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September 13, 2017

15 great wireless phone chargers to free yourself from cables

by John_A

You know what’s missing from all our visions of a futuristic utopia? Wires. You never see anyone fumbling with a wire to plug in a device. Everything just magically works. We’re not there yet, but wireless charging technology is improving all the time. Leading the way toward this brave new world are wireless phone chargers. They’re not entirely wireless, because they still have to be plugged into a wall outlet, but they do free you from your nightly plug-in. You can just pop your smartphone on a pad, and know that in the morning it will be good to go.

Before you splash out on a wireless charger, though, make sure that your phone supports it. Loads of phones do now, from the iPhone X to the Galaxy S8 to the LG G6. For some smartphones, you’ll need to buy a special replacement back or a case that enables wireless charging. You also have to check that the wireless phone charger you choose is the right standard for your device. The most popular standard right now by far is Qi, under the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), but there is a rival called Powermat, under the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), which merged with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) to form the AirFuel Alliance.

We know Apple is planning a new AirPower mat, which will allow you to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and Airpods all at the same time, but for now you’ll need to make do with one of these wireless phone chargers.

Ventev Wireless Chargestand ($60)

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

This wireless phone charger caught our eye at IFA in Berlin and it’s brand new on the market at the time of writing. It’s a really smart design that can be broken down for portability. The base is solid, non-slip plastic with a cushioned pad for your device. The frame is aluminum and it sports several notches which allow you to slot the actual charging pad in wherever you want. This means you can get that charging sweet spot by adjusting the position of the pad, allowing you to place your phone in portrait or landscape. If you want to travel light, you can pop the square wireless charging pad out and just take it with you.

We’re pleased to find that the Ventev Wireless Chargestand supports the Qi and PMA standards, and it also supports fast wireless charging for devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, and S8 Plus. The only slight downside is that it has a fairly hefty power brick that needs to be plugged in, but that’s how you can get up to 15W out, which is significantly more than many wireless phone chargers on the market. It’s also really versatile. Not only can you change the position of the pad, you can also reverse the aluminum frame for a slightly different angle.

Specs
Power output
15W
Standard
Qi and PMA
Dimensions
Unknown
Weight
Unknown
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
Yes

Buy it now from:

Ventev

Bezalel Futura X ($50)

If you’re after something light and truly portable, then this wireless charging pad from Bezalel should tempt you. It will charge any Qi-compatible device, from an LG G6 to a Galaxy S8, but Bezalel also sells cases to bring wireless charging capability to smartphones like the iPhone 7. The glossy pad is made from premium materials with an aluminum base and an elegant acrylic surface that comes in black or white. It is magnetic, and the cases are designed so your phone naturally slides into the right spot for charging.

For just an extra $10 you can get the stand, which enables you to slot the charging pad in and prop your phone in either landscape or portrait view while it charges. You get a cable with the pad, but you’ll need to supply your own wall charger. For best results use the charger that came with your phone. This version has a maximum output of 5W, but there is a Futura X Turbo for $60 that goes up to 15W output for fast charging devices that support faster speeds. The stylish look makes this stand out from the wireless charging crowd, but we also appreciate the internal cooling system.

Specs
Power output
5W
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
3.7” x 3.7” x 0.27”
Weight
91g (3.2oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
No

Buy it now from:

Amazon

RAVPower Fast Wireless Charging Stand ($22)

There’s always something by RAVPower on our best portable battery chargers list, but the company also manufactures wireless phone chargers like this one. It’s a two-coil stand, so you can prop your phone in portrait or landscape view. It will fast charge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, if plugged into a fast charging wall charger. There’s a white LED indicator underneath that blinks to indicate it’s working, then turns off until the device is fully charged, whereupon it lights up for five seconds. If there’s a problem it will blink continually to alert you.

You get a short Micro USB to USB charging cable with it, but no adapter. There’s non-slip silicone on the bottom, so it doesn’t slide around on the nightstand. The design is pretty plain, apart from the RAVPower logo, so it will blend in on most desks or nightstands. If your case has metal on it or is thicker than 3mm, then it’s going to interfere this charger. Overall, it’s decent quality with an unobtrusive design at a reasonable price.

Specs
Power output
10W
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
3.3″ x 3.3″ x 4.7″
Weight
130g (4.6oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
No

Amazon

Anker PowerPort Qi 10 Wireless Charging Pad ($20)

The PowerPort Qi 10 is so named because it can output up to 10W, as long as you combine it with a Quick Charge 3.0 rated wall charger, which you’ll have to buy separately. That means it can charge some devices, like the Galaxy S7, faster than a standard wireless charger, Anker says up to 2X faster. It’s a very slim, lightweight design, but there are large feet on the bottom to help it grip.

When you first lay your phone on this charger a series of LEDs light up to show the charging status, but thankfully they turn off again after 10 seconds. It doesn’t make any sound either, so it could work well on the night stand. You do get a 3-foot Micro USB cable with it, but you’ll need your own wall charger to plug it into. The downside with this charger is that it has a single coil, so you really need to find the sweet spot and you’ll want to remove phone cases for best results.

Specs
Power output
10W
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
3.4” x 3.4” x 0.3”
Weight
17g (0.6oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
No

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Satechi Wireless Charging Pad ($15)

If you’re looking for an alternative to Samsung’s official wireless charging pad that supports faster charging for the newer members of the Galaxy family, including the S7 and S7 Edge, then this could be it. The design is stylish, with a circular metal frame in gold, silver, rose gold, or space gray. The pad itself is shiny black or white, but thankfully there is a rubber cross in the center which protects your phone and prevents it from sliding around. There are also pads on the bottom so it grips the table top.

It works fine with most cases and will charge any Qi device, but fast charging devices like the Galaxy S7 will enjoy 1.4X the usual speed. There’s a LED that lights up blue when the device is charging and turns green when it’s fully charged. We’re not a big fan of LEDs on charging pads, because you don’t want light on the nightstand and it seems superfluous, since your phone already indicates when it’s fully charged, but at least this is a small one. You get a decent Micro USB cable in the box with it, but you’ll have to provide your own charger.

Specs
Power output
2A
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
3.94” x 3.94” x 0.31”
Weight
130g (4.75oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
No

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad ($35)

This circular wireless charging pad from Samsung resembles a flying saucer. If you have a Note 5, or a later Samsung flagship such as the S7, you can use it to quickly charge your device without a cord. It’s capable of fast charging at around 2A, instead of the standard 1A you get from most wireless chargers, making it around 1.4X faster, at least according to Samsung. It’s outfitted with a circular strip of rubber to prevent your phone from sliding off the top, and another one on the bottom to prevent it from sliding around on your desk or bedside table. The LED is, unfortunately, quite bright and it shines blue when charging and green when fully charged. It also flashes when there’s a problem.

Because the pad can charge supported phones faster, there’s a silent fan inside to help keep the temperature down. You’ll also have to use the charger and cable supplied if you want the faster speeds, but you can use this pad with other Qi charging devices for standard speeds. You can get the pad in black or white, and it’s pretty portable. It does the job, but the design is dull, and if you don’t have a Samsung phone that supports fast wireless charging, there’s little reason to pay a premium for this pad.

Specs
Power output
2A
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
4” x 4” x 0.81”
Weight
117g (4.12oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
Yes

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Montar Air Car Mount ($60)

Once you get used to wireless charging, you really don’t want to have to go back to plugging in cables, but that means you need a few wireless chargers dotted around to cover you in different situations. Montar has created an excellent cradle for the car with built-in Qi wireless charging. It can accommodate smartphones up to 6 inches in size, and it supports fast wireless charging at up to 2A, if your phone does. This charger and cradle is ideal if you like to use your smartphone to navigate as you drive.

It’s a versatile beast with various mounting options. You can slot it into a cup holder, use the suction cup, or securely stick it to your dash with 3M adhesive. The cradle is fully adjustable and will accommodate larger phones like the iPhone 6S Plus or the Note 5. There’s also a cable included with Micro USB at one end to plug into the cradle, and a power adapter that fits a standard car power socket at the other. The power adapter lights up, so you know when it’s charging and drawing power. The cradle is great, because it has adjustable feet to change height and clamping arms with a release button, which makes it easy to fit and remove your phone with a single hand. You can also rotate it, thanks to a ball joint, to find the exact angle you want.

Specs
Power output
2A
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
7” x 4” x 5” (adjustable)
Weight
212g (7.47oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
Yes (for car socket)

Buy it now from:

Amazon

TYLT VU ($19)

As far as we know, TYLT was the first manufacturer to offer wireless chargers with this tilted, 45-degree cradle design, which allows you to see your phone more easily than if it were lying flat. The VU is a Qi charger with three coils inside, so you can put your phone on the cradle in portrait or landscape mode and it will still charge. There’s a single LED under the lip of the stand which goes green to indicate that it’s charging.

However, this charger is a bit on the expensive side, the power adapter is ugly and chunky, and some people have found that the pad can produce a lot of heat. The bright, plastic design is available in blue, green, and red, or you can go for black if you want something a bit more subdued. It also has a nice, soft-touch finish. We like the distinctive design, but it will take up a bit more space than a simple pad.

Specs
Power output
5W, 1A
Standard
Qi
Dimensions
7.5” x 3.5” x 0.5”
Weight
161g (5.7oz)
Cable included?
Yes
AC Adapter included?
Yes

Buy it now from:

Amazon

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