A few years ago, Qualcomm announced Quick Charge, a technology it was embedding 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 that phone 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 rechargable 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 Dash Charge technology that’s used by the most recent phones released by OnePlus, including the OnePlus 5. It’s also requires a special cable and adapter so owners can get the full benefits of the technology. Basically, the cable and adapter allows the OnePlus 5 to charge up quicky because its Dash Charge method increases the amps sent to the battery to raise the amount 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 Dash Charge works in a video.
The upshot of this is that if you want to get the fastest charging cables for the OnePlus 5, you need to get them from OnePlus itself. That’s a bit of a extra effort, but it may be a small price to pay so you can have the phone ready to use for the day. In our own tests for the OnePlus 5, with its included cable and adapter, it took just 30 minutes to get the phone up to 60 percent of its battery capacity, and about 1 hour and 20 minutes to charge up to its full capacity.
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 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, lets take a look at what we think are the best fastest charging cables you can currently get for your smartphone.
Anker PowerLine Micro USB
Anker is well known for their external batteries and wireless speakers, but they also have a lineup of Micro USB cables as well. The company’s 3-foot PowerLine Micro USB cable includes thicker gauge wiring which, as we have explained, allows for more power to go through the cable to a smartphone’s battery, thus allowing it to charge up faster. In addition, the Anker PowerLine cable also has hard and soft PVC for its connectors, which should make it very durable.
Anker says its cable is designed to work with over 5,000 bends, which it claims is 10 times better than the average USB cable. Again, this means the PowerLine product should last much longer than normal. Fianlly, the company offers a solid 18-month warranty on its cables.You can get the grey version of the Anker PowerLine cable for $4.99 on Amazon. it also comes in other colors (red, blue, white and black) for $5.99 each.
Volutz Equilibrium Series Nylon Braided Micro-USB to USB Cables
This brand of USB cable from Volutz claims that it will allow energy transfers as large as 3 amps, which is much faster than the normal cable, and thus should allow your smartphone battery to charge up faster. It also uses what the the company calls DualHousing technology, which is supposed to isolate the bending movement of the cable, and thus protect its connectors. The nylon-braided body is also available, and Volutz claims that it will allow its cable to last up to 15 times longer than the standard USB cable.
Volutz offers a 5-pack of its Equilibrium Series of cables on Amazon for the price of $15.98. The cables come in various lengths, from 10 feet and 6 feet to three cables that are just 3.5 feet long each.
SYDE METAL Micro USB Cable
The Syde Metal Micro USB cable claims that it has been designed to offer smartphone owners up to 40 percent more power, and thus faster battery charging times, compared to the standard USB cable. It also claims that the 5-foot cable it is 25 percent thicker than normal cables and that its double-nylon braided design lets it be highly durable. The company also offers a one year warrenty on its cables. It’s currently available now on Amazon for $10.99.
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 though 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!