Wondering why your laptop won't charge from your USB-C charger? Most likely because that charger isn't powerful enough. To charge a USB-C laptop you need an adaptor with support for Power Delivery 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.
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.
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:
- For charging away from home: Power banks for phones & tablets | Power banks for laptops | Travel adaptors
- Best Wall & Desktop Chargers: For phones & tablets | For laptops
- For convenience: Best wireless chargers
- Best charging cables: Micro-USB | USB-C | Lightning
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. Apple USB-C PD Charger (87W PD)
The price of this Apple USB-C PD charger is somewhat frightening, but we can't ignore the colossal 87W USB-C PD output it offers. That's insane.
It's probably also overkill for what you need, so check how much power your laptop can actually accept before you buy.
5. 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.
6. 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 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.
7. Aukey Amp USB-C Wall Charger (48W PD + 10.5W)
This two-port USB charger from Aukey plugs directly into a wall outlet and offers both a 48W USB-C PD output and a standard 12W USB output, meaning you can charge your phone and laptop at once, with a max total output of 58.5W.
The Aukey offers pretty good value. It has a reasonably compact design, too, but with no folding plug for easier storage.
8. Anker PowerPort +5 (30W PD + 30W)
Anker is one of the biggest names in charging tech, and its PowerPort+ combines a 30W USB-C PD output with four full-size fast-charging USB ports for your other USB devices. These can each run at up to 12W, with a maximum of 30W output shared between the four. (That's in addition to the 30W PD output.)
Anker calls it a 60W charger, but that's adding all the ports power together.
The Anker is super convenient for charging multiple devices, but if your priority is to charge a USB-C laptop then you should check first and foremost that 30W is enough to meet your requirements.
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.
10. DockCase for Apple MacBook Pro Power Adapter
Apple’s USB-C Power Adapter is a fairly monstrous size but offers nothing extra than its charging capacity – to be fair, very impressive at up to 87W.
The DockCase Adapter (originally launched on crowd-funding site Kickstarter, but now available on Amazon) takes the Apple Power Adapter and places it in a protective case that turns it into a super dock.
With it, you can connect an external drive, monitor, keyboard, mouse and phone to your MacBook Pro at the same time as syncing your documents, music or photos at a speed of 5Gbps, and charging your devices up to 3X faster.
The DockCase has a USB-C male connector embedded, which connects with the Apple charger. And the case then adds up to four USB devices, or three USB and a 4K HDMI port. Because it’s a just a case (with docking ports) for the Power Adapter, the price is almost nothing, but offers so much.
There are QC and HD versions for the 13in and 15in MacBook Pros. The QC DockCase for 13in MBP (from a pledge of $29) includes three USB-A ports and a passthrough-charging USB-C port. The HD version for 13in ($36) has two USB-A ports, a 4K HDMI and the USB-C port. The QC DockCase for 15in MBP ($35) includes four USB-A ports (one with quick charging) and a passthrough-charging USB-C port. The HD version for 15in ($42) has three USB-A ports, a 4K HDMI and the USB-C port.
Note that this is a case for the Apple charger, and doesn't include the charger itself, unlike the other PD chargers reviewed here.