTABLE: AUKEY Wireless Portable Charger 20000mAh, USB C Power
- BEST FOR CAR: iOttie Wireless Car Charger Easy One Touch Wireless 2
- BEST 2-IN-1: CHOETECH Dual Wireless Charger 5 Coils Qi Certified
- BEST 3-IN-1: Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charger
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Wireless Chargers
First, it’s essential to make sure your phone and the wireless charger support the same wireless standard. Most phones today use the Qi standard, a wireless charging standard that debuted in 2008.
Most iPhones support 7.5-watt charges and Androids charge at 10-watt speeds. Newer phones support even faster wireless charging speeds: The Google Pixel 5 charges at 12 watts, for example, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 can charge at 15 watts. The fastest wireless charger you’ll find on the market right now is 15 watts. Shoppers should remember that it’s always better to buy a faster wireless charger than a slower one because you’ll get the best charge for your phone if the charger’s wattage is equal to or greater than the phone’s charging speed.
If you plan to access the phone while it’s charging, look for a stand rather than a pad. Stands allow for face recognition, video conferencing and watching, and more accessibility. Another important thing to think about that will determine the best type of charger for your needs is whether you’ll use the charger strictly at home, or if you want one you can take on the go.
Wireless Power Transfer
Different methods or standards exist for wireless charging:
- Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the most widely used standard today for charging mobile devices. Each device—the charger and the phone, tablet, or other device being charged—has an electromagnetic coil. The coils create an electromagnetic field when an electric current passes through them. When you place the mobile device on the charger, the magnetic field generates an electric current. The current converts into a direct current (DC) that charges the phone. Based on magnetic induction, Qi charging utilizes near-field magnetic coupling (NFMC)—the device and charger must touch in order to generate the current.
- Radio Frequency (RF) uses uncoupled wireless charging. An antenna embedded in the mobile device picks up frequency waves from a charging device and converts the waves to DC, which then powers or recharges the device. With RF charging, the device and charger can be up to 15 feet apart. The farther away your device is from the RF charger, however, the less power it will receive.
- With ultrasound wireless charging, the receiver converts ultrasound vibrations into energy that the device uses to recharge. Wireless ultrasound also allows for charging at farther distances. It can charge at distances of up to 30 feet, as long as the charger and devices are in the same room. Ultrasound can’t travel through walls.
Since the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017, Apple has embedded a wireless charging coil in its devices. They went full Qi. Samsung has supported Qi charging for years and has developed its own Qi chargers compatible with all Qi-compliant phones. Most major smartphone manufacturers that support wireless charging follow the Qi standard.
When shopping for the best wireless charger, you should verify that the models you are considering are Qi certified. The certification guarantees the charger will work with your Qi-certified mobile devices. Certification also proves that the charging station passed all necessary testing to ensure safety, interoperability, and energy efficiency.
The model and manufacturer of your phone determine its wireless charging speed. Most Android phones charge at 10 watts, but some support up to 15 watts. The newer Apple iPhones charge at speeds of up 7.5 watts, while older iPhones only support 5 watts. The new iPhone 12 charges at 7.5 watts with regular Qi chargers, or 15 watts using the Apple-certified MagSafe charger. (MagSafe is a new technology built into the new iPhone 12 and the MagSafe charger. It provides easy attachment through magnets and faster charging up to 15 watts.) Newer Qi chargers can charge devices at 15 watts. The speed at which a phone will charge primarily depends on what the phone supports, which could be 5 watts on up to 15 watts, depending on the model.
Pairing your phone with a charger that can provide a higher wattage than the one recommended is fine. It doesn’t hurt to buy a charger capable of charging higher-watt phones than the one you have; if you have a 10-watt phone, consider buying a 15-watt charger. Qi technology knows how much power to dish out, as long as the Qi charger purchased is of high quality and is made by a reputable company. Don’t shy away from future-proofing for your next phone.
Most wireless chargers fall into one of three categories: stands, pads, or multi-device or dock chargers. The type that’s best for you will depend on the devices you want to charge, whether you want to use your phone while it’s charging, and when and where you’ll want to juice your devices’ batteries.
- Stand chargers are a great option if you want to use your phone while it’s charging. You can use a stand on your computer desk and access Face ID to unlock the device. Consider choosing a stand that can charge the phone in either portrait or landscape mode, which will enable you to log in quickly and reply to a text or watch a video while the phone is being juiced. A slight disadvantage to stand chargers is that they tend to take up a little more room than pad chargers.
- Pads are compact chargers, but you can’t use the phone while it’s charging on a pad. For that reason, these are ideal chargers to have on your nightstand for overnight charging.
- Multi-device chargers, as their name suggests, allow you to charge multiple devices at once, as is the case with charging stations. Depending on the charger’s configuration, you can simultaneously charge two phones or some combination of iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and/or Apple Watch.
Other helpful features to look out for when shopping for the best wireless chargers for your devices include:
- A gripping surface that firmly holds your phone in place.
- LED lights that indicate the charging status of the device.
- A wall adapter to power the wireless charger. If the wireless charger you choose doesn’t come with a wall adapter, make sure to purchase one that matches the specs recommended by the manufacturer. Buying a power adapter that’s less powerful than what’s recommended for the charger can result in slower charge times.
- Designs and colors that suit your preferences and your home or car decor. Most chargers come in white or black, but there are also stylish designs that come in different colors.
- Multiple coils. The more coils a charger has, the more devices it can charge. The number of coils also affects how and where the device is placed on the charger. On smaller chargers with fewer coils, it’s essential to find the “sweet spot” and align the phone perfectly with the coils. On a pad with five coils, you can place the phone down anywhere, and it should charge with no issues.
In addition to wireless chargers for the home or office, you can find portable Qi power banks to take with you on the go. Charge the power bank at home or in a hotel room at night, and it’ll be ready to go with you the next day in case your smartphone runs low on juice. Some power banks have enough power to last through the weekend and multiple charges. Most of these chargers also come with USB charging ports to charge multiple devices at once. You can also find wireless car chargers for refueling your devices on the road.
Our Top Picks
The following wireless chargers were selected based on quality, charging speed, device compatibility, and other criteria detailed above. Included are stands, pads, and multi-device docks in a variety of categories, so there’s sure to be a few good options for your needs among these picks.
Anker’s PowerWave II charges any Qi-compatible phone in the house at the correct speed, up to 15 watts. It automatically switches to the correct rate—5, 7.5, 10, or 15 watts—depending on the device’s requirements. This Anker product supports older devices, but with a 15-watt capacity it can also charge newer models like the Pixel 5 or Samsung Galaxy S21.
Another reason this wireless stand charger made top billing is that users can access phones while they’re charging. Phones can re-juice on the stand in either landscape or portrait mode, which makes it easy to watch videos or send text messages while the device is on its base. Another cool thing about this stand charger is that it accommodates most phone cases up to 5 millimeters thick, so the case doesn’t have to be removed every time the phone needs to be recharged.
The Anker PowerWave II complies with Qi’s Extended Power Profile to ensure safe charging, and it comes with a 5-foot power cord.
This reasonably priced wireless charger from Yootech comes with a charging stand and a 3-foot charging cable. It boasts two coils and 10 watts of charging power, which is enough juice for 5-, 7.5-, and 10-watt phones.
The base has a green light that illuminates for 3 seconds when it’s plugged into a charger. It lights up again for 16 seconds when it recognizes a phone in the stand and turns off when it enters charging mode. Yootech’s design allows the device to charge in either landscape or portrait mode, and the device can be accessed while it’s on charging on the stand. This bargain-priced wireless charger works with most cases up to 4 millimeters thick and is Qi-certified to keep devices protected.
Place a phone or wireless earbuds down on the charging pad and walk away, and the PowerWave from Anker will do the rest. Compatible with all Qi-enabled devices, this pad boasts speeds of up to 10 watts and charges both phones and wireless earbuds. It has a handy LED light that flashes different colors to indicate metal obstructions, incompatible AC adapters or cables, connection to power, and active charging. PowerWave can charge phones with cases up to 5 millimeters thick as long as the cases don’t contain metal or magnets.
PowerWave has lots of features that protect devices as they charge: one is a thermoplastic polyurethane surface that prevents devices from easily sliding off the pad. Foreign object detection, temperature control, and short circuit protection give users even more peace of mind that their devices are safe while charging. A 3-foot charging cable comes with the PowerWave, but buyers must purchase the AC adapter separately.
A colorful charger is one way to add verve and style to a work space or living space. This sophisticated wireless charger stand from Native Union is made of Jesmonite (or covered in Italian leather, depending on the style you choose) and comes in shades of rose, slate, terrazzo rose, terrazzo slate, marquetry rose, and marquetry slate. Qi-certified with two charging coils, it charges at speeds of up to 10 watts in both portrait and landscape modes. While it’s charging, users can participate in video calls or access the phone via face recognition easily because the stand positions the phone at just the right angle for FaceTime (or watching videos, for that matter). The Dock charger can accommodate most phone cases up to 3 millimeters thick.
The stand has a hard-wearing textile covering that won’t scratch a smartphone and a steel body for durability and stability. Its thermal protection and foreign object detection features ensure safe charging. The dock comes with a 6.5-foot charging cable, but a USB wall adapter must be purchased separately.
This AUKEY portable charger can support up to 10 watts of wireless charging with Qi-compatible devices. It works with 5-, 7.5-, and 10-watt phones. Users can charge their devices flat on the bank or propped up with the stand arm—when it’s flat, the AUKEY can also charge wireless earbuds and watches. Charging multiple devices simultaneously is a cinch, too, because the power bank also has USB-A and USB-C charging ports. The ports support Power Delivery 3.0 and Quick Charge 3.0 to deliver an optimized charge to devices at up to 18 watts.
Another feature that makes this wireless charger worth considering is its LED display, which indicates exactly how much battery power is left in the charger. What’s more, the AUKEY has a 20,000-milliampere-hour (mAh) capacity that can handle up to five phone charges (depending on the phone) before it has to be recharged. Its compact size fits nicely inside a pocket, too—it really can go anywhere.
This wireless car charger from iOttie charges Qi-compatible devices at charging speeds of up to 10 watts. Simply snap the phone in the stand, and charging begins. The Qi-certified charger has an adjustable foot-release button to accommodate extra-large phones, and its one-touch design makes it easy to mount a phone with one hand while the other is on the wheel.
For the most efficient charge, be sure to align the devices with the center of the iOttie’s cradle. The charger comes with connectors to mount it to either an air vent or a CD slot.
This dual wireless charger from CHOETECH has five charging coils, which means that two Qi-compatible devices—two phones or one phone and a pair of wireless earbuds—can be charged simultaneously. With so many charging coils, moving a phone around on the pad in search of the “sweet spot” is a thing of the past.
With this product, users can charge devices in portrait or landscape mode at speeds from 5 watts to 10 watts. Its polyurethane leather finish gives it a polished, professional look and also helps keep phones in place. Ventilation holes at the bottom of the charger help keep the phone cool while it juices up and prevents intermittent charging. This product comes with an 18-watt Quick Charge 3.0 adapter.
Users can place this charging station on their nightstand and have all their Apple devices ready to go by morning. This 3-in-1 wireless charging station from Belkin can charge an iPhone, AirPods and an Apple Watch at the same time. Place the iPhone on the stand for a 7.5- watt charge, the AirPods on the pad for a 5-watt charge, and the Apple Watch on the magnetic charging module for a 5-watt charge. The station will charge through a phone case up to 3 millimeters thick.
One handy feature on this multi-charger is an LED light that indicates charging status. A white light signifies an active charge, and an amber light signals an error that could be due to foreign object detection, misalignment, or other issues. The charging station will work with all Qi-compliant devices, and it comes in either black or white to coordinate with your Apple devices.
FAQs About Wireless Chargers
For more information about the wireless chargers, check out these answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If additional concerns arise, contact the manufacturer.
Q. How many watts should a wireless charger be?
This depends on the wattage your smartphone supports. Most iPhones charge at 7.5 watts, Androids at 10 watts. Having said that, there are some newer-model phones that can support up to 15 watts. In order to future-proof your wireless charger, choose one that accommodates the supported amount—or a higher wattage—but not a lower wattage.
Q. How fast do wireless chargers charge?
It can take up to 3 hours to charge a fully drained phone with a wireless charger. The charging times vary depending on the product, the smartphone, and the charging speeds they support.
Q. Do wireless chargers work with cases?
Yes, most can work with cases but, depending on the charger, cases can’t be thicker than 3 to 5 millimeters. The cases cannot be made of metal, have magnets on the back, have credit cards inside them, or have a grip or a stand. The thinner the case, the better.
Q. How long do wireless chargers last?
You’ll probably want to replace a wireless phone charger after 2 or 3 years. As you upgrade your phones, the newer models might support faster speeds, and you’ll want to purchase a newer wireless charger that works with them.