Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.
Tired of having to fumble for the USB port every time your mobile device runs out of power? With these wireless chargers, just put your device down and let it it power up.
Wireless chargers are about convenience. Plop your mobile device on a charging station and as long as it's within range (5mm or .20 in. for most chargers) it will power up, no wires needed (but at a slightly slower rate than a wired charger).
The technologies incorporated into most of these chargers is Qi, a standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium. It transfers energy from the charger to your device through an electromagnetic field. If your phone doesn't have Qi built in, there are a variety of Qi-compliant cases available.
Meanwhile, a merger between the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) could provide another alternative.
Need a boost? We've assembled one PMA and eight Qi-enabled chargers.
Anker Qi-Enabled Single-Position Wireless Charger
The Anker wireless charging pad has not one, but two display lights on its face. A power indicator glows green if the pad is connected to a power source; a charge indicator lights up green when it is charging your phone but flashes red when your phone is placed incorrectly on the pad (it will stay red if it has malfunctioned). Standard graphics on the face of the charger show where you should place your phone.
As with most wireless chargers, the 6.1 × 3.5 × 0.3 in. Anker will power your device about 15% to 20% slower than a wired charger. It plugs into a power source through a micro USB port on the bottom edge.
Choe Inductive Qi Wireless Power Pad
At 3.6 x 3.6 x 0.3 in. and weighing only 2.5 oz., the compact Choe wireless charger is the smallest charger profiled here. It is available in either white or black.
An LED indicator on the side of the charger lets you know it is working; the blue light on the edge will flicker continuously when it is charging your phone. The company says it will charge a Nexus 5 smartphone in around four hours.
Instead of Qi, Duracell's Powermat uses a magnetic inductive charging technology championed by the PMA. As a benefit, the PMA is partnering with stores like Starbucks to provide wireless power stations for customers.
The Powermat needs to be coupled with a Duracell wireless case in order to work ($49.99 for an iPhone 5/5S, $25.99 for an iPhone 4/4S or a Samsung Galaxy S III). An audible beep tells you charging has started successfully and another sounds when your device is fully powered -- the Powermat then stops to avoid overcharging your batteries.
A Powermat for one device measures 3.75 x 3.75 x 0.37 in.; larger versions accommodate up to three devices.
Gmyle Qi Wireless Charging Pad
The Gmyle aims to keep your smartphone steady. Magnets snap your phone into the optimal position for charging, and the pad sports a non-slip surface to keep the phone in place (since evidently the magnets alone don't do the trick). And your phone has to be only within 8mm to 9mm (about 1/3 in.) of the Gmyle, almost twice the max distance of most chargers.
This thin, black charging pad is only slightly larger than many smartphones, so it requires little real estate on your table. Gmyle says the device charges at over 80% the rate of plugged-in chargers.
Mugenizer N11 Portable Wireless Charger Power Bank
It's hard to stand out from the pack. What makes the Mugenizer N11 unusual is that this wireless charger doubles as a portable battery. You can also plug in your device the old-fashioned, wired way. In fact, you can charge two phones simultaneously: one plugged in and one wireless.
With a 4800mAh capacity, the 8.1 oz. Mugenizer has the capability to charge a phone more than once. A rubberized ring in the middle of the 2.9 x 5.4 x 0.5 in. pad keeps your phone from slipping when charging. Six LED lights let you know when the Mugenizer is charging a phone and also tell you how much juice is left.
Nokia Wireless Charging Plate
If you find the basic black, white and silver of other wireless chargers boring, then Nokia's Wireless Charging Plate might have the style you are looking for. It doesn't only come in white or black, but also cyan, red and yellow.
Measuring 2.36 x 4.72 x .43 in., the Nokia charger is compatible with all Qi-enabled devices. And it is recyclable to boot. A small light on the edge of the charger shines continuously while your phone is charging and it gives one long blink when the charge is complete. Just try not to miss it.
Oregon Scientific Time & Wireless Charging Station
If you find yourself missing the old-fashioned nightstand clock from the days of yore, you may want to try Oregon Scientific's Time & Wireless Charging Station. It's not only a Qi charger -- it also acts as an alarm clock and gives you the date and the indoor/outdoor temperatures.
Just drop your phone on the station before you go to bed and it will be ready to go in the morning. Charging is not placement specific, so you don't have to worry about lining your phone up with a charging point. The digital display is blue, and the alarm clock comes in either black or white.
RavPower Orbit Qi-Enabled Wireless Charger
Lose things a lot? If you're always wondering where your wireless charger's cable ended up, look to the RavPower Orbit. It comes with a built-in USB cable that wraps handily around its base when you're not using it.
To accommodate the wrapped cord, the Orbit is thicker than other wireless chargers, measuring 2.8 x 0.8 x 2.8 in. Like many wireless chargers, it detects when your phone is fully charged and automatically switches into idle mode. The device also makes a "ding" sound when it connects with your phone and a red LED light indicates when your phone is charging or fully charged.
It also sports an anti-slip surface to keep your phone from sliding off.
Tylt Vu Wireless Charger
While most wireless chargers take longer to power your device than their wired counterparts, Tylt maintains that its Vu wireless charger will fill your phone's battery just as fast as if you plugged it in.
Another useful feature of the Vu is that its futuristic design allows you to easily see your phone while it charges, since it rests on a 45-degree angle. So you can charge your phone and watch your favorite video at the same time. Also, it looks cool.
The Vu comes in green, blue, red or black and measures 7.5 x 3.5 x 0.5 in.
Emerging Leaders 2020