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August 30, 2022  |  Electronics

Wall chargers vs. wireless chargers: Our tech expert breaks down which will give a better charge

Nowadays, you don’t need a cord to charge your phone. Wireless chargers are popular among those looking for a convenient way to refuel their devices, but how do they compare to traditional chargers? We interviewed our tech expert, Jaime Vazquez, to learn more about them.

Everything you need to know about chargers

How does wireless charging work?

There are currently two wireless charging technologies: Qi and MagSafe. Both technologies use inductive charging chips in the back of your phone. When you place a phone with an inductive charging chip on a wireless charging pad, the two devices recognize each other and the pad charges the phone. Devices with MagSafe technology use magnets to keep your phone in place while it receives power.

Advancements in wireless charging technology have made the devices charge faster. Still, it’s important to note that more speed often means more heat. When you hear about machines exploding or overheating, it’s usually because a counterfeit device charged a phone too quickly.

Wireless chargers vs. wall chargers

Wireless options are typically slower than traditional chargers, but the technology is advancing rapidly. Still, wireless chargers are often more convenient than wall chargers. Soon, we may see wireless charging outpace wired options. 

According to Vazquez, “I’m old school and believe wired is always better; however, I’ve lived through that not always being true. For example, I can wirelessly stream 4K to my TV, but I couldn’t have thought about doing that 10 years ago. They are working towards tech that even eliminates the need to set the phone down while charging it.”

What to consider when buying a wall charger

Not all wall chargers are the same. Those that come with your device are ideal, but if you buy a cheap charger from a drug store, you may not have a great experience. Some wall chargers, like those with Anker’s Quick Charge technology, have chips that let them determine the fastest possible charging speed.

Wattage is an important consideration when buying a wall charger. Those with 5 watts are often more than enough to charge a kid’s tablet. If you’re charging a Macbook Pro or a laptop, you may need a charger that supports 65 to 100 watts. You’ll likely want one with at least 65 watts when buying a charger with multiple USB ports.

You’ll want one with a compact, lightweight design if you plan to take your charger with you as you travel. Heavier chargers are OK if you have the space, especially if they let you charge multiple devices simultaneously. You may need an adapter to use your wall charger when traveling overseas.

Charging your phone overnight

Charging your phone overnight is typically safe when using newer-model phones and chargers. “We’re entering a phase where phones and chargers are smart enough not to ‘overserve,’ to use an analogy,” Vazquez said. “On the other hand, I wouldn’t use old-school chargers overnight. My rule of thumb is that if you have a phone from the last two years, I wouldn’t worry about it. 

Be careful when buying chargers from third-party sellers or unknown brands. There are a ton of counterfeit chargers on the market that can be dangerous when used overnight.

Charger FAQ

Are wireless chargers only compatible with phones?

A. Many wireless chargers are compatible with AirPods and other devices that use inductive-charging chips. In some cases, wireless chargers are compatible with tablets as well. Believe it or not, some electric toothbrushes have inductive-charging chips. Still, these toothbrushes often have their own charging setups, so they aren’t likely to work with wireless chargers designed for phones. If you want versatility, it is important to read the product’s description to ensure you’re buying a wireless charger compatible with multiple devices.

Do wireless chargers work with any type of phone?

A. Some are designed to work with specific models, whereas others are compatible with any phone with an inductive-charging chip. For example, MagSafe chargers are only compatible with Apple devices. 

Are wireless chargers bad for your battery?

A. Some wireless chargers produce more heat than wall chargers. Still, most wireless chargers pose no threat to your phone’s battery. The most important thing is to avoid counterfeit products and those made by untrustworthy brands.

How do you know if your phone supports wireless charging?

A. In most cases, you can look at the documentation that came with your phone. If you no longer have the user manual, it’s worth checking the manufacturer’s website. 

Charging products our expert recommends

Best GreenLemon Magnetic Wireless Charger

GreenLemon Magnetic Wireless Charger

This versatile MagSafe charger lets you charge your iPhone, iWatch and Airpods. It’s available in black and white. Many were impressed with the sleek design. The extra USB plug is excellent for charging additional devices.

Where to buy: Amazon

Best Anker Quick Charge 3.0 18W USB Wall Charger

Anker Quick Charge 3.0 18W USB Wall Charger

This Quick Charge charger can optimize charging speeds for your devices. It has surge protection and temperature control features. It’s affordable and efficient. Many said this was the best wall charger they’ve ever used.

Where to buy: Amazon

Best Spigen 65W Four-Port USB-C Charging Station

Spigen 65W Four-Port USB-C Charging Station

This features a compact design and charges most devices quickly. It can charge four devices simultaneously and is compatible with USB-C and USB-A devices. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Best San.Como Type C Charger

San.Como Type C Charger

This straightforward charger is compatible with USB-C and USB-A devices. It’s lightweight, making it ideal for travel.

Where to buy: Amazon

Best Anker Quick Charge 3.0 Four-Port USB Wall Charger

Anker Quick Charge 3.0 Four-Port USB Wall Charger

This impressive charger delivers the fastest possible speeds to your devices. Many said it is ideal for taking on the go, although it is relatively heavy. It features four charging ports.

Where to buy: Amazon

Best Guttale Watch Charger Stand for Apple Watch

Guttale Watch Charger Stand for Apple Watch

This is compact and easy to use. It’s perfect for travel and available in four colors. The safety cushion, silicone pads and magnet keep your watch in place while charging. 

Where to buy: Amazon

 

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.