Best Chargers of 2021

The Best USB Phone Charger

If you’ve ever scrambled out the door with your phone’s battery in the red, you know that power is precious, and the faster you can get it, the better. Anker’s PowerPort III Nano and Aukey’s Omnia Mini 20W USB-C PD Charger (PA-B1) are the best options for charging any phone fast: They’re tiny and inexpensive, and they can get a fully drained phone battery to more than 50% full in half an hour.

USB-C chargers can top up phones faster than older USB-A models can, and they work with both iPhones and Android devices. As of November 2020, all iPhones come with the USB-C–to–Lightning cable necessary to take advantage of the faster charging USB-C offers. (If you got your iPhone before that, you may have to buy a cable separately.) If you have an Android phone and a USB-C cable already, you don’t need to buy anything extra to fast-charge with our USB-C picks.

1. Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter

The charger your new iPhone is missing

SPECIFICATIONS
Wattage: 20W
Weight: Not stated
Ports: USB-C
REASONS TO BUY
+Fastest Apple iPhone power adapter yet+Typical Apple quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Typical Apple pricingShould come with your phone

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.

2. Apple 18W USB-C Power Adapter

Offers a big speed boost

SPECIFICATIONS
Wattage: 18W
Weight: not stated
Ports: USB-C
REASONS TO BUY
+18W is much faster than 5W+Typical Apple quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Typical Apple pricingShould have come with your phone

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.

3. Anker PowerPort Speed Plus Duo

Two ports and high speeds

SPECIFICATIONS
Wattage: 42W
Weight: 145g
Ports: USB-C, USB-A
REASONS TO BUY
+Fast charging for iPhones+Also has a USB-A port
REASONS TO AVOID
A bit bulkyNot quite powerful enough for a laptop

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.

4. Anker PowerPort Atom III

Masses of power

SPECIFICATIONS
Wattage: 60W
Weight: 142g
Ports: USB-C
REASONS TO BUY
+Very powerful+Two-port version available+Smaller than Apple equivalent
REASONS TO AVOID
Overkill for just phone charging

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.

5. TeckNet 30W PD USB Charger

A three-port beast

SPECIFICATIONS
Wattage: 30W
Weight: 168g
Ports: 1 x USB-C, 2 x USB-A
REASONS TO BUY
+Three ports+Fast charging
REASONS TO AVOID
It’s massiveLike a whale

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.

6. TOMMOX PowerCenter 4 75W PD USB Charger

Powerful and versatile

SPECIFICATIONS
Wattage: 75W
Weight: 228g
Ports: 1 x USB-C, 3 x USB-A
REASONS TO BUY
+It’s very powerful+It’s got four ports
REASONS TO AVOID
It’s hugeIt’s ugly

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.

7. Anker Powerline Plus II USB-C to Lightning Cable

Very fast and built to last

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 0.9m
Connections: USB-C to Lightning
REASONS TO BUY
+Incredibly fast+Virtually unbreakable+Lifetime guarantee
REASONS TO AVOID
Empty List

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.

8. Anker Powerline USB-C to Lightning Cable

A cheaper, weaker option

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 1.8m
Connections: USB-C to Lightning
REASONS TO BUY
+Cheaper than the Powerline Plus II+Lifetime guarantee
REASONS TO AVOID
Not braided

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.

9. AmazonBasics DoubleBraided Nylon USB-A to Lightning Cable

A cable with a lot of length

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 3m
Connections: USB-A to Lightning
REASONS TO BUY
+It’s really long+It comes in nice colors
REASONS TO AVOID
USB-A, not CSome colors cost more

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.

10. Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable

The straightforward choice

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 1m
Connections: USB-C to Lightning
REASONS TO BUY
+Highly compatible+Apple branded
REASONS TO AVOID
Not cheapNot as durable as others

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.

11. Belkin Triple Pack of 6-inch Charge and Sync Cables

Connects to almost everything

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 6 inches
Connectors: USB-A / Lightning, USB-A / microUSB, USB-A / Apple 30-pin
REASONS TO BUY
+Three kinds of connector+Good build quality+Works with old iPhones
REASONS TO AVOID
They’re very short

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.

12. Belkin Boost Charge USB-C cable

A high-quality choice that gives you room to maneuver

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 1.2m
Connectors: USB-A to Lightning
REASONS TO BUY
+A little bit longer+Typical Belkin quality
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited color choiceNot braided

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.

13. Raviad iPhone Charger Cable

Cheap in price rather than quality

SPECIFICATIONS
Length: 1m
Connectors: USB-A to Lightning
REASONS TO BUY
+Very cheap+Braided cable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the longest

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.

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