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Smartphone charging is a part of most people’s daily routine, but it’s easy to forget to plug it in at night and be faced with the realization you only have half an hour to charge your device before you leave for work. It’s even worse when this happens while you’re getting ready for a long night out.
Thankfully, iPhone users can take advantage of the fast charging mode that’s been built into every model since the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which includes the iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS and XS Max, and iPhone 11, and iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.
Apple says its quick charge feature can refill up to 50% of an iPhone’s battery in 30 minutes. Better yet, all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 3, iPad Mini (5th generation), iPad (7th generation), and most modern Android phones also support some form of quick charging.
Other manufacturers are also catching on, offering fast-charging capabilities for their devices. But, to take advantage of this feature, you’re going to need a couple of accessories, which I’ll break down below.
1. A Fast Charging Power Adapter
The most important accessory you need is a power adapter that can supply enough power to quick charge your device. A gadget’s maximum charging speed is generally determined by its size. Smartphones, including the iPhone and Google Pixel, have a maximum charging speed of 18W (watts) while larger devices like the iPad can quick charge at 30W. For reference, Apple includes a 5W power adapter with every iPhone except the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. It includes a 30W charger with its newest MacBook Air.
I’m recommending Anker’s PowerPort Atom PD1 because it has a maximum power output of 30W, which means it can quick charge both small and larger devices, and charge some modern laptops. I’ve also had very good personal experiences with Anker’s charging accessories over the past seven years.
The Atom PD1 has one USB-C port on it, so you can plug an iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Pro, Android phone, or MacBook into it with the cable included in its box. If you use an iPhone or non-pro iPad, you’ll need a separate one. If you’d like to quick-charge multiple devices, or want a power adapter powerful enough to charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro, Anker’s PowerPort Atom PD2 has you covered.
Note: If you only want to fast charge an iPhone or smartphone, Anker also has an 18W power adapter available on Amazon for $17.99.
2. A USB-C to Lightning Cable
Apple’s Lightning to USB-C cable does exactly what its name implies. Plug one end into the Lightning port on the bottom of your iPhone or iPad, and you can connect it to a USB-C port like the one on Anker’s PowerPort Atom PD1.
You’ll also need this cable if you want to connect your iPhone or iPad to one of Apple’s new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro computers because they only have USB-C ports on them. I recommend getting the 3.3 ft size for most people, but if you keep your charger further away from your bed, or on top of a tall desk, you might want the 6.6 ft option instead.
3. An Outlet With USB-PD Ports
If you want to quick-charge your devices, but don’t want to bother with carrying around a power adapter around your house, you can replace your traditional outlet with this one from Leviton. It has two standard plugs plus two USB-C PD ports, which each deliver up to 30W of power, so you can quick charge multiple devices at full speed. This is also enough power to charge a MacBook Air.
The USB-C ports are spaced between the two standard plugs, so they won’t interfere with larger appliances (think toaster in the kitchen or table side lamp in the living room or kitchen), and look a lot more subtle than a power adapter jutting out of your wall. This outlet doesn’t require any special wiring or tools to be installed — just make sure to have a Phillips head or slotted screwdriver handy to remove screws holding the face plate and outlet into your walls.
This is a relatively simple DIY project, but don’t attempt it if you feel uncomfortable doing any electrical work. It’s better to ask an electrician to do it rather than risking potential damage to your house. If you do take it on, be sure to cut the power to the room you’re putting this outlet in before you get started to avoid electrocution.
As someone who installed a few USB outlets a few years ago, I can highly recommend this home upgrade. I never have to worry about where my phone charger is, or whether I’ve brought the right cable. I just plug my device in, and watch it charge.
4. A Battery Pack With USB-C PD Ports
If you want to fast charge your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone, or extend the battery life of a USB-C enabled computer, you should get a battery pack with a USB-C PD port. These batteries will be larger than the pocket-sized one you probably have for your phone, but their higher capacity and fast-charging ability make it worth the size and weight.
Many battery packs have a USB-C PD port on them, and claim to output 30W of power, but that’s kind of a misnomer. In many cases, these battery packs have three USB ports (mostly two USB-A and one USB-PD port) with a combined power output of 30W. Their USB-PD port has a maximum output of 18W, which can quick-charge a smartphone, but not an iPad. Plus, these batteries can’t power a laptop. If you want a fully capable portable battery pack with a quick charge feature, I recommend Anker’s PowerCore+ 26800.
It has two USB-A ports and a USB-PD port with a combined output of 60W. Its USB-C PD port can output 45W of power, which is more than enough to quick charge your iPhone iPad,, or Android device, and charge a laptop. Anker says the battery has enough juice to fully recharge an iPhone X 6.2 times, and fully recharge a 13-inch MacBook Pro 1.2 times.
The PowerCore+ 26800 also comes with 60W charger, which you can use to charge your smartphone, tablet, or USB-C enabled laptop at full speed when you’re home. The one downside is that this battery pack weighs 1.6 pounds, so you’ll definitely feel it if you carry it around in a smaller bag, but it shouldn’t be a huge inconvenience if you’re wearing a full-sized backpack.
Note: If you only want to fast charge your smartphone on the go, AUKEY’s 10000mAh Slimline Battery Pack is available on Amazon for $29.99.