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Our guide to finding the right wireless charger for your device

(CNN) —  

Qi Wireless technology has been on the market for a while now and we’re still jazzed about it. This technology powers the wireless charging experience and has near universal adoption across iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel. It’s great for smartphone charging and, while devices like the Apple Watch and other smartwatches likely use proprietary chargers, there are charger options that allow you to keep all your devices in one place while they refuel.

Like power bricks and cords, there are many different wireless chargers in all shapes and sizes, from pads to stands and even two-in-ones, or wireless chargers that are hidden in photo frames. This handy guide will make your buying decision much less daunting – even fun!

What to look for in a wireless charger

There’s a huge selection of chargers. In the time since Apple began to include wireless charging, accessory manufacturers have released a ton of them. It’s a competitive market, with Mophie, Belkin, Anker, Apple, Nomad, Satechi, Twelve South, Samsung and many others offering options.

Circular pads are the rage, but wireless chargers also come in many other formats. Materials range from plastic to leather or fabric. Luckily, none of these surfaces should heat up too much, thanks to the Qi charging coil technology. Wireless charging does create some heat given the conductive nature of the design. It’s normal for the device to get a little warm and it’s possible the charging pad itself may give off some heat. Keep in mind that there are multiple safeguards in the charger to prevent damage or overheating.

Additionally, most wireless chargers can work with slim cases on devices. The range usually tops out at cases that are about 5-millimeters thick. Apple’s MagSafe Technology which launched on the iPhone 12 family uses magnets to ensure proper alignment and boosts charging speeds up to 15-watts. You can even use a MagSafe charging puck with a MagSafe case which ensures the proper alignment.

Also a quick note on alignment: In order for the wireless charger to start charging your Qi-enabled device, you need to make sure that the coils line up. You’ll know this is the case by the device showing a charging status and in some cases with an LED indicator on the charger itself.

Charging speed matters

Like a typical charging brick and cable, a wireless charger can only charge as fast as the amount of power it receives. Normal charging versus fast charging can make a significant difference, but you need to be precise when choosing your model. You’ll need to make sure the included power brick can deliver enough watts for fast charging. Fast charging typically comes from a charger that delivers over 10-watts to your device. It means you’ll see your battery power increase in a shorter amount of time. That being said, iPhones can only receive up to 7.5-watts from a Qi-enabled charger unless you’re using the new MagSafe, which delivers up to 15-watts for iPhone 12 models with a 20-watt wall plug.

Apple used to include a 5-watt charger with every iPhone (the iPhone SE still ships with one), which is on the slower side of power delivery. On the other hand, Samsung includes a fast charging brick in the box with most of its smartphones. Either of these can likely charge your phone fully overnight, but there are ways to get a faster, easier charge without the hassle of plugging in the cable. You’ll need to upgrade to an Apple 20-watt charger ($19; amazon.com) for an iPhone, or a third-party solution, such as the Anker Nano 20W charger ($16.99; amazon.com), to get those fast-charging speeds.

If you’re looking at a fast-charging or 10-watt wireless charger, it likely will come with a brick that can power that fast speed. But sadly, not all wireless chargers include a brick. And while a brick might seem unnecessary for a wireless charger, it’s a critical piece of the equation to deliver enough power for fast charging — so if the charger doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to buy that separately.

We’ve rounded up picks of wireless chargers to help make your decision a little easier. Whether you’re looking for a charging station to keep all of your devices powered up in one space, a case or power bank to keep you charged on the go, or you’re searching for the perfect stand to charge your phone while streaming shows, there’s an option here for you.

Wireless Chargers

There’s lots of wireless chargers on the market so we’ve picked options from brands we know and trust. Options from brands like Apple, Belkin, Mophie, Anker, Logitech and Satechi will have your device charged and ready to go.

Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger ($39; amazon.com)

Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger
Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger
PHOTO: Amazon

With the announcement of the iPhone 12 lineup came the return of MagSafe: Apple’s wireless charging experience. MagSafe works via magnets built into the wireless charger coil. The charging speed has been amped up from a 7.5-watt charger to a 15-watt charger meaning your charging times will be much faster. The MagSafe charger can be used for your iPhone and AirPods with a wireless charging case or AirPods Pro. You’ll have to get your own wall plug for this charger and Apple recommends pairing it with a 20-watt adapter for optimal use and to hit the 15-watt mark.

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Wireless charging pad (fabric) ($29.95, originally $49.95; mophie.com)

Wireless charging pad (fabric)
Wireless charging pad (fabric)
PHOTO: Mophie

This 10-watt charging pad features a suede fabric for a sleek look on your desk or nightstand as well as a soft material for your smartphone to sit on while charging. The charger is compatible with phone cases up to 3 millimeters thick. It also features a rubberized outer ring to keep your phone secure while charging. If your phone buzzes or rings while charging you won’t have to worry about the device falling off of the charging pad.

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Belkin Wireless Charger ($23.99, originally $29.99; amazon.com)

Belkin Wireless Charger
Belkin Wireless Charger
PHOTO: Amazon

Belkin’s wireless charger delivers a full charge at a fast speed with universal Qi-compatible smartphones and you can even use this wireless charging pad for your AirPods if they’re compatible. It delivers a 10-watt charge to Apple and Samsung phones while delivering a 5-watt charge to all other devices. A Quick Charge 3.0 compatible wall charger and cable are included so everything you need to get started charging wirelessly is included. ____________________________________________________________________________

Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Pad ($13.99; amazon.com)

Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Pad
Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Pad
PHOTO: Amazon

The PowerWave Pad delivers a 10-watt high speed charge to Samsung smartphones and a 5-watt standard charge to iPhones and other Qi-compatible devices like the Google Pixel. You’ll need your own wall adapter but the compatible cable is included with the PowerWave Pad. It can charge devices through cases up to 5 millimeters thick. The LED light indicator on this pick indicates whether or not there’s something obstructing the device from charging, whether it’s incompatible and when a device is placed properly and in charging mode. ___________________________________________________________________________

Aluminum Type-C Wireless Charger ($39.99; satechi.com)

Aluminum Type-C Wireless Charger
Aluminum Type-C Wireless Charger
PHOTO: Satechi

Satechi’s wireless charging pad delivers up to a 5-watt charge for AirPods and a 7.5-watt charge to iPhones while Android smartphones get a 10-watt fast charge. It’s available in two sleek finishes, silver and space gray, so you can coordinate the charger with the rest of your technology set up. The wireless charger requires at least 5V 9000mA from the USB port so you aren’t able to plug it into your computer’s USB-C port and need an appropriate wall plug, like this Anker one. ________________________________________________________________________

POWERED Pad ($39.99; logitech.com)

POWERED Pad
POWERED Pad
PHOTO: Logitech

This universal wireless charger delivers a 9-watt fast charge to Samsung phones, a 7.5-watt charge to iPhones and can charge headphones with wireless charging capabilities as well. The LED light on the front of the POWERED Pad will let you know that your device is charging properly and works with phone cases 3 millimeters thick and thinner. It comes with a 1.5-meter cable and a compatible wall adapter so you’re good to go when you open the box. We like that it comes with a long cable so it’s easy to set up on your desk, nightstand or countertop.

Fast Wireless Chargers

These charging pads deliver power 10-watts and higher for a shorter wait time in between charges for compatible devices and you’ll need to make sure they’re paired with the proper wall adapter.

Anker 15W Max Wireless Charger with USB-C PowerWave Alloy Pad ($29.99; amazon.com)

Anker 15W Max Wireless Charger with USB-C PowerWave Alloy Pad
Anker 15W Max Wireless Charger with USB-C PowerWave Alloy Pad
PHOTO: Amazon

With a max charge capacity of 15 watts, your devices will speedily be back at full charge with this pick from Anker. There’s a non-slip pad on both the top and bottom of the charger to keep it from slipping on surfaces and to keep your phone in place while charging. It comes with a 5-foot cable that you’ll have to plug into your own wall adapter. Google Pixels will get 11 watts of efficient charging, Samsung phones will get 10 watts of high-speed charging and there’s a 7.5-watt charging mode for iPhones.

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15W wireless charging pad ($49.95; mophie.com)

15W wireless charging pad
15W wireless charging pad
PHOTO: Mophie

This 15-watt wireless charger is optimized for Samsung, Android and Apple smartphones for a quick charge. The fabric finish gives it a sleek look and your device will charge through cases 3 millimeters thick and thinner. There’s a rubber ring on the charger to keep your device from slipping while it rests and recharges. Mophie gives you everything you need, including a wall adapter, so you’ll be all set to charge.

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Belkin Wireless Charger 15W ($31.99, originally $39.99; amazon.com)

Belkin Wireless Charger 15W
Belkin Wireless Charger 15W
PHOTO: Amazon

Included with this wireless charger is Belkin’s 24-watt Quick Charge 3.0 power supply unit so you’re able to take full advantage of the 15-watt charge. It’s a universal wireless charger so Android and Apple users alike can put this charger to the test. It will deliver a 15-watt charge to your smartphone while delivering a 5-watt charge to other Qi-compatible devices, like your AirPods or AirPods Pro.

Wireless charging cases

If you want wireless power on the go without having to add anything to your carrying load, a wireless charging case is a perfect option. Apple and Mophie have created cases to help increase your battery life at the touch of a button.

Apple Smart Battery Case with Wireless Charging (iPhone 11 Pro) ($129; amazon.com)

Apple Smart Battery Case with Wireless Charging (iPhone 11 Pro)
Apple Smart Battery Case with Wireless Charging (iPhone 11 Pro)
PHOTO: Amazon

You’ll never have to worry about your phone running out of juice with this battery case. It delivers up to 50% longer battery life when fully charged. There’s a lightning charger that slips into your phone’s port but the case itself can be charged via lightning port or Qi-enabled wireless chargers. If you lay your phone down for wireless charging with the case on, both the case and iPhone will charge.

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Juice pack access for iPhone 11 Pro ($29.95, originally $79.95; mophie.com)

Juice pack access for iPhone 11 Pro
Juice pack access for iPhone 11 Pro
PHOTO: Mophie

This battery case from Mophie can add an extra 13 hours of audio and 5 hours of video play to your phone’s battery life. You can charge the case via wireless charging or a lightning cable. Simply turn the case on using the button on the back (which is also where you’ll find the charge display indicator for the case) and it will charge your phone’s battery wirelessly. It’s ultra convenient and the case itself is sleek and available in three colorways: black, PRODUCT red and blush pink.

Wireless car chargers

Charging on the road is efficient and easy if you clip in one of these wireless options. You’ll get access to your screen for quick GPS views while your smartphone battery gets a boost.

Car Vent Mount PRO with MagSafe ($39.99; belkin.com)

Car Vent Mount PRO with MagSafe
Car Vent Mount PRO with MagSafe

Clipping into your car vent, this MagSafe charger from Belkin is sleek and efficient. It will keep your phone safely in place (thanks to the magnets employed by MagSafe) and the ball-joint lets you view your screen both horizontally and vertically. It’s an easy pair with your new iPhone 12 or 12 Pro, but you’ll need to purchase a car charger separately (we like this one from Belkin). ____________________________________________________________________________

Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave 7.5 Car Charger ($49.99; amazon.com)

Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave 7.5 Car Charger
Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave 7.5 Car Charger
PHOTO: Amazon

Anker’s wireless car charger delivers a 7.5-watt charge to iPhones and a 10-watt charge to Android devices, while other devices get a 5-watt charge. It easily clips onto your air vents so your phone is at a good viewing level when using GPS services. Included is a two port car charger so your passenger can charge as well. It will charge through cases up to 5 millimeters thick.

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Charge stream vent mount ($69.95; mophie.com)

Charge stream vent mount
Charge stream vent mount
PHOTO: Mophie

This car charger also clips into your air vents for convenient screen access while driving. It delivers up to a 10-watt charge to your device. It’s optimized for Apple and Samsung fast charging and there’s a car adapter included. It has rubber coated inner arms to keep your device scratch free and securely held while driving. It will charge through cases up to 3 millimeters thick.

Wireless charging stands

Charging stands are perfect if you need a view of your device while juicing up its battery. These picks give you the option to conveniently use your device while charging, whether in landscape or portrait mode.

Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Stand ($18.99; amazon.com)

Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Stand
Anker Wireless Charger PowerWave Stand
PHOTO: Amazon

This stand delivers a 10-watt charge to your Samsung smartphone and a 5-watt charge to all other devices. Even though it’s a vertical phone stand you can still charge your device in landscape mode if you’re looking to boost your battery while watching your favorite shows and videos. It features a three foot cable but you’ll have to supply your own wall adapter. The sleek black will blend with any desktop aesthetic.

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Wireless Charging Stand (Fabric) ($69.95; mophie.com)

wireless charging stand (fabric)
wireless charging stand (fabric)
PHOTO: Mophie

Mophie’s wireless charging stand can be adjusted so you can choose an angle that works best for your usage needs while charging. Use it flat as a charging pad or prop it up to get a good view of the screen. It will charge your smartphone quickly with a 10-watt charge for all compatible devices. ____________________________________________________________________________

Base Station Wireless Charging Stand ($99.95; nomadgoods.com)

Base Station Wireless Charging Stand
Base Station Wireless Charging Stand
PHOTO: NOMAD

We love NOMAD for their leather tech accessories and this wireless charging stand with an elegant leather accent is no exception. Your phone sits pretty against a leather pad while getting a 10-watt charge. You get an 18-watt power adapter with the Base Station Stand, a 6-foot braided USB-A to USB-C cable and the ability to charge your phone vertically and horizontally. It works with all Qi-enabled devices.

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TwelveSouth HiRise Wireless Fast Charge 10W ($59.99, originally $79.99; amazon.com)

TwelveSouth HiRise Wireless Fast Charge 10W
TwelveSouth HiRise Wireless Fast Charge 10W
PHOTO: Amazon

This charging stand can be plugged into a wall adapter or your computer for convenient charging capability. It comes with a 1.5-meter cable and the charging pad itself pops out of the stand if you wanted to lay your phone flat to get the 10-watt charge. We like its ability to switch between a charging stand and a charging pad, and the chrome finish adds a smooth flare that’s sure to look good on your desk or nightstand.

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Belkin Wireless Charging Stand 10W ($28.95, originally $34.99; amazon.com)

Belkin Wireless Charging Stand 10W
Belkin Wireless Charging Stand 10W
PHOTO: Amazon

Charge in portrait or landscape mode with this Belkin charging stand and get 10 watts of power to your smartphone. The Quick Charge 3.0 power adapter is included which will ensure optimal charging to your device while using this charging stand. It’s a universal wireless charger so whether you’re an iPhone or Android user you’ll be able to enjoy fast charge times with this option.

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Samsung 15W Qi-Certified Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand ($59.99; bhphotovideo.com)

Samsung 15W Qi-Certified Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand
Samsung 15W Qi-Certified Fast Charge Wireless Charging Stand
PHOTO: Samsung

Samsung’s wireless charging stand is of course designed to work with the brand’s lineup of smartphones, but it also works for iOS devices. It comes with a 25-watt power adapter and a USB-Type C charging cable to help you get the most out of the charger. It has a built in cooling fan to keep your device at the right temperature while charging and eliminate overheating. It’s available in both black and white colorways so you can coordinate it with your tech set up.

Wireless charging stations

You likely have more than one device to charge throughout the day, and that’s where charging stations and docks come in. With the ability to wirelessly charge more than one device at a time, it’s a convenient option that uses just one wire.

MagSafe Duo Charger ($129; coming soon)

MagSafe Duo Charger
MagSafe Duo Charger
PHOTO: Apple

Charge your iPhone 12 or 12 Pro or your AirPods and Watch at the same time with the MagSafe Duo Charger from Apple. It conveniently folds together making it easy to travel with and store away when not in use. You can even prop up the Watch charger to utilize nightstand mode, or keep it level for a flat lay charge. Apple recommends pairing it with their 20W wall adapter.

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BOOSTCHARGEPRO 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe ($119.99; bestbuy.com)

BOOSTCHARGEPRO 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe
BOOSTCHARGEPRO 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe
PHOTO: Best Buy

This MagSafe 3-in-1 charging station has a super sophisticated look with loads of functionality. MagSafe delivers up to 15 watts to charge your iPhone 12 while Qi-chargers deliver power to your AirPods and Apple Watch. You can charge your phone in both landscape and portrait modes as well for ultimate convenience. ____________________________________________________________________________

Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charger ($119.95; amazon.com)

Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charger
Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charger
PHOTO: Amazon

If you haven’t upgraded to an iPhone 12 model for MagSafe, Belkin’s got you and all of your devices covered with this wireless charging station. Charge your AirPods, iPhone and Apple Watch all at the same time and in the same place. Your iPhone gets a 7.5-watt charge, while your AirPods and Watch get a 5-watt charge. ____________________________________________________________________________

3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad ($97.95, originally $139.95; mophie.com)

3-in-1 wireless charging pad
3-in-1 wireless charging pad
PHOTO: Mophie

We were pretty pleased in our testing of this option from Mophie. It’s a sleek charging pad that provides a 7.5-watt charge to your iPhone while keeping your AirPods and Watch on their way to full battery life. Everything fits neatly in one place and your devices are safely charged. ____________________________________________________________________________

Anker 3-in-1 Multi-Device Wireless Charging Station ($44.99; amazon.com)

Anker 3-in-1 Multi-Device Wireless Charging Station
Anker 3-in-1 Multi-Device Wireless Charging Station
PHOTO: Amazon

Another 3-in-1 charging option, this pick from Anker operates mostly as a wireless charging stand for your smartphone while providing two additional USB-A ports for charging other devices. It’s not as convenient as a flat lay wireless charging station but you’re getting extra port access in one device. It will deliver a 10-watt charge to Samsung phones while your iPhone will get a 7.5-watt fast charge.

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Base Station Pro ($229.95; nomadgoods.com)

Base Station Pro
Base Station Pro

There are 18 coils in this charging station so you can easily charge up to three devices at once. The padded leather surface is a clean look and the technology provides up to 7.5-watt charges. Juice up your wireless earbuds, smartphone and even devices as big as an Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus. If the Base Station Pro is a little too pricey, the Base Station Hub ($99.95; nomadgoods.com) is cheaper and still big enough to charge up to two smartphones at once. You can check out our full review here.

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Trio Wireless Charging Pad ($119.99; satechi.com)

Trio Wireless Charging Pad
Trio Wireless Charging Pad
PHOTO: Satechi

Satechi’s wireless charging pad has designated stations for your Apple Watch, AirPods and smartphone all in a slim and sleek design we’ve been longtime fans of. You’ll know each device is properly in place and charging by the three-light LED display located at the bottom of the charging pad. Your watch will get up to a 2.5-watt charge, your AirPods up to a 5-watt charge and up to a 7.5-watt charge will be supplied to your iPhone or other smartphone.

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POWERED 3-in-1 Dock ($129.99; logitech.com)

POWERED 3-in-1 Dock
POWERED 3-in-1 Dock
PHOTO: Logitech

Logitech’s POWERED 3-in-1 dock provides charging docks for your Apple Watch, AirPods as well as a charging stand for your smartphone, so you can keep your phone propped up while all your devices charge. You can charge two phones at the same time (one in flat lay and one on the stand). Your iPhone will get up to 7.5 watts of fast charge while other Qi-enabled smartphones will get up to 10 watts of wireless charge. It’s available in white or black so you can pair it to coordinate with your devices and aesthetic.

Wireless power banks

Power banks are an easy way to bring some extra charge with you wherever you go. Better yet, Satechi and Mophie have a wireless charging feature into the portable solution.

Quatro Wireless Power Bank ($99.99; satechi.com)

Quatro Wireless Power Bank
Quatro Wireless Power Bank
PHOTO: Satechi

This wireless power bank has 1,000mAh capacity which is enough to charge an iPhone 11 up to two times. There’s a designated charging dock for your Apple Watch as well as USB-A and USB-C charging ports. The Qi-wireless charger has a max capacity of 5 watts to safely charge your phone but we also think it’s perfect for your AirPods. ____________________________________________________________________________

Powerstation all-in-one ($139.95; mophie.com)

Powerstation all-in-one
Powerstation all-in-one
PHOTO: Mophie

With an 8,000mAH wireless portable battery, the Powerstation all-in-one from Mophie delivers a 5-watt charge to your phone when using the wireless charging option. You can charge up to four devices by utilizing the built-in Apple Watch charger, wireless charging surface, USB-A port and USB-C port. ____________________________________________________________________________

Powerstation wireless XL with PD (fabric) ($69.95; mophie.com)

Powerstation wireless XL with PD (fabric)
Powerstation wireless XL with PD (fabric)
PHOTO: Mophie

A more heavy-duty option, Mophie also offers the powerstation wireless XL. It has a 10,000mAh battery that can charge your iPhone 11 just over two full times. The fabric finish is a great surface to lay your phone on to utilize the Qi-enabled wireless charging while using the USB-C and USB-A ports to charge devices like your earbuds or smart watch.

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