Anker Power IQ 40W 5-port desktop charger (Verdict: Essential)

Anker makes my new favorite USB charger. Here's why it should be yours too.

Anker Power IQ 40W 5-port desktop charger - Jason O'Grady

If you've ever traveled with an iPad and iPhone you're familiar with the chargers required to keep those devices juiced up. If you travel with several gadgets (and their necessary USB power cables), packing the correct charging bricks (with the correct output capacities) is essential.

I standardized on the Apple 12 Watt USB Power Adapter (MD836LL/A) because it charges the Retina iPad mini at full speed and it's backwards compatible with the iPhone. The problem is that traveling with multiple iPhones and iPads now involves bringing as many as five 12-watt charging bricks — if you want to charge all of them (overnight, for example).

Enter the Power IQ 40W (5W/8A) 5-port desktop charger from Anker ($25, Amazon). Now, instead of carrying a small rucksack full of charging bricks, I carry one 40W Anker Power IQ adapter instead. (The cables in the photo are glow-in-the-dark Color Cables ($15-25), which come in Lightning, 30-pin, and microUSB flavors.)

The newest iPad Air and Retina iPad mini require a 12W/2A power supply, and if you plug it into a charger that doesn't supply enough juice, charge times can double or triple. And if you try to charge a modern iPad by plugging it into the USB port on your MacBook it will take forever to charge. 

The charger that comes with the Apple iPhone 5s (MB810LL/A) has a rated output of 1 Amp at 5 Volts, or 5 Watts (Volts x Amps). Worse, Macs (and displays) with USB 1.1 or USB 2 ports only provide up to 500 Milliamps (mA) at 5 Volts (V). Newer Macs with USB 3 ports provide up to 900 mA at 5 V, according to their specs.

Apple 5W vs. 12W chargers - Jason O'Grady
(Apple 5W vs. 12W chargers. Credit: iLounge)

Instead of having to be an electrical engineer to remember which power supply works with your iDevice, Anker's PowerIQ technology automatically identifies which device is plugged in and provides the correct amount of power for full-speed charging. 

On a recent trip, I replaced the five power supplies that I usually tote with the Anker 40W unit and it was flawless – not to mention saving a lot of room in my gear bag. Instead of using the included power cord, I paired my Anker 40W with a "duck head" adapter that I stole from a MacBook power supply so that it hangs neatly on the wall, directly from a standard power outlet. It's not an ideal hack though because the weight of the adapter and cables can cause it to come unplugged from the adapter. 

I like it so much that the Anker 40W is my full-time charger at home too; it removes a lot of clutter from my kitchen counter.

Anker Power IQ 40W 5-port desktop charger - Jason O'Grady
(Photo: Anker)
Anker Power IQ 40W 5-port desktop charger - Jason O'Grady
(Photo: Anker)
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