Best iPhone chargers: How to pick the right USB-C power adapter
If you’ve ordered a new iPhone recently, you’ll notice that the box is a whole lot slimmer than in previous years. That’s because the bulkiest accessory is gone: the power adapter. Apple has removed the charger from all iPhones it sells, so whether you’re spending $429/£449 on an iPhone SE or $1,599/£1,749 on a maxed-out iPhone 14 Pro Max, you need to bring your own charger.
Any old charger and Lightning cable you have lying around will work, of course. But if you’ve been using Apple’s feeble old 5W adapter, it’s a perfect time to upgrade. Apple now supplies a USB-C-to-Lightning cable in all iPhone boxes to allow for fast charging, so all you need is the right charger. Here we list our favorite iPhone chargers (iPhone 12 and later) that use USB-C but paired with the right cable they will work wonders for older iPhones, too.
Watch the wattage
The most important thing to consider when buying a new charger is the amount of wattage it will provide to your device. For years, Apple supplied “good-enough” 5-watt chargers in the iPhone box, which take about 2.5 hours to fill up your iPhone. That was fine for the iPhone 5 and earlier, which didn’t support fast charging, but the newest iPhone models require a charger that can handle 20 watts or greater for fast charging. You can fill up about 50 percent of an iPhone 14’s battery in about 30 minutes with the right adapter.
You should get a USB-C charger that’s capable of delivering at least a 20W charge. Quite frankly, it’s harder to find one that doesn’t than one that does, but you’ll want to make sure you’re at least getting the bare minimum to allow for maximum iPhone fast charging. You’ll also want to make sure the charger supports USB Power Delivery, which any third-party charger almost certainly will do.
Wired and wireless
Whether you charge your iPhone wirelessly or not, you still need a wall charger to supply the power, and even wireless requires a cable from that power adapter to the charging pad. While Apple ships a USB-C to Lightning cable with each iPhone for wired charging, most of the chargers tested here don’t come with a cable.
From the iPhone 8 on, iPhones have the ability to be charged wirelessly. The latest iPhone models—iPhone 12 and later—also feature Apple’s superior MagSafe wireless charging technology that uses magnets to make the connection with the wireless charging pad more efficient; check out our roundup of the best MagSafe chargers, most of which require one of the USB-C wall chargers tested here. Older iPhones can use one of our recommended Qi wireless phone chargers.
Charging with a cable plugged into the iPhone will always be faster than wireless; we list some of the best iPhone charge cables later in this article and in our roundup of the best Lightning cables.
Check the size and the specs
Apple’s chargers have always been light, small, and portable, but some third-party adapters make Apple’s seem downright bulky. That’s due to the newest charging tech, gallium nitride (GaN), which allows for adapters that are significantly smaller and more power-efficient.
Charger makers have already begun replacing the silicon inside power adapters with gallium nitride, and the size difference is significant—as much as 40 percent smaller than the standard Apple adapter and delivering at least the same charge.
Count the ports
Many adapters offer multiple ports on a single wall charger. If you’re going to be regularly charging more than one device at a time, buy an adapter with at least two ports—some have as many as four ports. You can even get a mix of USB-C and USB-A, depending on your needs.
Plugs: To fold or not to fold
After you decide how much power and how many ports you need, just one question remains: Do you want the plug to fold or not? Some chargers have folding pins to protect the adapter as well as other items if you toss it in a bag, but Apple’s 20W charger and a few others have protruding prongs. It’s a small thing, but it could make a big difference in your travel bag.
As any traveler knows, plugs come in all shapes and sizes around the globe. We’ve tried to cover the most used types here. Some USB-C power adapters even come with different prong sets so you can leave the multi-holed travel adapter at home when you travel.
Below we’ll look at the best iPhone chargers you can buy now.
Although iPhone fast charging is officially set at 20W, newer iPhones will charge even faster at 30W.
In summary, our favorite single-port iPhone chargers is the Anker Nano 30W USB-C Charger (U.S. and U.K.) but both the Ugreen Nexode 30W GaN Charger (U.S. and U.K.) and Plugable 30W USB-C GaN Charger (U.S. only) are worthy of your attention, too. In AU/NZ, the only real premium option is Apple’s 20W adapter but we also like the AU-pinned Ugreen 20W mini charger.
But read on for more in-depth reviews of our favorite USB-C iPhone chargers.
Official Apple iPhone charger: Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter
Official Apple charger
Foldable prongs on U.K. model
No foldable prongs on U.S./AU models
Why we love it: Apple’s 20W USB-C power adapter is as basic as it gets. It’s one of the bulkiest chargers on this list as well as one of the heaviest, it won’t charge a laptop, and you can’t charge more than one device at a time. However, if you want to keep your chargers in the family, it’s a solid option for $19/£19. And if you’re planning on buying an iPhone 15, it might be the only choice if you want to get fast charging.
In our testing, it won’t charge your phone noticeably faster than the old Apple 18W plug, but it is noticeably cheaper than the model it replaces. We’d like it better if Apple offered a half-price option for iPhone buyers, but even at full price, it’s not a terrible value at all. The U.S. and Australian models don’t feature a folding plug, but the more cube-like U.K. model does, despite the larger plug type, and is a much cleaner design as a result. The hideaway pins on the U.K. model make it our favorite single-port iPhone charger in that country.
While 20W is the minimum for fast charging, we recommend a 30W charger for newer iPhones.
Best single-port iPhone charger: Anker 30W Nano Charger
Smallest, lightest 30W charger
Multiple color options
Price When Reviewed:$19.99
Why we love it: Measuring just 1.12 × 1.12 × 1.39 inches (U.S. model), the 30W Anker USB-C Nano Charger is the smallest 30W USB-C charger we’ve had in our labs for testing. It weighs just 1.3oz (36g).
The U.K. model is larger but also features foldable prongs, and is equally incredibly light.
We recommend 30W over 20W as it will charge newer iPhones even faster. The iPhone 15 Pro models may even require 35W for the fastest iPhone charging, so owners of the very latest iPhone should look at the two-port 40W Anker Nano Pro charger reviewed lower down. Earlier iPhones should be fine with 30W chargers such as this one.
It’s available in a range of pastel colors, including Misty Blue, Lilac Purple, Phantom Black, Aurora White and Natural Green.
Ugreen Nexode 30W USB-C GaN Charger
Price When Reviewed:$19.99
Why we love it: At 1.26 x 1.26 x 1.57 inches and 48g (U.S. model), the tiny Ugreen Nexode 30W GaN Charger is slightly larger than the similar Anker Nano (reviewed above). To make it even more portable both U.S. and U.K models feature foldable prongs.
That extra power won’t make much difference with many iPhones as 20W is enough for fast charging. But if you have an iPhone 13 Pro Max or 14 Pro Max, a 30W charger will allow it to charge a little faster (27W), and it certainly won’t hurt to have the added power on other models. At 30W, It could even recharge a 13-inch MacBook Air!
Plugable 30W USB-C GaN Charger
Available in white or black
Price When Reviewed:$19.95
Why we love it: This is another new-generation USB-C charger that measures just 1.22 × 1.26 × 1.37 inches—only marginally larger than the 30W Anker Nano and about the same as the Ugreen Nexode.
It weighs just 45g—although you’ll likely not notice the difference with the 36g Anker Nano or 50g Ugreen Nexode.
Available in either white or black, it’s sadly not available outside of North America.
Budget iPhone charger: Anker PowerPort III 20W Cube Fast Charger
Foldable plug on U.S. model
Available in white or black
No foldable plug on U.K. model
Price When Reviewed:$14.99
Why we love it: At 1.23 x 1.25 x 1.3 inches, the compact GaN-tech Anker PowerPort III is also pretty tiny and may be found cheaper than the 30W USB-C chargers as it is rated at the lower 20W.
The U.K. model is less flexible due to the size of the U.K. plug that here doesn’t allow for foldable prongs, so we prefer the Anker Nano or the even finer Apple 20W Charger in that country only.
However, if you can afford it we recommend you go for a 30W charger if your iPhone is a version 13 or later.
Best two-port iPhone charger: Anker 521 40W Charger (Nano Pro)
Available in four colors
Price When Reviewed:$35.99
Why we love it: The Anker 521 USB-C Nano Pro Charger is twice the power adapter that the Anker 511 Nano Pro is, but at 1.37 x 1.34 x 1.8 inches isn’t much larger.
Rated at 40W, it boasts twice the charging power and has two ports so you can charge two iPhones simultaneously at 20W—making it a great choice for homes with a couple of iPhones in need of a power boost. It is also available in a range of four colors: white, black, lavender, and light blue.
Best four-port charger: Minix NEO P3 100W Turbo
Up to 100W
May be overkill for just a phone
Price When Reviewed:$65.99
Why we love it: The Minix NEO P3 100W Turbo packs a lot of power and has four ports: three USB-C and one old-school USB-A.
Two of the USB-C ports can charge at 100W, although obviously not at the same time. That means you can use this power adapter to charge a laptop as large as the 16-inch MacBook Pro as well as tablets and phones. The third USB-C is perfect for fast iPhone charging at 20W , as is the 18W USB-A port if you have an older charging cable.
Using two ports at the same time it supports one 65W and one 30W feed. Using three supports 45W, 30W, and 20W charges. With all four, it supports, 45W, 30W, and two 7.5W feeds.
Like Apple’s dual-port charger, this adapter features intelligent power allocation, automatically adjusting the power output of each port depending on the devices connected to it.
The U.S. plug folds, making it a tidy package for carrying around, and the U.K. and EU pin converters simply slide onto the U.S. pins to make this a great home charger in those territories and a useful international travel companion.
Best travel adapter charger: OneAdaptr OneWorld 65
Travel plug adapter
Total output limited to 5 ports
Price When Reviewed:$79 inc shipping
Why we love it: The OneWorld 65 is an international adapter that also boasts a built-in 65W PD Charger that can charge up to six devices simultaneously.
It features one 65W USB-C PD port, one 20W USB-C PD port, another USB-C charging port, and two USB-A charging ports—the non-PD USB-C port and two USB-A ports share 15W of power. Note that the maximum power output is 65W so if you are charging a mid-sized laptop in full use, there won’t be much spare juice for your iPhone.
But the real benefit of the OneWorld 65 is that as well as all the USB ports you can also use this as a travel adapter. Sliding connectors will fit into U.S., European, Australian/Chinese, and British wall sockets so covering over 200 countries, and you can plug a similar range of plugs into the OneWorld 65 from the other side.
Note, though, that it doesn’t fit some sunken EU plug sockets.
Apple 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter
U.S. models have a foldable plug
Non-U.S. models don’t have a foldable plug
Why we love it: Apple offers its own dual-port USB-C charger in two models. As far as we can tell they are identical in everything except shape and size. As an Apple product, it’s reassuringly expensive but also a little smarter than most power adapters.
The neat 35W Dual USB-C Port Compact Power Adapter is aimed at iPhone users, and thelarger non-compact model is called the 35W Dual USB-C Port Power Adapterwhich is the one built for the new M2 MacBook Air. Both U.S. models feature foldable plugs. The larger version is maybe only preferable if you prefer the ports pointing straight on rather than below the plug itself.
As it was designed to work with an iPhone and also something as energy-hungry as an M2 MacBook Air, it needs to be able to distinguish which device needs what. When you connect two devices, power is automatically distributed between them based on their power requirements. In most cases, it will give each device 17.5W, but if you connect a MacBook or iPhone and an Apple Watch or AirPods, it will receive up to 27.5W and the Watch/AirPods gets up to 7.5W.
Apple doesn’t say so, but we expect that it uses GaN technology to keep its size to a minimum.
Plugable Wall Outlet Extender
Adds two ports, keeps AC socket
Price When Reviewed:$19.95
Why we love it: If you are short on power sockets, adding a wall charger leaves you with one less place to connect a plug for another device. You could add an extension strip—such as the Ugreen GaN Power Strip reviewed below—but the Plugable Wall Outlet Extender is smaller and neater, giving you two USB ports and a passthrough power socket.
The USB-C socket can power an iPhone at up to 30W, and there’s another USB-A port that can handle 12W. Note, though, that the combined USB power output is 32W, so if you use both, that USB-C port might get pegged back to just 20W.
UGreen 100W USB-C GaN Power Strip
4 USB ports and 3 AC power sockets
Price When Reviewed:$129.99
This power strip is both a desktop charger and AC extender with three power sockets, and includes four USB ports (3x USB-C, 1x USB-A), two of which are PD compatible at 100W so powerful enough to charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro or super-fast-charge the latest iPhones.
This is great for adding all sort of device-charging on or underneath your desk.
The other USB-C port and the USB-A port can each fast-charge an iPhone at 22.5W. Maximum output on the USB ports is 100W, and for the three power plugs (one on the top, and two behind) 1,870W.
What’s the best iPhone charging cable?
Apple still includes a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box with a new iPhone. But you can never have enough charging cables, right?
If you need a spare, make sure you buy a USB-C to Lightning cable that’s certified Made for iPhone (MFI).
We also rate UGreen’s USB-C to Lightning iPhone charge cables. For more detail, read our roundup of the best Lightning cables.
What about USB-C to USB-C cables?
From the iPhone 15 onwards—or until Apple offers only wireless charging—Apple has replaced the iPhone’s Lightning port with a standard USB-C port. The new iPhones ship with the correct cable so you don’t need to go looking for a new one unless you require a spare—and, let’s face it, most of us need several. Check out PCWorld’s list of the best USB-C cables.
For more advice on charging your iPhone read: iPhone Clean Energy Charging: How it works and why you want to keep it on, How to charge an iPhone properly and What’s the fastest way to charge an iPhone.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He’s still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.