Wireless charging is now fairly standard among flagship phones, though some phone manufacturers still leave it out the spec in favour of a cheaper price. You'll also find smartwatches and earbuds that charge over a wireless connection.
The technology adds convenience by allowing you to throw down your phone or other gadget on to a pad to charge, without having to worry about fiddling around with cables - or indeed carrying multiple cables. And with the USB-C charging port increasingly doubling-up as an audio input, you can carry on listening to music at the same time.
By far the most common wireless charging standard is Qi (pronounced 'Chee'). Pretty much all gadgets that support wireless charging support Qi, but at varying speeds.
These days you can also find power banks that offer wireless charging. You'll find these models in our separate round-up of the best power banks.
Best wireless charger reviews
1. ESR Lift Wireless Charging Stand - Best Overall Wireless Charger
This low-cost and reliable charger from ESR is great for your desk or bedside table. It doesn't come with a wall plug, but pair the USB-C cable with a 10W charging brick and it can fast charge Quick Charge devices.
It also works with 7.5W and 5W chargers, so any Qi-compatible phone will work. A handy light on the base stays blue when a phone is charging, and flashes red if it's not lined up properly.
Affordable, simple and effective.
2. Anker PowerWave Pad - Best Value Wireless Charger
This is a cracking deal from Anker, one of the most reliable names in charging tech.
The PowerWave Pad is a simple disc-shaped pad, that has a soft-touch matte surface top and bottom to add grip, meaning there's no chance of your phone slipping off the pad or the pad itself wiggling around on the table.
It's compact, light and efficient, with a small LED on the top to show everything is working correctly. A flashing blue light alerts you to a metal obstruction, while flashing green confirms that an incompatible cable or adaptor is connected, but solid blue means all is well.
The PowerWave Pad supports up to 10W wireless charging with compatible devices, making it one of the faster models available.
3. Aukey Graphite Lite Q 10W Wireless Fast Charger - Best Compact Wireless Charger
Fast and relatively cheap, this Aukey Wireless Charger is a 10W model with a really nice design.
Ultra-compact and almost pebble-shaped, with a textured matte black finish and silver metal outer ring, the Aukey looks infinitely better than some wireless chargers we've seen. A small LED on top lets you know whether it's working as it should. If it's green you're all good.
This thing is tiny, just 87x87x12mm and 58g.
Four little rubber feet on the bottom keep it steady on the desk, while a 1m USB-C cable plugs in unobtrusively at the rear.
4. Choetech Dual Fast Wireless Charger - Best Multi-Device Wireless Charger
With Apple's AirPower failing to materialise, the Choetech Dual Fast Wireless Charger is an intriguing alternative.
Despite being able to charge two Qi-compatible devices at once, thanks to five coils tucked away inside, the Choetech charger is not overly big or cumbersome. It's a sleek device with a black meshed top not unlike that of a speaker, but much slimmer - it's really not that much bigger than many of today's flagship phones.
Indeed, with two smartphones on top there isn't much space to play around with how they are positioned, but with just one phone to charge you'll find you can throw it down at any angle for the ultimate convenience.
The design is minimal but functional. A small LED at the front lets you know it's operating without lighting up the room, and you'll find vents at the bottom to help dissipate heat. Also here are rubber strips to help grip on a flat surface.
5. Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand 10W - Best Wireless Charging Stand
This 10W wireless charging stand from Belkin has the handy advantage of allowing you to continue using your phone as it charges.
The width of the cradle is fixed, but wide enough to house any smartphone. It's also reasonably low, making it just as easy to lay your phone down horizontally as it is standing upright.
The dock itself is very sturdy, thanks to a generous footprint, though the device itself is not too large. It has a very simple but functional matte black plastic design.
A small white LED lets you know the charger is functioning correctly, but pleasingly is hidden out of the way at the top of the dock.
Certified for Apple and Samsung Fast Charge, the Belkin might be a bit pricier than some, but you can be assured it will deliver optimum charging speeds, and there is a wired adaptor in the box.
6. Moshi Lounge Q Wireless Charging Stand - Best Luxury Wireless Charger
Moshi’s Lounge Q is a stylish Qi-certified wireless charging stand that is adjustable in height and phone orientation. It is softer on the eye than most other plastic stands, with its Nordic-gray cloth “inspired by Danish furniture design”.
The ability to adjust the charging pad’s height means there should be less manoeuvring of the phone to pick the correct spot for charging, and it is easier to accommodate phones of different sizes.
It will also charge in both vertical and horizontal modes.
Other charging stands often have a fixed charging coil, and so are more rigid in where a phone must be placed.
Moshi uses a ferrite sheet that offers speedy and efficient charging. It can fast-charge any device up to an impressive 15W. It supports both Apple (7.5W) and Samsung (9W) fast-charging (WPC Qi-EPP spec).
An LED indicator shows the phone’s charging status. It features a 1.2m (4ft) USB-C cable, so you will need a USB-C charger to connect this to.
7. Aukey 10W Wireless Fast Charging Stand - Most Stylish Budget Wireless Charging Stand
This Aukey Wireless Fast Charging Stand is arguably one of the more stylish examples, with its nicely sloping design and polished metal rear. The USB cable that attaches near the top of the charger does detract from this a little, however.
It's very sturdy on the desk, but takes up just a little too much space for our taste (187mm), and we'd like to be able to adjust the angle of the stand.
Regardless, you can't argue with its functionality, with the Aukey able to wirelessly charge any Qi-compatible phone at up to 10W. As is pretty standard, it will work with cases up to 5mm thick.
8. RavPower Fast Wireless Charger (with Adaptor) - Best Bundle
This fast wireless charger from RavPower is able to deliver up to 10W to phones that support it (7.5W for iPhones). Unlike other models here, it is supplied with a Quick Charge 3 mains adaptor, giving you everything you need to start charging out of the box.
We had no problems with it overheating during our testing. A rubber ring helps keep your phone in place, too.
A flashing green light on the base indicates charging is taking place, but it's not too bright or distracting. The pad is supplied with a 1.2m braided Micro-USB cable.
9. STM ChargeTree - Best Wireless Charger for Apple Watch and AirPods
Aimed primarily at those heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, the STM ChargeTree looks to be your one-stop-shop for wirelessly topping up your devices.
It offers the ability to wirelessly charge not only your iPhone, but your second-gen AirPods/AirPods Pro and your Apple Watch, too.
The simplistic, compact design of the ChargeTree means it doesn’t take up a lot of space on your desk or bedside table, although the bright LED indicator lights may disturb those who have it next to their bed.
A large grippy rubber square on the bottom of the charger should keep it securely in place, no matter where it’s sat.
It’s powered by USB-C and comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable in the box, but there’s no power supply.
For the full experience, you’ll need to use an 18W charging brick - anything less and your devices will take a while to charge up.
10. EasyAcc Wireless Charger with Desktop Organizer - Best Desk Charger
At first glance I thought this was a bit of a novelty item, but it's actually quite brilliant.
Rather than have a wireless charger and somewhere to keep your pens, Post-It notes, paper clips and stapler, just combine them into this handy desk organiser that includes a Qi-compatible wireless charging stand.
It also hides the power cable better than most wireless chargers. Love it!
11. PowerPic Wireless Phone Charger - Best Novelty Charger
Another wireless charger with a secondary purpose is the PowerPic from Twelve South.
While most are fairly inconspicuous, few chargers - wireless or not - are that nice to look at, so we tend to hide them away as much as we can.
PowerPic is different because it's a quality-looking wooden photo frame (holding 5-7in photos) that's also a Qi-certified wireless fast charger that delivers up to 10W power.
Add your favourite photo, and plug in the cable to any basic phone charger, and you can simply rest your phone against the glass to see it begin charging straight away.
It will charge through most phone cases up to 3mm thick.
There are charging status lights at the back of the frame, and it's available in either black or white New Zealand pine.
12. SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger - Best Wireless Charger with Backup Functionality
This neat wireless charger adds back-up functionality thanks to built-in flash memory.
Choose between 128- or 256GB memory that will allow you to back up your photos and videos at the same time as charging your phone wirelessly.
You can share the iXpand with others, but in order to keep your backups separate, you’ll need to create free accounts within the iXpand Charger app.
128GB might not be enough to back up an entire family’s camera rolls, but it’s a decent capacity for individuals. There’s a micro USB port on the back so you can transfer the backed-up photos and videos to your PC or laptop should the iXpand fill up completely.
The app is necessary for connecting the device to your Wi-Fi network, but it also shows the status of backup and charging, and will also offer to free up space on your phone by deleting everything that has been backed up.
13. HyperDrive 7.5W Wireless Charger USB-C Hub - Best Wireless Charger that is also a USB Hub
As its name most definitely makes clear, the HyperDrive 7.5W Wireless Charger USB-C Hub is both a wireless charger and USB-C hub.
As a wireless charger it offers a handy viewing stand, rather than just lying flat on your table, and decent 7.5W charging. It also supports 5W/10W/15W high-speed wireless charging.
But would be expensive as just a charger, and this multi-function device is also an impressive 8-in-1 USB-C charger that turns a single USB-C into eight ports: 4K HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, 3 x USB-3.0, SD Micro SD, and USB-C 100W pass-through Power Delivery.
And it does all that in a highly portable compact and lightweight casing.
14. Moshi Symbus Q USB-C Dock - Best Performance
The Moshi Symbus Q is a 15W wireless charger that is also a USB-C dock, with two USB-A 3.1 ports, 4K HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB-C 60W passthrough charging for a laptop.
The Moshi has a premium design, with a slick aluminium casing, and fabric and rubber finish to the charging base.
It's not cheap, but it looks great and fits right in with most of Moshi's stuff: premium products at premium prices.
Does my phone support wireless charging?
Although wireless charging is now popular among flagship phones, don't assume that your phone supports wireless charging without checking the specification for your model.
It is possible to add wireless charging to any phone using a wireless charging receiver with the correct connection for your charging port. Try these £10.99 wireless cards from Nillkin with versions for USB-C and Micro-USB. They connect via the charging port and sit neatly behind the phone within its case.
What speed wireless charger do I need?
The cheapest wireless chargers are often the slowest, and many come with a 5W output, which is akin to the wired chargers that came bundled with phones several years back. If you're leaving it plugged in overnight then you will wake to a fully charged phone, though routinely charging your phone to 100% is not great for battery health, and if you're in a rush then a wired connection is going to be faster and more convenient, given a faster adaptor. (We've rounded up some of the best wired chargers for your phone.)
Apple's current line-up supports 7.5W wireless charging with certified products. This is a slight improvement over the initial 5W, but for the fastest wireless charging speeds you should look to Android.
Xiaomi's flagships can support up to 30W wireless charging, while Huawei and Samsung Galaxy phones also support super-fast wireless charging. Reverse wireless charging is also a thing for these phones, allowing you to wirelessly charge over compatible gadgets from the phone itself, but you don't need a wireless charging pad for that.
Generally speaking it is better to buy a wireless charger that is faster than you need for some level of future-proofing. Your phone will draw only the power it needs. Should you buy a slower wireless charger then your device will still charge, but you will be hanging around waiting for it longer than you need to be.
It's worth pointing out that the speed of the wireless charging pad is only half the story. Wireless chargers don't draw power from thin air - they must be plugged into the mains via a USB adaptor. If that is a 5W adaptor then your 10W wireless charging pad is going to be able to deliver only half its maximum output. The fastest wireless charging speed you will be able to receive is that of whichever is the weakest link in your setup.
Should I buy a wireless pad or stand?
That's really down to personal preference. With your phone charging in a stand it is easier to carry on using it as it charges, but a pad is smaller and usually cheaper, and it will be easier to use when charging wireless earbuds and smartwatches.
Sometimes you will find wireless charging stands build in multiple coils for charging, which allow you to throw down the phone at any angle and charging will begin. The same is true of some of the more recent (and significantly more expensive) wireless charging pads, though these are designed for charging multiple devices at once. Apple's AirPower never became a reality, but third-party alternatives did.
We've found some wireless chargers that do other useful things, too, such as double-up as a pen holder desk-tidy or attractive photo frame.
Do I need to remove my phone case before charging?
That depends on the case. The Qi standard can operate at distances of up to 4cm, though tough hard-shell cases can cause an obstruction. Most phones will wirelessly charge just fine through a slimmer or softer case, and many wireless charger makers will claim to support cases up to 5mm thick.
That said, when you charge your phone it generates heat. When your phone is in its case it is like it is wearing a winter coat, and if that jacket prevents heat dissipation then things are going to get hotter still. Your phone should have effective safeguards built-in to prevent it overheating, but you should still apply some common sense.
This is also true of wired charging, of course, and it is recommended that you remove the case whenever you charge your phone. However, the reality is most people will not be bothered, and in most cases your phone will charge just fine with the case in place.
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: