- 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?
With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple has finally joined the wireless charging revolution. 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.
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.
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 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. I 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.