Sooner or later, you’ll need a charging station to refuel your countless devices. Phones, tablets, portable gaming consoles, watches, gamepads, keyboards, cameras, remotes, and just about everything under the sun charges via USB nowadays. A dedicated charging station is perfect for topping off the battery on not only your devices, but anyone. Sharing is, after all, caring, and nothing says “I cherish you,” more than a spare USB-C cord. But which station is right for you? We’ve compiled a list of the best charging stations available on the market right now.
— Best Overall: Satechi Trio Wireless
— Best 3-in-1 for Apple: Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 Charging Station
— Best Budget: Yootech Dual Wireless Charging Pad
— Best USB: Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station
— Best for Outdoors: Jackery Portable Power Station
— Best for Multiple Devices: Hercules Tuff Charging Station
How We Picked the Best Charging Stations
Considering how many everyday devices require charging nowadays, it just isn’t prudent to stick with a USB charging station that only charges one device at a time. Even if you only rely on a couple of smart devices, eventually, friends or family will visit, and they will need to charge their phone, watch, or tablet. Here are a few things we considered when picking out the best charging stations.
Size: How much space does a charging station take up? Convenient as they are, if there’s no thought put into how they’re designed, charging stations can quickly turn into eye sores. The best stations make good use of space, whether they are parked on a desk, bedside table, or in a living room entertainment hub. Extra plastic or wood is never a good thing.
Design: Have you ever fumbled around looking for a cable to charge your phone? This is a universal inconvenience that even the most organized among us will eventually face. If your charging station actually looks attractive, not only will you place it in an easy-to-access location, but you don’t have to worry about tucking it away when you have company.
Versatility: USB-powered devices are finally being standardized, with USB-C becoming the universal standard. That is of course unless you also own an older iPhone or one of the many other legacy devices that use Apple inputs or USB-A, USB-A, or USB-Micro to power up. The best charging stations will allow you to use all these input types, in case you run into a device that requires something other than USB-C.
Power: Usually, the higher the wattage a charging station packs, the quicker it will charge a device to full power. Sometimes charging stations have higher wattage than standalone wireless chargers considering that they have to handle more than one device at a time. The better charging stations will power up devices lightning fast, even if you’re charging up multiple devices at the same time.
Best Charging Stations: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Satechi Trio Wireless
Why It Made The Cut: A sleek, and low-profile charging station that works with just about every wireless-enabled device.
— Dimensions: 4.53 inches L x 8.66 inches W x 0.51 inches H
— Weight: 10.6 ounces
— Wattage: 24W
— Powers up three devices at once
— Gorgeous build
— Wide compatibility
— Short power cable
A charging station should make powering up easier, not harder, and the Satechi Trio Wireless is incredibly user-friendly.
Firstly, the aluminum finish on Satechi Trio Wireless looks gorgeous. Appearance aside, it takes up about as much space as a smartphone and works to declutter any space. It’s perfect for parking on a bedside table to charge right before you start counting sheep, and because it’s so small, you can tuck it into a backpack or even a larger pocket to take it with you when you brave the outside world. Satechi Trio is an apt name, as it’s made for charging three devices at once, including one phone or tablet, a pair of earbuds, and a smartwatch. It works great with all popular Qi-enabled devices, including Apple and Samsung devices. No matter where your brand loyalties lie, this charger is packed full of safety features. If charging sessions start running a little hot, the device shuts off to prevent any long-term damage to your expensive devices. If your cases on devices are thinner than 5mm you won’t even have to take them off before you charge. The one downside is that the power cable included with the Satechi Trio Wireless is a bit short, so you will have to park it incredibly close to a power supply. But a slightly longer cable will solve this problem if you don’t mind dropping a little extra cash.
Best 3-in-1 for Apple: Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 Charging Station
Why It Made The Cut: To charge your full suite of Apple devices, the Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 is a smarter, more affordable alternative to MagSafe chargers.
— Dimensions: 6.69 inches L x 8.46 inches W x 3.5 inches H
— Weight: 1.6 pounds
— Wattage: 7.5W
— All-in-one charging
— Great safety features
— Compatible with Apple, Sony, and Samsung devices
— High-pitched hum
— Watch charging cable not included
When it comes to charging Apple devices, there’s MagSafe, and there’s everyone else. In this case, the alternative is not only smarter but less expensive than going for the name-brand charging station.
Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 does what MagSafe Duo does, and at half the price, no less. Plus, PowerWave packs an extra charging port. The value is undeniable. While looks are relative, Anker PowerWave doesn’t slouch on aesthetics compared to the MagSafe either, and is just as reliable at charging iPhones, Apple Watches, and AirPods. It’s even compatible with the latest Apple devices including iPhone 13, 13 Mini, and 13 Pro phones. While using third-party devices can be scary with Apple devices, you can rest easy knowing that Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 is also chock full of safety features. Advanced temperature control, foreign object detection, and even overvoltage protection, ensure your devices will power up quickly and safely. It even shields from radiation. While it’s perfect for Apple devices, the Anker PowerWave is also totally compatible with the latest Sony and Samsung devices. Reliability, versatility, and a competitive price all come at a cost. For one, if you want to charge your Apple Watch, you will need to buy a separate cord. Secondly, some users reported a high-pitched hum when the device is in use, so it may not qualify as a good bedside entry if you’re a light sleeper.
Best Budget: Yootech Dual Wireless Charging Pad
Why It Made The Cut: The Yootech Dual Wireless Charging Pad is not just a great charging station, it’s also incredibly inexpensive.
— Dimensions: 9 inches L x 5 inches W x 3 inches H
— Weight: 9.1 ounces
— Wattage: 20W
— Stays cool, charges fast
— Anti-slip design
— Excellent price point
— Finicky charging
Yootech has made a name for itself as one of the most affordable brands in wireless charging. Its Dual Wireless Charging Pad is surprisingly great considering its price.
The device compatibility is almost unmatched. If your device is Qi-enabled, there’s a good chance it will power up in the charging station. This includes just about every wireless-enabled Samsung and Apple device, from the Galaxy S22 Ultra to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Many charging stations (and wireless chargers for that matter) are known for running a little hot. Yootech Dual Wireless charging pad is an outlier and stays cool while quickly charging up to two devices at once. The anti-slip base means it won’t fumble around when you place a device on it or get knocked over by curious pets. It even works with cases up to 4mm thick, so charging is as safe as it is with more expensive charging stations. The price point cannot be undersold and is incredibly competitive for a device this reliable. There may be a bit of a learning curve though, as devices must be placed just so on the Yootech Dual Wireless Charging Pad. It will charge your devices, but it is occasionally finicky. The value may be more than worth the occasional annoyance.
Why It Made The Cut: Satechi Dock5 charges five devices at once, and is so lightweight that it qualifies as portable.
— Dimensions: 9 inches L x 5 inches W x 3 inches H
— Weight: 2.06 pounds
— Wattage: 20W
— Low profile
— Charges up to five devices at once
— Modern and sleek design
— Device slots won’t accommodate larger devices
— Only one wireless charger
Why charge one device at once when you can charge five? The Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device charging station accommodates up to five devices at once.
There’s no second-guessing with this device. If it powers up via USB, you can charge it here. The Satechi Dock5 sports two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, and Qi-ready wireless charger. Granted, versatility aside, you will need to BYOC (bring your own cable). And while a bunch of cables poking out the side doesn’t look great, the sleek finish on the bottom and the sides of the Satechi Dock5 look fantastic. It may be worth buying dedicated smaller cords for this charging station to keep the clutter at bay. Whatever device you use stands upright thanks to the non-slip silicone dividers. While the wide array of inputs available here bumps up its versatility as one of the best charging stations, larger devices will have a hard time sliding into one of the five slots. This may be remedied by removing the case like on bulkier tablets, but just make sure you park the Satechi Dock5 somewhere where it won’t accidentally be knocked over. If you’re a wireless charging or bust person, you’re out of luck here, as there’s only one Qi slot on the Satechi Dock5. However, many laptops and Chromebooks will be more than at home here.
Best for Outdoors: Jackery Portable Power Station
Why It Made The Cut: There’s no better way to charge your phone up in the wild than with the Jackery Portable Power Station.
— Dimensions: 5.2 inches L x 9.1 inches W x 7.8 inches H
— Weight: 7.1 pounds
— Wattage: 500W
— Four ways to recharge
— Multiple layers of protection
— Charges phones to full up to 31 times
— Solar panel not included
Every other charging station in this compilation requires an outlet to power up devices. The Jackery Portable Power Station doesn’t need a power supply because it is a power supply.
It’s a charging station that can top up phones, laptops, tablets, and gaming devices, and even power a bar blender in case you have a hankering for a frozen margarita in the wild. Of course, you do have to make sure the Jackery Portable Power Station is powered up before you venture into the wilderness. Luckily, there are four ways to charge it up, including using a standard wall outlet, a wall outlet with USB-C, using a car outlet, or even a solar panel. Granted, the solar panel is sold separately, and costs almost as much as the Jackery Portable Power Station itself. Once it’s charged, though, you get an unmatched level of power. It can charge a phone to full up to 31 times, and a laptop up to 2.5 times before you need to plug the power station in again. There’s even a quick charge USB-C port that’s there for you in a clutch. Plus, like any great portable charging station, it’s built with plenty of safety features including over-current, short-current, over-voltage, and even thermal protection.
Best for Multiple Devices: Hercules Tuff Charging Station
Why It Made The Cut: Hercules Tuff Charging Station charges up to six devices at once, and charges them fast.
— Dimensions: 5.25 inches L x 7.25 inches W x 1.4 inches H
— Weight: 1.25 pounds
— Wattage: 50W
— Compatible with all USB-A cords
— Fast, safe charging
— Accommodates up to six devices at once
— Flimsy dividers, lots of plastic
How many ports can you put on a charging station before people start asking questions? The Hercules Tuff Charging Station lets you plug in six devices, from phones to laptops, and everything in between. Not only does it manage juggling six devices at once, but it charges them quicker than average as well. Up to 53 percent quicker, in fact, when compared to other stands offering 2 amps or less. It works with every single USB-A plug-in type whether it’s 3.0, 2.0, or even really old legacy cords. There’s nothing USB-powered it won’t charge. Even though it’s fast, it’s no slouch when it comes to safety with over-voltage and over-charge protection. The dividers even light up when the charging station is powering up a device. While this looks fairly cool the dividers are plastic, and a little flimsy. No, they won’t break off that easily, but they are prone to scratching if you’re not careful when docking devices. What it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in speed, so the tradeoff may be worth it to you.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Charging Station
The Magic Behind Qi
When you’re in the market for a device that charges wirelessly, there’s a buzzword you see a lot: Qi. It doesn’t just look cool on device packaging, it’s the international standard for wireless charging via resonant inductive coupling. What does this mean? To put it simply, it means that devices charge via copper coils found in smart devices and wireless charging stations. Once coils link up, they generate an electromagnetic field that creates a current from the charger through the smart device, effectively powering it up.
Brands that use the Qi standard include Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG, and Google, among more than 400 others as of February 2020. But where does that cool nomenclature come from? Qi gets its name from the concept of the same name in Chinese philosophy. Qi is often translated as “vital energy” which is believed to be part of all living entities. It’s also pronounced “Kee,” in case you were wondering.
Wireless vs. Wired Charging
Wireless charging is fairly cool, even if there are actual wires involved. But the lesser-acknowledged truth of charging wirelessly is that it’s slower—in some cases, much slower—than traditional wired charging. It still may make sense for you, considering wireless charging stations have a low-profile look, look attractive, and tend to work quite seamlessly. Depending on your device usage, there’s a good chance you’re only charging your main devices once a day anyway. However, recently, a new gimmick has landed on the scene: quick charging. This always requires a dedicated wall outlet power bank and charger and can charge a phone, tablet, or laptop quicker than both wireless and traditional wired charging. Speed is nice, but unless you’re using your smartphone so much that it requires charging more than once a day, a solid standard charging station will be far better in the long run, since you won’t have to fumble for cables every time your devices are low on juice. Our best overall pick, the Satechi Trio Wireless is a fantastic Qi-enabled wireless charging station. If you want a little more speed, the Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station is a great wired option that is reliable, and versatile, with a high-quality finish.
The Benefits of a Charging Station
Is a charging station right for you? The short answer is, “yes, absolutely.” Unless you’re the kind of person who thrives among clutter (some do!), a charging station is an easy and inexpensive way to streamline your workstation. Instead of dedicating a port or wall outlet to a single device, a charging station works in the same way a power strip does, giving you more places to charge your devices wired or wirelessly. Many charging stations are designed to work around desks and nightstands, places where folks tend to charge their devices. Unlike a power strip, just about every charging station is portable and lightweight, so you can take them with you when traveling or just venturing into the wild. Our best overall pick, Satechi Trio Wireless, is no larger than many smartphones. In fact, there’s a good chance that it fits in your pocket.
Q: What should I look for in a charging station?
The things you should look for in a charging station are good use of power, wide device compatibility, and a design that works with any desk, office, or living room.
Q: Are wireless charging stations worth it?
If you have lots of devices that require charging, a charging station allows you to power them all up at the same time. Best of all, many devices are incredibly affordable.
Q: What is the best brand of chargers?
The best brand of chargers includes Anker and Satechi. The Satechi Trio Wireless is our best overall pick.
Q: Is wireless charging bad for battery life?
Wireless chargers do run a little hotter than regular chargers, but they do not pose any dangers to your phone’s battery.
Q: What is the strongest phone charger?
Charging stations aren’t known for their speed, but the Satechi Trio Wireless works a little quicker than average.
Final Thoughts on Charging Stations
With one of the best charging stations, you no longer have to play “Sophie’s Choice” anytime your smartphone, tablet, or gaming device’s battery is in the red. Instead of charging up one device at a time, these stations allow you to charge multiple devices at once, saving you space, power outlets, and perhaps most of all, heartache. The Satechi Trio Wireless is our best overall pick because of its versatility and portability, and it charges up to three devices at once. Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station offers up to five charging ports, as long as you don’t mind dealing with the occasional wire. For a fantastic charging station at a bargain-bin price, the Yootech Dual Wireless Charging Pad is incredibly affordable and fairly reliable to boot.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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