Know what’s frustrating? Unboxing your shiny new iPhone 13, removing the USB-C Lightning cable and then remembering that Apple no longer includes a wall adapter with any model.
If it’s been a few years since you upgraded your iPhone, odds are you don’t have a USB-C wall plug to work with your new USB-C Lightning cable. And while your old iPhone charger will still work, it’s not going to fast charge your iPhone 13 — an important feature if you’re running short on battery life and time.
To help narrow down which 20-watt USB-C wall adapter works best with the iPhone, we put several of them to the test and picked out the ones that are worth your money.
The quickest charger: Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter ($17.99, amazon.com)
Apple’s own 20W USB-C Power Adapter has a bad rap. We think it’s because Apple doesn’t include it in the box and charges $20 for an accessory that you need in order to effectively charge your iPhone. But, it turns out, Apple’s own charger beat out the rest of the competition, charging the iPhone 13 to 99% in 90 minutes. It also registered the shortest amount of time before the Apple logo was shown on the screen, after 1 minute and 40 seconds, indicating the phone had enough power to turn on.
One downside to the Apple USB-C power adapter is its size. It’s much bigger than the classic 5-watt plug that Apple once included in the box, and larger than more impressive plugs like the Anker Nano Pro.
The cheapest (and nearly as fast) charger: Anker 511 Nano Pro ($19.99, amazon.com)
Anker’s 511 Nano Pro USB-C charger provides a 20W charge, just like Apple’s power adapter, and is normally priced at the same $19.99 cost. It’s also our pick for a basic USB-C phone charger.
The Nano Pro’s charging speed is practically identical to Apple’s offering. The Apple logo showed up at 1 minute and 48 seconds, and after 90 minutes of charge time, the iPhone battery level was 99% — identical to the Apple USB-C Wall Adapter.
It’s a tiny charger that packs a punch, and it comes in four different colors: white, black, lavender and blue. This way it doesn’t take up much space and it can match your personality.
A more versatile charger: Nomad 30W Power Adapter ($29.95, nomadgoods.com)
For just under $30, you can pick up Nomad’s 30W USB-C AC Power Adapter. Even though it provides 30W of charging power, it won’t charge the iPhone 13 any faster than Apple’s USB-C Power Adapter or the Anker Nano Pro. In our testing, the Apple logo showed up after 2 minutes and 57 seconds — the longest amount of time out of all our tests — but at the 90-minute mark, the iPhone 13 had a charge of 98%.
What we like about the Nomad 30W charger is that it provides a little extra power to charge the rest of your gadgets, like a Nintendo Switch or iPad Pro, faster than the 20W offerings we covered here.
Nomad’s charger uses GaN (gallium nitride) technology inside to help keep the charger small while also preventing it from getting too hot while in use.
Others we tested
Belkin USB-PD GaN 30W Charger ($29.99, amazon.com)
Belkin’s 30W adapter packs extra power and charged the iPhone 13 to 98% after 90 minutes of charge time. Like Nomad’s offering, the Belkin GaN charger uses the new tech to keep its size down and prevent it from overheating while charging your phone.
Anker 511 Nano ($16.99, amazon.com)
The 511 Nano is another 20W charger from Anker and is also available in several different colors. It charged the iPhone 13 from empty to 96% battery life after 90 minutes. It’s compact and even though it didn’t charge as fast as our top picks, it’s only a difference of 3% — which isn’t really a deal breaker.
Anker Nano II 45W ($39.99, amazon.com)
The Nano II 45W is the most powerful charger we tested, and yet, it’s also the slowest when it comes to charging the iPhone 13. After 90 minutes the iPhone’s battery had a charge of 96% — nothing to be mad at. It uses GaN technology to keep it small while still providing 45W of power, which is more than enough for phones, tablets and even some laptops.
How we tested
Our exact testing procedure started with a completely empty iPhone battery. We would start a timer the moment we connected the iPhone 13 to power, watching for the Apple logo to show up on the iPhone’s screen and noting the time. Once the phone fully turned on, we unlocked it and left it connected to Wi-Fi. Then we noted the charge level of the iPhone every 15 minutes for 90 minutes. We would then stream a YouTube video to drain the iPhone’s battery and repeat the process for each charger. We used the same Nomad USB-C Lightning cable for every test in an effort to eliminate any unnecessary variables.