GADGET

The best wireless chargers for 2024

Gone are the days when you needed to have a million cables to charge your phone, wearable, wireless earbuds and other mobile devices. Sure, you’ll still get the fastest charging speeds with a wired connection, but a wireless charging stand can make life much easier. Instead of fumbling with cables in the dark before heading to be, you can slap your phone onto a power pad and know it will be charged up when you wake in the morning. But figuring out which wireless charging stand or pad is best for you can be challenging with all of the options out there at various max speeds and with different designs. We’ve tested a bunch of the best wireless chargers out there right now and this guide will help you know what to look for when shopping, and recommend some of the best wireless chargers that are worth your attention whether you use an ​iPhone or Android smartphone.

What to look for in a wireless charger

It’s tempting to buy a wireless charging pad optimized for the size and features of the phone you have right now. Resist that urge — this is an accessory you’ll probably use with multiple devices, and you don’t want to replace it every time you buy a new handset. Instead, think about the phones you’re likely to use down the road. If you’re sure you’ll use iPhones for a long time, an Apple MagSafe charger will be faster and more convenient. If you use Android phones or think you might switch sides, however, you’ll want a more universal design.

You’ll also want something that accepts a variety of device sizes. Certain wireless charging stations don’t work well with the iPhone 13 mini or other particularly small phones, for instance. If you think you may change phone sizes at some point, a pad charger is a wiser choice. With that said, you’ll still want to pay attention to any potentially limiting design features, such as prominent cradles and lips.

Also, consider wireless chargers with modular components. While you’ll have to invest exclusively in one company’s ecosystem, this gives you room to grow as your gadget needs change. You can add a charger for a second phone or smartwatch, and some systems even offer modular batteries to supply power on the go. Just be sure to look at a multi-device charger if there’s a very good chance you’ll expand your setup in the future.

Where and how will you use your charger?

iPhone on wireless charger
Pontus Wellgraf on Unsplash

Odds are that you have a specific use case in mind for your charger. You may want it by your bedside for a quick charge in the morning, or on your desk for at-a-glance notifications. You might even keep it in your bag for convenient travel charging. If you intend to place your charger on a nightstand, you’ll usually want a pad. With a stand, even a dim always-on display can prove distracting when you’re trying to sleep. You may also want a wireless charging pad if your phone will sit on a low table, as it might be easier to grab in a rush. Look at compact models if space is tight.

On your desk, you may prefer a stand to quickly glance at alerts or make video calls. Want something more travel-friendly? A puck or similarly minimalist design is typically best. You may also want a charger with a battery (either modular or built-in) for camping or whenever an outlet isn’t nearby.

Performance matters, to a point

Although wireless charging is usually slower than its wired equivalent, speed and wattage are still important considerations. A fast charger can supply enough power for a long night out in the time it takes to change outfits.

In general, a 15W charger is more than quick enough for most situations, and you’ll need a MagSafe charger to extract that level of performance from an iPhone. With that said, even the slower 7.5W and 10W chargers are fast enough for an overnight power-up. If anything, you’ll want to worry more about support for cases. While many models can deliver power through a reasonably thick case (typically 3mm to 5mm), you’ll occasionally run into examples that only work with naked phones.

There are some proprietary chargers that smash the 15W barrier if you have the right phone. Google’s second-generation Pixel Stand, for example, delivers up to 23W for a Pixel 6 Pro or Pixel 7 Pro. Optimized designs like this can make sense if you’re loyal to one brand. Be sure to get a charger that still works well with other manufacturers’ phones, though, as you don’t want to replace your accessory (or endure sluggish speeds) if you switch brands.

Quality, box contents and the little details

iPhone on wireless charging stand
Michael Soledad on Unsplash

Once you’ve chosen the form factor and performance levels that meet your needs, you’ll want to consider the fit and finish. You’re likely going to use your wireless charger every day, so even small differences in quality could make the difference between joy and frustration.

If your charger doesn’t use MagSafe, textured surfaces like fabric or rubberized plastic are more likely to keep your phone in place. The base should be grippy or weighty enough that the charger won’t slide around. If you’re buying a stand, check that it won’t tip over or wobble.

Pay attention to what’s included in the box. Some models don’t include power adapters, and may even ask you to reuse your phone’s USB charging cable. What may seem to be a bargain may prove expensive if you have to buy extras just to use it. Also, some cables and chargers are better than others. A USB-C charger is more future-proof, while braided cables may be less likely to break or tangle.

You’ll also want to think about the minor conveniences. Status lights are useful for indicating correct phone placement, but an overly bright light can be distracting. Ideally, the light dims or shuts off after a certain period of time. And while we caution against lips and trays that limit compatibility, you may still want some barriers to prevent your device falling off its perch on the charging station.

By now, you should know what to look for. While it would be impossible for us to test every charger, we’ve tried numerous models and have some favorites.

Best overall wireless charging pad: Otterbox OtterSpot Wireless Charging System

Runner up wireless charging pad: Belkin BoostCharge Pro Portable Wireless Charger Pad

Best budget wireless charging pad: Anker 315 Wireless Charger

Best overall wireless charging stand: Belkin BoostCharge 15W Wireless Charging Stand

Runner-up wireless charging stand: Spigen Qi True 15W Super Fast Wireless Charger Stand

Best budget wireless charging stand: Anker 313 Wireless Charger

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-wireless-charger-140036359.html?src=rss


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