(Pocket-lint) - Many gadgets these days come without a charger in the box, and that makes it more crucial than ever to pick the right one.
With the right charger, your phone, laptop, cameras and other assorted gadgets can return to full battery in a lightning-quick fashion. Often, these picks also feature multiple USB ports, allowing you to share the power and charge multiple devices concurrently.
However, before you get too excited about the prospect of this brave new world, there's actually a fair bit to understand.
We've detailed some of the key considerations in the section below our picks, but, in short, it's handy to know what charging speeds your phone, tablet, smartwatch, headphones or laptop actually supports before diving in. If you're planning on using the adapter with a wireless charging mat, the output levels can also get a little complicated there, so be sure to do your research.
Otherwise, you risk overspending on a charger that you can't take advantage of.
As you would expect, plugs with more wattage output are more powerful - with some on this list packing enough to handle several larger devices simultaneously. However, some are more specifically designed for just your phone, and will typically feature around 12W, 15W or 18W of power. This may not sound like much when compared to hulking chargers, but it's actually more than enough to blow an out-the-box 5W adapter right out of the water.
Whatever output you need, and no matter what budget you've set, we've tested and ranked some of the very best phone chargers available right now. Let's explore them.
Best Phone Chargers in 2022
- Ugreen Nexode 200W
- Ugreen 100W USB C Multiport Charger
- Aukey Omnia 65W Charger
- Anker Nano
- Ugreen Type-C Charger
- Anker 100W 4-Port Type-C Charging Station
Our Top Pick: Best USB Charger
Ugreen Nexode 200w
- Dual 100W charging outputs
- Six outputs including four USB-C
- Compact and robust
- Very expensive
- On the heavy side
If you want the best of the best, you need look no further than Ugreen's monstrous Nexode desktop charger. It's capable of outputting 100W on two channels simultaneously - that's enough juice to charge two MacBook Pros at full speed and still have four spare ports for all of your other gadgets.
It's a costly option, but the convenience it offers is in a league of its own. A perfect choice for anyone that has a lot of devices to charge and wants to do so as quickly as possible.
It's on the heavier side, sure, but compared to carrying multiple laptop power bricks as well as additional USB wall adapters, its small form factor makes it a delight to travel with. If you can stomach the price, the Ugreen Nexode won't disappoint.
USB chargers we also recommend
Our current top recommendation is the best overall charging plug we've tested, but it's also very expensive and likely represents overkill for some users. That's why we also recommend the other adapters, detailed below.
Ugreen 100W USB-C Wall Charger
- 100W charging
- 3 USB-C ports should cover all your devices
- Compact for how many ports you get
- Design limits where you can plug it in
With GaN tech powering the Ugreen 100W USB-C Wall Charger, you'll receive a powerful charger that won't overheat or struggle to work all day - no matter if you're powering a laptop, phone and tablet all at once.
It's ideal for users who are short on wall sockets, but, really, anyone who requires multiple USB-C to USB-C connections in the same spot can benefit, with a fourth port also available for USB-A devices.
It's much cheaper than our top option, and still provides a huge amount of power for multiple devices. That said, if you just need something solely for your phone, then there are much cheaper (and more compact options) elsewhere on this list.
Aukey Omnia 65W Charger
- Two ports
- Excellent 65W charging
- Only one USB-C port
Another powerful option is provided by Aukey with this 65W charger, which is impressively sleek despite its power and two ports.
It's got a nice mottled design and is great for slipping into a backpack on the go, with its prongs folding away for easy transport. Plus, you'll get super-fast charging speeds where your device supports it.
We've found this one is best for work trips, when we've needed our laptop and phone charging concurrently, or for placing around the house in an area where you need to double up on power. It's a slight shame there's only one USB-C port, but this is by no means the end of the world.
- Great shape sits flush against the wall
- Perfect for travelling
- Not elite power output
Anker has managed to shrink down a powerful charger into a tiny package in the form of the aptly named Nano, and it's a great pick for most people.
You'll get a wall charger for a solitary USB-C cable, and it's one that doesn't get in the way at all. We found it ideal to travel with, as it helped us maintain solid charging speeds to our phone - great for when you need a quick boost before moving away from a wall socket.
It's not really enough power for a larger device, since it can only manage 20W, but this is more than enough for a speedy charge on almost every flagship smartphone.
Ugreen Type-C Charger
- Reasonably priced
- Good design
- Singular port
Ugreen has done a great job of keeping its charger as small as possible here, and an equally impressive job of making sure that it doesn't cost too much.
You can pick it up at an affordable price and be charging via USB-C without breaking the bank. The output it offers isn't as much as others, which means it's a better fit for phones than it is larger devices, but it's still more than enough for most uses.
It's not the only power adapter on this list to offer this benefit, but the compact shape really does make it ideal for taking on the road. We've stuffed this plug in backpacks, suitcases, the car's glove compartment and, of course, the wall itself. It doesn't take up enough room to ever be a burden, and that's a big plus when it can still offer this level of power.
Anker 100W 4-Port Type-C Charging Station
- Total 100W output - or dual 50W
- Cable offers charging from inaccessible outlets
- The cable can be cumbersome
This Anker charging block is another mammoth 100W charger to consider. It offers four ports - two USB-C and two USB-A ports - and this is ideal if you have devices that still use both charging standards.
The cable can be a benefit or a drawback, depending on your needs. It adds bulk, which is a bit of a nuisance if you're going to need to travel with it.
With that said, though, it's helped us out on more than one occasion when we've needed to squeeze into a tricky outlet. Mostly, we still only recommend this one for home use, but it does have tremendous potential on the road, too.
Other products we considered
When trying to figure out what we believe are the best USB phone chargers currently available, we spent hours testing and researching. We consider a number of factors when it comes to recommending chargers - and apply the same criteria when a new device is being considered for inclusion. It's not all judged on our testing, either - we also try to factor in consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
How to choose a USB charger
Chargers aren't what they used to be. It was the case that you'd use the charger that came with your device and that was the end of it. However, since most devices now use the USB-C standard, there's been a huge uptake in the third-party USB-C products on offer.
You have a range of different chargers to choose from, too, with some offering more than one port and a varying degree of charging power. This means you can potentially get your device charged up far faster than with the charger that came with your device.
So, what should you be looking out for?
Why should you buy a USB charger?
As we've already mentioned, given that most phones don't actually come with a charging brick, you might not have one handy. So, that's the perfect reason to look at getting a third-party USB charger. And, since brand-name chargers are usually quite expensive, it's a good idea to look elsewhere, especially since they often offer more for your money.
What can you use a USB wall charger for?
Loads of devices now use the USB-C standard. Most phones use it, even if that doesn't include Apple (for now). Funnily enough, Apple's MacBook models do use it, as well as most other laptops, too. Basically, any new device that's got fast charging support will have a USB-C port, as the Micro USB standard just can't compare in terms of speed of charging.
What should a USB charging adapter look like?
The design of a charger can be hit or miss. It's something that most of us would prefer to fade into the background. It should work well and not be noticed. Some designs can stick out a bit from the wall, which restricts where you can use it, and others use a cable from the wall, which can be a good thing, or a bit bulky.
If you're likely to travel with many devices, it's worth considering the size. Though if it's going to stay in one place, then you can forgo a sleek design for greater power output.
What are the key things to consider?
There are two key differentiators when looking at USB charging blocks. The first is how many ports a charger has, and the second is the charging power. There are many chargers that only have one port, and some that feature as much as four, though this obviously comes with a price. You'll be hard-pressed to find chargers with more than three USB-C chargers, with the fourth usually being occupied by a USB-A port.
Next, charging power. The least on offer is 5W, and that can extend all the way to 100W and even more. It's worth noting that not too many devices can utilise the full 100W if you splash out for the more powerful options. However, you usually have more than one port on these chargers, so they can be great if you need to charge many devices simultaneously.
More about this story
Every charger in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
We all use chargers on a daily basis, so it's an easy thing to test. However, in the bigger picture, chargers only provide one function, if a rather important one.
The USB-C chargers were used to power a whole host of devices, including laptops, phones, drones and anything else that needed topping up throughout our other tests. Whenever we look at USB chargers, we always try and pit a number of different designs against one another, focusing especially on the size of the block itself, as well as how many ports are on offer.
Since people may need to travel with their charger, or, indeed, need to power multiple devices at the same time, we wanted to present a list that was both varied in functionality and budget. The amount of power each block provides, naturally, is also a very important factor.
As with any roundup, though, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user. It's why we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always avoid when compiling these guides are overcomplicated comparisons and marketing jargon; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each charger is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.