Though the earliest form of wireless charging dates back to 1891 with the Tesla coil, it wasn’t until within the last decade that this untethered power source started being harnessed by modern tech and electronics manufacturers. And while wireless chargers don’t juice up devices quite as quickly as cabled charging, it’s become abundantly clear that Qi chargers represent the way of the future, revered for their convenience and simplicity, as well as a certain “cool-factor.” Of today’s biggest technology brands, few if any have embraced wireless charging to quite the same extent as Apple, with the Cupertino company not only utilizing Qi charging for its entire suite of mobile gadgets but also currently developing MacBooks that are capable of two-way inductive charging.
With Apple being expected to continue embracing this form of charging, a growing number of third party manufacturers have sought to capitalize on the situation by producing wireless charging devices for iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Airpods. As this product space has grown more robust, it’s become more and more difficult to distinguish the legitimately worthwhile chargers from those of the cheap budget variety, so with this in mind, we’ve scanned today’s expansive array of available offerings to deliver this guide to the best Apple wireless chargers.
The Seven Factors To Consider When Buying A Wireless Apple Charger
Shopping for an Apple wireless charger can be rather intimidating, as it means pouring over a host of specs and technical jargon. The reality is, however, that you don’t really need to grasp the intricacies of how inductive charging works so long as you’re aware of what aspects of a wireless charger are most important. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the seven most crucial elements to consider when shopping for a new Apple wireless charger.
Charging Speed: This first one is fairly pivotal, as it obviously determines the rate at which your mobile gadgets can be recharged. Anything around 7.5W to 10W is considered to be adequate, though as a point of reference, Apple’s own wired fast-charger delivers 18W charging speeds, albeit (as previously mentioned,) cabled charging allows for faster speeds.
Number Of Coils: Rather than referring to the number of devices a wireless charger is capable of juicing up, the amount of coils utilized is what determines a product’s charging matrix. This will play a substantial role in how effective a wireless charging pad is, as the more coils—or the bigger the coil matrix—the easier it will be for a mobile device to receive a charge.
Additional Ports: Purchasing a wireless charger is mainly about the convenience they offer, though with the ubiquity of USB-rechargeable electronics in today’s electronics space, makes having a few additional wired charging ports a major selling point. It’s also not uncommon to see wireless chargers that pack a fast-charging-capable USB port, arguably allowing for the best of both worlds.
Certifications: This is another area that hugely helps to distinguish the cheaper, more budget-friendly wireless chargers from premium offerings. Just like with cabled items, well-made wireless chargers will come with official certifications. Any wireless charger you’re considering should be Qi-certified, though FCC, CE, and ROHS certifications are also worth keeping an eye out for. Lastly, Apple affords some products its own official “MFi” (or “Made For iPhone/iPad/etc”) certification for charging devices.
Construction & Materials: The internal components clearly play a crucial role in the overall quality of a wireless charger, though the materials and construction used can also be of significance, as several of the more high-end manufacturers utilize machined aluminum bases, or genuine wood or leather covers of veneers. The external construction will also usually be a decent indication of the internal component’s quality, as you’ll seldom find super-premium materials housing cheap coils and electronic bits.
Case Compatibility: Considering the main benefit of wireless charging is the convenience factor, the last thing you want to do is have to remove your iPhone, Apple Watch, or Air Pods (Pro) case in order to charge. For this reason, it’s worth looking into how thick of a phone case a given wireless charger is capable of operating through. Most cases are rather thin, so a charger only really needs to be able to penetrate 3mm to 5mm.
Style & Design: Because a wireless charger is essentially just a pad with some electronics and matrix coils, there are dozens of different shapes, styles, and sizes that they’re built-in. Regardless of your preference for color, texture, or material, there’s almost certainly a wireless charger that aligns with your personal taste.
Belkin Wireless Charging Stand
If you’re just looking for a pad to wirelessly charge your smartphone, then this stand from Belkin is a fantastic option. Capable of charging all Apple (and Samsung) phones in either portrait or landscape mode, this stand allows for fast charging at a rate of 9W. Furthermore, this charger works through protective phone cases as thick as 3mm and also sports built-in overheating protection, an LED indicator light that denotes when a phone is properly aligned and receiving a wireless charge, and a non-slip charging surface. Doubling as a viewing stand, this Belkin product is Qi-certified, backed by a two-year warranty, and is sold with an included 4’ cable.
SCOSCHE BaseLynx Modular Charging System
This multi-device wireless charging system from SCOSCHE is quite possibly the most versatile and modular unit on the market today. Sold with an array of “Device Type Modules” that allow the pad to be set up to accommodate the specific electric devices you own, the pad is able to vertically wirelessly charge up mobile gadgets, while also boasting an 18W USB Type-C, and a pair of 12W USB fast charging ports. Protected by a three-year warranty, this charger also features built-in foreign object detection, an LED light charge indicator, a non-slipper rubber surface paired with a woven fabric that’s highly resistant to wear and abrasion.
Function 101 BentoStack Charge 8000
Engineered to be the ultimate mobile charger and organization system, Function 101’s BentoStack Charge 8000 is comprised of a clever stacked setup with modular, sliding dividers and partitions to perfectly accommodate your cables, Air Pods, Apple Watch bands, or all of your other daily tech needs. With an 8,000mAh (18.5Wh) Lithium-polymer rechargeable cell, this mobile charger can fully replenish the battery of the latest iPhone at least twice, while delivering a charge at a rate as quickly as 10W (and a minimum of 5W). The removable top cover of this 7.4″ x 3.4″ x 3.6” product also doubles as a Qi-certified wireless charging pad.
Another, more minimalistic organizer and charging solution, the Orbitkey Nest is a 9.5″ x 4.7” x 1.6” device made using top-of-the-line materials. Equipped with a 10W output, the Nest features a genuine leather-adorned polycarbonate shell, with latex-cored Dacron elastic and zinc alloy hardware throughout. Lined with a nylon poly-melange fabric, the inside of the housing comes with numerous stick-on organizer tabs that can be custom-positioned to best accommodate your tech. The shape of the charging tray—which can power Airpods and iPhones but not Apple Watches—allows it to also serve as a valet tray, plus is sold with an included 3.2’ nylon-braided USB-A cable.
mophie 3 in 1 Wireless Charge Pad
A simple and straightforward charger for all of your mobile Apple devices, mophie’s 3 In 1 Wireless Charging Pad is designed to seamlessly blend into its surroundings. Sporting a minimalistic, rounded-edge shape, the charging pad packs a Qi charger for your iPhone, Apple Watch, and Air pods, with a raised stand for the smartwatch and a small depression for the wireless earbuds. A 7.5W charging rate can quickly replenish a device’s battery life, while the coils are hidden beneath a premium “Ultrasuede” cover, adding an extra dose of style to this unassuming Apple accessory. The mophie 3 in 1 Wireless Charge Pad can also send a charge through cases as thick as 3mm and is backed by a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Logitech Powered 3-In-1 Dock
When Logitech set out to design a wireless charging system for Apple’s suite of accessories, the Swiss brand opted to borrow from Apple’s design language, resulting in the POWERED 3-in-1 Dock. Offered in monochrome white or fully-blacked-out color options, the pad is outfitted with the ability to simultaneously charge an Apple Watch, and two other Apple products while delivering power at a rate of 7.5W. The POWERED 3-in-1 Dock also comes with built-in sensors and a proprietary algorithm that can detect and protect from overheating, overcharging, and has the ability to detect foreign objects within the coil matrix, at which point power is automatically turned off.
Grovemade Brass Wireless Charging Pad
As wireless charging has become increasingly commonplace, we’ve started to see a major influx in the amount of cheap, poorly-made budget chargers, born out of a race to the bottom. Grovemade’s Wireless Charging Pad, however, offers an unmistakably high-end take on the classic circular single-device charger, calling on a brass base that’s capped off with natural cork, before being hand-sanded until the two materials are completely flush. The cork layer is also stained by hand using Japanese Calligraphy ink in order to achieve the pad’s deep vivid hue. Designed, manufactured, and assembled in Portland, the charger measures 5.26” in diameter, and conceals an empty space beneath the charger that can neatly house its included 5.5’ nylon-braided power cord.
mophie powerstation go
Weighing just 1.64lbs and measuring only 7.17” x 3.82” x 1.65”, mophie’s powerstation go is one of the most potent and compact wireless chargers in the world. This mobile power bank’s 44,400mWh battery not only packs enough energy to fully recharge an iPhone, Air Pods, Apple Watch, and a (13”) MacBook Pro several times over but also has the power required to jumpstart a dead battery on a car or motorcycle—which is can do thanks to a set of included spark-proof jumper cables. Available in half-a-dozen colors, the powerstation go also features a pair of dual USB-A ports, a built-in 65W AC outlet for juicing up larger devices like laptops, an integrated LED floodlight, and a top cover that wirelessly charges devices on contact.
From its outward appearance, the Courant CATCH:3 looks like a premium valet tray, with a high-grade matte aluminum alloy base construction cloaked in top-shelf Tuscany-sourced pebble-grain, Italian leather. The raised portion on the left side of the 11” x 8” x 0.6” base contains a three-coil Qi charger with an impressive 10W wireless charging output. The combination of cutting-edge charging components and artisan materials and craftsmanship together make for an incredibly unique offering that’s sure to compliment just about any setting. And, on top of the four color options, the CATCH:3 is also offered with customizable monogram printing, too.
Native Union Block Dock
Native Union’s Block Dock is a functional piece of home decor, designed in collaboration with eminent British accessory, lighting, and furniture designer, Tom Dixon. Part valet tray and part wireless Qi charger, the Block Dock is built around a precision-machined aluminum base with a ridged pattern running along its exterior edges, and sports a transparent charging coil cover that displays the electronic inner workings of the inductive charger. Additionally, the wireless charger can operate at a 10W output and includes integrated thermal protection and foreign object sensors. The Block Dock also comes with a braided 6.5’ USB-C cable and can charge through phone cases as thick as 3mm.
Tivoli Audio Revive
Something of the ultimate modern-day bedside table gadget, the Tivoli Audio Revive combines several devices into a single unit. Made from genuine walnut, the Revive sports a base with control buttons and an integrated Qi wireless charger, and a raised cube Bluetooth speaker and LED lamp combo with four brightness settings. The speaker boasts a multi-knit fabric cover and is mounted on a pivoting head that allows it to freely rotate. And considering the Revive is made by an elite American audio company, it’s speaker actually produces incredibly crisp and clear sound.
NOMAD Base Station Pro
NOMAD’s Base Station Pro is built around a CNC-machined body atop non-slip feet, that’s only 1.2cm thick and is cloaked in a black padded leather cover. And while this modular wireless charging system is a great looking product, it’s primary selling points are hidden beneath the surface. The Base Station Pro uses Aira’s FreePower technology, which allows its 18-coils to intelligently communicate in order to achieve an electromagnetic coupling to a device’s power receiver. This not only allows for wildly reliable charging but also means that no matter where you set your device on the pad, it will receive a 7.5W charge. Best of all, this already advanced software can receive over-the-air updates via a smartphone app, enabling it to get even better over time.
The 12 Best Apple Watch Bands for Men
Looking for some other quality accessories to complement your suite of Apple devices? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best Apple Watch bands for a look at a dozen bracelets and straps to pair with the tech giant’s smartwatch.