- The best wireless chargers
- Other wireless chargers tested
- Qi vs. PMA
- 5W vs. 7.5W performance
- Flat or standing?
- Portrait and landscape orientation
- Case concerns
- Wait for AirPower?
Beginning with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple has finally added wireless charging to the iPhone. That continues with the iPhone XS and iPhone XR. For years, many Android users have had the ability to simply plop their phone on a pad to juice it up, but to do that with an iPhone used to require a special (and bulky) case.
Wireless charging isn’t always a great substitute for plugging in, but it’s a very convenient way to keep your phone topped off through most of the day. A wireless charger on your desk means no more plugging and unplugging throughout the day and a full charge when you head home from work. A wireless charger next to your bed makes it easy to grab and go in the morning, or just pick up your phone to “check one thing” without fussing with the lightning cable.
We’ve tested a big heap of wireless chargers, and these are some of our favorites.
Update 10/12/18: Added our review of the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand.
The best wireless chargers
Wireless chargers tend to come in two variants: stands and pads. A pad is great for your bed-side table or lying inconspicuously on your desk, but there are times when a stand makes more sense. In particular, they’re useful for those with an iPhone X, as a good stand with a steep angle will point your phone and your face enough for Face ID to work. This makes it a lot easier to unlock your phone to quickly check something without taking it off the charger.
Stands are great for reading your phone while it charges, but sometimes you want it to lie flat. It’s less conspicuous on your desk or bedside table, and easier to just plop it down in any direction. Wireless charging pads tend to be a little less expensive than stands, too.
Mophie Charge Stream Pad+
The Charge Stream Pad+ is a substantial upgrade over Mophie's previous charging pad offering, the Wireless Charging Base. At a retail price of about $60, it's a little on the expensive side, but it's a better buy than the Wireless Charging Base was.
While the Wireless Charging Base used a proprietary power adapter that connected to the charge pad via a small barrel connector, the Charge Stream Pad+ uses a microUSB cable and adapter. The connector for it on the pad is deeply recessed, which makes it hard to use other microUSB cables with it, but at least you can use the adapter and cable to charge other microUSB devices (like digital cameras or Android phones).
Charge performance is improved, too. It tops out at 10 watts on supported Android phones, though the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X are limited to 7.5 watts (that's an Apple thing, not a Mophie thing).
The pad itself is a good size with a large sweet spot, so it's easy to plop down your phone without worrying about getting it perfectly centered. The hefty weight and rubberized finish prevents the pad from sliding around on your desk or your iPhone from sliding on the pad. It can easily charge through modest iPhone cases, and the small status light is subtle enough not to distract you in a dark bedroom.
Oh, and it's now available in white or black, so you can more easily match your furniture or iPhone.
RAVPower RP-PC069 Wireless Charging Stand
RAVPower's latest charging stand is a nice improvement over its previous models. It's got a sleek, unassuming design with a nice big ruberized pad to rest your phone on, and two coils so your iPhone will charge in either portrait or landscape orientation. The angle is steep, almost entirely upright, which made us worry that Face ID wouldn't work well. In testing, Face ID worked just as well as with most other wireless charging stands.
This new charger supports 5W and 10W modes on Android phones, and Apple's own 7.5W standard on the latest iPhones, too. RAVPower has impreoved the cooling to keep the charging coils from getting too warm, which can slow down charging performance.
The braided micro USB cable is a nice touch, but it's only about four feet long. We had trouble making it reach the socket with the stand sitting up on a desk. As with so many other wireless charging stands, it can be a little wobbly if you try to use your phone with too much force. Making the base just a little bit longer in back would have made it less prone to tilting.
At $50 it seems a little expensive, but that cost is offset by the 24W USB-A power adapter included in the box. It's not perfect, but it's a great choice for the price.
Other wireless chargers tested
While these other chargers weren’t our favorites, they may suit your own needs. There are only so many different ways you can wrap a copper coil in a hunk of plastic, so it’s safe to say that your own personal sense of style and pricing sensitivity might a different charger the right choice for you.
Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand
The Boost Up wireless charging stand looks like something out of a sci-fi series, and not in a good way. It’s a big circular disc propped up on a large and odd-looking stand that kind of looks like a retro-future easel. To be frank, it’s a bit of an eyesore.
Power is supplied by a bulky AC adapter permenatly attached to a power cord, ending in a barrel connector, which will be a pain to replace if you lose it and can’t be used for any of your other gadgets. Haven’t we all learned that microUSB or USB-C is the way to go here?
There’s no denying it works well, though. The generous width and curved corners of the bottom make it really easy to drop your iPhone on the stand without getting the alignment off, and the way the phone holder’s sides cut up a couple inches makes it really great for landscape orientation. It also maintains a strong charging connection even through most cases, and it’s very stable—poking and prodding your phone while it’s on the charger won’t cause it to tip or slide around.
It’s also pretty expensive, at a retail price of $69.99 (you can often find it online for about $15 less).
Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand
Anker’s new PowerWave products greatly improve quality over its older wireless chargers, but they bump up the price to match.
The new stand looks good, as long as you’re okay with the white color. A small blue charge indicator on the front is subtle enough to use on your bedside table. The angle is steep enough to make it suitable for unlocking your iPhone X with Face ID while your phone is resting on your desk.
Anker includes a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible power adapter and a matching white microUSB cable, but the cable is way too short. Anker’s spec sheet says it’s three feet long, already a little on the short side, and we measured it at 34 inches. The charger supports 7.5W charging on Apple devices and the 10W fast charge mode on the latest Samsung flagship phones.
The power coils inside cover the entire back of the stand, so we had no trouble charging our iPhones in either portrait or landscape orientation. A little cooling fan blows air out a vent in the rear to keep the charge coils cool, which keeps the charge rate from slowing down. If it’s especially quiet and you put your ear up next to it, you can hear the gentle whirring sound.
Funxim Fast Wireless Charging Pad
For what it is, it's not bad. This is a $32 pad that can wirelessly charge your iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. And it works well, even charging our test iPhone through a fairly substantial plastic case. Because it supports the Qi standard, like all iPhone-supporting wireless charging pads, it will also charge most Android phones with wireless charging.
Naturally, the price comes with a set of compromises. The pad has a large circular cutout to one side, into which you install your official Apple Watch charger. You'll open up the back to loop around the cable and plug the USB end into a USB-A port hidden in the base.
What's more, the pad itself is made of a hard, smooth plastic that encourages the phone to slide around (especially without a case). When my iPhone X vibrated while on the pad, it slid around as if pushed by a ghost. What's more, I had to be fairly precise with my placement in order for the phone to charge. While the pad is oblong, the charging area for the phone is only right in the center; place it too far to the side and it won't charge. And of course, your Apple Watch has to go on the Watch charger you supply.
Kickstarter backers may have gotten a free Quick Charge 3.0 compatible power adapter and micro-USB cable together with their purchase, which makes this a pretty good deal. But the need to supply your own Apple Watch cable (at least $29 from Apple), the precise placement required, and the too-slick design make it hard to otherwise recommend.
Anker PowerPort Wireless 10
Anker’s skinny little PowerPort Wireless 10 is a pretty slick item. It’s easily one of the thinnest charging pads I’ve seen, and can disappear into a bag with you even noticing.
It supports charging speeds up to 10 watts on compatible phones, which is great, but you need a Quick Charge USB adapter to get that performance. Unfortunately, there’s no USB adapter of any kind in the box.
That’s sort of a shame, too, because the price is the only thing giving me pause. We like the ring of blue LEDs that “breathe” for about 10 seconds before turning off, to let you know a charging connection has been made. We like the size. We like the grippy top that your phone won’t slide around on. If you find this on sale, or have an extra Quick Charge USB adapter lying around, it’s a great buy.
Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 Stand
Anker’s PowerPort Wireless 5 stand is a decent choice for iPhone X users who want something with the right angle for Face ID, but a number of small annoyances keep it from being a clear winner.
First, there’s charging speed. Anker employs two charging coils for excellent coverage, and as a result the stand works great whether your iPhone is in portrait or landscape orientation. But it’s limited to 5-watt speed, not the 7.5 watts supported by iPhones. And of course, that’s a bit slow for Android phones, too.
Second, the base is just a little bit too short. The result is that, when you try to use your phone while it’s on the stand, your tapping will constantly cause it to tip back a little. If the base extended back even a half inch more, this would probably be avoided.
And finally, while the price tag looks pretty good (typically around $27 online), that’s without a micro USB adapter. It’s still not overpriced, but it’s not the bargain it seems at first.
You can easily find this little Qi wireless charger for about $10, which makes it one of the least expensive options for wirelessly charging your iPhone 8 or iPhone X. In some ways, you get what you pay for. The PowerBot PB1020 is as basic as it gets: it doesn’t come with the necessary micro USB power adapter and recommends using one with 2.1A output for best results.
We like the rubberized design that prevents slipping, and who won’t love the price, but that’s where the love affair ends. The small size is convenient for your bag, but it makes it a little difficult to precisely place your phone in the right spot to start charging. Also, power output is limited to 5 watts, rather than the 7.5-watt maximum supported by the latest iPhones.
Qimini Pocket Wireless Charger
We're not entirely sure who this product is for, exactly. It’s a wireless charging pad with an integrated USB cable that tucks away inside. That’s sort of neat and makes it a little more portable, but you still need something to plug the USB plug into. If you’re on the go, you can plug it into your laptop or something like that, but do you really need a wireless charger for that?
The Qimini site proclaims it to be, “The world's thinnest wireless charger plate to date,” but the Anker Powerport Wireless 10 is definitely thinner. It sells for $59.95, without a power adapter, which easily twice what it’s worth. Oh, and it maxes out at 5W output, so it’s one of the slower wireless chargers out there.
The Qimini Pocket works, and it’s not a bad design, but it’s slow, expensive, and frankly a bit too large to fit in many pockets. We like the idea of an integrated USB cable, but that’s about all we like about this.
RAVPower Fast Wireless Charger
RAVPower makes two wireless chargers that essentially have the same name. Depending on where you look, they’re usually just called “Fast Wireless Charger.” This one is extremely inexpensive at around $16, while the other one costs almost three times as much. Believe it or not, that one is the better deal.
This charging pad does not come with a power adapter, but at this bargain-basement price we can hardly hold that against it. This pad only charges iPhones at a 5W rate, and other quick-charge Qi enabled devices up to 10 watts (if you use the right power adapter). It’s heavy and stable, and comes with a nice flat micro USB cable.
But raised rubberized bumps on the top of the pad only cover the left and right side. Depending on how sloppy you are about placing your phone, you could easily miss part of it—why not just make it a complete circle as most other pads do?
It’s a minor design flaw, not a deal-breaker. But the slower iPhone charging speed makes it hard to recommend.
Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Stand
Like its flat charging pad cousin, Samsung’s fast-charging wireless stand isn’t much of a looker. The round shape is all wrong for a stand, as it sticks out awkwardly to the sides when you put your rectangular phone on it. Still, at least it loses the clear plastic coating in favor of a uniform glossy black finish.
This stand is a good deal at around $40. It supports fast charging—both the iPhone 7.5-watt limit and faster speeds for Samsung’s phones—and it comes with a micro USB adapter powerful enough to enable it. There’s even a little fan inside that keeps the charging coils cool. Don’t worry, you can’t hear it unless you really strain in a very quiet room.
The angle is appropriate for activating Face ID, and the stand resists tipping well enough that a little gentle phone use won’t cause it to wobble.
RAVPower Fast Wireless Charger + QC3.0 Adapter
Not to be confused with the other, less-expensive “Fast Wireless Charger" by RAVPower, this other “Fast Wireless Charger” includes a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible adapter (up to 24 watts on supported Android phones) and has an entirely different design. Despite the higher price, it’s a better buy.
The design is a little plain, but it’s unobtrusive and highly functional. The pad is heavy and wide enough to be really stable, and there’s a nice wide rubberized ring around the top to rest your phone on and prevent sliding or scraping.
It’s fast, too. On iPhones it supports the 7.5W charging speed, and up to 10W fast-charging on other compatible phones.
The $45 price seems a little high, but you get a high-quality USB power adapter along with it, and it’s cheaper than most of the other alternatives that include a power adapter.
Anker PowerWave 7.5 Pad
Anker’s new PowerWave products greatly improve quality over its older wireless chargers, but they bump up the price to match.
The new pad is a rather plain large off-white circle. If that aesthetic goes with your desk or bedside table, that’s great, but we can’t help but wish for a black version. There’s a small blue circle charge indicator on top—we’re not a fan of the location, but the glow is dim enough not to be distracting in a dark room. The charging “sweet spot” is large enough that you don’t have to be too precise about how you place your phone down on the pad.
Anker includes a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible power adapter and a matching white microUSB cable, but the cable is way too short. Anker’s spec sheet says it’s three feet long (we would hope for five or six), and we measured it at 34 inches. The pad supports 7.5W charging on Apple devices and the 10W fast charge mode on the latest Samsung flagship phones.
Anker’s PowerWave products feature cooling fans to keep the charge coils from getting too hot, which can degrade charging speed. If you listen closely in a quiet room, you can hear the little fan inside whirring away.
For the price, we would hope for a longer microUSB cable and sturdier construction. The PowerWave 7.5 pad feels a little lightweight and plastic-y, more than the PowerWave Stand, and it’s too easy to accidentally slide around your desk as a result. Anker needs to give it a little more heft to help keep it in place.
Spigen Essential F306W Fast Wireless Charger
Spigen’s new F306W charging pad is a nice improvement over its old F301W model. The design is much improved, with a sturdier and heavier metallic frame that won’t move around on your desk or bedside table. The charging indicator light is small, forward-facing, and dim enough not to be a distracting next to your bed in a dark room.
It’s got a fairly broad “sweet spot” for charging, so you don’t have to fuss with placing your phone just-so to get a connection. It comes with a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter and a nice braided micro USB cable. It supports Apple’s faster 7.5W charging mode, and if you’ve got a newer Samsung flagship phone you get 10W fast charging. In fact, Spigen says the pad supports up to 15W wireless charging, and while current phones don’t go that high, it’s a bit of future-proofing that may come in handy one day. Heat dissipation is pretty good, too, so the charge rate shouldn't slow down over time.
You don’t get something for nothing, though. The F306W, while a much nicer product, is twice the price of the F301W. Unless your plug is really close to where you need to put the pad, you’ll have to dig up a longer microUSB cable, too. At just over three feet long, the cable included here is just short enough to be frustrating.
Mophie Wireless Charging Base
One of the very few wireless charging pads sold at Apple Stores ($59.95), Mophie’s wireless charging base is a quality piece of gear. But I still don’t like it all that much.
It’s a good size, heavy, with a nice rubberized outer coating that prevents slipping. It’s easy to drop your iPhone on it and get a good charging connection without thinking about it. And it supports 7.5W charging, too.
But it has two big strikes against it. First, it’s sixty bucks. You can get good quality wireless charging pads, with adapter, for half that price. Second, the AC adapter connects to a little round DC barrel connector, while most other wireless charging pads use micro USB. Using USB would be far more flexible and convenient—you could plug into dozens of different products, like your laptop, and micro USB cables are everywhere. We have a drawers full of them.
Belkin BOOST UP Wireless Charging Pad
Belkin’s Boost Up shares a lot in common with Mophie’s Wireless Charging Base. Both are sold at Apple Stores ($59.95). Both are large, with a rubberized non-slip bottom (the Mophie has non-slip coating all over). Both support 7.5W charging on your iPhone, too.
But the Boost Up shares the Mophie’s downsides, too. It costs about $60, nearly double the price of many other wireless chargers. And it includes an AC power adapter that connects to the charger via DC barrel connector rather than micro USB. Again, USB would be far more convenient.
The main difference between the Belkin and the Mophie, then, is your own personal sense of aesthetics. Do you like the matte black rubberized circle of the Mophie base, or do you like the glossy white Belkin, with its reversed slope giving it a sort of “floating” look? It’s really up to you, but we wouldn’t recommend either, based purely on the price and lack of USB connection.
Spigen Essential F303W Fast Wireless Charger
Spigen’s fast-charging wireless stand has a nice A-frame design, but the extra-large lip at the bottom is a bit of an eyesore. More importantly, the angle is not steep enough. It’s very stable to be sure, but we found that an iPhone X is often positioned too far back to easily work with Face ID.
One feature we really like is the way Spigen uses two charging coils, one above the other. This gives the stand great coverage and makes it easy to get a good charging connection whether your phone is turned to landscape or portrait orientation.
Spigen’s suggested retail price is $45, but you can easily find it for about $30 online. That’s not a terrible price, but consider that it doesn’t come with a micro USB power adapter, and it doesn’t look like such a bargain anymore. You’ll need to purchase a fast-charging micro USB adapter separately to make full use of it.
Samsung Wireless Charging Pad
If you’re not opposed to the big Samsung logo staring up at you from your desk, you could do a lot worse than this inexpensive pad. For less than $30 you get a solid, no-slip pad with a generous size—it’s easy to drop your phone on and start a wireless charging connection without needing to be too fussy about placement.
Best of all, Samsung throws in a 2A micro USB power adapter, so you don’t need to repurpose one of your own or buy a new one. While this is not a “fast charging” wireless pad, it wasn’t really much slower than the fastest chargers we tested; at least, not when charging iPhones. Some Android phones can handle faster wireless charging speeds.
This is one of the uglier charging pads we’ve used, but it’s inexpensive, solid, and works well.
Spigen Essential F301W
The F301W is the charging pad sibling to the F303W stand. It’s relatively inexpensive at about $30, but the price does not include a power adapter. Fortunately, it will work with almost any USB power adapter, and will support faster charging if you have a Quick Charge adapter.
The F301W suffers from a couple of small design flaws that really annoy, however. The micro USB connection is recessed, with a very narrow cutout surrounding it. The included cable fits fine, but most of the other micro USB cables we tried did not. Also, the top of the charging pad has a convex slope, with a rubberized ring in the middle. Placing your phone on the ring is simple enough, but it’s not wide enough to be really stable there—it’s too wobbly.
It's a shame, because the price and performance are fine. All it would take a slightly different shape to the plastic mold and Spigen would have a terrific product.
Are you interested in a charger you don’t see listed here? That’s not surprising—while we try to cover the most popular brands, there are literally hundreds of wireless chargers on the market. We can still help make sure you get a product you're happy with, though. The next page contains some helpful general advice to consider when deciding which wireless charger to buy.