Is Wireless Charging Slower Than Wired Charging?

Look, Apple is making wireless charging cool again with the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. I’m glad! But there are things you should know about this technology—like how fast it’s going to charge your phone. You know, practical stuff.

For example: is wireless charging as fast as as wired charging? It depends. The speed of how quickly your phone will charge wireless depends on several variables—like which wireless charger you’re using, which phone you’re charging, and what you’re comparing it to in terms of charging speed. Let’s talk about it.

When it comes to wireless charging, the general rule used to be “yes, it’s slower than wired charging.” But as time has gone on and the tech has evolved, that’s not as true anymore. Just like wired charging, there is a faster version of wireless charging. So, just so we’re clear out of the gate, here’s what we have to deal with:

  • Wired Charging: Traditional charging, found on every phone since the dawn of time.
  • Fast/Rapid/Quick/Turbo (Wired) Charging: Newer tech that has emerged as the standard, just with different variations of the name. As suggested, this is much faster than regular wired charging.
  • Wireless Charging: The wireless form of standard charging, only slower.
  • Fast Wireless Charging: The rapid equivalent of wireless charging. Not available on all phones.

So, as you can see, this isn’t really a cut and dry, yes or no type of answer. Like I said, it depends. If you’re comparing an older phone with standard wired charging to a modern phone with fast wireless charging, the latter will probably be faster—or comparable at the very least. So at there’s that.

But if you’re comparing quick wired charging to any form of wireless charging, you’re definitely getting a slower trickle there. Quick wired charging is undoubtedly the fastest way to juice your phone…assuming it supports it. (The iPhone 8 and X support fast wired charging, but it requires a special Lightning-to-USB-C cable and USB-C charger. It’s unclear whether they support fast wireless charging yet.)

And that’s what really throws a wrench into this already not-so-simple answer: not all phones support all standards. So, it depends even more. To make matters even more convoluted, you not only have to take into consideration what phone you’re using, but also what charger you’re using.

Because even if you have fast wireless charging on the phone, you also need a fast wireless charger before it will work (just like you need a quick charger for quick wired charging to work). And that also brings about another thing worth mentioning: fast wireless charging is louder than regular wireless charging, because it gets hotter, so these chargers have fans in them. It’s more of a light “whir,” but still. It bothers some people. Some phones will allow you to disable fast wireless charging, however.

Going back to the original question we were looking to answer here, there isn’t a straightforward solution—it’s going to depend on your phone and charger combination more than anything.

Here’s my proposed solution: always use wired charging when you need to juice up as quickly as possible, because you can’t go wrong with that. But for overnight charging, wireless charging is the way to go. It’s great being able to lie in bed and use your phone, then just roll over and drop it on a charger without having to fumble around with the cable. I’m so into that.

Also, don’t try using both at the same time. It won’t work anyway, so just…don’t. It’s not going to charge twice as fast.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.