The best smartphone chargers you can buy

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Best phone chargerBelkin/Business Insider


Smartphones have literally changed the world. While there may not be flying cars in every driveway or teleportation devices in every living room, the fact that most people now have the ability to connect to the world wide web, send texts and make calls, snap high-quality pictures, and engage with millions of apps using a device small enough to tuck into a pocket is evidence enough for me that the future is here.

Our smartphones help us find our way with GPS and mapping programs, they help us manage our lives with calendars and reminders and alarms, they keep us connected to friends and family with chat and image apps, and they keep us entertained when we have a moment of free time during a commute or at the end of a long day.

But once our precious phones run out of battery, they’re nothing but pricey paperweights until we can charge them back up again. Fortunately, with the fine hardware on our list of the best phone chargers, you won’t have to wait around long for renewed access to your apps, snaps, maps, and more.

We have included chargers that should take care of you and your phone (or tablet or smaller computer or digital camera or Nintendo Switch) whether you’re at home, at work, on the road, or travelling farther afield.

Some people might need only one of the units from this list to meet all their charging needs, while others who are always on the move might be wise to grab two or even three of the chargers to cover their bases. Because really, unless you regularly deal with stacks of paper and wind gusts, you don’t need a paperweight. What you need is a powered-up phone.

Here are the best phone chargers you can buy:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.


The best charging cables

Amazon

Why you’ll love them: Anker’s lightning, USB-C, and Micro USB cables are excellent and affordable, but if you want to charge your iPhone faster, you need Apple’s USB-C to lightning cable.

Anker’s PowerLine cables come in tons of different lengths, a few different colours, and most importantly, with several different ends. You can get lightning, USB-C, and Micro USB cables from Anker for great prices.

All the cords are super sturdy, reinforced for extra toughness, and affordable. The cables have an 18-month warranty and the lightning cables are MFi certified by Apple, so you know they are safe to use. Likewise, the USB-C and Micro USB cables are safe.

Each cable comes with a velcro strap for tying up extra cord when you don’t need it. PowerLine cables come in 1-foot, 3-foot, 6-foot, and 10-foot lengths to suit everyone’s needs.

If you want to charge your iPhone faster, though, you’ll need Apple’s USB-C to lightning cable, which is pricier, but worth it if you need juice fast. You’ll also need a USB-C wall adaptor to plug the Apple cable into, so grab the Aukey one we recommend in the next slide.– Malarie Gokey

Pros: Durable, varied lengths, cables for all phone ports, Anker’s cables are affordable

Cons: Apple cable is pricey

Buy Anker lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C cables on Amazon for $US5.99+

Buy the Apple lightning to USB-C cable for $US20.99

Read our buying guides to the best lightning, USB-C, and Micro USB cables.


The best wall charger

Aukey

Why you’ll love it: The Aukey Dual Port USB-C and USB Wall Charger works with all three common charging cables – the Lightning Cable, the Micro USB, and the USB-C.

Whether you need to power up an iPhone 8 Plus, a Microsoft Surface tablet, a 12-inch MacBook, or a host of other devices, the Aukey Dual Port USB-C and USB 56.5-Watt Wall Charger is ready to bring the juice. In fact, it can be used to power two devices at once, and even ones that use different types if of cable.

The compact charger has a USB-C port as well as a standard USB output (often called by the retronym USB-A, for reference) that works with Apple lightning cables and all other cords outfitted with a standard USB end.

When not in use, the prongs of this compact charging adaptor can be folded down for easy storage or for packing it into a bag or briefcase. When you are using the Aukey Dual Port USB-C and USB 56.5-Watt Wall Charger, you’ll appreciate the fact that its internal hardware protects your devices against excessive current, overheating, and overcharging.

With about 200 reviews posted on Amazon at the time of this writing, the Aukey Dual Port USB-C and USB 56.5-Watt Wall Charger enjoys a solid four-star averaged rating.

One reviewer named Brandon, a “software developer [who] runs power hungry apps all day at work” reported experiencing “no issues” with the charger over long-term use, even adding that he planned to buy another. As an Aukey charger user myself, I second his enthusiasm.

Also, as even the best wall charger for a smartphone is only as good as the cables you use with it, we recommend Anker’s cables. If you want quick charging with your iPhone, you should buy the Apple USB-C to lightning cable.

Pros: Supports multiple cable types, protects against surges and overcharge, backed by two-year warranty

Cons: Gets warm during use

Buy the Aukey Dual Port USB-C and USB 56.5-Watt Wall Charger on Amazon for $US35


The best wireless charger

Belkin

Why you’ll love it: The Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad quickly powers up any Qi-enabled device, delivering 10 watts of power when you simply lay your phone atop the slender white disc.

If you still had any questions about the future being here already, then perhaps the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad can lay them to rest. Because to use this 10-watt charger, all you need to do is place a Qi-enabled device down atop it to let the safe, swift charging begin.

And don’t worry of said Qi-enabled device has a case, this plucky unit’s inductive charging abilities work fine even with cases up to three millimetres thick.

Ah, but just which devices are Qi-enabled, you ask? Here’s a partial list, just to give you an idea:

  • Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, and XR
  • Sony Xperia XZ3, XZ2, and XZ2 Premium
  • Samsung Galaxy phones
  • LG G7 ThinQ and G6
  • Google Pixel phones

And this list goes on, folks. Also, in the future, more and more devices capable of wireless charging will emerge. But already this impressive, aesthetically pleasing wireless charger is a big hit, with hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon. One user called it “great for the office or bedside” and called the charger “very simple to use.” Another loved that it not only “charged wirelessly,” but also “charges fast.”

In a product test write up, the people from Digital Trends appreciated the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad’s “sleek and circular design” and “easy to see… LED indicator.”

Pros: Amazing ease of use, broad device compatibility, handsome design

Cons: Finding proper phone placement can be annoying

Buy the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad on Amazon for $US55.10

Read our full guide to the best wireless chargers for more picks.


The best desk charger

Amazon

Why you’ll love it: The Twelve South HighRise 2 Charging Stand not only props your phone upright for easy screen viewing, it also charges the thing up.

The Twelve South HighRise 2 Charging Stand can support and charge any iPhone you have. The company also sells a version of the dock with a lightning charging cable included.

It’s hard to say whether the Twelve South HighRise 2 Charging Stand is more noteworthy as a smartphone desk charger or a phone stand. It certainly charges your phone quickly, but the compact but weighty stand is equally impressive for its ability to keep a phone or even a heavier iPad upright with its screen on easy display and its camera at the perfect angle for video calls.

Though most shoppers love this charging stand, leaving reviews packed with comments like: “Great addition to my desk; it’s like adding a second monitor” and “well made, stable, and looks brilliant,” note that some buyers found it rather difficult to connect and even to disconnect devices, so plan for a bit of potential frustration there.

Pros: Minimalist design, creates ideal screen angle, works with myriad iPhones

Cons: Connecting phones can be annoying and usually requires two hands

Buy the Twelve South HighRise 2 Charging Stand on Amazon for $US40

Read our full guide to the best iPhone docks for more picks.


The best car charger

Scosche

Why you’ll love it: The Scosche ReVolt Dual USB Car Charger is a low-cost but high-performance device that channels maximum power from your car’s DC outlet to your compact devices.

First of all, if you’re searching for a car charger that’s also a phone mount, you’re on the hunt for a fine product indeed, but you’re looking in the wrong place. What we’re talking about right now is simply a way to connect a USB-enabled power cord, be it a Lightning cable, Micro USB, or what have you, to your car’s electrical system.

But hey, why connect one device when we can connect two? The ScoscheReVolt Dual USB Car Charger features two USB ports that offer simultaneous 12-volt, 2.4-amp charging, delivering power rapidly to phones, tablets, cameras, and other small to mid-sized devices.

The Scosche ReVolt Dual USB Car Charger has a softly-glowing blue LED light that makes it easy to see the USB ports even in a darkened car and a low profile design that won’t protrude intrusively into the cabin. And this charger also won’t intrude much on your bank account, costing ten bucks as it does.

With an impressive 1,900-plus reviews currently posted on Amazon, the Scosche ReVolt Dual USB Car Charger enjoys a glowing 4.4-star average rating. One owner reports being “very happy to have purchased this” charger and loves how well it works for his “fast charging Android” phone.

Another buyer reports using two of the charges in an SUV and loves that “four people can simultaneously keep their devices charged up.”

The folks from CultofMac called the Scoche ReVolt a “low-profile car charger” that “delivers all the power” most drivers and passengers will need.”

Pros: Great low price, dual USB ports, low profile design

Cons: Sometimes loses contact and requires repositioning

Buy the Scosche ReVolt Dual USB Car Charger on Amazon for $US10

Read our full guide to the best car chargers for more picks.


The best charging station

Satechi

Why you’ll love it: As the name suggests, the Satechi 7-Port USB Charging Station Dock can power up as many as seven devices at the same time, even if some of them are tablets.

A single wall charger is all well and good. A unit with a couple of ports is even better. But for the household or business with multiple devices to power up simultaneously, it’s time to go big. Though actually, thanks to its thoughtful, well-organised design, the Satechi 7-Port USB Charging Station Dock isn’t all that big in terms of desktop real estate. But it’s certainly impressive, what with its ability to juice up seven separate devices at the same time.

And just what devices can it juice up? Pretty much all of them, really. From an iPhone X to a Samsung Galaxy Note S9 to a Google Nexus to various tablets, e-readers, and mini gaming consoles, this handy charger can bring the power with aplomb.

Thanks to surge protection and a smart charging chip that tells which connected devices need power, it does so safely and efficiently, too.

The Satechi 7-Port USB Charging Station Dock has a solid 4.2-star average rating, with a customer named Linnie calling it a “great little device” that allows for ideal cord management and device organisation. An owner named Kina went even farther, gushing that it “maybe the best purchase ever.”

Just note that most phones or tablets with thicker cases, like waterproof shells and wallet-style cases, will not fit into the slots.

Pros: Charges multiple devices at once, excellent device and cord organisation, broad compatibility

Cons: Thicker cases won’t fit

Buy the Satechi 7-Port USB Charging Station Dock on Amazon for $US50

Read our full guide to the best charging stations for more picks.


The best fast charger

Anker

Why you’ll love it: The Anker PowerPort II Wall Charger can power up a drained iPhone 8 Plus in just two hours or a Samsung S8 in just an hour and a half.

What’s so special about a fast charger, you ask? Well … they charge things fast. Like really fast. How? There’s no magic to it, they just work by delivering more power. In fact, the Anker PowerPort II Wall Charger’s USB-C port can output 30 watts of energy, fully charging even larger devices like an iPhone 8 Plus in just two hours. As a guy who has an iPhone 8 Plus, let me tell you that’s impressive charging.

Even the Anker PowerPort II Wall Charger’s standard USB port has a 19.5-watt output, which is hardly shabby. The fact that the ports can work at the same time, delivering 49.5-watts overall? Also not shabby. And when a device is at full charge and no longer needs power, the Anker’s “PowerIQ 2.0” technology will detect your device’s status and adjust output accordingly.

Amazon shoppers have given the Anker PowerPort II Wall Charger a 4.4-star overall rating, with an owner named J.A. speaking for many when he calls it “a very capable and reliable charger.”

The team from ChargerHarbor called the Anker PowerPort II Wall Charger “quite powerful” and praised it as “definitely the one you should consider purchasing.”

Pros: Impressive wattage output, blue light indicates functioning status, dual port types

Cons: Rather bulky

Buy the Anker PowerPort II Wall Charger on Amazon for $US30

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