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The best wireless chargers: A buyer's guide
There are few things as convenient as dropping your phone on a wireless charging pad or placing it on a stand to top it off. The convenience of being able to pick up the phone, answer a call, and plop it back to charge without fiddling with cables can’t be overstated. Luckily, there is a wide variety of wireless chargers and charging accessories you can get for your phone.
What to look for when buying a wireless charger
As is the case with any accessory, there are a few factors to consider before buying a wireless charger.
- What type of charger do you need? The two most common types of wireless chargers available now are pads or stands. A pad might be the better option for a nightstand, while a stand will be great on a work desk.
- How fast does it charge? A standard Qi charging pad may take a really long time to fully charge a device. To get the fastest charging possible, a first-party charger is definitely the better way to go. Some third-party chargers offer fast charging capabilities, but that’s mostly for Samsung flagships and iPhones.
- How many devices do you need to charge wirelessly? Smartphones aren’t the only devices that can be charged wirelessly. You can also drop accessories like wireless earphones and smartwatches on a wireless charging pad to make sure they don’t run out of juice. Instead of getting multiple charging pads, you can opt for dual or trio pads that let you charge two or three devices at the same.
OEM vs third-party wireless chargers
Third-party phone accessories usually offer a better deal, be it in terms of features or price. Things are different with wireless chargers, though. An OEM wireless charger will likely provide the best experience. This is particularly true for devices that support fast wireless charging. For example, you will only get OnePlus’ fantastic Warp Charge 50 speeds with the OnePlus charger and fast wireless charging for the Pixel 6 series with the new version of the Pixel Stand.
Third-party wireless chargers are playing catch up, so it won’t be long before there are a lot more options available. For example, some accessory makers have already released chargers that support Samsung’s fast wireless charging feature, and a few provide good charging speeds for Pixels and iPhones.
Even if the charging isn’t the fastest, a third-party accessory will probably have the price advantage. However, it’s important to be extra careful when looking to buy a charging accessory in particular. A bad charger could cause irreparable damage to your device.
Things to look for when buying third-party accessories
Before you buy an accessory from a brand you’re not familiar with, just be sure to check for the following:
- Look through owner-submitted reviews via sites like Amazon. Do these short reviews look legitimate? For example, it’s possible they are paid or sponsored submissions if they are vague and poorly written.
- Look for oddities. Sometimes product reviews aren’t actually for the product you are looking at! This surprisingly happens a lot with 3rd party charging accessories from obscure brands. A 5-star review of a foot massager is not what you want to see when trying to buy a portable power bank.
- Familiarize yourself with the return policy of the product. While a lot of 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! We have a guide for the best wireless chargers you can get, and we will be testing even more options soon. You’ll also find a few of our top recommendations below.
Samsung wireless chargers
Samsung DUO Pad
The Samsung Duo Pad is as good as it gets with wireless charging pads. As the name suggests, the pad can charge two devices simultaneously. However, the Samsung wireless charger Duo Pad takes it a step further by including fast charging support. This means that you can charge compatible Samsung phones at up to 15W while charging an additional phone or perhaps your wireless earphones on the second pad. If you have even more devices, you can get the Samsung Pad Trio, but it only gives you 9W charging.
Samsung Fast Charge 2.0 wireless charger stand
If you don’t have multiple devices to charge, the Samsung wireless charging stand will do the trick instead. Supporting Fast Charge 2.0, the stand lets you top off your phone at up to 15W on supported devices. Additionally, the angled pad works out great if you want to glance at the screen while the phone is charging. If your phone doesn’t support fast charging, the wireless charging pad falls back to standard Qi charging speeds.
Samsung 2-in-1 power bank with wireless charging
Samsung’s 10,000mAh charger is unique thanks to its wireless charging pad placed right on top. It’s capable of fast charging a compatible Samsung phone all the way up to 7.5W in wireless mode and 25W when connected via a USB cable. The device is Qi-compatible which means that you should have no issue using this with other phones as well.
OnePlus wireless charger
OnePlus Warp Charge 50 wireless charger
The OnePlus 8 Pro was the first phone from the company to come with wireless charging and both devices in the OnePlus 9 series and the OnePlus 10 Pro have this feature as well. OnePlus updated its wireless charger to now allow 50W charging with the OnePlus 9 phones, with the aptly named Warp Charge 50 wireless charger. You can wirelessly charge the phone at speeds that are only slightly slower than what you’d get with a regular wall charger.
The wireless stand can fully charge your OnePlus 9 Pro in just 43 minutes. This fast charging is bound to create some heat, so the stand comes with an excellent built-in fan. Since you’ll only get 5W or 7.5W charging with third-party options, the Warp Charge 50 wireless charger is certainly the best way to go for OnePlus owners.
Google Pixel wireless charger
Pixel Stand (2nd Gen)
The Pixel Stand is the best option if you’re looking for a wireless charger for the Pixel 6, Pixel 5, Pixel 4, or Pixel 3 series. You’ll get 10W charging with the Pixel Stand with older devices, but up to 23W with the Pixel 6 Pro. It’s not the fastest charger out there, but your phone will essentially work as a Google Home device once it’s placed on the stand.
The best third-party wireless chargers
Anker PowerWave II wireless charger
The Anker PowerWave II wireless charger is similar to other affordable wireless charging pad offerings with one key difference. The pad sits at an angle and lets you view the phone’s display while charging. It’ll charge certain Android flagships at 15W. With Samsung hardware, the pad enables fast wireless charging to the tune of 10W.
Belkin wireless charging pad
The Belkin wireless charging pad is designed to offer up to 15W of fast charging for Samsung, Apple, and Google smartphones that support it. Every other Qi-enabled device will be charged at 5W, including Apple’s Airpods and other true wireless earbuds. Since Apple doesn’t have a first-party wireless charger yet, the Belkin wireless charging pad is an excellent option to consider.
Further reading: Other wireless phone chargers worth checking out
Frequently asked questions
Q: What is Qi charging?
A: Qi (pronounced “chee”) is a wireless charging standard that has been adopted by a majority of device makers. There are a few competing standards, but if the current generation smartphone supports wireless charging, it’s likely Qi-enabled. This universal standard also ensures that you’re able to charge any supported device with any wireless charger. You might not get the fastest charging speeds though.
Q: Does my phone support wireless charging?
A: You’ll have to take a look at your phone’s specifications sheet to make sure that it supports wireless charging. Something to remember is that wireless charging remains a high-end feature for now, even if that might change soon. These are some smartphones that support wireless charging:
- Samsung: All Samsung flagships going back to the Galaxy S7
- Apple: All iPhones going back to the iPhone 8
- Sony: Xperia 1 III, Xperia 1 II, and newer
- Google: Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
- OnePlus: 10 Pro, 9 Pro, 9, 8 Pro
Q: Can I wirelessly charge a phone that doesn’t have built-in support?
A: You could get a wireless charging receiver so that you can charge your phone on a wireless charging pad. Options like the one from Nillkin slot into the USB-C port of your phone and are thin enough to be housed under a case. However, user experience has varied with regard to how effective using this product is. Nevertheless, if you want to add wireless charging to a phone that doesn’t support it, this is the best way to go.
Q: Can I wirelessly charge a phone that has a case?
A: You can get away with charging your phone with a case only if the cover is relatively thin. A case maker will usually advertise the fact that wireless charging is supported as well.
Q: Is wireless charging faster than using a wall charger?
Unfortunately not. Most wall chargers still provide a much faster charging time. Only OnePlus gets close with its Warp Charge 30 wireless charger, but even that is a touch slower.
Q: Can I wirelessly charge one phone with another?
Only with devices that support reverse wireless charging, like Samsung’s flagships. In this case, you can use your phone to wirelessly charge your earbuds, a smartwatch, or another phone.