Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
Nobody wants to be tied up these days, especially when it comes to your cords and cables. While wireless earbuds are dominating the audio space, wireless phone chargers (also known as charging pads or charging stands) are starting to enter the marketplace as a convenient — and yes, cord-free — solution to powering up your devices.
Wireless chargers work through electromagnetic induction, sending power from your charger to your phone via coils that are housed in both units. The charger’s induction coil creates energy, which the receiver coil in your phone converts into electricity to send to the battery. It sounds complex, but it’s similar to the way you would charge an electric toothbrush, say, or power up your Apple Watch sans wires.
You’ll still have to plug the actual charger into an outlet, but your phone will be able to rest on the charging pad cable-free. Ready to get powered up?
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Wireless Charger
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right wireless charger for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
You need to have a compatible phone: In order to enjoy the benefits of wireless charger, you must own a Qi-enabled device. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the industry standard for inductive charging over very short distances (less than 40mm). Qi-enabled charging is available on Apple iPhone 8 and up, Samsung Galaxy S7 and up, Sony Xperia XZ2 and up, among others. Bonus: many of these wireless chargers work with your Apple Watch and other Qi-enabled smart devices as well.
Form factor: Most wireless chargers come in one of two shapes: a charging pad, which looks like a disc, and charges your phone while it lays flat, and a charging stand, which props up your phone while it’s being charged. Both work the same way (transmitting electricity between a coil in your device, and a coil in the charger), but they differ in size. Charging pads are more portable, but you have to lift your phone up to look at notifications; charging stands are bulkier, but you can check your phone at a glance.
Charging speed: Wireless charging still isn’t as fast as plugging your phone in with a cable, but modern wireless charging accessories are bridging the gap. The highest charging speed currently supported by wireless charging pads and devices, is 15 watts. These chargers require a QuickCharge power adapter to hit their maximum speed, which may not be included in the box. Most Android devices top out at 10W, and the most recent iPhone tops out a 7.5W, so getting the highest power charger might not make sense depending on your device.
1. Yootech Wireless Charger
Yootech’s wireless charger is a simple wireless charger whose strengths far outnumber its weaknesses. The small charging pad works at 5W out of the box, but doesn’t come with its own power adapter, so you’ll have to use the one that came with your phone. It can reach 10W speeds with an optional charger, means it can charge a majority of devices — from smartphones to totally wireless earbuds — at their maximum speed.
This charger has two nice extras: An LED light that indicates that your phone is charging (it turns off after 16 seconds to avoid disturbing you if you’re trying to sleep), and it’ll work if your phone has a thin case (up to 4mm) on.
PROS: Small size, supports fast charging speeds, works with a case.
CONS: Charger doesn’t come in the box.
2. AUKEY Wireless Power Bank
Most wireless charging pads require you to plug them into a power source, like an outlet or a computer, but AUKEY’s is built into a battery bank, so it’s totally portable. The power bank has an 8,000 mAh battery with three USB ports (one USB-C, two USB-A), which has enough juice to fully recharge an iPhone XS 2.4 times.
The top of the battery has a wireless charger, which works just like a wireless charging pad. Place your phone or accessory on top of the battery, and it’ll start charging.
The wireless charging speed tops out at 5W, which is slow compared to the other wireless charging pads in this guide, but the convenience here is undeniable. You can charge multiple devices — wired or wireless — at the same time.
PROS: Ultra portable, can charge multiple devices.
CONS: Slow maximum charging speed.
3. Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand
Samsung’s Fast Charge Stand is a luxurious looking wireless charger that earns points for its good looks and even better connectivity. It supports charging speeds up to 10W, and comes with a fast power adapter in the box. Its dual charging coils ensure a stronger, faster charge that spreads out evenly under the shell. What that means for you: place the phone down anywhere on the pad and in any direction without charging being interrupted.
Samsung says the charger is thoughtfully positioned to let users read texts, scroll through social media, or answer calls without having to pick it up off the stand. A discreet LED light, meantime, cycles through different colors to display your charging status, while a built-in fan keeps your phone cool while it’s charging.
Pros: Modern design, fast charging adapter comes in the box, two charging coils, a cooling fan.
Cons: Fixed angle.
Note: This charger is also available as a wireless charging pad.
4. Anker PowerWave Fast Wireless Charging Stand
Anker’s PowerWave is an all-in-one solution for people who want a powerful wireless charging stand.
It has a maximum speed of 10W (a fast charger is included), but supports an Anker developed technology called Wave Boost. The company says that by using the stand’s charging components and built-in fan, your devices can charge up to 30% faster. Anker’s intelligent technology will also figure out your phone’s current battery level, so that it gets just enough voltage to get to 100% without overcharging.
The charger is made out of a grippy, anti-slip surface keeps your phone stable, and its coils are arranged so your device stays charged whether you position it vertically or horizontally on the stand. Anker says the charger can also work even if your phone has a thick case on it.
PROS: More efficient charging, anti-slip surface, works whether your phone is in portrait or landscape.
CONS: Fixed angle, fan may create noise.