Smart devices are much cooler than flying cars, and keep you connected to the world and the boundless information of the internet with a few clicks, swipes, or voice commands. That is, if your Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, and the ever-expanding line of iOS devices are at full power. There are few things half as anxiety-inducing like your phone, tablet, or smartwatch telling you you’re low on juice. Luckily, there are plenty of wireless chargers available, many of them as sleek as those fancy devices in your palm, on your lap, or around your wrist.
If you’re still charging via a cord, my sympathies. Your space-age device requires an equally space-age way of powering it up: with a wireless charger. Not only does it look cool, but it will soon make messing around with cords nothing but a distant memory. Here’s a selection of the best wireless chargers.
— Best Overall: Belkin BoostCharge Wireless Charger Pad
— Best for iPhone: Apple MagSafe Charger
— Best for Samsung: Samsung Charger Trio
— Best for Cars: iOttie Easy One Touch 5 Wireless Car Charger
— Best Premium: Nomad Wireless Charging Station
— Best Budget: Yootech Wireless Charger
How We Picked The Best Wireless Chargers
First, wireless chargers may be a slight misnomer because they’re not completely wireless. Like with many accessories for smart devices, many online retailers are crammed with wireless chargers options. It’s not necessarily a “needle in a haystack” situation, but the differences between a good wireless charger and an optimized one aren’t always advertised front and center. Here is a quick look at the rubric I used when recommending one.
Size: Dimensions are important, especially if you’re looking for a model that charges more than one device at a time. What’s a little more crucial is to find a wireless charger that works specifically for your particular smart device.
Typically, this means your wireless charger will charge faster on an optimized device and occasionally it will even have some exclusive features. Third-party devices often charge different brands at different speeds. Many device product descriptions will tell you up front which brands they charge faster.
Power: Usually, the higher the wattage, the quicker a device will charge to full. However, always check that your device can take the extra wattage, especially if you’re using a third-party wireless charger. On the lower end of the spectrum is 7W, with 15W at the higher end. Just because a wireless charger says it’s a 15W model, doesn’t mean your particular phone will take full advantage of that. Many wireless chargers will charge different devices at different speeds.
Design: Good form doesn’t always mean good function, but in general, if a device looks cheap, it will only cause heartache. This doesn’t mean you have to go and drop hundreds of dollars on a wireless charger to get the most out of it. But it doesn’t hurt for a wireless charger to look as sleek as the devices it will soon power up.
Before we get deep into chargers, we should touch on Qi. It’s the international standard for wireless charging via resonant inductive coupling. This means that devices charge via copper coils found in smart devices and wireless charging stations. When these coils link up, they generate an electromagnetic field which creates a current from the charger through the smart device, effectively powering it up.
Brands who use the Qi standard include Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG, and Google, among more than 400 others as of February 2020. A quick fun fact: 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.
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The Best Wireless Chargers: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Belkin BoostCharge Wireless Charger Pad
Why It Made the Cut: As the best wireless charger overall this model provides speedy charging for Apple, Samsung, Google, and other popular Qi-certified devices at a great price.
— Weight: 1.6 ounces
— Charging Power: Up to 15W
— Cord Length: 4 feet
— LED light lets you know if phone is charging properly
— Non-slip surface keeps phone safely in its place
— Charges through cases most non-metal cases
— Faint buzzing sound when in use
If you want a no frills, inexpensive, and reliable wireless charger, the Belkin BoostCharge is a great place to start. It charges through lightweight cases, so you don’t have to take them off before charging. What’s more, the surface of the Belkin BoostCharge is non-slip, so it will stay put in the event your phone begins to vibrate.
Some phones require constant vigilance when placed on a wireless charger. Is it charging, or not? The LED lights that glow on the Belkin BoostCharge let you know just by looking at them if they’re charging correctly. It’s perfect for most workstations, bedside tables, and is so small it may even fit in a pocket. The one downside is that the charger emits a faint buzzing sound when in use. It’s not a deal breaker, especially since it can charge up to 15W on Samsung, Google, and Apple devices.
Best for iPhone: Apple MagSafe Charger
Why It Made the Cut: Apple’s flagship charging device takes full advantage of MagSafe charging capabilities and accessories making this the best wireless charger for iPhone.
— Weight: 1.6 ounces
— Charging Power: Up to 15W
— Cord Length: 3.28 feet
— Optimized for Apple MagSafe devices
— Lightweight and portable
— Charges iPhones quickly
— Requires a 20W USB-C power adapter, tragically sold separately
While iPhones carry Qi certification going all the way back to the iPhone 8, newer models are a little more wireless charger-friendly than legacy ones. If you own an iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 12, or any of the iPhone 12 Pro models, the Apple MagSafe Charger perfectly aligns to your device for the most efficient charging experience possible.
Other devices often struggle to wirelessly charge Apple devices if they’re wearing the sleek MagSafe silicone case, wallet, or battery pack. There’s no guesswork with the Apple MagSafe, just plop your iPhone or AirPod case on it and let them charge quickly and efficiently to full power. It even lets you charge while you have another device inside the iPhone lightning port, so feel free to accessorize. The big downside is that Apple makes you buy a power adapter separately. The device, as it stands, is incomplete and unusable without it.
Best for Samsung: Samsung Charger Trio
Why It Made the Cut: For Samsung fans, this charger easily powers up to three devices at once, including phones, earbuds, and smart watches making it the best wireless charger for Samsung.
— Weight: 1 pound
— Charging Power: 9W
— Cord Length: 3.28 feet
— Large enough to fit three devices
— Sleek and minimalist design
— Six coils make it easier to align devices to charger
— Will overheat if it’s not placed on flat surface
Why charge one device at once when you can charge three? The aptly named Samsung Charger Trio powers up three devices at once, and has a dedicated spot just for smaller devices like earbud cases and Galaxy watches. Like fancier wireless chargers, the Samsung Charger Trio also lets you charge through cases up to 3mm thick, so there’s no need to undress your device before plopping it on the Trio. There’s also an LED indicator light that will keep you posted on any device activity. Red lights show a device charging, with green lights designating a fully charged device. Flashing red lights let you know there’s a charging error, making troubleshooting a little easier on the Smasung Charger Trio.
Occasionally, wireless chargers require you to place a device on them just right to charge properly. But because the Samsung Charger Trio has six coils inside it, your device will sync up much easier to it. The Samsung Charger Trio does everything you want it to do, so long as the surface you place it on is perfectly flat. (Apologies to those who like charging on couch armrests.) The Trio is available in black or white designs, depending on the tech aesthetic you’re looking to cultivate.
Best for Cars: iOttie Easy One Touch 5 Wireless Car Charger
Why It Made the Cut: The iOttie Easy One Touch 5 is the best wireless car charger because it is reliable and prioritizes safety when charging in your car.
— Weight: 14.4 ounces
— Charging Power: Up to 10W
— Cord Length: N/A
— Telescopic arm made for safe viewing
— One touch lock and release
— Great for smartphones big and small
— Suction mount may not be sturdy on textured surfaces
— Slower charging
If your phone running on empty is a grim prospect, your phone running on empty in your car is downright dismal. But if you’re going to get a dedicated wireless charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter, make it the iOttie Easy One Touch 5. It fits a wide array of smartphones, and keeps them locked in place, no matter how erratic traffic may be. And fortunately, taking it out of the charger is as easy as locking it in.
Not only does it charge while you drive, but the telescopic arm extends and pivots to provide you infinite viewing angles for you and whoever is in the passenger seat. This ensures that occasionally looking at your screen won’t be any more dangerous than switching stations on the radio. The suction cup mount does have a harder time applying to textured dashboards, but luckily the iOttie easy One Touch 5 also has a model that slides into an AC vent. Also, it tops out around 10W so it will charge your phone slower than an optimized one.
Best Premium: Nomad Wireless Charging Station
Why It Made the Cut: The Nomad Wireless Charging Station is simply the most chic looking wireless charger, with an unsurpassed build quality making it the best premium wireless charger.
— Weight: 1.48 pounds
— Charging Power: 10W
— Cord Length: 6 feet
— Made from premium materials
— Ambient light sensor
— Charges up to five devices at once
— Charges slow, especially for the price
The Nomad Wireless Charging Station is unbelievably sleek. The base is thick, anodized aluminum and topped with padded leather for your devices to rest on as they charge. The leather surface can charge up to two devices wirelessly, with USB-C and USB-A ports in the back of the device to plug in old school. The Nomad Wireless Charging station even has a dock just for the Apple Watch, which props it up. It has the effect of making this charging station double as an old-timey clock radio.
Because it’s designed for a bedside, the ambient charging light inside the device dims at night so the glow of LEDs don’t keep you up. And despite the pad only containing three charging coils, they compensate by being larger, which allows for far easier device placement. While the design is slim and downright fancy, it does top out at 10W, which for a device at this price range is rather low. The Apple Watch stand also doesn’t fold down when it’s not in use, so it’s not as travel friendly as it could be. Still, it’s quite the looker.
Best Budget: Yootech Wireless Charger
Why It Made the Cut: The Yootech Wireless Charger is the best budget wireless charger because it works with a wide range of phones and runs under $20.
— Weight: 6.4 ounces
— Charging Power: Up to 10W
— Cord Length: 3.3 feet
— Optimization for Apple and Samsung phones
— Two coils offer a wider charging area
— Doubles as a handy vertical and horizontal phone stand
— Doesn’t come with a power adapter
— Runs a little slower than other models
The Yootech wireless charger comes with quite a few features that may surprise you for a model at this price point. It offers fast charging for Apple and Samsung models, while being compatible with Google and LG phones as well. Despite only having space for one device, the Yootech wireless charger has two coils, so there’s no doubt it will sync up and charge your phone whether you prop it horizontally or vertically.
Considering the price, it’s impressive that this charger tops out at 10W when it charges Samsung devices. Apple devices charge a little slower at 7W, with every other device lingering around 5W. Like the MagSafe, this wireless charger doesn’t come with a power adapter. The good news is that you probably already have one, as it’s compatible with the iPhone 11 Pro adapter, among others. Handy and affordable as it is, you can expect it to charge a little slower than pricier options.
Things To Consider When Buying The Best Wireless Chargers
As stated above, these devices aren’t completely wireless, as you’ll still need to plug them into a power source. Many of our choices run from 3 to 4 feet in length, which should be more than you need in most cases. However, if you need a longer cord, you can always buy a longer USB-C or Apple Lightning cable.
Keep in mind that some devices don’t come with a power adapter, including two of our winners, the MagSafe and the Yootech Wireless Charger. Before dropping the extra dough on a new power adapter, check which adapters are compatible with your device, as you may already own one.
In general, all wireless chargers work with most Qi-certified devices. However, if you want to unlock more functionality and faster charging speeds, we recommend that you buy the wireless charger made by the same manufacturer as the devices you’re looking to charge. For example, if your devices are all Apple, consider getting a MagSafe wireless charger to go with your MagSafe case. No matter what you’re looking to charge wirelessly, you should always double check if your device is compatible before buying.
Wireless chargers come in two general designs: stands and pads. Stands like the Google Pixel stand prop your device, while pads like Mophie wireless charger lays devices flat as they charge. Occasionally, chargers combine both concepts to charge various devices at the same time, like Belkin 3-in-1 wireless charger.
Both work in the same way, with coils in the devices syncing up with your device to charge the battery to full without any pesky cords. If you’re looking for a more low profile approach, we suggest using a charging pad. Some lay flat, others fold up, which makes them perfect for traveling. Stands on the other hand double as actual phone stands, and are easier on the neck should you decide to play a few games or stream YouTube as the device charges. It doesn’t hurt to own one of each, to suit whatever charging need you may have at any given moment.
Q: Are wireless chargers really worth it?
It depends on a few factors. Wireless chargers often charge a little slower than their wired counterparts, but one wireless charger can work with a wider range of devices and in a wider variety of settings.
Q: How do I choose a wireless charger?
Many of the best wireless chargers work with a wide array of Qi-certified devices. When choosing one, it’s important to consider device compatibility, wattage, and form factor.
Q: Is wireless charging safe to use?
Wireless chargers do use lower currents than wired ones, so it is a little safer for your device’s battery. They can emit EMF radiation, but in extremely low levels and only when in use.
Q: What is the fastest wireless charger available?
Typically, the higher the wattage, the quicker the charge will be on a wireless charger. Even the faster models tend to top out at around 15W, including our Best Overall choice, the Belkin BoostCharge Wireless Charger Pad.
Q: Does my phone support wireless charging?
Newer phones and smart devices usually support wireless charging. When in doubt, look up the official webpage for the make and model of your device and look for the words “Wireless Charging” in the battery information section.
Q: What's a fast wireless charging speed?
Qi 1.2 standard tops out at 15W, but 7W and 10W chargers are also common. Many devices charge at different speeds depending on the make and model of the device it’s charging.
Q: What brand charger is best?
The Belkin BoostCharge Wireless Charger Pad is our favorite because it’s reliable and works with a wide array of devices.
Q: How much does a wireless charger cost?
Wireless chargers run from a low end of $15 all the way to a couple hundred dollars with premium offers like the Nomad Wireless Charging Station.
Q: How can I recycle my old wireless charger?
The easiest way to recycle your old wireless charger is to drop it off at your local Best Buy. Every US location has a receptacle for recycling old electronics just inside the store.
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Final Thoughts on the Best Wireless Chargers
A wireless charger is a fantastic addition to your workstation, night stand, and even your car’s dashboard. Qi technology allows you to power up all your smart devices without having to use a dedicated cord for each of them. While many models will work universally, we recommend sticking with a wireless charger that is made by the same manufacturer as the device you’re charging.
If you’re a Galaxy die-hard, the Samsung Charger Trio is your go to. Conversely, if your heart beats only for Apple, bet on the MagSafe Charger. For those of you who aren’t into the brand loyalty thing, our overall winner, the Belkin BoostCharge Wireless Charger Pad will charge just about any Qi device under the sun.
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.