Wireless charging pads aren’t a new invention, but with more and more phone manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon, they’re an increasingly convenient way to top off your phone without hunting for a cable. Plus, they’re universal: whether you’ve got an iPhone, Pixel, Galaxy, or nearly any wirelessly charging accessory, they all work with the same pads.
Sure, your phone will work just fine with the wired charger it comes with, but a wireless charger makes charging your phone as simple as putting it down on a surface — perfect for a desk or nightstand.
It’s a small change, but one that makes keeping your phone juiced up an unconscious part of your life.
We went through and tested over a dozen wireless Qi charging pads, ranging from well-known charging companies like Anker and Mophie to relative newcomers, like RavPower.
Even Samsung makes its own branded wireless chargers.
The good news is that pretty much any Qi charger, new or old, cheap or expensive, will more or less do the job when it comes to charging your phone. But not all chargers are made equal, and things like form factor, materials, size, and of course, how fast it can actually charge your phone are all things to consider, especially for a product that’s looking to take up permanent residence on your desk or nightstand.
This article will be continually updated as new devices are released — so be sure to check back if you’re not buying a wireless charger right now.
The Best Wireless Chargers:RavPower Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad
RavPower is one of the more popular charging accessory companies around, competing with the likes of Anker on products like battery packs, wall chargers, and cables.
The company proved to be adept at making wireless chargers and RavPower’s Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad and the RavPower 2 Coils Wireless Charging Stand are still the best chargers out there you can buy.
In terms of performance, both RavPower chargers output up to 10W of power — enough for regular speed charging (typically 5W), Samsung’s 9W quick-charging, and Apple’s own 7.5W iteration.
And while quick charging doesn’t offer quite as significant of an advantage as it does with wired charging, it’ll still cut down on your charging time, assuming your device supports it. And given the universal nature of wireless charging tech, making sure you’re future-proofed is just common sense.
We’ve included both RavPower models here since the designs differ depending on what your specific needs for a charger are — but whether you want a standing option or a flat pad, these are your best bets.
The RavPower Fast Charge is a flat pad, which makes it more versatile since you can charge both phones and accessories like smartwatches or wireless headphones (including Apple’s recently released AirPod case).
And in terms of hardware, it’s still one of the nicest chargers in terms of design, with a solid metal case that won’t slide around your desk or nightstand, while also just looking like a more premium product than some of the cheaper, plastic-y options out there.
It does only feature a single coil, though, so you’ll want to make sure you place your device precisely when charging.
The RavPower 2 Coils Wireless Charging Stand is a little cheaper-looking with a plastic-y design, but it’s perfect for use by a desk — especially if you’ve got a phone with a face unlock system (particularly Apple’s iPhones, which won’t show notifications until they’re unlocked).
But it’s still stable enough to support heavier phones, and the two-coil design makes it practically impossible to mess up placement.
Both charge equally fast, though, and are still among the fastest chargers around for both Apple and Android devices. Both models also include a 24W power brick, which generally tends to cost an additional $15 on its own.
Given that’s something you’ll need to pick up anyway if you’re planning on taking advantage of the fastest charging speeds, the fact that it’s included is a definite plus — and even then, the RavPower chargers are still among the most affordable options.
So, you really wanted an AirPower:
But what if you’re the platonic Apple owner, and you really, truly had your heart set on an AirPower?
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Well, reputable multidevice wireless chargers are still rare, and throw an Apple Watch in the mix (with its proprietary, Apple-exclusive charging standard) and things get complicated.
But if you must be able to charge two devices (call it an iPhone and an AirPods case) and an Apple Watch, your best bet is the Hard Cider Labs SliceCharge Pro. It’s not an AirPower, but it looks a whole lot like Apple’s charger, and with six charging coils designed to wirelessly charge up to two devices without regard for orientation or placement, it’s as close as you can get right now.
The Apple Watch part of the equation is a literal Apple Watch USB charger that props up next to the wireless charging pad, but the design makes it easy to charge your watch regardless of what kind of band you have on it.
The whole thing also charges off a single USB-C cable (with an included 30W brick to power it), which is a much better solution than the proprietary cables on other options.
There are issues: in our tests, the SliceCharge Pro didn’t output enough power to fast charge Android devices, but if the Apple Watch charger prominently built into the device didn’t tip you off, this is more designed for Apple users anyway (iPhones, with their slower 7.5W speed did just fine).
It’s also not the cheapest option around — buying two regular wireless chargers and just using the Apple Watch cable that came with your device is definitely more cost effective — but if you want the “one device to charge them all” dream that Apple promised, this is your best bet.
There is one catch, though, which is that the SliceCharge Pro is still not yet widely available — the company is finishing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and will be opening sales to the general public in June.
So, if you need to buy something today, the other best option is Nomad’s Base Station Apple Watch Edition. It’s very pricey (albeit with a nice aluminum and leather design), uses a proprietary barrel plug, has just three coils, and was generally far trickier to get devices placed correctly (it also maxes out at 7.5W for charging, so it’s not great for Android users).
The advantage to Qi wireless chargers is that ultimately, they all pretty much do the same thing at roughly the same speed, so assuming you’ve got something that’s specced to support the level of fast charging your device uses and a wall plug that can power it, it’s hard to go wrong.
With things like aesthetics, form factor, and personal preference playing a big part in this, there are plenty of good options whether you decide to pay more, pay less, or just get something in a different style than our primary picks.
Update May 17th, 9:30AM ET: Overhauled guide to revise top selection, add new AirPower alternative section, and add multiple new chargers to the guide.
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