We’re not about to agree that Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack from its phones in 2016 was as “courageous” as the tech giant claimed at the time, but Jony Ive and his design team were right about one thing: the future is wireless.

It wasn’t too long ago that you’d need cables to connect several everyday items, whether it was your headphonesspeakers, phones, keyboards or mice – but those days are gone. If you’ve had enough of plugging your phone in to recharge it overnight or while you’re at your desk, it’s time to step into the future by picking up one of the best wireless chargers.

Of course, it’s not actual magic and there’s still one wire to plug in. But, once you’ve got a charging pad or stand connected to the mains, you’ll soon get used to the convenience of just placing your phone or earbuds case down and watching its battery fill back up.

The below picks are a mix of our at-home testing and our expert research. In addition to straightforward wireless chargers, we've also included some of our favourite Apple charging stations for refuelling an Apple Watch, iPhone and earbuds all simultaneously.

How the Esquire Team Tests Wireless Chargers

We tried a range of the best wireless charger pads and stands by fuelling up our phones – including Samsung, Google Pixel and iPhone models – and evaluating how well-designed, convenient, and effective they were. The main things we were looking out for were a sturdy build, easy alignment with the charging coils, and a consistent connection.


Native Union Drop Wireless Charger 10W

Native Union’s chargers do a great job of combining form and function, and this pad comes in either Italian leather or a fabric pattern mixed with non-slip silicone. They come in a range of colours including black, blue, rose pink and a tan leather look, and they all have a cable in a matching shade too.

Type: Pad
Charging Speed: Maximum of 10W for Android phones and 7.5W for iPhones
Connections: USB-A to USB-C cable, no adapter included


Anker PowerWave Pad

Just after a decent wireless charger that isn’t flashy for the hallway or your bedside? This is a reliable option with wide compatibility. If you connect it to the right adapter, the super-slim pad is able to charge Androids at 10W and iPhones at 7.5W, and it has a discreet little indicator light that’s small enough to not be distracting while you’re in bed.

Type: Pad
Charging Speed: Maximum of 10W for Android phones and 7.5W for iPhones
Connections: Comes with a USB-A cable, no adapter included


Apple MagSafe Charger

Got an iPhone 12 or newer and need to charge it up overnight? The MagSafe wireless charger from Apple is a small disc connected to a USB-C cable. It’s magnetic so your phone will snap onto it as soon as you hold it nearby, and will keep it firmly in place so you can still use your phone while it’s charging.

It doesn’t come with a wall adapter, so you’ll have to get one yourself if you don’t already have one. It can still work with older iPhones and Android models too, but just won’t be able to attach via magnets, which defeats the purpose a bit.

Type: Pad
Charging Speed: Maximum of 15W as standard, maximum of 12W for iPhone mini devices
Connections: USB-C cable


Anker PowerWave 2-in-1 Magnetic Charger

Anyone with a MagSafe-equipped iPhone in need of a cheap charger for the desk will like this Anker model. It has a raised magnetic pad for newer iPhones and a bottom pad that is designed for earbud cases. We like how the top charger is on a hinge so you can get a good angle to watch YouTube videos in horizontal mode. We found the bottom pad a little bit slippy, though, and our AirPods case or phone would sometimes fall off if it got knocked.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 7.5W from the magnetic stand, and 5W from the pad
Connections: Comes with a USB-C cable, no adapter included


Belkin 10W Fast Wireless Charging Stand + Wall Charger

This simple stand has a discreet yet sturdy design and useful supports that keep your phone aligned whether it’s charging vertically or horizontally. The non-slip surface means you won’t accidentally bump the phone off the “sweet spot” while refuelling it too. It charges most Androids at a decent 10W speed and iPhones at the maximum 7.5W. The only thing to note is that it’s just for phones, this stand won’t work for charging your AirPods or Galaxy Buds case.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 10W for Android phones and 7.5W for iPhones
Connections: Comes with a mains plug adapter


Anker Wireless Charger 623 (MagGo)

The look of Anker’s 623 is a bit unusual and distinctive, but this compact can-shaped unit is hefty and capable. We reckon it’s ideal for charging a newer iPhone and AirPods or other Qi-enabled wireless earphones at the same time, and it has been a mainstay on our bedside since it launched. Its main charging pad is on a hinge and, when tilted forward, it reveals another pad for your earbuds. It comes with a 1.5m USB-C cable and a petite 20W adapter so everything you need is in the box, and we particularly like its non-slip base and LED lights. If you need a wireless charger to fit in a small space, go with this one.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 7.5W from the magnetic stand, and 5W from the pad
Connections: Comes with a mains plug adapter and USB-C cable


Twelve South PowerPic mod

If you’d rather not have an obvious wireless charger on display in your home (we know, it could easily ruin your decor) then you’ll like the idea of this Twelve South model. When not in use, it won’t draw attention to itself because it doubles up as a photo frame for your printed pictures. It’ll show off any 4x6 photo in its borderless frame and works in either a portrait or landscape orientation. We got it set up in a couple of minutes and found it reliable when recharging any of our phones, although getting it aligned to charge wireless earphone cases was a bit more fiddly.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 10W for Android phones and 7.5W for iPhones
Connections: Comes with a USB-C cable, no adapter included


Belkin MagSafe 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand with MagSafe

A newer version of the model above, this one is almost identical but adds fast charging if you have an Apple Watch Series 7, Series 8 or Ultra. It makes it one of the only chargers that can refuel these watches at top speed (that's not made by Apple). Trust us, you'll notice the difference and it'll cut down the amount of time you spend waiting for the wearable to charge up.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 15W from the magnetic stand, up to 5W from the pad and fast charging for the Apple Watch charger
Connections: Comes with a mains plug adapter


Apple MagSafe Duo Charger

You can’t go wrong with Apple’s compact little MagSafe Duo charger. It folds up like a book for easy portability, and when unfolded it reveals a section for an Apple Watch in addition to a MagSafe charger for your iPhone. This will deliver quick phone recharging and that dock for the watch will work just as well for AirPods if you have upgraded to Apple’s new second-gen AirPods Pro. Overall, we reckon the Duo is an ideal pick for a traveller with several Apple gadgets.

Type: Pad
Charging Speed: Maximum of 14W wireless charging for iPhones, when paired with a 27W USB-C power adapter, not compatible with fast-charge speeds from the Apple Watch charger
Connections: Comes with a USB-C to Lightning cable


Twelve South HiRise 3

We love the small footprint of this Apple charging station that is ideal for refuelling your MagSafe-compatible iPhone, Apple Watch and earbuds from your bedside (without taking up all of your space). We liked how quick it was to set up and how effective its non-slip base is. It’s super convenient to pop all your devices on the charger for an overnight top-up ahead of your commute the next morning, and the slight angle to the iPhone station also makes this a great pick for desks. Our only issue is that it doesn’t really fit the bigger camera bump on the new iPhone 14 Pro, so it’s better if you have an iPhone 13 or 12.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 10W from the magnetic stand, 5W from the pad, and 3w from the Apple Watch charger
Connections: Comes with a USB-C cable, no adapter included (requires at least 20w USB-C adapter)


Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe

Looking for a stylish charging station that caters for a MagSafe iPhone, an AirPods charging case and an Apple Watch in one product? It’s a pretty effective way to deal with cables spilling out over the top of your desk. This excellent Belkin option is our pick if you’ve got some room to spare on a desktop, and it’s one of the few non-Apple models to get the “Made for MagSafe” badge along with the up to 15W speeds Apple’s own chargers deliver. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s also sturdy, stylish and speedy with its recharging.

Type: Stand
Charging Speed: Maximum of 15W from the magnetic stand, up to 5W from the pad and from the Apple Watch charger
Connections: Comes with a mains plug adapter


Mous MagSafe Compatible Charger and Stand

If you're after a compact little stand for refuelling your phone or the newest AirPods Pro, we found this anodised aluminium unit quick to assemble and super discreet on our bedside. It has a sturdy industrial design that is made for attaching either Apple's own MagSafe puck or the included Mous version (which does the same job but doesn't hit those official MagSafe-only speeds). Just want the metal frame? Mous sells it on its own too. Overall, we like how simple this one is, and how little space it takes up.

Type: Pad
Charging Speed: Maximum of 10W for Android phones and 7.5W for iPhones
Connections: Comes with a magnetic "MagSafe-compatble" disc with a USB-C cable (to attach to the mount), no adapter included


Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad

Another take on the 3-in-1 wireless charging station for iPhones, earbuds, and wireless earbuds, this Mophie pick is the one we’d go for if you’ve got an older iPhone that doesn’t have MagSafe (anything pre-iPhone 12, excluding the SE models) or just don’t love the idea of suspending your phone in the air on magnets (it’s safe, but we get the concern). This has a simple flat design with space to charge your phone alongside your AirPods, as well as an Apple Watch at the back.

Type: Pad
Charging Speed: Maximum of 7.5WW from the pad, and 3w from the Apple Watch charger
Connections: Comes with a cable, no adapter included

The Need-to-Know

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There are a huge number of wireless chargers on the market. Below, we’ll run through some of the main factors you’ll want to keep in mind when considering which charger to go for:

Charger Type: When it comes to design, there are two main types: pads and stands. A pad is just a flat surface to place your phone on, while a stand will, unsurprisingly, keep it in an upright position. All the models in our roundup also have indicators that’ll light up when a compatible device is on the charging surface.

Compatible Charging Speeds: Wireless chargers aren’t known for their speed, but each product will be able to recharge your phone at different paces. For example, some may state that they’re capable of 15W maximum speeds, which is the fastest available on some Androids and Samsungs. But this won’t apply for iPhones, which will all charge at a slower 7.5W (unless on an official MagSafe or "Made for Magsafe" charger) – for context, that’s around two hours to get to 50% on most variants. Most wireless chargers on the market generally have a standard speed of 10W, the fastest for most Android phones, and all Qi-certified chargers (more on that below) need to offer at least 5W speeds.

Connectivity: Several wireless chargers will come with an AC wall adapter, while others might need to connect to a USB-C base that’ll be included in the box. There are some that use the older USB-A standard too, and we’ve detailed which connections you need to know about in our roundup.

Alignment: Without getting too complex, wireless chargers work by making an electromagnetic field that runs into your phone via its built-in charging coil, which is why it’s essential to make sure your device is aligned correctly. If you don’t line them up, your phone won’t charge and your morning alarm clock won’t be there to wake you up. Phone cases can affect this too, but most chargers will work through a thin plastic case up to 3mm. For most people, this means you probably won’t need to take your case off.

Qi Certification: Keep an eye out for brands that have Qi certification, which is the worldwide standard for wireless charging, incorporated into products from over 400 companies. Dodgy alternatives may try to fool you with claims that they’re “Qi compliant” or “Qi compatible” but the words you’re after are “Qi certified”, as this means it’s passed laboratory tests for compatibility, efficiency and safety. They’ll have guarantees to prevent overheating, such as how they won’t work when objects like your wallet or keys are on the surface.

MagSafe: Apple’s “MagSafe” is a different but related standard. Designed for the iPhone 12 and 13 models, it uses magnets to make sure your phone is aligned on the charger. It’s backwards-compatible with Qi too, but the magnetic attachment will only work with those newer smartphones

Apple Watch charging: Owners of Apple's smartwatch will find that many of the top wireless charging stations on the market include a little docking zone for the Apple Watch – we think these are great if you're charging up your phoneAirPods and watch at the same time.

Originally published on Esquire UK