Wireless charging isn’t always a great substitute for plugging in, but it’s a very convenient way to keep your phone topped off through most of the day. A wireless charger on your desk means no more plugging and unplugging throughout the day and a full charge when you head home from work. A wireless charger next to your bed makes it easy to grab and go in the morning, or just pick up your phone to “check one thing” without fussing with the lightning cable.
We’ve tested a big heap of wireless chargers, and these are some of our favorites.
Update 11/08/19: Added our review of the Moshi Otto Q wireless charging pad. It’s our new pick for the best basic wireless charging pad. Table of Contents
On March 29, 2019, Apple officially acknowledged thatAirPower will never see the light of day. The wireless charging mat was announced in the fall of 2017 and was expected to be released early in 2018. It was an attempt to do something no other wireless charging pad can: charge up to three devices on a single pad of different shapes and sizes.
Apple simply couldn’t get it to work reliably.
“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project,” said Apple hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio in a statement. “We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”
Now, your only option to use the wireless charging capability of your iPhone or the AirPods Wireless Charging Case is to buy a third-party Qi-compatible product, like the ones in this guide.
The best wireless chargers
Wireless chargers tend to come in three variants: stands, pads, and multi-device chargers. A pad is great for your bed-side table or lying inconspicuously on your desk, but there are times when a stand makes more sense. In particular, they’re useful for iPhones with Face ID, as a good stand with a steep angle will point your phone at your face enough for Face ID to work. This makes it a lot easier to unlock your phone to quickly check something without taking it off the charger.
Stands are great for reading your phone while it charges, but sometimes you want it to lie flat. It’s less conspicuous on your desk or bedside table, and easier to just plop it down in any direction. Wireless charging pads tend to be a little less expensive than stands, too.
Now that AirPods have an optional wireless charging case and the Apple Watch is so popular, we’ve also seen an explosion of 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 chargers meant to charge several Apple devices at once.
These are our picks for the best pad, stand, and multi-device charger, but there are a great many such products out there; you may find a different device at a different price better suits your priorities.
Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad
Even before Apple pulled the plug on AirPower, there were third-party wireless chargers meant to wirelessly charge all your Apple gear at the same time. If you’ve got an iPhone, AirPods with wireless charging case, and Apple Watch, this is one of the best such “does it all” pads we’ve seen.
As with most Mophie products, you pay a premium for the brand. And since this model is exclusive to the Mophie site and Apple stores, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a steep discount. The $140 asking price isn’t astronomical for what you get, though; Belkin sells a charging pad for only the Apple Watch and iPhone for $20 more.
Mophie’s design works well. This isn’t a “put any device anywhere” charging pad; there’s a designated area on the right for your iPhone and an Apple Watch stand on the left with a little divot in front of it in which you place your AirPods. The glossy finish looks great and it doesn’t slide around. The Apple Watch stand has the charging pad built in (many cheaper chargers simply provide a place for you to snap in the USB charger that came with your Apple Watch), and the bottom of the stand even has a little divot to make room for the digital crown if you happen to have a 44mm Apple Watch and throw it on the charger crown-side-down.
I’m not a fan of proprietary barrel plugs on charging pads and stands. A microUSB or USB-C plug is much preferred, as it makes replacements easier and you don’t end up acquiring a bunch of one-device-only cables and plugs. But Mophie gets a bit of a pass for using one here; charging three devices at once, including 7.5W fast-charging, with a single thin cable is trickier with USB, and a device like this is less likely to be moved around.
Charging performance is fine. I didn’t have to be too careful with the placement of my iPhone XS Max, and it charged well through my thin case, even with a Speck GrabTab attached. My Apple watch magnetically latched onto its charging stand, which I prefer to a mat since not all Apple Watch bands play nice with laying it flat. And the little divot for the AirPods makes it easy to place them in the right spot, which it often touch-and-go with other pads.
Moshi Otto Q
Moshi’s Otto Q is meant to look like furniture. Moshi says it’s “Inspired by Danish furniture” and the name is meant to invoke it’s purpose: an ottoman for your phone with Qi wireless charging.
That might be a bit of a stretch, but the subdued grey fabric and slim profile does look good on almost any end table or nightstand.
The charger uses a USB-C connection (yay!) and Mophi supplies a USB-A to USB-C cable (yay!) that is about a foot shorter than it really should be (boo!). The price—around $40—is reasonable but as there is no power adapter included, you’ll have to either use one of the many USB-A power adapter you probably have lying around or add the price of buying a new one.
With the right adapter (one with 9V output like most Quick Charge adapters), the pad supports fast 7.5W charging for iPhones and 10W charging for supported Android phones. In fact, Moshi says it has been tested to be the fastest wireless charger by the German magazine Mac&I. I don’t know about that (we don’t test charging speed of all wireless chargers), but it definitely charged up my iPhone 11 Pro quickly and reliably, even with a relatively thick case on it.
This is a great wireless charger, it just needs to cost a little less given that it doesn’t come with a power adapter, and the included cable is shorter than I’d like.
RAVPower RP-PC069 Wireless Charging Stand
RAVPower’s latest charging stand is a nice improvement over its previous models. It’s got a sleek, unassuming design with a nice big ruberized pad to rest your phone on, and two coils so your iPhone will charge in either portrait or landscape orientation. The angle is steep, almost entirely upright, which made us worry that Face ID wouldn’t work well. In testing, Face ID worked just as well as with most other wireless charging stands.
This new charger supports 5W and 10W modes on Android phones, and Apple’s own 7.5W standard on the latest iPhones, too. RAVPower has impreoved the cooling to keep the charging coils from getting too warm, which can slow down charging performance.
The braided micro USB cable is a nice touch, but it’s only about four feet long. We had trouble making it reach the socket with the stand sitting up on a desk. As with so many other wireless charging stands, it can be a little wobbly if you try to use your phone with too much force. Making the base just a little bit longer in back would have made it less prone to tilting.
At $50 it seems a little expensive, but that cost is offset by the 24W USB-A power adapter included in the box. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great choice for the price.
Other wireless chargers tested
While these other chargers weren’t our favorites, they may suit your own needs. There are only so many different ways you can wrap a copper coil in a hunk of plastic, so it’s safe to say that your own personal sense of style and pricing sensitivity might a different charger the right choice for you.
Mophie Charge Stream Pad+
The Charge Stream Pad+ is a substantial upgrade over Mophie’s previous charging pad offering, the Wireless Charging Base. At a retail price of about $60, it’s a little on the expensive side, but it’s a better buy than the Wireless Charging Base was.
While the Wireless Charging Base used a proprietary power adapter that connected to the charge pad via a small barrel connector, the Charge Stream Pad+ uses a microUSB cable and adapter. The connector for it on the pad is deeply recessed, which makes it hard to use other microUSB cables with it, but at least you can use the adapter and cable to charge other microUSB devices (like digital cameras or Android phones).
Charge performance is improved, too. It tops out at 10 watts on supported Android phones, though the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X are limited to 7.5 watts (that’s an Apple thing, not a Mophie thing).
The pad itself is a good size with a large sweet spot, so it’s easy to plop down your phone without worrying about getting it perfectly centered. The hefty weight and rubberized finish prevents the pad from sliding around on your desk or your iPhone from sliding on the pad. It can easily charge through modest iPhone cases, and the small status light is subtle enough not to distract you in a dark bedroom.
Oh, and it’s now available in white or black, so you can more easily match your furniture or iPhone.
Belkin Boost Charge Wireless Charging Stand
Belkin’s Boost Up wireless charging stand always worked well, but we weren’t really fans of its high price and proprietary AC adaptor. Also, it was sort of ugly.
With the new Boost Charge wireless charging stand, Belkin has made a couple of welcome tweaks. Instead of a proprietary power adapter that ends in a barrel plug, it uses a standard USB power adapter with micro-USB cable. That’s a great shift—there’s no real need for devices like this to give us yet another cable and plug we can’t use with any of our other gear.
Unfortunately, the design is nearly identical. A couple of small LED charging indicator lights are gone, and the finish is matte instead of glossy, but that weird retro-future ciruclar pod design is the same as it ever was. It’s comfortable and easy, but it doesn’t exactly look good on your desk.
The stand supports 7.5W charging on iPhones, and for Android phones up to 10W, so you get the fastest charging available. I had no trouble getting a solid charging connection with a relatively thick case on my iPhone XS Max, too.
The price is a lot more reasonable this time around. Where the previous model retailed for an extravagant $70, the new one tops out at $50. That’s still more than we’d like to pay for a basic plastic wireless charger, but it’s a lot more reasonable.
Boost Up Special Edition Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone + Apple Watch
If you need to charge both your iPhone and Apple Watch, you can do worse than Belkin’s Boost Up Special Edition stand. Available in black or white, it’s got an elegant design with a nice mix of matte and glossy finish.
You can’t charge your phone in landscape orientation—the charge pad is too high up, and larger iPhones would run into the Watch charger. And unfortunately, the middle of the Apple Watch charger is white (even if you have the black stand), but there’s no officilaly supported way around that.
Phone placement is easy and charging rate is solid. The stand supports 7.5W charigng for your iPhone and 5 watts for your Watch, both simultaneously. There’s a little USB-A port around the back if you need to charge another device, too. The Watch charger is arranged vertically, perfect for those with loop-style bands that prevent you from laying your Apple Watch down flat.
The power brick supplies enough juice to do all of this at once, but it’s otherwise sort of annoying. It’s exceptionally large for a wireless charger and will easily cover three plugs on your power strip. It connects to the stand via a barrel connector rather than USB-C, so you can’t really use it for any other devices. Still, this is the kind of thing you plug in once and leave on your bedside table or desk, not something you’ll move around.
If only the price wasn’t so high. $160 is three times the price of other high-quality wireless phone charging stands, and sticking a nice little Apple Watch charger on the side isn’t enough to make that price differential worth it.
If this goes on sale, it will be a great pick for your nightstand.
Mophie Dual Wireless Charging Pad
The closest we may get to the long-lost AirPower experience may be something like Mophie’s 3-in-1 wireless charging pad, which has a spot for your phone, AirPods, and Apple Watch. That charger, and many others like it, are not quite the “place anything anywhere” experience that AirPower was going for, but it’s the next best thing.
With Mophie’s Dual Wireless Charging Pad, the company obviously took the base of its 3-in-1 pad and put it in a different shell to make a charging pad that can charge two phones, or a phone and AirPods, at once. It’s available exclusively from Mophie and Apple, but the company makes a slighly more squarish-shaped version with a soft felt top surface that you can for the same price. Beyond those cosmetic differences, it seems functionally identical.
For its intended purpose, it works well enough. Place two phones (or AirPods with the wireless charging case) on either side and they charge reliably. It supports Apple’s 7.5W charging rate and I successfully charged phones with average-sized cases on them.
There are two annoyances, however. First, as with many other Mophie products, the pad is powered by a rather large wall wart and a proprietary barrel connector. Either microUSB or USB-C would be preferred. Second, there are two distinct charging spots, clearly marked with a thin silver line, and you have to be quite particular about placing your devices right on them. Put them in the middle, and they won’t charge.
When charging a single phone, I found myself often re-adjusting my placement in order to get the phone to start charging. That’s not what you want in any wireless charging pad; you want to drop it down and get a reliable charge. When charging two devices, one’s natural tendency to place them apart makes it easier to be “casually accurate.” You may think this is fine, because you’ll have your AirPods on one side all the time, but there’s no little divot for their placement like there is on Mophie’s 3-in-1 charger, and I found myself sometimes knocking them out of alignment by accident.
The dual-charging pad has an extra USB-A port in the back. If I had to guess, I’d say this is the circuit for the Apple Watch charging pad in the 3-in-1, re-routed to a USB-A plug. This lets you plug in another cable, such as your Apple Watch charger, when necessary.
If you have a side table, kitchen counter, or some other area where multiple people often place their phones to charge at the same time, this is a good solution. It’s a single, elegant, attractive pad that easily charges two phones at once with a port for another when needed. I think most wireless charging pads sit on desks or bedside tables where they are used by a single individual, and this is not the best solution for that.
Anker PowerWave 7.5 Stand
Anker’s new PowerWave products greatly improve quality over its older wireless chargers, but they bump up the price to match.
The new stand looks good, as long as you’re okay with the white color. A small blue charge indicator on the front is subtle enough to use on your bedside table. The angle is steep enough to make it suitable for unlocking your iPhone X with Face ID while your phone is resting on your desk.
Anker includes a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible power adapter and a matching white microUSB cable, but the cable is way too short. Anker’s spec sheet says it’s three feet long, already a little on the short side, and we measured it at 34 inches. The charger supports 7.5W charging on Apple devices and the 10W fast charge mode on the latest Samsung flagship phones.
The power coils inside cover the entire back of the stand, so we had no trouble charging our iPhones in either portrait or landscape orientation. A little cooling fan blows air out a vent in the rear to keep the charge coils cool, which keeps the charge rate from slowing down. If it’s especially quiet and you put your ear up next to it, you can hear the gentle whirring sound.
Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand
The Boost Up wireless charging stand looks like something out of a sci-fi series, and not in a good way. It’s a big circular disc propped up on a large and odd-looking stand that kind of looks like a retro-future easel. To be frank, it’s a bit of an eyesore.
Power is supplied by a bulky AC adapter permenatly attached to a power cord, ending in a barrel connector, which will be a pain to replace if you lose it and can’t be used for any of your other gadgets. Haven’t we all learned that microUSB or USB-C is the way to go here?
There’s no denying it works well, though. The generous width and curved corners of the bottom make it really easy to drop your iPhone on the stand without getting the alignment off, and the way the phone holder’s sides cut up a couple inches makes it really great for landscape orientation. It also maintains a strong charging connection even through most cases, and it’s very stable—poking and prodding your phone while it’s on the charger won’t cause it to tip or slide around.
It’s also pretty expensive, at a retail price of $69.99 (you can often find it online for about $15 less).
Some multi-device chargers are trying to mimic AirPower with a wink and a nod. AirUnleashed owns it’s AirPower knock-off status. The site proudly proclaims, “By taking the technical design of the AirPower, and radically simplifying it, we managed to make a wireless charging mat that can deliver what Apple originally promised.”
The simple white pill-shaped design and soft-touch finish sure look like AirPower. The box looks like something from Apple, too; clean white with a simple product photo on top and the product name in Helvetica along the side.
But it’s not quite AirPower. There are design compromises, to start. An annoying seam around the edge where the felt-like bottom material meets the sleek top material. It has a permenantly-attached charging cable that ends in a USB-A plug, for which you have to supply your own power adapter. It only works with adapters that have an output current of at least 2A at 5V, so you can’t use the adpater that came with your iPhone. The company will happily sell you a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 compatible 18W adapter for $19, or you can use an iPad adapter.
There are feature compromises, too. AirPower promised to let you place any Apple device that can be wirelessly charged at any place. AirUnleashed deliberately simplifies the design by requiring specific placement—phone on the left, watch in a little divot just right of center, and AirPods on the right.
It works, in that it charged my iPhone XS Max, Apple Watch series 4, and second-generation AirPods just fine. But if I have to put my watch in a specific spot, I’d rather have a vertical stand, because laying it flat doesn’t work well with loop-style bands like the Sport Loop or Milanese Loop. And if the power cable is going to be USB, making it permenantly attached seems like a mistake.
This is a reasonable cut-rate facsimile of AirPower, and the $99 price isn’t terrible, but if you aren’t going to have charge-anything-anywhere capability, there are better multi-device chargers that don’t require you to supply your own power adapter.
Funxim Fast Wireless Charging Pad
The extended delay of Apple’s AirPower charging pad has left plenty of time for knock-offs to claim a stake. Funxim successfully crowdfunded its effort o and now it’s here.
For what it is, it’s not bad. This is a $32 pad that can wirelessly charge your iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. And it works well, even charging our test iPhone through a fairly substantial plastic case. Because it supports the Qi standard, like all iPhone-supporting wireless charging pads, it will also charge most Android phones with wireless charging.
Naturally, the price comes with a set of compromises. The pad has a large circular cutout to one side, into which you install your official Apple Watch charger. You’ll open up the back to loop around the cable and plug the USB end into a USB-A port hidden in the base.
What’s more, the pad itself is made of a hard, smooth plastic that encourages the phone to slide around (especially without a case). When my iPhone X vibrated while on the pad, it slid around as if pushed by a ghost. What’s more, I had to be fairly precise with my placement in order for the phone to charge. While the pad is oblong, the charging area for the phone is only right in the center; place it too far to the side and it won’t charge. And of course, your Apple Watch has to go on the Watch charger you supply.
Kickstarter backers may have gotten a free Quick Charge 3.0 compatible power adapter and micro-USB cable together with their purchase, which makes this a pretty good deal. But the need to supply your own Apple Watch cable (at leas, the precise placement required, and the too-slick design make it hard to otherwise recommend.
Anker PowerPort Wireless 10
Anker’s skinny little PowerPort Wireless 10 is a pretty slick item. It’s easily one of the thinnest charging pads I’ve seen, and can disappear into a bag with you even noticing.
It supports charging speeds up to 10 watts on compatible phones, which is great, but you need a Quick Charge USB adapter to get that performance. Unfortunately, there’s no USB adapter of any kind in the box.
That’s sort of a shame, too, because the price is the only thing giving me pause. We like the ring of blue LEDs that “breathe” for about 10 seconds before turning off, to let you know a charging connection has been made. We like the size. We like the grippy top that your phone won’t slide around on. If you find this on sale, or have an extra Quick Charge USB adapter lying around, it’s a great buy.
RAVPower Fast Wireless Charger
RAVPower makes two wireless chargers that essentially have the same name. Depending on where you look, they’re usually just called “Fast Wireless Charger.” This one is extremely inexpensive at around $16, while the other one costs almost three times as much. Believe it or not, that one is the better deal.
This charging pad does not come with a power adapter, but at this bargain-basement price we can hardly hold that against it. This pad only charges iPhones at a 5W rate, and other quick-charge Qi enabled devices up to 10 watts (if you use the right power adapter). It’s heavy and stable, and comes with a nice flat micro USB cable.
But raised rubberized bumps on the top of the pad only cover the left and right side. Depending on how sloppy you are about placing your phone, you could easily miss part of it—why not just make it a complete circle as most other pads do?
It’s a minor design flaw, not a deal-breaker. But the slower iPhone charging speed makes it hard to recommend.