A wireless charger is an incredibly convenient device. It helps you avoid a clutter of wires by offering a single spot to juice up most high-end phones and other devices like earbuds. However, you need to keep a couple of things in mind to ensure that you buy the best wireless charger.
Fortunately, unlike the early years of wireless charging, there are no longer multiple wireless charging standards for phones. Instead, each smartphone supports Qi charging, so you can pick any Qi charger and it will charge your device.
That said, to offer faster wireless charging, smartphone manufacturers have developed their own technologies to use on top of the Qi standard, which makes picking a wireless charger slightly tricky.
While any Qi charger will at least charge your phone at 5W, a charger supporting your phone manufacturer’s proprietary wireless charging technology will juice it up faster. So if you want the fastest possible wireless charging speed, make sure to buy a charger that supports your phone’s fast wireless charging technology. For example, Apple has MagSafe and Samsung has Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.
Besides the charging speed of your device, you also have to consider the type of wireless charger you want—a pad or a stand. Stands typically allow you to interact with the device while charging, whereas it’s harder to do with pad-type chargers. Pad-type chargers, on the other hand, are easier to pack away for travel and are typically less expensive.
For a more in-depth look into what makes one wireless charger different from the other, we recommend reading our complete guide to buying a wireless charger.
With the basics out of the way, now it’s time to dive into our recommendations.
1. Qi Is Key
For a brief period, there were a couple of different wireless charging standards vying for prominence, but that didn’t last long. Any phone with wireless charging will have the Qi—pronounced “chee”—charging standard. That includes iPhones as well.
Think of it like USB standards. You can’t use a micro-USB charger with a phone that has USB-C. In the same way, you need a Qi charger to wirelessly charge a phone that supports Qi. Simple as that. As mentioned, there aren’t really any viable alternatives to Qi out there anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind.
2. Look for USB-C
We’re talking about wireless charging here, but there are still some wires involved. There are still a lot of wireless chargers that use micro-USB. While these are still technically fine, you’ll be better off with one that uses USB-C.
Why? Micro-USB chargers are using an older standard called “QuickCharge.” It has a lower power limit than the newer USB-C “Power Delivery” standard. That means USB-C wireless chargers are more powerful and more futureproof.
The other benefit is your phone likely has a USB-C port as well—unless you have an iPhone. So if you need better charging speeds or you want to use your phone while it’s charging, you can simply unplug the wireless charger and put the cord directly in your phone.
3. Wattage Matters
Any Qi charger will work with any phone that supports Qi wireless charging. However, the best wireless charger for an iPhone 13 might not be the best wireless charger for a Galaxy S21. Let’s talk about charging speeds.
Different phones have different wireless charging speeds. Samsung devices have their own protocol called “Fast Wireless Charging.” If you get a wireless charger that supports this, you’ll get wireless charging speeds up to 15W.
Similarly, the iPhone has the “MagSafe” charging protocol. Wireless chargers that are built specifically with MagSafe in mind can charge the iPhone faster than generic wireless chargers. Again, any Qi charger will charge the iPhone, just not as quickly.
That’s the thing to keep in mind. As long as you get a Qi wireless charger for a phone with Qi charging, you will be able to charge the device. To make sure you can charge it at the fastest speed possible, you’ll want to get a wireless charger made with your device in mind.
Besides the connector type and wattage, the only other thing to consider is style. Do you want a flat pad or a stand to prop it up? What’s the aesthetic you’re going for? There are tons of wildly different wireless chargers on the market.
Stores like Amazon and Best Buy are chock full of wireless chargers at a variety of price points. Our sister site Review Geek has compiled a list of the fastest wireless chargers. This is a great place to get started. We like this inexpensive Anker wireless charger, too. It’s one of our favorite chargers.
Find a wireless charger that fits your style. Don’t fret too much over matching the exact specifications for your phone. Wireless charging—even at the fastest speeds—is always slower than wired charging. The best time to use a wireless charger is overnight or during the workday when you don’t need a quick juice-up.