Wireless charging is becoming increasingly common in the latest Android phones and even iPhones. Here are the best Qi wireless chargers for compatible handsets.
Apple’s iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X are the first from the company to feature wireless charging, but many Android phones have supported the new charging method for a while now. Most use the same Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) charging standard, so wireless chargers will work for both iPhone and Android. Here, we round-up some of the best wireless chargers you can buy.
Which phones feature wireless charging?
Wireless charging for smartphones isn’t a new thing, so you might be surprised to find out how many current phones support it. Also see our roundup of the best solar chargers.
In addition to the three new iPhones we’ve mentioned, Samsung’s phones all the way back to the Galaxy S6 have had built-in Qi, as do Google’s Nexus 4, 5 and 6; several LG phones including the LG G6 (in the US); Motorola Droid phones; several Lumia models; and the BlackBerry Priv and Z30.
Best wireless chargers
There are quite a few wireless chargers out there, so it can be tricky to know which to buy. Some have faster charging capabilities, but not all phones do, so it’s worth checking what your phone supports. For example, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus currently support up to 5W, but will get an update to support up to 7.5W (like the iPhone X) later this year. Some Samsung phones support up to 15W.
Most wireless chargers claim to be “fast” but it’s worth checking on the actual wattage. Look out for 7.5W or more for the fastest charging. That said, some older or cheaper phones won’t charge any faster at 7.5W than 5W.
But beyond that, they’re all largely similar, so the deciding factor could come down to price. Some might be able to charge multiple devices at once, and some will have additional features such as a stand or car mount.
Apple is working on its own wireless charging pad called AirPower, which will be big enough and smart enough to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods at once. We expect it’ll come at a high price, and it’s not set to arrive until next year, but if you’ve got an iPhone and are willing to wait we expect it’ll be a popular choice.
Anker PowerWave 7.5W Pad
Anker is one of the best known names in affordable charging tech, but this Qi wireless charger is a tad more expensive than some of the other examples in our list. Why is that?
One of the things that really appeals to us about this wireless charger is it caters to everyone, and can really ramp up the speed when you’re in a rush.
It supports 7.5W wireless charging for the latest iPhones, but can also accommodate the faster 10W charging of some Android phones such as those from Samsung. If that’s still not enough, the bundled charger (itself not always a given) is a Quick Charge 3.0 model that will in a short space of time boost your mobile power significantly.
You might think wireless charging pads are all more or less the same, bar the amount of power they can direct to your phone. This Anker is better designed than most, however, with a fan in its base that ensures it will never overheat no matter how long you leave your phone to charge.
It also has a matte surface that will stop your phone accidentally getting knocked off its surface, and a small LED activity light that won’t be obtrusive at night. It can charge through cases up to 5mm.
Anker PowerWave 7.5W Stand
The Anker PowerWave 7.5W Stand is in specification identical to the PowerWave Pad you’ll have just read about. It has a slightly different upright docking design that makes it more convenient for using your phone while it charges, which accounts for the few pounds extra in cost. Its slimline design is almost exactly the same width as the Galaxy S8 we’re testing it with.
It has the same light grey grippy surface, unobtrusive activity LED, and fan built into its base to prevent overheating. And it also ships with a Quick Charge 3.0 USB adaptor for when even the 10W output isn’t fast enough.
You should note that both models will work with a standard USB charger, though the LED will flash blue. In order to get the maximum 10W from the stand you must ensure the USB adaptor you use is also capable of delivering 10W.
Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad
The Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad is a really nice-looking option that comes with an LED to let you know when it’s charging and an AC adapter in the box.
It was one of the two chargers Apple endorsed during its iPhone launch event.
It uses the latest Qi wireless standard that delivers up to 7.5W to an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. It will charge through most cases – up to 3mm thick.
It is on the pricey side though – there are much cheaper alternatives available.
Mophie Wireless Charging Base
The second charger to be mentioned by Apple during the iPhone event was Mophie’s Wireless Charging Base, which comes in the form of a simple black disk, also with an LED light and AC adapter.
It’s the same price as Belkin’s offering, so not the cheapest available but from an Apple-endorsed vendor, and also offers quick-charging speeds with up to 7.5W of power.
Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 Dock
Anker’s PowerPort Wireless 5 Dock (£18.99 from Amazon) doubles up as a stand, allowing you to more easily use your smartphone as it charges. Although it has a 5W output, Anker claims that it can charge faster than most 5W wireless chargers and can cut 40 minutes off the charging time for an iPhone X (3.5 hours rather than 3.9 hours). It does not, however, support 7.5W charging like the more expensive wireless chargers reviewed here.
Nicely designed, with a blue circular LED at the front to let you know everything is working, the PowerPort 5 is even powerful enough to charge through cases up to 5mm in thickness. Charging is possible with the smartphone in both landscape and portrait mode.
Anker PowerPort Wireless 5 Pad
Coming in a pound cheaper at £17.99 is a second option from Anker that functions as a standard wireless charging pad rather than a stand. The beauty of this design is you can throw your phone down at any angle and charging begins.
Something we particularly like about the Anker is its design. It has a nice rubberised surface that prevents your phone slipping off, and the LED that lets you know charging is in operation is small enough that it won’t distract you at night.
It’s a bit faster than the dock, and as with that device promises to shave precious minutes (30, to be exact) off the charging time when compared to other wireless pads with the same 5W output. Anker claims you can charge an iPhone X in 3.2 hours, whereas other chargers will require 3.5 hours. It will also charge through cases up to 5mm in thickness.
Choetech Wireless Charger
The cheapest charger in this round-up comes from Choetech, which offers a really simple 5W Qi charger pad for around £10 on Amazon.
It has non-slip grips on the top and bottom to make sure your phone and the pad itself stays in place on your bedside table or on your desk, and there’s a small LED on the front to indicate that the phone is charging successfully.
Anker Wireless Charging Pad
Also a really affordable option, the 5W Anker Wireless Charging Pad has a nice design with LEDs all the way round to allow you to check whether your phone is charging at a glance.
It’s clear to see why this is a bestseller on Amazon, with a good price tag, practical design and fast charging capabilities too.
WoodPuck: Bamboo Edition Qi Wireless Charger
If you’re looking for something that looks less like tech, you might like the WoodPuck: Bamboo Edition charger.
It’s a really simple design, made with bamboo rather than a plastic to help it blend in more with your home. It’s available in Cappuccino or Espresso colours, and has an affordable price tag, too.
It’s rated at 5W charging power.
Samsung Fast Charging Wireless Stand
The Samsung Wireless Charging Stand will work with more than just Samsung devices, so don’t let that put you off if you’re planning to use it to charge an iPhone.
Instead of being a charging pad like many of the other products in this round-up, you’ll get a stand that allows you to prop up the phone in a viewing position while it charges, perhaps on your desk so that you don’t need to pick it up to see notifications.
It’s fast-charge compatible, too – although we couldn’t find definite conformation that it charges at 7.5W rather than 5W.
HyperDrive USB-C Hub and Wireless Charger
The HyperDrive by Sanho is a fully crowdfunded 8-in-1 USB-C Hub with wireless charging.
It uses the Qi wireless charging standard and supports 7.5W high speed iPhone 8/X wireless charging (three coils). It also supports 5/10/15W high speed Android wireless charging.
You can lay your phone flat on the charger or in landscape or portrait mode with the convertible phone stand. The HyperDrive can connect either to a USB-C laptop or mains power, and boasts eight ports: 4K HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, microSD, SD, three USB 3.1, and USB-C Power.
Its Kickstarter price is $159 (plus $20 shipping outside the US), but there are pledges starting at $109 for one HyperDrive.