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Best wireless charger 2021: Easily charge your phone

Now that Apple has readily adopted wireless charging, there are many options for topping up your phone, headsets, and watches without plugging a cable into the mobile gear.

One of the first mobile phones with wireless charging was the Palm Pre, released in 2009 with an optional back cover and Touchstone charging stand. WebOS on the Palm Pre was a slick operating system but was well ahead of its time, and the Palm smartphones died with carrier exclusives and quality issues.

We then saw Nokia adopt today's Qi charging standard in 2012 with the Nokia Lumia 920, and since then, I've had at least a couple of wireless charging pads sprinkled around my office and home. Android phones supported wireless charging starting in 2012 with the Samsung Galaxy S3. Apple joined the party in 2017 with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X devices.

Over the past couple of years, we have also seen watches charge wireless, some right on the back of your mobile phone, and support for wireless charging in headset cases, too. Wireless charging is often slower than wired charging -- this does not include OnePlus and its super-fast Warp Charge 50 Wireless technology -- but it is very convenient to simply set your device down on a charging pad and never fumble with cables.

Anker PowerWave II Pad

15W fast charging

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The Anker PowerWave II Pad has the capacity to charge at fast speeds up to 15W capacity, but will smartly adjust between 5W, 7.5W, 10W, and 15W as your particular device demands. It has silicone rings on the top and bottom to ensure the charger stays put on the table and also keep your device in place on the charger.

You can charge up your phone while it is in a case, as long as the back of the case is less than 5mm thick. There is no fan in the charger, but it includes advanced temperature control technology.

$30 at Amazon

Apple MagSafe Charger

Magnetic iPhone charger

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In 2020, Apple released iPhone 12 smartphones with MagSafe technology. This technology supports wireless charging and a magnetic ring alignment on the back of the phones. The Apple MagSafe Charger is the default charger available from Apple for $39.

It's a very basic charging puck with a USB-C end on the cable. Keep in mind that a USB-C A/C adapter is not included with this charger so you will need a compatible one to power up the MagSafe Charger. The charger will power up all iPhones, from the iPhone 8 through iPhone 12, but the magnetic alignment is only supported by the iPhone 12 series.

Apple also offers a rather unique MagSafe Duo Charger for $129 that is designed to charge up both your iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. This charger works well for travel too, but you have to make sure to grab the charger and your phone to separate them since the Duo Charger is very lightweight.

$40 at Apple

Aukey Wireless Charger

15W fast charging

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Image: AUKEY

Aukey is known for offering affordable, high-quality mobile accessories. The Aukey Wireless Charger supports fast wireless charging up to 15W with a cooling fan to manage temperatures.

It has a non-slip surface and a zinc alloy base so it holds your mobile gear securely while also looking good in the office. Like Apple, Aukey also does not include the A/C adapter for this charger so you will need to use one from your phone or another available wall charger. A USB-A to USB-C cable is provided.

$56 at Aukey

Belkin Boost Charge

Stand form factor

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Image: Belkin

Belkin has several wireless charging options for mobile devices and one of its most popular models is the Boost Charge 15W Wireless Charging Stand. This stand form factor props your phone up at an angle so you can actually use it on your desk while your phone is mounted on the stand.

One thing to consider with a stand form factor charger is that charging watches and headsets may be tricky or not supported with the charging coils provided at an angle further up the stand than supported by this other gear. Belkin also states this charging stand is not compatible with the Apple iPhone 12 mini.

The Belkin Boost Charge comes with a Quick Charge 3.0 power supply so it is ready to go out of the box. Case thickness of up to 3mm is supported with this charger.

$45 at Belkin

ESR HaloLock MagSafe wireless charging stand

Built for iPhone 12

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ESR produces very affordable accessories and one of the best MagSafe stands we tested was the ESR HaloLock MagSafe wireless charging stand. It has four pivot points so you can adjust to your perfect viewing angle. Your iPhone 12 securely attaches via magnets, which is one reason this product is just for iPhone 12 devices.

You can attach your iPhone in landscape or portrait orientation on the stand so you can use your iPhone while it is charging. The ESR HaloLock wireless charging stand (see our review) is a nice mount for video calls or viewing media content while your iPhone charges. A USB-C cable is included, but you will need to provide your own wall charger.

$26 at Amazon

Mophie Wireless Charging Stand Plus

Charge up to three devices

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Mophie is well known for its portable battery pack solutions but also makes other accessories. We spent some time with the Mophie Wireless Charging Stand Plus (see our full review) and loved the ability to charge multiple devices while also offering the flexibility to charge either Android or iPhone devices, the Apple Watch, and headsets.

The Mophie Wireless Charging Stand Plus has an angled stand for phones, flat surface for phones or headsets, and an Apple Watch vertical holder so that the stand is maximized for multiple devices. 15W of power is provided to charging devices with the wall charger also provided.

Two pads, one horizontal and one angled stand, provide wireless charging while a USB-A port is on the back of the accessory so you can charge your third device. An Apple Watch stand is provided so you can insert your Apple Watch charging puck and USB cable.

$80 at Mophie

OnePlus Warp Charge 50 wireless charger

Faster than wired charging

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OnePlus is known for providing extremely fast wired chargers for its Android smartphones and has extended this fast charging capability to wireless charging. The OnePlus Warp Charge 50 wireless charging stand is available now for $69.99.

This charging stand can charge up a OnePlus 9 Pro from 1% to 100% in just 43 minutes. That is faster than wired charging for most smartphones. You can rest your phone on it horizontally or vertically, too.

While the OnePlus Warp Charge 50 is optimized for the latest OnePlus phones and will charge them at the fastest rate, it will also charge other Qi-enabled devices at a maximum of 15W. At the fastest speeds, you will hear the internal fan activate to keep the charging stand cool. You can manage the fan and charge at a slower rate if you desire a quiet mode of operation too.

$60 at OnePlus

How to choose  

One of the first things to consider as you prepare to purchase a wireless charging pad is how many devices do you want to charge at once? Some pads have the capacity and space to charge up multiple devices at the same time. These often have dedicated space on the charger for headsets and watches, too. You may also just need to charge one smartphone so the most basic wireless charging works well for this need.

After figuring out how many devices you want to charge, then you should consider your price range. There are very affordable chargers and others who serve as attractive pieces of furniture in your office. A part of the consideration for the price is the maximum capacity you desire. Higher capacity wireless chargers will charge your device faster, assuming your device supports higher capacity.

Thankfully, the technology is all the same, Qi, so there are no options to consider for this aspect. You may also want to consider whether you want your device propped up at an angle in a stand form factor or resting horizontally on a pad form factor.