A phone on a wireless charger.
Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com

Wireless charging is a great convenience to have with your smartphone, but not all chargers are created equal. Certain wireless chargers will work better with your phone. How do you know which one to get? We’ll show you.

Before we dive in, let’s get the obvious out the way. You’re going to need a phone with wireless charging to use a wireless charger. It’s understandable to assume all phones have this technology built-in nowadays, but that is not the case. A simple web search can tell you if yours does.

Qi Is Key

Qi logo
Qi logo.

For a brief period, there were a couple of different wireless charging standards vying for prominence, but that didn’t last long. Any phone with wireless charging will have the Qi—pronounced “chee”—charging standard. That includes iPhones as well.

Think of it like USB standards. You can’t use a micro-USB charger with a phone that has USB-C. In the same way, you need a Qi charger to wirelessly charge a phone that supports Qi. Simple as that. As mentioned, there aren’t really any viable alternatives to Qi out there anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind.

RELATED: What Is a "Qi-Certified" Wireless Charger?

Look for USB-C

Anker wireless charger.

We’re talking about wireless charging here, but there are still some wires involved. There are still a lot of wireless chargers that use micro-USB. While these are still technically fine, you’ll be better off with one that uses USB-C.

Why? Micro-USB chargers are using an older standard called “QuickCharge.” It has a lower power limit than the newer USB-C “Power Delivery” standard. That means USB-C wireless chargers are more powerful and more futureproof.

The other benefit is your phone likely has a USB-C port as well—unless you have an iPhone. So if you need better charging speeds or you want to use your phone while it’s charging, you can simply unplug the wireless charger and put the cord directly in your phone.

RELATED: What Is USB-C? Here's Why You Want USB Type-C

Wattage Matters… Kinda

A smartphone charging on a wireless charging pad.

Any Qi charger will work with any phone that supports Qi wireless charging. However, the best wireless charger for an iPhone 13 might not be the best wireless charger for a Galaxy S21. Let’s talk about charging speeds.

Different phones have different wireless charging speeds. Samsung devices have their own protocol called “Fast Wireless Charging.” If you get a wireless charger that supports this, you’ll get wireless charging speeds up to 15W.

Similarly, the iPhone has the “MagSafe” charging protocol. Wireless chargers that are built specifically with MagSafe in mind can charge the iPhone faster than generic wireless chargers. Again, any Qi charger will charge the iPhone, just not as quickly.

That’s the thing to keep in mind. As long as you get a Qi wireless charger for a phone with Qi charging, you will be able to charge the device. To make sure you can charge it at the fastest speed possible, you’ll want to get a wireless charger made with your device in mind.

RELATED: What Is MagSafe for iPhone, and What Can It Do?

What’s the Best Wireless Charger?

wireless charger
Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Besides the connector type and wattage, the only other thing to consider is style. Do you want a flat pad or a stand to prop it up? What’s the aesthetic you’re going for? There are tons of wildly different wireless chargers on the market.

Stores like Amazon and Best Buy are chock full of wireless chargers at a variety of price points. Our sister site Review Geek has compiled a list of the fastest wireless chargers. This is a great place to get started. We like this inexpensive Anker wireless charger, too. It’s one of our favorite chargers.

Find a wireless charger that fits your style. Don’t fret too much over matching the exact specifications for your phone. Wireless charging—even at the fastest speeds—is always slower than wired charging. The best time to use a wireless charger is overnight or during the workday when you don’t need a quick juice up.

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Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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