Qi Wireless technology has been on the market for a while now and we’re still jazzed about it. This technology powers the wireless charging experience and has near universal adoption across iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel. It’s great for smartphone charging and, while devices like the Apple Watch and other smartwatches likely use proprietary chargers, there are charger options that allow you to keep all your devices in one place while they refuel.
Like power bricks and cords, there are many different wireless chargers in all shapes and sizes, from pads to stands and even two-in-ones, or wireless chargers that are hidden in photo frames. This handy guide will make your buying decision much less daunting — even fun!
What to look for in a wireless charger
There’s a huge selection of chargers. In the time since Apple began to include wireless charging, accessory manufacturers have released a ton of them. It’s a competitive market, with Mophie, Belkin, Anker, Apple, Nomad, Satechi, Twelve South, Samsung and many others offering options.
Circular pads are the rage, but wireless chargers also come in many other formats. Materials range from plastic to leather or fabric. Luckily, none of these surfaces should heat up too much, thanks to the Qi charging coil technology. Wireless charging does create some heat given the conductive nature of the design. It’s normal for the device to get a little warm and it’s possible the charging pad itself may give off some heat. Keep in mind that there are multiple safeguards in the charger to prevent damage or overheating.
Additionally, most wireless chargers can work with slim cases on devices. The range usually tops out at cases that are about 5 millimeters thick. Apple’s MagSafe Technology, which launched on the iPhone 12 family, uses magnets to ensure proper alignment and boosts charging speeds up to 15 watts. You can even use a MagSafe charging puck with a MagSafe case which ensures the proper alignment.
Also a quick note on alignment: In order for the wireless charger to start charging your Qi-enabled device, you need to make sure that the coils line up. You’ll know this is the case by the device showing a charging status and in some cases with an LED indicator on the charger itself.
Charging speed matters
Like a typical charging brick and cable, a wireless charger can only charge as fast as the amount of power it receives. Normal charging versus fast charging can make a significant difference, but you need to be precise when choosing your model. You’ll need to make sure the included power brick can deliver enough watts for fast charging. Fast charging typically comes from a charger that delivers over 10 -watts to your device. It means you’ll see your battery power increase in a shorter amount of time. That being said, iPhones can only receive up to 7.5 watts from a Qi-enabled charger unless you’re using the new MagSafe, which delivers up to 15 watts for iPhone 12 models with a 20-watt wall plug.
Apple used to include a 5-watt charger with every iPhone (the iPhone SE still ships with one), which is on the slower side of power delivery. On the other hand, Samsung includes a fast charging brick in the box with most of its smartphones. Either of these can likely charge your phone fully overnight, but there are ways to get a faster, easier charge without the hassle of plugging in the cable. You’ll need to upgrade to an Apple 20-watt charger ($19; amazon.com) for an iPhone, or a third-party solution, such as the Anker Nano 20W charger ($16.99; amazon.com), to get those fast-charging speeds.
If you’re looking at a fast-charging or 10-watt wireless charger, it likely will come with a brick that can power that fast speed. But sadly, not all wireless chargers include a brick. And while a brick might seem unnecessary for a wireless charger, it’s a critical piece of the equation to deliver enough power for fast charging — so if the charger doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to buy that separately.
We’ve rounded up picks of wireless chargers to help make your decision a little easier. Whether you’re looking for a charging station to keep all of your devices powered up in one space, a case or power bank to keep you charged on the go, or you’re searching for the perfect stand to charge your phone while streaming shows, there’s an option here for you.
There are lots of wireless chargers on the market, so we’ve picked options from brands we know and trust. Options from brands like Apple, Belkin, Mophie, Anker, Logitech and Satechi will have your device charged and ready to go.
Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger ($39; amazon.com)
With the announcement of the iPhone 12 lineup came the return of MagSafe, Apple’s wireless charging experience. MagSafe works via magnets built into the wireless charger coil. The charging speed has been amped up from a 7.5-watt charger to a 15-watt charger meaning your charging times will be much faster. The MagSafe charger can be used for your iPhone and AirPods with a wireless charging case or AirPods Pro. You’ll have to get your own wall plug for this charger, and Apple recommends pairing it with a 20-watt adapter for optimal use and to hit the 15-watt mark.
Wireless Charging Pad (Fabric) ($29.95, originally $49.95; mophie.com)
This 10-watt charging pad features a suede fabric for a sleek look on your desk or nightstand as well as a soft material for your smartphone to sit on while charging. The charger is compatible with phone cases up to 3 millimeters thick. It also features a rubberized outer ring to keep your phone secure while charging. If your phone buzzes or rings while charging, you won’t have to worry about the device falling off of the charging pad.
Belkin Wireless Charger ($23.99, originally $29.99; amazon.com)
Belkin’s wireless charger delivers a full charge at a fast speed with universal Qi-compatible smartphones, and you can even use this wireless charging pad for your AirPods if they’re compatible. It delivers a 10-watt charge to Apple and Samsung phones while delivering a 5-watt charge to all other devices. A Quick Charge 3.0 compatible wall charger and cable are included, so everything you need to get started charging wirelessly is included.
Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Pad ($13.99; amazon.com)
The PowerWave Pad delivers a 10-watt high speed charge to Samsung smartphones and a 5-watt standard charge to iPhones and other Qi-compatible devices like the Google Pixel. You’ll need your own wall adapter, but the compatible cable is included with the PowerWave Pad. It can charge devices through cases up to 5 millimeters thick. The LED light indicator on this pick indicates if there’s something obstructing the device from charging, whether it’s incompatible, and when a device is placed properly and in charging mode. ___________________________________________________________________________
Aluminum Type-C Wireless Charger ($39.99; satechi.com)
Satechi’s wireless charging pad delivers up to a 5-watt charge for AirPods and a 7.5-watt charge to iPhones, while Android smartphones get a 10-watt fast charge. It’s available in two sleek finishes, silver and space gray, so you can coordinate the charger with the rest of your technology set up. The wireless charger requires at least 5V 9000mA from the USB port, so you aren’t able to plug it into your computer’s USB-C port and need an appropriate wall plug, like this Anker one. ________________________________________________________________________
Powered Pad ($39.99; logitech.com)
This universal wireless charger delivers a 9-watt fast charge to Samsung phones or a 7.5-watt charge to iPhones and can charge headphones with wireless charging capabilities as well. The LED light on the front of the Powered Pad will let you know that your device is charging properly and works with phone cases up to 3 millimeters thick. It comes with a 1.5-meter cable and a compatible wall adapter, so you’re good to go when you open the box. We like that it comes with a long cable so it’s easy to set up on your desk, nightstand or countertop.
Fast wireless chargers
These charging pads deliver power 10 watts and higher for a shorter wait time between charges for compatible devices, and you’ll need to make sure they’re paired with the proper wall adapter.
Anker 15W Max Wireless Charger with USB-C PowerWave Alloy Pad ($29.99; amazon.com)
With a max charge capacity of 15 watts, this pick from Anker will quickly get your devices back at full charge. There are nonslip pads on both the top and bottom of the charger to keep it from slipping on surfaces and to keep your phone in place while charging. It comes with a 5-foot cable that you’ll have to plug into your own wall adapter. Google Pixels will get 11 watts of efficient charging, Samsung phones will get 10 watts of high-speed charging, and there’s a 7.5-watt charging mode for iPhones.
15W Wireless Charging Pad ($49.95; mophie.com)
This 15-watt wireless charger is optimized for Samsung, Android and Apple smartphones for a quick charge. The fabric finish gives it a sleek look, and your device will charge through cases up to 3 millimeters thick. There’s a rubber ring on the charger to keep your device from slipping while it rests and recharges. Mophie gives you everything you need, including a wall adapter, so you’ll be all set to charge.
Belkin Wireless Charger 15W ($31.99, originally $39.99; amazon.com)
Included with this wireless charger is Belkin’s 24-watt Quick Charge 3.0 power supply unit, so you’re able to take full advantage of the 15-watt charge. It’s a universal wireless charger, so Android and Apple users alike can put this charger to work. It will deliver a 15-watt charge to your smartphone while delivering a 5-watt charge to other Qi-compatible devices, like your AirPods or AirPods Pro.
Wireless charging cases
If you want wireless power on the go without having to add anything to your carrying load, a wireless charging case is a perfect option. Apple and Mophie have created cases to help increase your battery life at the touch of a button.
Apple Smart Battery Case with Wireless Charging (iPhone 11 Pro) ($129; amazon.com)
You’ll never have to worry about your phone running out of juice with this battery case. It delivers up to 50% longer battery life when fully charged. There’s a Lightning charger that slips into your phone’s port, but the case itself can be charged via Lightning port or Qi-enabled wireless chargers. If you lay your phone down for wireless charging with the case on, both the case and iPhone will charge.
Juice Pack Access for iPhone 11 Pro ($29.95, originally $79.95; mophie.com)
This battery case from Mophie can add an extra 13 hours of audio and five hours of video play to your phone’s battery life. You can charge the case via wireless charging or a Lightning cable. Simply turn the case on using the button on the back (which is also where you’ll find the charge display indicator for the case), and it will charge your phone’s battery wirelessly. It’s ultra-convenient, and the case itself is sleek and available in three colorways: black, Product (RED) and blush pink.
Wireless car chargers
Charging on the road is efficient and easy if you clip in one of these wireless options. You’ll get access to your screen for quick GPS views while your smartphone battery gets a boost.
Car Vent Mount Pro with MagSafe ($39.99; belkin.com)
Clipping into your car vent, this MagSafe charger from Belkin is sleek and efficient. It will keep your phone safely in place (thanks to the magnets employed by MagSafe) and the ball joint lets you view your screen either horizontally or vertically. It’s an easy pair with your new iPhone 12 or 12 Pro, but you’ll need to purchase a car charger separately (we like this one from Belkin). ____________________________________________________________________________
Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave 7.5 Car Charger ($49.99; amazon.com)
Anker’s wireless car charger delivers a 7.5-watt charge to iPhones and a 10-watt charge to Android devices, while other devices get a 5-watt charge. It easily clips onto your air vents, so your phone is at a good viewing level when using GPS services. Included is a two-port car charger, so your passenger can charge as well. It will charge through cases up to 5 millimeters thick.
Charge Stream Vent Mount ($69.95; mophie.com)
This car charger also clips into your air vents for convenient screen access while driving. It delivers up to a 10-watt charge to your device. It’s optimized for Apple and Samsung fast charging and there’s a car adapter included. It has rubber-coated inner arms to keep your device scratch-free and securely held while you’re driving. It will charge through cases up to 3 millimeters thick.
Wireless charging stands
Charging stands are perfect if you need a view of your device while juicing up its battery. These picks give you the option to conveniently use your device while charging, whether in landscape or portrait mode.
Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Stand ($18.99; amazon.com)
This stand delivers a 10-watt charge to your Samsung smartphone and a 5-watt charge to all other devices. Even though it’s a vertical phone stand, you can still charge your device in landscape mode if you’re looking to boost your battery while watching your favorite shows and videos. It features a 3-foot cable but you’ll have to supply your own wall adapter. The sleek black will blend with any desktop aesthetic.
Wireless Charging Stand (Fabric) ($69.95; mophie.com)
Mophie’s wireless charging stand can be adjusted so you can choose an angle that works best for your needs while charging. Use it flat as a charging pad or prop it up to get a good view of the screen. It will charge your smartphone quickly with a 10-watt charge for all compatible devices.
Base Station Wireless Charging Stand ($99.95; nomadgoods.com)
We love Nomad for its leather tech accessories, and this wireless charging stand with an elegant leather accent is no exception. Your phone sits pretty against a leather pad while getting a 10-watt charge. You get an 18-watt power adapter with the Base Station Stand, a 6-foot braided USB-A to USB-C cable, and the ability to charge your phone vertically or horizontally. It works with all Qi-enabled devices.
TwelveSouth HiRise Wireless Fast Charge 10W ($59.99, originally $79.99; amazon.com)
This charging stand can be plugged into a wall adapter or your computer for convenient charging capability. It comes with a 1.5-meter cable, and the charging pad itself pops out of the stand if you want to lay your phone flat to get the 10-watt charge. We like its ability to switch between a charging stand and a charging pad, and the chrome finish adds a smooth flair that’s sure to look good on your desk or nightstand.
Belkin Wireless Charging Stand 10W ($28.95, originally $34.99; amazon.com)
Charge in portrait or landscape mode with this Belkin charging stand and get 10 watts of power to your smartphone. The Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter is included, which will ensure optimal charging to your device while using this charging stand. It’s a universal wireless charger, so whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, you’ll be able to enjoy fast charge times with this option.
Samsung 15W Qi-Certified Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand ($59.99; bhphotovideo.com)
Samsung’s wireless charging stand is of course designed to work with the brand’s lineup of smartphones, but it also works for iOS devices. It comes with a 25-watt power adapter and a USB Type C charging cable to help you get the most out of the charger. It has a built-in cooling fan to keep your device at the right temperature while charging an