If you're wondering why your laptop will happily charge from some USB plugs but not others, the answer to that question is USB-C PD. To charge a USB-C laptop you need an adaptor with support for Power Delivery (PD) or Quick Charge 4 (QC4), and we've rounded up some great examples you can buy right now.
It's not quite as simple as searching for a charger with Power Delivery or QC4 support, however. While some laptops will charge from a 30W adaptor, others require significantly more power. These chargers range in output right up to 100W, so in order to find a compatible device you really need to know what is required by your particular model of laptop.
1. Mackertop USB-C PD Charger (65W PD)
If you want to charge only one device and your primary concern is power, and lots of it, this Mackertop charger with a single 65W USB-C PD output is among the highest-output chargers you'll find, and it comes at an amazing price.
The plug is built directly into the power brick, which means no unsightly cable mess. US customers will be able to fold the two prongs back against the body for easier transport, while in the UK you simply need to slide the provided adaptor over those prongs.
2. RavPower PD Pioneer 65W 2-Port Wall Charger
This RavPower USB charger is similar to the cheaper Mackertop example above, but with a sleeker, more compact design and an additional USB output. That makes it closer in functionality to the Anker model below, yet this one's faster with a PD output rated at 65W - enough to charge any USB-C laptop.
In fairness, the amount of power your laptop draws might decide whether or not you use that additional USB port. Though it is capable of running at 15W, which is sufficiently fast for charging a phone or tablet, the device's maxmum total output is 65W. That means using both outputs will force the PD output to max out somewhere closer to 50W.
We like this situation for the fact it sits somewhere in between bulky muti-port desktop charger, and single-use USB-C PD charger. You almost certainly have a phone you'll want to keep topped up in addition to your laptop on your travels, and the PD Pioneer is a space-saving device that won't take up a huge amount of precious space in your laptop bag or travel case.
The RavPower feels durable and well made, and is no larger than it needs to be at 55x55x31.5mm and 125g. That's because this is one of the newer variety of GaN (gallium nitride) chargers, which require fewer components and are more efficient than silicone chargers. As a result, it's about 30% smaller than most chargers of this capacity.
The design does look as though you should be able to unattach the UK three-pin UK plug to access a US or EU two-pin adaptor, but this thing isn't budging in our tests.
An 18-month warranty is provided. Do note there are no charging cables in the box.
3. Anker PowerPort Atom III (45W PD + 15W)
The PowerPort+ Atom III utilises the latest PowerIQ 3.0 fast-charging chips that are compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and Power Delivery.
It can output a total of 60W via its two ports - one USB-A and one USB-C – so you can charge a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 laptop at the same time as a smartphone or tablet.
The USB-C PowerIQ 3.0 port charges at 45W, and the USB-A PowerIQ 2.0 port at 15W. Apple’s iPhones, for example, ship with a puny 5W charger in the box, so this 15W phone charger will power up your mobile much faster.
It’s not a huge unit either, being 15 percent smaller than a MacBook 60W or many other laptop stock charger. Anker claims this is because it uses efficient GaN (gallium nitride) semiconductors instead of silicon. We'll take its word for it, but it is noticably smaller than other similarly powered chargers - so great for travel.
Anker also sells an even smaller charger, with just a USB-C port - the PowerPort III Mini charges a laptop or other USB-C device at 30W, so slower than the PowerPort+ Atom III and with no USB-A port, but cheaper (£29 or $30) and smaller.
4. Aukey USB-C Charger (60W PD + 12W)
This Aukey multi-port desktop charger has two full-size USB outputs plus a 60W USB-C PD port for charging your laptop, making it a great device for charging your phone, tablet and laptop all at once.
Note that those two full-size outputs share a max total output of 12W, so you'll find it a lot faster with only one of those ports in use. However, these operate independently of the USB-C output, with a max total output of 72W across the device.
Our sample shipped with a three-pin plug, and a relatively short 1m cable, so you'll need to plug it in reasonably close to where you wish to use it.
5. RAVPower Pioneer USB-C Charger 61W
RavPower's wall charger is surprisingly slim and light considering it offers 61W. It's not really much larger than some phone chargers, and that's because - like some of the others here - it makes use of GaN technology instead of traditional silicon.
This doesn't only make it more compact: it also makes it more efficient, so less energy is wasted by being converted to heat. And that in turn means RavPower's charger doesn't get really hot even when it's delivering the maximum of 61W.
That figure is chosen - probably - to compete directly with Apple's 61W PD charger, and given the lower price and smaller size, the RavPower is an easy winner if you're looking for a replacement or a spare to charge your MacBook, iPad Pro - or even iPhone.
Compared to others here the only disadvantage is that there's only one port. And bear in mind it doesn't come with a USB-C cable.
6. RavPower 5-Port USB Desktop Charging Station (45W PD + 15W)
RavPower is a big name in the charging world, and its USB-C PD charger has an additional four outputs - much like the Anker PowerPort+ lower down the chart. This one has a higher 45W USB-C PD output, however, with an additional 15W reserved for those extra iSmart 2.0 ports.
Though they can't all run at 12W at once, if you've only one extra device to charge you'll find the RavPower is a very quick tool for the job.
7. Satechi Type-C Travel Charger (60W PD + 15W)
A more powerful alternative is the Satechi Type-C 75W Travel Charger, which has a 60W USB-C PD output.
There are an additional three full-size USB-A outputs, which allow you to charge your phone, tablet or other device at the same time as your laptop. One of those USB ports features Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 that offers up to 38 percent faster charging than Quick Charge 2.0.
Top Tip! Portability is helped by the removable power cable. If travelling abroad, just buy the power cable with the local plug and you can do away with a clunky travel adaptor, and still charge all your devices.
8. Satechi 75W Dual USB-C PD
This is Satechi's version of its travel charger (see above) with two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports - especially useful if travelling with more than one USB-C device (maybe your laptop and phone or tablet) or two laptops.
Remember that one will charge at the full 60W and the other at a more sedate 18W (fine for a phone, much slower for a laptop).
The two USB-A ports are handy as most of us still have devices that require a charging cable connection into this old standard.
Like its sister reviewed above, it is light enough for travel at just 214g.
9. Satechi Type-C PD Car Charger (60W PD + 12W)
Charging on the road, or rather in your car that's on the road?
Try the Satechi 72W Type-C PD Car Charger.
It delivers up to 60W from its USB-C port to fast-charge compatible laptops, tablets and phones, and features an extra USB-A port to simultaneously power another device, at up to 12W.
How much power do I need to charge my laptop?
The easiest way to find out how much power is required to charge your laptop is to inspect the charger that was sold with it, if you have that to hand. Alternatively you can look for its specification on the manufacturer's website.
You're looking for a figure in Watts, although it may be expressed in Volts and Amps. If so, simply multiply these two numbers to get the figure you need. For example, a laptop that requires 12V/2A to charge will need a 24W USB-C PD charger (12x2=24).
Once you know what power rating you're looking for, finding a USB-C PD charger for your laptop or console is easy. Sometimes it can pay to get one a little faster than you need - it may be more expensive, but you'll be pleased you bought it if you later decide to upgrade your laptop.
Look out for newer GaN (gallium nitride) chargers that require fewer components than traditional silicone chargers, allowing them to be less bulky and also more efficient.
We've put together a range of articles to help you choose the best charging tech for the mobile devices you carry everywhere. You'll also like: