Buying guide: the best wireless chargers for iPhone
Since the iPhone 8, Apple smartphones are compatible with induction charging. You put your iPhone on a small base and it charges without further ado. No need to handle a cable, the practicality is undeniable.
If Apple ditched the AirPower along the way, it’s not the wireless chargers that are lacking, on the contrary. Here are our tips and recommendations for choosing the right one.
Points to know
The pros and cons
The main advantage of induction charging is practicality. No cable that gets damaged after a while or that falls behind the furniture when needed, just put your device on the base for it to be powered. This type of charging is also better integrated in restaurants and cafes than USB cables.
For manufacturers, it is also a way to optimize the design of their products, especially the more compact ones. You can’t imagine an Apple Watch with a Lightning port… For the time being, wired and wireless recharges coexist in the iPhone, but it is not impossible that only one day the second remains .
Wireless charging isn’t the holy grail either. It is slower than wired charging to fill the battery of devices. Then if you always synchronize your iPhone with your Mac, the operation will take less time by plugging your iPhone into Lightning than by placing it on an induction charger for wireless sync.
Although we speak of wireless charging because there is no cable to connect between the device and the charger, the fact remains that the charger must be connected to a power source – was a time , it was also the argument of Phil Schiller to justify the absence of charging by induction on iPhone.
The choice between wireless or wired charging is therefore a matter of context and needs.
As much as the iPhone always sets itself apart when it comes to wired connectivity, preferring Lightning to USB-C, there is a consensus on wireless charging. Like other smartphones and most accessories compatible with induction charging, the iPhone 8, X, XR, XS and 11 support the Qi standard. There is little risk of going wrong on this point, almost all induction chargers on sale are based on this standard.
Depending on the model, Android smartphones support different maximum inductive charging powers. For example, it’s 11W on the Pixel 4, 15W on the Galaxy S10, or even 27W on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, with manufacturers racing to get the wireless charging as fast as possible.
With the iPhone, if not fast, it’s simple: it’s 7.5 W maximum for all models. No need to buy an overpowered wireless charger for the iPhone, Apple’s smartphone won’t draw more than 7.5 W.
Conversely, some chargers do not exceed 5 W. The information is generally given on the product sheet. In this case, recharging the iPhone will therefore be slower than with a 7.5 W charger, but this is not necessarily a problem. If it’s to charge your iPhone on your bedside table overnight, 5 W is enough to get your battery full when you wake up.
Note that since iOS 13.1, the iPhone seems to straddle the specifications for induction chargers that go beyond 5 W. The Extended Power Profile (EPP) specification of the Wireless Power Consortium, which allows charging up to 15W, requires a fixed frequency voltage regulation mechanism (a mechanism that ensures that the charger does not interfere with other waves of the iPhone).
Apparently, iOS 13.1 and later take this setting into account for charging at 7.5W for some chargers. Non-EPP chargers have seen their power decrease from 7.5 to 5 W from this version of iOS. However, apparently not all of them are affected. Apple markets several non-EPP chargers while ensuring that they charge at 7.5 W. This is the case , which has only a “basic” and not an “extended” profile.
There are other things to check before buying a wireless charger. To prevent the iPhone from slipping if it is improperly placed, it is better if the base is covered with an anti-slip coating, which is the case with most models.
Also check the cable that connects the wireless charger to the mains. Some have a fixed cable with a power adapter at the end, others just have a USB-C input that must be completed with a cable and an adapter to be purchased separately.
This is unusual, but some wireless chargers, the more powerful, have a fan to cool them. Avoid if you want absolute calm in your room. Similarly, if it is to put it on your bedside table, it is better to take a model with a discreet LED.
There is also the issue of tilt. There are flat and vertical loaders. The latter are quite practical on a desktop, in particular, in that they allow you to clearly see the notifications that arrive on the screen. Their disadvantage is that you cannot charge the AirPods case with them. Some models try to offer both types of tilt.
Finally, there is the subjective criterion of design. The choice is not limited to white or black, there are more and more magazines with a fabric cover and in colors that are out of the ordinary.
As has been said, wireless chargers are very numerous, and there are some at all costs. This ranges from $ 5 for simple models to over $ 100 for the more substantial. The selection below is not meant to be exhaustive, you will find other good products besides these, but we can recommend them for having tested them.
Ikea recently sold a new wireless charger at the almost unbeatable price of $ 5. Granted, the Livboj – that’s its name – doesn’t include a USB-C cable or AC adapter, but you might have those trinkets lying around in the back of a drawer. Otherwise, Ikea will be happy to sell you a USB-C cable for $ 5 , or even 2 , and a power adapter for $ 5.99.
It should also be noted that this charger is limited to 5 W. But if you already have a USB-C cable or an AC adapter, its price and decent build quality make it a great deal.
The Belkin Boost Up Stand is particularly suitable for desktop use. Vertical type, it allows easy viewing of the iPhone screen while charging. You can even put the iPhone in landscape orientation to watch a video while recharging it, for example.
Its price is relatively high, but the power adapter including the cable is included (this cable is removable) and the power is 10 W, enough to charge the iPhone at full power in induction.
Flatbed and vertical loader
If you want to charge your iPhone upright as well as your AirPods (necessarily flat) without buying two stations, you must choose a two-in-one charger. Twelve South’s HiRise Wireless fulfills this mission very well.
Its loading roller can be detached from the base to be used flat. The whole is very neat. The design and finishes with chrome reflections go like a glove to an iPhone.
By presenting the AirPower, Apple made people dream of a world where it would be possible to charge several devices at the same time on the same base. Although Apple has abandoned the adventure, others have taken over – without however being able to supply power to the Apple Watch, since it is not fully compatible with the Qi standard.
The Nomad Base Station charges, with class, two devices by induction, plus two others wired thanks to the two integrated USB ports. A version with an integrated roller for the Apple Watch is on sale at a slightly higher price.