The Best USB Phone Charger
The charger that Apple recommends for your iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 12 Mini, is also the one you’ll wish came bundled with your not exactly cheap purchase. It’s a fast charger so it’s a worthwhile investment compared to simply using the charging cable, but you’ll begrudge the fact you need to pay the extra.
Still, if you’re going to do so, at least you get a quality product. It has that clean minimalist design that works so well for Apple devices, and it’s as simple to use it as it comes. Obviously, don’t expect it to come with a spare charging cable. That would be far too much like good value.
Apple recommends this charger for the iPad Pro and iPhone 8 or later, all of which support fast charging; despite this, Apple didn’t provide a fast charger with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XR or the non-Pro iPhone 11, so this is a purchase you’re going to make while pulling a pretty sour face.
But if you’re a heavy iPhone user, it’s a worthwhile investment. The difference between the 18W charger and the ancient 5W one is dramatic: with the former you can get about 50% charge from flat in half an hour, but the latter takes about six years.
Does the Apple charger come with a cable? Ha ha ha no.
If you can’t bear giving more money to Apple for the charger that should have come with your phone, be careful what you buy instead: some chargers advertised as fast chargers are only fast for Android devices, not Apple ones. This one, though, is a 42W fast charger that works with all iPhones and fast charges iPhone 8s onwards.
It’s half the price of the Apple one and has one high-speed USB-C for fast charging and a second USB-A for other devices. Cables aren’t included.
We’ve used many Anker chargers for many years now and we’ve found them to be utterly reliable.
If you want to charge your laptop as well as your iPhone, this is the iPhone charger for you. It comes in two flavors, a single-port one and one with a second USB-A port; while they both have the same usual selling price, at the time of writing the single-port one is being heavily discounted on Amazon.
The PowerPort Atom III has 60W of power and can charge pretty much anything that you can connect to its USB-C port.
Most of us live in households where there’s more than one kind of device to charge. This from TeckNet is a good solution: it has an 18W USB-C port with Power Delivery for fast charging your iPhone, and it also has two USB-A ports that you can use to charge other devices at the same time.
It’s a fairly bulky thing – don’t expect to be able to hide it behind something in the kitchen – but it’s solid, safe and delivers enough power to recharge even the biggest iPhone at high speed. Three ports mean it’s a good travel option too.
It’s not pretty, it’s not incredibly light and it’s not very small, but the PowerCenter 4 is pretty useful. It can throw up to 60W through its USB-C connector, which is enough to charge a laptop, and its triple USB-A connectors enable you to connect and charge three other devices at the same time.
Like many such chargers it’s dual voltage so you can take it with you on holiday to charge your iPhone, your Kindle, your camera, your Apple Watch and anything else that needs topping up. It’s not as elegant as a multi-device wireless charger, but it’s an awful lot cheaper.
The Powerline Plus II is exceptionally tough and exceptionally quick, and may be the last Lightning cable you ever buy. That’s because it’s designed for USB-C connections, which deliver much faster charging than USB-A ones – assuming your charger delivers the right amount of juice, of course.
It works with high-powered chargers including Apple’s ones and is lab-tested to withstand 30,000 bends, which means it should last thirty times longer than lesser cables. Anker is so confident that it offers a lifetime warranty: this cable should last much longer than any of your iPhones or iPads.
If you’re not fussed about getting a braided cable and want a 1.8 meter one, the original Powerline cables are very good value: you’ll be hard pushed to find a similarly good quality USB-C cable of the same length for the same price.
The question here is whether you want the increased strength of the braided Powerline Plus II, which is only a little bit more expensive. Where that one has been lab-tested to survive 30,000 bends, the original Powerline has only been tested to 12,000 bends – although like its sibling it does come with a lifetime warranty.
This 3 meter cable may be the most useful iPhone charging cable ever made. It’s available in much smaller sizes, but there’s a reason we love the long one. It’s long enough to stretch from a wall socket to the sofa or from your in-car charger to the kids’ iPad in the back seat.
Length isn’t the only good thing here. Nylon braiding means it doesn’t tangle easily, and the sleeves at the joint between the cable and the connector prevent the bending that can lead to dangerous fraying.
The colors range from utilitarian grey to hard-to-lose red and rose gold. Our only niggle is that the lightning end feels a little looser than Apple’s own cable, especially in our iPad.
Simple in almost every way, the Apple USB-C to Lightning cable is an ideal option if you feel best sticking with the Apple name. It’s not as durable as some other options here with the cable prone to eventually fraying unless you’re very careful but you have the guarantee of compatibility thanks to this being made exclusively for Apple devices.
The cable works with iPhones, iPads and iPods that have Lightning connectors so it’s fairly flexible here. You can also use it with numerous types of USB-C power adapters to gain fast-charging functionality. It’s far from an exciting cable with only one color option and little else going on but it’s highly dependable.
Here’s a handy one for people with gadgets of various vintages: a triple pack of 6-inch charging cables that covers pre-Lightning iPhones, iPads and iPods, plus modern Lightning devices and non-Apple micro USB devices such as Kindles, console controllers and cameras.
We’d argue that the main benefit of buying a triple-pack of good-quality cables from the likes of Belkin instead of a single cable with swappable connectors is that swapping connectors causes wear and tear for the three days you get before losing all of them.
Sometimes little things make a big difference: at 1.2 meters (4ft) compared to the more common 0.9 meters (3ft), Belkin’s Boost is a little bit longer than the average iPhone charging cable.
That extra foot means it’s a lot more useful: it’s long enough to reach from the floor socket to the sofa without you having to sit in an awkward position; it’s long enough to reach the bedside table without having to rearrange the furniture; it’s long enough for the passenger in your car, and so on.
It’s a typically high-quality Belkin product, although personally, we prefer braided cables to smooth ones.
Prone to sucking up cables with your vacuum cleaner, misplacing them, or having pets chew through them? This Raviad iPhone Charger Cable is cheap enough that you won’t lament the cost quite so much when one of these things occurs.
It feels almost too cheap but its only real flaw is that it’s a little on the short side. Other than that, its braided exterior means you can feel confident that this cable isn’t going to get damaged in a hurry. And if it does? It’s the cheapest accessory you’ve bought in years.