A few years ago, Qualcomm announced Quick Charge, a technology it embedded in its mobile processors. In basic terms, phones with Quick Charge technology would take less time to charge up their battery. Qualcomm’s technology is now in its fourth generation, and since then other companies such as MediaTek and OnePlus have come up with similar fast charging methods of their own.
However, none of these hardware upgrades mean as much if you don’t own a fast charging cable. In some cases, such as OnePlus’s products, you will need to get a cable that’s made specifically for its phones to get the full fast charging benefits. In this article, we will take a brief look at all the fast charging technologies that are available, and then take a look at which companies and products offer the fastest charging cables for those devices.
The tech behind the fastest charging cables
The basic premise of using the fastest charging cables possible is that those cables deliver energy to smartphones as measured in watts. If your cable, and your smartphone fast charging technology, can deliver more watts to a phone’s rechargeable battery, it should take less time to get it fully pumped up.
There are several different methods that chip makers and smartphone manufacturers have created to pump in as many watts as possible, aided by the fastest charging cables. Our own Gary Sims tested out a number of them in 2016, including Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, Oppo’s VOOC, MediaTek’s PumpExpress+, and Motorola’s TurboPower.
In addition, there’s the OnePlus technology formerly known as Dash Charge that’s used by the most recent phones released by the company including the OnePlus 6T. It also requires a special cable and adapter so owners can get the full benefits of the technology. Basically, the cable and adapter allow the OnePlus 6T to charge up quickly because its charging method increases the amps sent to the battery to raise the number of watts, rather than boosting the voltage, which is the method used by other companies. OnePlus even hired American supermodel and actress Emily Ratajkowski to explain how its charging tech works in a video.
If you buy the most recent smartphone from the company, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, you will also get a special 30W “warp charge 30” charging cable. The company claims it will give the phone “a day’s power in 20 minutes,” although it stopped short of saying how long it would take to fully charge the 3,700mAh battery inside the phone.
The upshot of this is that if you want to get the fastest charging cables for the OnePlus 6T, you need to get them from OnePlus itself. That’s a bit of an extra effort, but it may be a small price to pay so you can have the phone ready to use for the day.
Earlier in 2018, Oppo announced the Find X, along with a special Find X Lamborghini Edition. The standard Find X, which has a 3,730mAh battery, uses Oppo’s VOOC Flash Charge technology, which Oppo says will give the phone up to two hours of talk time with just five minutes of charging. The Lamborghini Edition has a 3,400mAh battery inside. The company claims that if it used its standard VOOC Flash Charge technology, it would fully charge the phone’s battery in 90 minutes, which is still pretty fast. However, the Lamborghini Edition uses its SuperVOOC flash charging hardware. It has a charging rate of 50W and can fully charge up this phone’s battery in a mere 35 minutes.
For the rest of this feature, we will look at the fastest charging cables you can buy for all of the phones you can purchase aside from the OnePlus devices. Before we do that, however, let’s take a quick look at what it takes for a USB-based cable to offer fast charging features.
Inside the fastest charging cables
If you slice open a USB cable, you will see four wires inside. Two of them are for sending and receiving data, while the other two are dedicated to energy, with one designated as the ground cable and the other made for the actual voltage. As described by Banggood.com, the standard energy wire in a USB cable is labeled as “28 gauge” and can handle 0.5A of power. However, there are USB cables with larger “24 gauge” wires. They can handle more energy of 2A or more. As we have seen, that means more watts can be pushed through the cable to a smartphone’s battery, and thus allowing it to charge faster.
One other factor in picking the fastest charging cables is their length. Simply put, if you get a really long cable, you will cut down on the amount of energy that is transferred to your phone. Indeed, it’s even possible to get a cable that’s so long, it won’t even charge your phone at all.
Our picks for the fastest charging cables
With all the science and engineering out of the way, let’s take a look at what we think are the best fastest charging cables you can currently get for your smartphone.
Anker PowerLine II USB Type-C to USB Type-C
Anker is well known for their external batteries and wireless speakers, but they also have a lineup of phone charging cables as well. One of them is its PowerLine II USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable. This is for devices that use the more recent Type-C ports that are becoming more and more prevalent in smartphones, tablets external chargers, and notebooks.
Depending on which device is used, the 3-foot Anker PowerLine II can deliver charging speeds at, in theory, should go up to 100W (5A) of power, although the actual charging speeds will be much less in the real world. If you are also concerned about data transfer speeds, this cable can support transfers of up to 10Gbps. Anker has given this cable a lifetime warranty. However, this cable costs a bit more than other charging cables of the same length. You can get the PowerLine II USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable on Amazon for $19.99.
Belkin USB-A to USB Type-C cable
This cable is for those of you who are still using an older USB-A external battery, or a car charger with those kinds of ports. but also own a newer USB Type-C smartphone or tablet. This Belkin charging cable can, in theory, charge a device up to 60W. In practice, the use of the USB-A port limits the top charging speeds to 20W, even if it uses Qualcomm’s QuickCharge. You can buy the 5-foot version of this Belkin cable for $9.99 on Amazon, or you can get the 6-foot version for $19.99, although the site currently has discounted that version down to just $7.99. The cable even comes in a few different colors, including black, white, blue and pink.
AmazonBasics MicroUSB to USB Type-C cable
A lot of older smartphones and even many new ones that have budget-based hardware inside have a microUSB charging port. For those owners who want to take advantage of the more recent USB tech, AmazonBasics sells a solid microUSB to USB Type-C cable. It offers solid charging speeds of up to 5V and 3 Amp. It also happens to be pretty inexpensive, which is a trademark of AmazonBasics. you can get a 3-foot cord for $6.99, or you can splurge and snap up the 6-foot version for just $7.99.
iSeeker High Charging Speed Nylon Braided Micro USB Cable
The iSeeker cables will offer smartphone owners a way to charge up their devices with currents up to 2.1 amps, well above the standard in normal USB cables. The nylon fabric braided cable. combined with an aluminum-based connector, has been tested to last over 8,000 bends, again well above the average. The ones sold on Amazon come in a three pack, with each cable measured at 6 feet long. Finally, the company offers a lifetime warranty, which would seem to suggest that it thinks its cables will stay working for a long, long time.
There are, of course, a lot of third-party cables on the market that can charge up your smartphone, but as we have described, many of them have been designed to only send a small amount of power through the cable to a phone’s battery. When you go shopping for one, make sure they have been made to deliver more than just 0.5A of power, so that the battery charging technology inside your phone can be used to the fullest effect.
Are there any fast charging cables that we need to add to this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!