Wireless chargers can help you tame clutter, let you use a single charger for almost any phone and even spark joy, assuming you’d rather see a sleek charging pad on your counter, desk or nightstand than a rat’s nest of cables. Multi-device chargers can further simplify your setup, giving you a single spot for your phone, smartwatch, wireless headphones or even a second phone. Wireless charging may never be as fast or efficient as wired charging, but it can be a lot more convenient.
We tested 28 wireless chargers to find the best Qi stands and pads, the best MagSafe chargers for iPhone 12 and 13 and the best 3-in-1 Apple chargers that can also charge an Apple Watch and AirPods case.
Best Qi wireless charging pad overall
This sleek, understated 10W charging pad looks better than other chargers in its price range and charges just as well. Its 25W wall adapter has a 5-foot cord for easy placement. Our one quibble is that it uses a barrel connector instead of USB.
A classy 15W wireless charging pad for Android and iPhone
The Otto Q is both stylish and practical, with a luxury-minimal aesthetic that reminds us of high-end audio equipment, and performance to match, giving up to 15W to phones like the OnePlus 9 that support that charge rate. It doesn’t come with a wall adapter, but it uses USB-C, so it’s easy to find one.
Best Qi charging stand
The BoostCharge 15W is reasonably priced, charges well and avoids the pitfalls of many other stands. It connects via USB-C, comes with a wall adapter and, unlike some cheap-looking stands we tested, it looks good enough to fit in anyplace.
Best fast charging stand for Samsung phones
If you have a Samsung phone that can fast charge at 15W, this is the stand you’ll need to get the best charging speed. If you don’t, there’s no reason to buy this.
Best wireless charger for iPhone 12 and 13
The iPhone 12 and 13 can charge twice as fast via MagSafe as they can over standard wireless charging, and the magnets built into the phones and charger ensure perfect alignment every time. Too bad the cable’s so short, though.
Best magnetic Qi charger for iPhone 12 and 13
It doesn’t charge as fast as a MagSafe-certified adapter, but this magnetic wireless charger attaches to MagSafe phones just as securely and has a 5-foot cable, which makes it more useful for bedside or couchside charging.
Best Qi charging bowl/valet tray
A capable 10W Qi charger perched over a plastic bowl. It looks good and is perfect for dumping your pocket’s contents at the end of the day. The fake wood grain and golden underglow give it a certain je ne sais quoi.
Best modular wireless charging system
A mix-and-match wired and wireless charging station that supports everything from headphones to phones to tablets, the BaseLynx can be customized to fit the whole family’s devices.
Best Apple charging station for phones without MagSafe
At $50, the Zens 4-in-1 is an astonishing deal, with two 10W charging pads, an Apple Watch charger and a 5W USB port. And it comes with a 45W USB-PD charger.
A great vertical Qi Apple charging station
If you don’t need MagSafe and prefer a stand that holds your phone in a vertical orientation, the Anker PowerWave is a solid option, though you’ll have to supply your own Watch charging puck.
Best MagSafe Apple charging station
Technically this is the only MagSafe-certified 3-in-1 Apple charger at press time, but we like the sculptural look, with both iPhone and Watch charger suspended gently in the air, plus a spot at the base for your AirPods.
- Maximum charge rate: 10W (9W for Samsung, 7.5W for iPhone)
- AC adapter: 25W, integrated cable
- Cable length and type: 5 feet, integrated with barrel connector
- Dimensions (W x D x H, in inches): 3.35 x 3.35 x 0.5
The Logitech Powered Pad’s reasonable price, good charging performance, understated looks and 5-foot cord make it a solid wireless charger for any room in the house. Most cheaper wireless chargers look cheaper, and plenty of prettier chargers don’t work as well. Its biggest drawback is that it uses a proprietary AC adapter; many other wireless chargers use standard USB cables and wall adapters, which are easier to replace if necessary.
The Powered Pad’s squircle shape, matte finish and four color options (graphite, white, lilac and blue sage) work well with modern and contemporary decor. It has a pinpoint white status LED that stays on while your phone is charging, but it doesn’t blink and isn’t very bright, so it’s tolerable in dark rooms unless you’re a particularly light-sensitive sleeper.
In testing, the Powered Pad delivered 9W to a Samsung S21 Ultra 5G and 7.5W to iPhones, the maximum each can get from a standard Qi charger. It can also charge Qi wireless headphone cases, like the AirPods Pro case, though positioning can be tricky for devices smaller than the charging pad.
At around $30 from Logitech, the Powered Pad costs about as much as an inexpensive 10W Qi pad, plus the 18W USB-A charger needed to power it, but it looks better than any of the cheap ones we tested, and there’s no risk of plugging it into an underpowered wall adapter. The 25W wall adapter ensures the Powered Pad gets enough power, and while it’s quite tall at 2.25 inches, most USB-A chargers that can power a 10W Qi pad are just as tall when the USB cable is plugged in, and most proprietary wall adapters take up more room around the outlet.
If you can tolerate a proprietary power adapter, the Logitech Powered Pad is a great wireless charging pad for a desk, nightstand or dresser. If you prefer a USB connector, want a charging stand rather than a pad or have a recent iPhone, there are more compelling options below.
A classy 15W USB-C wireless charging pad for Android and iPhone: Moshi Otto Q ($39.95 without USB-C adapter; amazon.com)
- Maximum charge rate: 15W (9W for Samsung, 7.5W for iPhone)
- AC adapter: Not included, requires 18W (9V/2A) or greater USB-C PD 3.0 adapter
- Cable length and type: 3.5 feet, USB-C to C
- Dimensions (diameter x height, in inches): 4 x 0.45
If you want a charger you can show off (or at least one that complements your decor), consider the Moshi Otto Q. With its heathered gray fabric top and metal-look case, it resembles Scandinavian hi-fi equipment and doesn’t look out of place on a nightstand, dresser or console table. It can deliver up to 15W to the (vanishingly few) Android phones that support it, 9W to Samsung phones and 7.5W to iPhones.
At 4 inches in diameter, the Otto Q is among the largest charging pads we tested, but it doesn’t feel large, possibly because of the tapered base, and possibly because it’s not a featureless black slab. A grippy rubber ring around the Qi coil helps with phone placement, and a white LED on the front of the pad blinks when your device is charging.
That LED is one of the Otto Q’s few downsides. Its pattern — two fast blinks, then one slow — reads to us more as “there’s a problem” than “I’m charging normally.” Fortunately, it’s not very bright, but the blink could be distracting in a dark bedroom.
The Otto Q is powered via USB-C, and requires an 18W or higher USB-PD charger. If you don’t already have one, we recommend the compact, inexpensive Anker 511 Nano ($13.59; amazon.com). We prefer USB-C rather than USB-A because powerful USB-C chargers are smaller and cheaper than their USB-A equivalents. You’re also more likely to have a 20W USB-C charger hanging around than an 18W USB-A charger, and therefore much less likely to accidentally plug into an underpowered adapter.
Best Qi charging stand: Belkin BoostCharge 15W ($40.53; amazon.com)
- Maximum charge rate: 15W (9W for Samsung, 7.5W for iPhone)
- AC adapter: 24W USB-A Quick Charge 3.0
- Cable length and type: 4 feet, USB-A to C
- Dimensions (W x D x H, in inches): 3.94 x 3.94 x 4.72
The Belkin BoostCharge 15W Is a perfectly fine wireless charging stand. It isn’t exciting, per se, but it lacks the shortcomings of many other stands we tested. First, it connects via USB-C rather than Micro USB like the Anker PowerWave Stand or the 10W Belkin. Unlike the Anker and the YooTech X2, it comes with a USB adapter, in this case 24W USB-A. It supports charge rates up to 15W, if you happen to have an LG V40 or OnePlus 9, or one of the few other Android phones that can hit 15W on a standard charger; it’s also one of the very few wireless charging stands that can exceed 5W on a Google Pixel 3, though few people have those anymore.
The circular base and ovoid stand are inoffensive, as is the matte soft-touch top and (for some reason) glossy black base. It has a white pinpoint charging LED in the front. It doesn’t look as low-budget as the Yootech X2, and the design isn’t as polarizing as the framework stand of the 10 Belkin BoostCharge we tested.
Like most stands we tested, the Belkin BoostCharge 15W can’t charge an iPhone 12 Mini or 13 Mini; the Qi charging coils don’t line up with those smaller phones. We don’t consider that a deal breaker, though, because the 12 and 13 Mini can and should use MagSafe or magnetic Qi chargers instead. It also can’t charge Samsung phones at 15W; fortunately, our next pick can.
Best fast charging stand for Samsung Phones: Samsung 15W Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand ($79.99; bestbuy.com)
- Maximum charge rate: 15W (Samsung only; 10W for other Android, 7.5W for iPhone)
- AC adapter: 25W USB-C “Super Fast Charger”
- Cable length and type: 3 feet, USB-C to C
- Dimensions (W x D x H, in inches): 4.64 x 2.95 x 4.44
If you have a Samsung phone that supports 15W wireless charging, like the Galaxy S10, S20, S21, Note 10, Note 20 or various Folds and Flips, you should get a 15W Samsung Fast Charge charging stand. Other 15W Qi chargers won’t charge Samsung phones at 15W, and the Samsung charger won’t charge other phones at 15W. Sometimes life is like that.
The Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand does charge other Android phones at up to 10W, and iPhones at 7.5W, like most of the other chargers we tested, so it’s still useful in mixed-phone-ecosystem situations, a phrase I can’t believe I typed at 8 p.m. on a Saturday one week before Christmas.
The Samsung is the only charger we tested with an active cooling fan, but you can only control it from a Samsung phone. Also, the status LED glows red when the phone is charging correctly, which is counterintuitive.
Best wireless charger for iPhone 12 and 13: Apple MagSafe Charger ($34; amazon.com or $39.99; apple.com)
- Maximum charge rate: 15W (iPhone 12 and 13 series only; 12W for iPhone 12 Mini and 13 Mini)
- AC adapter: Not included; requires 20W (9V/2.22A) or greater USB-C Power Delivery adapter
- Cable length and type: 39-inch integrated USB-C
- Dimensions (diameter x height, in inches): 2.2 x 0.23
If you have any phone in the iPhone 12 or 13 families — including the Mini, Pro or Pro Max — you should consider a MagSafe charger. Rings of magnets on the charger and the phone ensure perfect alignment, and iPhones can charge at up to 15W on a MagSafe charger, compared to 7.5W on a Qi charger. And unlike with a regular wireless charger, you don’t have to leave your phone sitting around while it’s charging; you can use it normally. It even leaves the Lightning port free for wired headphones. (Whether that’s a good thing depends on your relationship with screen time and is outside the scope of this article).
There are a couple of catches, of course. First, though any Qi charger will charge the phone, and plenty already exist that can attach to the magnetic ring, only certified chargers get MagSafe speeds, and there are very few of them. Apple’s MagSafe Charger costs between $32 and $40, has a paltry 3-foot cable and doesn’t include the 20W USB-C charger you’ll need to use it. Second, if you keep your phone in a case, you’ll need one that’s MagSafe-compatible. That’s not a huge deal; plenty of Apple and third-party cases work. And third, MagSafe charging can output a lot of heat, which will cause the charge rate to drop until the phone’s internal temperature goes down.
Oh, and the iPhone 12 Mini and 13 Mini are capped at 12W charging via MagSafe, rather than 15W, for heat dissipation reasons.
Still, if you have a MagSafe-compatible phone and want fast wireless charging, it’s worth getting a MagSafe charger. If you’re interested in the magnetic part but don’t mind a slower charge, you can also consider a magnetic Qi charger like the one we recommend below.
Best magnetic Qi charger for iPhone 12 and 13: Anker 313 Magnetic Wireless Charger Pad With USB-C Charger ($22.99; amazon.com)
- Maximum charge rate: 7.5W for iPhone, 10W for Android (but see text)
- AC adapter: 20W USB-C Power Delivery
- Cable length and type: 5 feet integrated USB-C
- Dimensions (diameter x height, in inches): 2.36 x 0.35
If you don’t have an iPhone 12 or 13, there’s no reason to buy a magnetic Qi charger. They attach to the ring of magnets in MagSafe-compatible phones, but they’re regular Qi chargers, so they’re limited to 7.5W. Unlike MagSafe chargers, which deliberately drop their charging to a snail’s pace if they detect non-iPhones (thanks, Apple!), magnetic Qi chargers will charge other phones just fine, but since those other phones lack the magnetic ring, they’re harder to align than a regular Qi charger.
The reason to buy a magnetic Qi charger, then, is if you have a MagSafe phone but want something you can’t get with an official MagSafe charger, like a cord that’s more than 3 feet long.
For that very specific use case, the Anker 313 Magnetic Wireless Charger Pad is pretty good! It has a 5-foot cord, which is 2 more feet than Apple gives you, it’s only a little larger than the MagSafe charger and instead of costing $30 to $40 without a USB-C wall adapter, it’s $23 and comes with a 20W USB-C charger that costs around $15 by itself. That means the Anker charging pad costs about $8. Eight bucks!
Anker’s charging pad and cord are less bulky than the one on the Belkin Wireless Magnetic Charger, and its magnets are much stronger than the Mophie Snap+. If you want a bedside or couchside charger with longer reach than Apple’s MagSafe and don’t mind the slower charging, it’s a good deal.
- Maximum charge rate: 10W (7.5W for iPhone)
- AC adapter: 24W USB-A
- Cable length and type: 58-inch USB-A to C
- Dimensions (diameter x height, in inches): 7 x 2.36
Does anyone need a wireless charging bowl with yellow underglow, fake wood grain on the outside and fake copper (or faux terra cotta?) on the inside? I don’t know. But I tested 28 wireless chargers for this article and the Tylt Bowl was the only one that sparked joy.
The Tylt is a plastic bowl, about 7 inches in diameter, with a 10W Qi charging pedestal in the middle at about rim height. The inside is a semi-glossy copper colored plastic, while the outside has an unconvincing wood grain pattern. A golden light shines down into the bowl from the stand when your phone is charging.
The light will probably be too much if you charge your phone in your bedroom at night. I charge mine in my bathroom (I’m trying to keep my phone out of the bedroom), so the underglow makes a perfect night light, and the bowl is a great holding place for my wallet, various pocket knives, arguably too much jewelry for a 36-year-old father of three and other pocket contents. The overall effect is a bit like a video game loot drop, or someone trying to make a point about the veneration we give our phones.
There are other classy ways to combine a wireless charger and a pocket dump/valet tray, like the Courant Catch:3 ($100; amazon.com), and sure, they can spark a different kind of joy: the quiet joy of a tasteful, well-appointed accessory. But sometimes you need the big dumb joy of a wireless charging bowl with fake wood grain.
- Maximum charge rate: 10W (7.5W for iPhone), 12W USB-A (x3), 18W USB-C Power Delivery (x2), 5W Apple Watch
- AC adapter: 5-foot AC cable
- Cable length and type: 1-foot USB-C to C; 1-foot USB-C to Lightning
- Dimensions (W x D x H, in inches): 13.2 x 5.7 x 1
The Scosche BaseLynx Modular Charging System is a great way to make a family charging station for all your devices, whether or not they support wireless charging. If you only want a single Qi charging pad, you can get it for around $50, but if that’s all you need, there are less expensive, less bulky options. The appeal of the BaseLynx is that you can add modules as needed and power them all with a single AC cable.
We tested the Pro Kit, which starts at $146.96 in black ($199.95 in white, as tested). It consists of a 10W Qi charging pad; Apple Watch charging module; the Vert, which holds three devices vertically and has an 18W USB-C port and two 12W USB-A ports; and the EndCap, which adds another 18W USB-C port and 12W USB-A port. With all these modules, the BaseLynx kit is large, at more than 13 inches wide and almost 6 inches deep. But we were able to charge a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra on the Qi pad, an Apple Watch, an iPad, an iPhone 12 Mini, an iPhone 11 and a Google Pixel 3 at the same time. And we could still fit a second Qi charger and a second Apple Watch charger before running out of power overhead.
If you have the space, and the need, to charge a half dozen or more devices at once, the BaseLynx system is worth considering. If your needs are more modest, you can save space and money with something more compact. Scosche tells us a MagSafe module is coming soon, but as of December 2021 it is not yet available.
- Maximum charge rate: 10W (7.5W for iPhone) on each Qi pad; 5W for each USB port
- AC adapter: 45W USB-C Power Delivery
- Cable length and type: 3-foot USB-C to C
- Dimensions (W x D x H, in inches): 7.3 x 3.5 x .43
If you have an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods, it makes sense to get a charging station that can handle all three at once. But in 2022, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on one that doesn’t support MagSafe; if you have an Apple Watch and AirPods but an iPhone 11 or earlier, there’s a good chance you’ll upgrade to a newer phone before long, and that phone will have MagSafe. So after testing six Qi Apple charging stations, which ranged in price from $40 to $150, we recommend the Zens 4-in-1 if it stays near $50, or the Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 if it’s still around $40.
The original price of the Zens 4-in-1, around $140, is more than anyone should pay for a 3-in-1 charger without MagSafe in the year of Luigi 2022. But it’s been around $50 recently, and at that price it’s a steal. The Zens 4-in-1 has two 10W Qi charging zones and two 5W USB ports. It can charge two phones at 10W each (one in portrait, one in landscape), plus an Apple Watch and a low-powered USB accessory, like a set of Bluetooth headphones.
The Zens comes with a 1-foot Apple Watch charging cable, which plugs into its rear USB port and slots into a holder on the back right of the pad. There’s no cable management at all, so that cord is just hanging out there. It doesn’t look great, but it also means you can remove and reuse the cable easily (though the Apple Watch adapter clip is permanently affixed, unlike the one on the Mophie Wireless Charging Stand+).
There’s no divot, dimple or other easy way to align a headphone case to either charging pad — we had some trouble getting a set of AirPods Pro to charge at first — but both pads can charge at up to 10W, rather than limiting one to 5W, as most charging stations do. This adds to the Zens’ longevity. The 45W USB-PD charger and braided USB-C cable are also usable elsewhere. Not that you should buy a charging pad you’re planning to part out, but it’s much more sustainable than, say, the Logitech Powered 3-in-1 or the Mophie 3-in-1, which both cost over $140 and have proprietary AC adapters and nonremovable Apple Watch chargers.
- Maximum charge rate: Stand: 10W (7.5W for iPhone); Pad: 5W; Watch: 5W
- AC adapter: 18W USB-A Quick Charge 2.0, included
- Cable length and type: 58-inch USB-A to C
- Dimensions (W x D x H, in inches): 6.5 x 3.75 x 4.25
If you’d rather look at your phone in vertical mode and don’t mind supplying your own Apple Watch charging puck, consider the Anker PowerWave 3-in-1. It’s a step down from the Zens in most respects — its charger is less powerful, the headphone charging area is limited to 5W and partially blocks the view of the Apple Watch and it doesn’t include an Apple Watch charging cable. But it’s the next best option if the Zens isn’t available at the current steep discount.
The Anker PowerWave 3-in-1 has a 10W Qi charging stand, a 5W Qi pad for wireless AirPod cases and a stand with a slot for an Apple Watch charger. The Apple Watch charger isn’t included. Instead, Anker provides an internal USB port under the bottom cover, along with a clever routing system for the 3-foot charging cable the Apple Watch comes with.
Unfortunately, the AirPod charging area is right in front of the Watch charger, so the headphone case will partially block your view of the Watch in nightstand mode. There’s also no divot or indicator to help with AirPod case placement; you just have to make sure the pad’s charging indicator lights up.
The 18W USB-A charger included with the PowerWave 3-in-1 is less powerful and less useful than the 45W USB-PD one that comes with the Zens, but it’s still streets ahead of any proprietary charger.
This may sound like faint praise compared to the Zens, but if the Zens isn’t heavily marked down, the Anker is the better buy if you don’t want to wait until you have a MagSafe phone.
- Maximum charge rate: MagSafe: 15W (12W for iPhone 12 Mini and 13 Mini); Watch: 5W; Pad: 5W
- AC adapter: 15V/2.67A AC adapter with integrated cable
- Cable length and type: 59-inch, barrel connector
- Dimensions (diameter x height, in inches): 5.3 x 5.3
The Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 looks like a sculpture or a jewelry store window display. Its MagSafe-certified charging pad and Apple Watch charger are suspended on slim metal arms above its base, so your watch and phone float in the air, while your AirPods charge in an indentation in the matte white base. It’s one of the most striking designs we’ve seen; it’s also the only MagSafe-certified 3-in-1 charger available (though a new Belkin 3-in-1 MagSafe charging pad is up for preorder now), and there are plenty of stands that require you to bring your own MagSafe charger; we haven’t tested those.
In our testing, the MagSafe pad delivered 12W charging to an iPhone 12 Mini (non-Minis can expect 15W) while charging the Watch and AirPods as well. The Belkin connects to its proprietary 40W charger via a 5-foot cable with a barrel connector. We’d prefer USB-C, but proprietary adapters are common in multi-device chargers. There’s no charging indicator for the watch or MagSafe pads, just the Qi pad on the base, but charging indicators aren’t that important for magnetic chargers since you can’t really misalign them.
At $150, the BoostCharge Pro is expensive, and it takes up a lot of room, with a 5.3-inch-diameter base; both phone and watch extend past the base’s edges when charging. But thanks to its slim metal support arm, it doesn’t look bulky. It also doesn’t support fast charging for the Apple Watch Series 7, though Belkin’s new 3-in-1 will.
If your smartphone or headphones charge wirelessly, they probably use the Qi induction charging standard. All iPhones released since 2017 support Qi, as do most (but not all) Android smartphones, especially high-end ones. You can stick your phone on any Qi charger and expect it to charge, but if you make sure your charger supports your phone’s maximum charge rate, you’ll get faster charging and less frustration.
Any Qi charger you can buy will charge your device at 5W, which is to say slowly. Most current Android phones support wireless charging at up to 9W or 10W. Some can hit 15W on a standard 15W Qi charger; others, like certain Samsung and OnePlus phones, support higher wireless charging rates but only using their own chargers. If you’re not sure what charge rates your phone supports, check the manufacturer’s specification page for your phone.
The iPhone 8 and newer can charge via Qi at up to 7.5W, but the iPhone 12 and 13 series also support MagSafe, Apple’s proprietary magnetic wireless charging standard, at up to 15W (12W for the 12 Mini and 13 Mini).
Regardless of the phone, induction charging isn’t as fast as wired charging. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, which we used for testing, can charge via USB-C at 25W. Samsung’s wireless chargers can hit 15W; on a standard Qi charger, it’s limited to 9W. So it’ll charge almost three times faster with a cable than on a wireless charger. The iPhone 13 can charge at up to 20W via Lightning cable, 15W on MagSafe and just 7.5W on a standard wireless charger. If you’re in a hurry, plug it in.
Wireless charging is also energy inefficient — by some calculations it takes 40% more energy to charge a phone wirelessly than by plugging it in. Every 10W wireless charger we tested required at least a 15W wall adapter.
But wireless charging is convenient and requires less messing around with cables. It also means households with more than one type of phone can all use the same chargers. And for overnight charging, or any time you don’t need the absolute fastest charge, it’s a nice option to have.
We tested a total of 28 wireless chargers: 12 single-device Qi chargers, eight multi-device Qi chargers, four magnetic Qi chargers and four MagSafe devices.
We tested every Qi charger with an iPhone 11, an iPhone 12 Mini, a Google Pixel 3 (which is limited to 5W charging except on specific chargers, where it can hit 10) and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, which (bear with us) can charge at up to 9W or 10W on certain Qi chargers, and up to 15W on Samsung Fast Charge 2.0 chargers.
If the charger came with a wall adapter, we used it; if not, we made sure to use one that gave sufficient juice to the Qi charger.
We measured power draw from the wall using a TP-Link Kasa smart power strip ($49.99; amazon.com), taking wireless charging overhead into account. To ensure each phone was getting its highest possible charge rate, we kept the batteries below 40% by running 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme stress test, which devours around 10% of the phone’s charge in 20 minutes.
- Size and shape: Since wireless chargers sit out on display, they might as well look good and not take up too much room.
- Materials: What is the charger surface made of? Does it help with heat management? How does it feel? Does it collect dust or fingerprints?
- Ease of positioning: If your phone’s induction coil isn’t aligned with the charging coil, it could charge very slowly or not at all. We checked how easy it was to place each phone on each charger; for stands, we checked both portrait and landscape mode. For devices with multiple charging zones, we paid special attention to how tricky it was to align the case for the Apple AirPods Pro, which can charge via Qi or MagSafe.
- Power requirements: Wireless charging is inefficient. A 10W Qi charger requires at least 15W of input power. We checked every charger’s power requirements and its AC adapter, if included.
- Cable length: A longer cable lets you put the charger farther from an outlet. Simple.
- Charging indicators: A status LED can tell you if your phone is charging, if an obstacle is detected or if it’s fully charged. But a too bright LED or one that blinks or changes color can be distracting in dark rooms, and one that’s in a weird place may be blocked by the device. Many chargers we tested turn off their status LEDs after a few seconds, which is nice for bedrooms but does mean that if your phone isn’t aligned properly, you may not realize until morning that it didn’t charge.
- Power connectors: Every wireless charger we tested connected to its adapter via Micro USB, USB-C or a barrel connector integrated into a proprietary charger. USB-C is best, since great compact 20W USB-PD and Quick Charge 3.0 adapters cost as little as $14, and USB-C to C cables are reliable and easy to find. Barrel connectors tend to have bulky wall adapters and are harder to replace if something goes wrong but do ensure that the charger is getting enough power from the wall. Micro USB is the worst of both worlds. Micro USB to C cables aren’t allowed in the USB spec, so every charger we tested that connects via Micro USB requires an 18W (9V/2A) USB-A wall adapter, which most people don’t have lying around. If you plug your wireless charger into an underpowered adapter, it’ll be excruciatingly slow. It’s easy enough to get an 18W USB-A wall adapter like the Anker PowerPort+ 1 ($13.59; amazon.com), but they’re bulkier than 20W USB-C adapters, and less useful
- Charge rate: Does the charger deliver as much power as it claims? Does it hit the maximum input rate of the device being charged?
- Heat management: Does the charger or device get too warm? Can it dissipate heat effectively?
- Coil whine: Many wall adapters, and some Qi chargers, can make a high-pitched noise when powered. Sometimes it’s down to the individual unit; we’ve tested plenty of identical chargers where one unit whines and the other doesn’t. And not everyone is bothered by coil whine; some people don’t even hear it. Still, we noted any coil whine we found.
Anker PowerWave Base Pad ($19.99; amazon.com)
This bar-shaped pad couldn’t deliver full power to any of the four phones we tried it with, and at 5.8 inches by 2.8 inches by .47 inches, it’s as large as many smartphones, which Anker claims helps with phone alignment. It doesn’t include an AC adapter; by the time you add one, it costs as much as more powerful, better-looking options.
Mophie 15W Charging Pad ($40.53; amazon.com)
This compact 15W charger performed as well as the Logitech Powered Pad and Moshi Otto Q on our tests (though we didn’t have a 15W phone to test with). If you prefer a status indicator that turns off after a few seconds, or like the look, it’s a decent option, though the AC adapter (integrated to the barrel connector) is a bit bulky, and the faux suede top tends to look disheveled unless you brush the nap in the same direction. We prefer chargers that don’t require brushing. The Logitech Powered Pad costs less and feels more substantial, while the more expensive Moshi Otto Q also supports 15W charging but uses USB-C, so it’s more flexible, and we think it looks better.
Courant Catch:1 Essentials ($40; staycourant.com)
The Catch:1 Essentials 10W single-device charger is beautiful, with a linen top, matte soft-touch sides and a color-matched USB-C to A cable (though no AC adapter). It has a white pinpoint charging indicator at the rear of the pad, next to the USB port; it won’t bother you at night, but it’s also hard to see without rotating the pad.
At $40 without the AC charger, the Catch:1 Essentials is around the same price as the Moshi Otto Q, though because it uses a C to A cable instead of C to C, the Courant is a little less flexible. (You can always swap cables, but then you lose the color-matching.) If you like the style and don’t mind the price, it’s a good option, and may be the one linen thing in your house that doesn’t need to be ironed.
Qi wireless charging stands
Belkin BoostCharge 10W ($34.99; amazon.com)
The 10W Belkin BoostCharge looks less like a charging stand and more like someone put a circular charging pad on an odd frame. Many other reviewers love it, and it does hit its advertised charging rates. It comes with an 18W USB-A charger (our unit had noticeable coil whine) and a 4-foot Micro USB to C cable. If you like the look, or at least don’t mind it, it’s a decent option, but Belkin’s 15W charger is around the same price and has a more conventional, if bland, look.
Yootech X2 ($13.59; amazon.com)
The Yootech X2 stand has a few things going for it. It doesn’t come with a wall adapter, but at least it connects via USB-C rather than Micro USB, which is rare for a wireless charger this inexpensive. It’s one of the few stands we tested that can charge an iPhone 12 Mini in portrait mode, and it’s one of even fewer chargers that can charge a Pixel 3 at 10W instead of 5W. It works fine, but the semigloss black finish and LED charging indicator, which wraps around the entire base of the stand and glows green, seem to have fallen out of the late 1990s.
Anker PowerWave Base Stand ($19.49; amazon.com)
If you already have an 18W USB-A charger, the Anker PowerWave Base Stand can save you some money. It comes with a 4-foot Micro USB cable but no wall adapter. Like most stands we tested, it can’t charge an iPhone 12 Mini, and the blue charging indicator ring may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it charges other iPhones and Androids at up to 10W, and its design is better than many other budget stands.
Belkin Magnetic Portable Wireless Charger ($39.99; amazon.com)
Belkin’s magnetic Qi adapter has a 6-foot cord rather than 5 (Anker) or 3 (Apple); its cord is also thicker, which could feel reassuringly solid or unnecessarily bulky, depending on your preferences. The charging pad, at .47 inches, is also twice as thick as Apple’s or Mophie’s, and half again as thick as Anker’s. It’s also the only one with a status LED. It comes with a 20W USB-C charger like the Anker and Mophie.
Mophie Snap+ Wireless Charger ($34.99; amazon.com)
Don’t get this. The magnets are much weaker than any other magnetic Qi charger we tested and barely hold in place. It comes with one of Mophie’s magnetic ring sticker adapters, which you can use to make a non-MagSafe phone compatible with magnetic Qi chargers, but it barely sticks to those either, and they interfere with other accessories.
Anker 623 MagGo 2-in-1 Wireless Charging Station ($79.99; amazon.com)
The Anker 623 MagGo is the most interesting charging stand we tested. It’s a surprisingly heavy violet-colored cylinder with a MagSafe-compatible Qi charger on top. That top flips forward up to 60 degrees to become a charging stand for MagSafe phones and reveals a second Qi charging pad underneath. That 5W charging pad is meant for AirPods, though in our testing it was able to charge phones as well, albeit slowly. And of course the main charging pad is limited to 7.5W for iPhones; it’s “MagGo,” not MagSafe.
The 623 also comes in blue, white and dark gray, and includes a 5-foot USB-C to C cable and 20W USB-C charger. There are plenty of more practical magnetic charging stands for iPhones, and some that are actually MagSafe certified. But this one’s fun, and it does what it’s supposed to. For plenty of people that’ll be enough.
Courant Catch:2 Essentials ($79.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
The Catch:2 Essentials is a five-coil Qi charger that can charge up to two devices at once. It’s striking, with a “Belgian linen” top surface and color-matched USB-C to A charging cable. Unlike the Catch:1, it comes with an AC adapter, a color-matched 18W USB-A brick. Its five charging coils means you don’t have to be as precise about positioning as you would with a single-coil charger, though it can only charge two devices at once.
While it can charge a phone at up to 10W (9W for Samsung, 7.5W for iPhone) as well as a wireless charging case or other Qi device, it can’t do two phones at their top charge rates due to the 18W charger. (Wireless charging is inefficient; getting 7.5W to the phone requires 10W to 11W of power from the wall). Our test charger’s AC adapter also had notable coil whine.
Mophie Wireless Charging Stand+ ($76.41; amazon.com)
This pad and stand combo can charge iPhones at up to 7.5W and compatible Android phones at up to 10W (9W for Samsung phones), and it can do so to two phones at once. It doesn’t come with an Apple Watch charger, but it does include an adapter for one that clips to the back left or center of the pad; the Watch charger plugs into a USB port at the rear. There’s no cable routing, though, and Mophie’s proprietary charger is bulky and ours had notable coil whine.
Mophie 3-in-1 WIreless Charging Stand ($139.95; amazon.com)
We like the clever Apple Watch charging puck, but this stand is just too expensive for what it offers. The proprietary charging brick showed up with something rattling around inside; we used the identical charger from the Mophie Wireless Charging Stand+, above, which suffered from coil whine.
Logitech Powered 3-in-1 Charging Dock ($148.38; amazon.com)
The Logitech Powered 3-in-1 Dock, with its sci-fi curves, was the best-looking multi-device Qi charger we tested, though it takes up a decent amount of room, and it’s expensive. The pad and stand can each charge at up to 10W at the same time (7.5W for iPhones, 9W for some Samsung phones), though small phones (like the iPhone 12 Mini) can’t charge on the stand. Amazon reviewers complain that the watch charger angle is too vertical, so Apple Watches with heavy bands fall off, though I didn’t experience this with my (lightweight) Sport Band. The proprietary AC adapter is a bit bulky but has a 6-foot cable that helps with positioning.
Though we love the design of the Logitech Powered 3-in-1, it costs more than most people should pay for a non-MagSafe 3-in-1 charging station, unless you have enough other Qi charging devices to justify it, or you love the design enough.
Satechi Trio ($119.99; bestbuy.com)
We like that the Satechi Trio comes with an Apple Watch charger, and that it folds flat for storage. It comes with a 24W USB-C charger, which is nice. But the Trio is larger than other 3-in-1 charging pads we tested, and since the top is metal, it’s clanky and unpleasant to use on phones without cases.
Belkin MagSafe 2-in-1 15W Fast Charging ($96.10; amazon.com)
One of the few third-party MagSafe chargers, this shares the sci-fi pedestal design of the Belkin Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1 but drops the Apple Watch charger. It’s a good choice if you don’t have an Apple Watch but do have a MagSafe phone and earbuds with a wireless charging case. Surely dozens of people.
Apple MagSafe Duo Charger ($129; apple.com)
The MagSafe Duo Charger is clever, compact and incredibly expensive for what it does. It can charge a MagSafe phone (at up to 14W) and an Apple Watch at the same time, then fold into a 75-millimeter-by-80-millimeter-by-15-millimeter square. It connects via a USB-C to Lightning cable, which is included, but requires a 20W or greater USB-C charger, which isn’t. Well-heeled frequent flyers could consider it, especially if you can write it off, but business travel isn’t exactly booming again. Maybe if it were half the price!
Read more from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing: