Most people have numerous gadgets nowadays: from phones, laptops, and tablets, to smartwatches, headphones, and a slew of smart devices. Everything needs to be charged or plugged in, and most houses don’t have enough power outlets. Multi-port chargers and desktop charging stations make a huge difference in this situation. Here’s everything you need to know about charging stations and some of the best options you can get!
What to look for
- Is the brand trustworthy? Choosing a reputable brand is important. A good device is more likely to last through countless charging cycles. We highly recommend Anker, and there a few charging stations from the company in the list below. However, there are tons of other great brands.
- What ports does it have? Most new third-party charging stations come with USB-C ports. You will likely get the fastest charging possible with these. Of course, it also depends on the charging cables you have. So, if you have a USB-A to USB-C/microUSB cable, you’ll want something with USB-A ports.
- How many ports do you need? Are you looking to top up multiple devices with a single charger? A charger with 10-ports sounds fantastic to cover all your needs but will take up a lot of room on your desk. Some options also come with both USB ports and built-in power outlets. Charging stations aren’t usually the most portable, but there are certainly some that you can toss in a travel bag.
- What kind of devices do you need to charge? You will likely want to charge more than just smartphones and tablets with a charging station. You’ll need to look into the specifications of your device and the charging station. A few options below will let you power external monitors, laptops, and PCs as well.
- How fast is it going to charge? Fast charging is a standard feature at this point, albeit with varying degrees of capability. A third-party charger is unlikely to offer the same speeds as proprietary charging tech like VOOC. You’ll have to know whether your phone supports standards like Qualcomm’s Quick Charge and USB-PD (Power Delivery) to find the right charger to make use of this feature.
A note about third-party accessories
Research is necessary before buying any mobile accessory. It’s especially important with charging accessories because a bad charger could damage your device. Before you buy an accessory from a brand you’re not familiar with, be sure to check for the following:
- Look through owner-submitted reviews on sites like Amazon. What are people saying? Do these quick reviews look legitimate? They may be paid or sponsored submissions if they are super vague and poorly written.
- Look for oddities. For example, if the product reviews aren’t actually for the product! This happens a lot with 3rd party charging accessories from obscure brands. A 5-star review of a protein powder is not what you want to see when trying to buy charging stations.
- Familiarize yourself with the return policy of the product. While many products have return periods, some might only have a replacement window, in which case a refund won’t be possible.
- We’re here to help! Android Authority has a guide for various charging accessories and more, including this one for charging stations.
The best portable charging stations
Anker Powerport Atom PD 4
The Anker Powerport PD 4 can do it all! It’s equipped with two USB-C PD ports that intelligently allocate power to ensure an even charge, and you also get two standard USB ports. With 100W charging, you can charge certain laptops, the Nintendo Switch, and of course, smartphones, and tablets, without issue.
The Satechi USB wall charger also comes with two USB-C options and two USB-A ones. The USB-C ports combine for 108W of total charging, while the USB-A options add 12W between them. It’s an easy way to charge all of your devices at once, but be ready for some varied speeds. A convenient LED light indicates when your devices are charging, and its sleek gray finish won’t look out of place next to a Dell XPS 13 or Macbook Pro.
Charging stations with AC outlets
Anker surge protector power strip
Anker is back on the list with a full-blown power strip. It plugs into the wall, and the six-foot cable allows you to place the charging station wherever you need it on your desk. One 45W USB-C port, two 15W USB-A ports, and three more AC options are available. It’s pretty much the ultimate charging station thanks to the flexibility that it provides. The capsule design looks pretty great on a desk as well.
Belkin Wall Mount
The Belkin Wall Mount is a great way to cover all your charging needs while not taking up space on your desk. The charger comes with two USB-C ports, one at 50W and the other at 18W, and two AC outlets. Its safety features will keep all the devices you’ve plugged in safe from overheating, overcharging, and excessive current.
Wireless charging stations
Yootech 3-in-1 wireless charging station: For Android / Samsung users
The Yootech wireless charging station is ideal for smartphones and mobile accessories like wireless earbuds and smartwatches. If you have a Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, the Galaxy Buds Plus, and a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, you can charge all three with this single wireless charging pad.
Belkin wireless charging station
You can charge iPhones and Airpods with the Yootech, but you’re better off with the Belkin wireless charging station if you also have an Apple Watch. It lets you charge phones, wireless earbuds, and an Apple Watch simultaneously. Intelligent safety features automatically cut off the power when necessary. The wireless charging station also lets you take advantage of the Apple Watch’s nightstand mode.