Wireless chargers are a new-ish trend, at least for iPhones and other Apple devices. The idea is tempting and futuristic: Just plop your gadget down on a little pad and it’ll charge up, no need to mess with cables at all. Of course, there is, in fact, a cable—it’s just going from an outlet to the charging pad, rather than to your phone. And generally, you can’t use your phone while it’s charging wirelessly.

But for many of us, that doesn’t really matter. Wireless charging pads are a perfect fit for the bedside table, so you can just toss your phone there at night and wake up to a charged device. And, thankfully, the technology has improved to the point where they’re now pretty quick at charging, and totally affordable to boot. Here’s how to pick the best option for you.

  • AC Adapter. Wireless charging is a fun new way to charge your phone, though it isn’t exactly wireless. Instead, you have a little pad or stand, which plugs into a wall outlet, and you can just plop your phone (or watch, or tablet, sometimes) onto the pad or stand to charge it. Many wireless chargers, though, don’t come with an AC adapter, so make sure you either have an extra high-powered one, or grab one alongside the charger.
  • Standards for Charging. There are two main standards for wireless charging: Qi, which is a general standard used by everyone, and MagSafe, which is Apple-specific. If your phone (or earbuds, or whatever) supports wireless charging, a Qi charging pad will work—even for iPhones and AirPods. MagSafe uses magnets to more precisely align the iPhone 12 line of phones on the charging pad; it’s often more expensive, but it can charge those gadgets faster than Qi can.
  • Energy Use. While it’s pretty cool to plop your phone down without plugging it in and get power, there are drawbacks. Wireless chargers, especially the Qi ones, use around 47 percent more power than regular wired chargers, so if you’re concerned about energy use, these are much less efficient than an old-fashioned cable. You also can’t really use a phone while it’s on a wireless charger; it pretty much has to stay put.

Our Picks for the Best Wireless Phone Charger on Amazon

Best Overall: Anker Wireless Chargers Bundle

Runner Up: Seneo 3-in-1 Wireless Charger


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Best for Pixel Users: Google Pixel Stand Fast Wireless Charger


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Budget Pick: Yootech Wireless Charger


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