The best charging cable is the one that comes with your device (phone, tablet, laptop, camera, etc), but it is unlikely to be the smartest or most useful. It does the job but that’s about it.
Let’s face it – charging cables are boring… until you can’t find yours and your device has run out of battery power. Then it suddenly becomes a matter of life and death to find it.
And Micro-USB cables are also frustrating as you have to peer at the tiny end to see which way up it goes into your device. Fear not, some of the cables tested here fix that fiddly annoyance.
Believe it or not, there are some actually rather brilliant charging cables out there. I won’t claim that they will change your life, but I do think you’ll quickly be telling friends and family how amazing they are. Also check out our best phone wall and desktop chargers.
Thankfully, some people think differently to the phone makers, and have designed cables that are better - they might have two connectors (Micro-USB and Lightning, for instance), be reversible to stop fiddly Micro-USB annoyance, super-short, super-long, or amazingly strong.
There are plenty of crazy-coloured and suspiciously cheap Micro-USB charging cables available online, but make sure it's certified, as cheap cables can cause fire, death and mutilation.
Before you go crazy buying up all our selections, do note that Micro-USB's days are numbered - at least for smartphones, but expect all types of consumer tech to follow. A document recently discovered by XDA-Developers suggest Google will demand all new Android phones instead use USB-C.
Anker braided Micro-USB Cable
Anker is a brand that's gained a reputation for its affordable yet reliable charging products, including this micro-USB charging cable.
To start, it's nylon braided, so you can expect durability. In fact, Anker promises the cable can withstand being bent over 4,000 times. Plus, the 24K gold plating prevents corrosion.
In terms of the performance, you can also expect high speed charging that's up to 7% faster than other cables and a data transfer rate of up to 480Mbps with USB 2.0.
The only thing that could make it better is if it was reversible - but you do get two cables for less than a tenner, so we're not complaining.
StarTech 6in Micro USB Cable
If you want a simple, short USB to Micro-USB cable, then StarTech's 6-inch cable does exactly what it claims to do, and takes up very little space on your desk or laptop bag.
if you need longer Micro-USB cables, there are plenty listed below - and many with some amazing abilities, such as reversible ends and dual connectors.
But this might be all you need.
One of the most annoying things about cables is that seemingly every device requires a different one – and, significantly, not the one that you have in your hand.
iPhones need Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable, Android phones and other devices might use a Micro-USB, USB-C or some other cable with a weird-shaped connector.
The 30cm Tylt Flyp-Duo cable has both a Micro-USB connector and Lightning end. You simply connect the two to use the Apple Lightning, and disconnect to use the Micro-USB. Simple, and hugely useful.
But the Tylt Flyp-Duo goes one further – indeed its innovation is so amazing that “one further” just doesn’t do it justice.
You see, the Flyp-Duo has a reversible USB-A connector. That’s right, unlike other USB connectors you can slot it in either way round - just like Lightning and USB-C.
Unless you’re statistically freakish it’s likely that a lot of the time you try to force the USB end into a plug or slot only to realise it’s the wrong way round. This is one of the main reasons humans can tut. But those days are over.
Handy? It’s flypping brilliant!
Just Mobile Alu Cable Duo
Tylt isn’t the only smarty pants who worked out that one cable with two connectors is a great idea. Just Mobile thought the same with its Apple MFi-certified AluCable Duo, which like the Tylt cables features both a Micro-USB and an Apple Lightning connector.
It’s available in one colour only – black with cool aluminium, connectors – but it is available in a couple of lengths.
Just Mobile used to sell a really short version of the Duo, which we loved, but sadly its long cables only right now.
It seems that Tylt and Tizi (see next) aren’t alone in thinking the one-way USB connector is a pain in the port.
The brains behind the MicFlip claims that it’s the “world’s first reversible Micro USB cable”. That's right – they have engineered the fiddly Micro USB end to be reversible, too. It's available in 20cm, 100cm and 200cm lengths. It's not currently available in the US, unless you buy from eBay ($19.99).
We applaud anyone who makes our lives easier, and not having to worry about which way round to insert a USB cable is undeniably a game changer when it comes to cable efficiency.
If you've got used to Apple's reversible Lightning connectors Micro USB can get on your nerves, always having to check which way round it gets stuck into to your device.
We have tested MicFlip 2.0, and it works as claimed. What's even better, and why this one of our favourite micro USB cables, is that both ends are reversible: the usually fiddly micro USB end and the otherwise curse-worthy standard USB end. Perfect!
Now that everything is reversible we can move on to curing cancer and stopping climate change.
You wait years for a USB cable that works both ways, and then along come three (see the next cable, too).
The Equinox Tizi Flip is a series of Micro USB and Lightning charging cables that feature a USB connector that will fit in a port either way. It's so simple you have to wonder why we waited for so long. In fact it's making me angry...
Tizi Flip cables (all black) are available in a variety of lengths, and clever shapes.
The Equinox Tizi Flip Schlingel Micro USB (£14.99/US$14.99) has the Flip USB and a standard Micro USB connector (what a shame that can't also flip...). It links together to form a small chain, protecting the connectors, and measures about 14cm unfurled.
The Equinox Tizi Flip Schlingel Lightning has the Flip USB and an Apple Lightning connector, which of course can also flip either way. It's available on Amazon US for US$29.99, though UK shoppers can have it shipped with additional fees.
It too links together to form a small chain and measures about 15cm stretched out. Is it more expensive than the Micro USB version because Apple users have bags more cash, or does Apple charge manufacturers a premium for its little connectors?
The more standard Equinox Tizi Flip Lightning (US$19.99) doesn't fold up into a chain but still boasts the clever dual-fit USB. The 10cm version costs $14.99, 30cm costs $19.99, 2m version costs $24.99; and 3m costs $29.99. UK shoppers, again, can have the models with a Lightning connector shipped from the US.
Syncwire Micro-USB Cable
Another super-strong charging cable is this Micro USB cable from Syncwire, which has an exterior made of triple-braided nylon, "toughened military-fibre wire".
This cable can apparently withstand at least 7,000 cycles of 90-degree bend test. It can probably even pull drones from the sky and trip up tanks.
Well, maybe not that tough, but you’d have to be in a ridiculous situation to come close to breaking this cable, and that will likely mean it really is, for all intents and purposes, unbreakable.
RavPower is another trusted brand with wares at affordable rates. This micro-USB charging cable isn't braided or gold-plated like the Anker cable, but you do get five in a pack at four different sizes (1ft, 3ft x 2, 6ft, and 10ft).
It also promises fast charging at speeds up to 23% greater than other cables and data transfer rates up to 480Mbps in speed. You also get an 18-month warranty if you're not fully satisfied.
UNO USB-C Magnetic Cable
The multi-platform UNO Magnetic Cable features three tips: Micro-USB, Apple's Lightning, and USB-C.
You simply fit the tip that you need at the time, although not losing one of the connectors will probably be your biggest concern.
Like Apple's old and much-missed MagSafe connector, this magnetic tip tech means that if your cable gets yanked and knocked, it won't take the device with it - merely leaving a trailing cable and the magnetic tip left in the device being charged.
It is 1.5m (4.9ft) long and made of strong braided nylon with an anti-fray neck, and is capable of USB 2.0 data transfer at 480Mbps.
Gritin Micro USB Cable (3-Pack)
This three-pack of Micro-USB cables from Gritin comes in different lengths and colours, or just in grey if your sense of fun doesn't stretch to charging cables.
It features a nylon braided cable for durability, with lengths of 1m, 1.5m and 2m. We'd love a shorter cable option, as trailing cables can be a pain, but if you need longer cables then take your pick.
While cheap, these do come with a lifetime guarantee. For some reason, these aren't available on Amazon.com, but are on Amazon UK.
Fuse Chicken Titan Cable
Cables get yanked, stretched, dropped, trodden on, and even bitten by pets and often children. Few get attacked with a chainsaw, but if one did you’d hope your cable of choice was a Titan cable from Fuse Chicken.
The Titan calls itself “the toughest cable on Earth”, and it’s hard to disagree.
It’s an industrial-grade cable that is wrapped in two layers of flexible, high-strength steel.
The USB connectors on Titan are permanently sealed with a one-piece housing fused directly over the electronics and metal cabling. Makers Fuse Chicken (yes, really) claim that it is “virtually indestructible” but we can’t think of many situations short of nuclear war that would even dent this thing.
In the meantime, you’d better steer clear of chainsaw-wielding maniacs.