4 best non-Apple iPhone chargers (psst: they start at just $13) - MarketWatch MarketWatch Site Logo MarketWatch logo
While Apple-brand chargers are still the default for many iPhone users, the marketplace of non-Apple USB and wireless chargers that work with iPhones keeps expanding. “You go to a gas station for chips and a soda and you’ll see chargers,” says Andru Edwards, host and founder of Gear Live, a YouTube channel covering consumer electronics.But industry and tech pros consulted by MarketWatch Picks recommend skipping the countertop purchase and instead aiming for the best combination of charging speed, product compatibility, safety and durability.“There’s a huge difference in what’s inside chargers, from very complex and well designed to the cheapest they can possibly make it,” says Ken Shirriff, a software engineer.“I’m not saying you need to go for the top of the line, but it’s good to buy something that is a recognizable brand at least and is not under five dollars.” Here are some expert-selected non-Apple picks for USB and wireless chargers that work well with iPhones, have extra features that Apple-made chargers may not, are budget friendly, and can charge phones quickly.
Anker Nano Compact Fast Charger $13.59 at Amazon
One of the best known of the non-Apple brands, Anker came up in nearly every conversation that MarketWatch Picks had about chargers. Nicholas Brill, director of new product development for electronics maker VisionTek, tells MarketWatch Picks that he’s used Ankers in the past, even though he’s understandably partial to his own company’s chargers. The tiny workhorse Anker Nano checks a few comparison boxes. At 30 watts, it’s up to three times as fast at charging as Apple’s standard 5-watt charger, and it lists for less. It’s also compatible with iPhone models 8 through 13. The catch: As with most such devices, the necessary USB-C to lightning cable is not included. But Anker makes an Apple MFi-certified (as in “Made for iPhone”) cable that also costs less than Apple’s version.Buy on Amazon
Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 Portable Charger, $59.99 at Amazon
For quick iPhone charging away from the home or office, and for charging two devices at once, Christen Costa, founder and CEO of Gadget Review, likes Anker’s slimline rechargeable USB battery pack. It delivers multiple charges before it runs out of juice and is “great to take with you when you are driving, camping, or just on the go,” Costa tells MarketWatch Picks. Costa happens to be using an older version, which can be tricky because of some potential USB compatibility issues, so we’re upgrading his pick to a newer model that’s about the same price and removes uncertainty for the less tech-obsessed.Buy on Walmart
Spigen Foldable Fast Charger $29.99 at Amazon
Like Anker, Spigen components use gallium nitride, a next-generation silicon alternative that produces a faster and more efficient charge, and generates less excess heat. With two ports capable of transmitting up to 30 watts of electricity simultaneously, Spigen’s USB-C charger will rapidly power up everything from your iPhone to your wireless charger base. “If you just don’t care about the brand, get something from Anker or Spigen and you’ll get, in my opinion, a better experience,” says Gear Live host Edwards.Buy on Amazon
Belkin MagSafe 2-in-1 Wireless Charger $74.99 at Amazon
Belkin’s elegant upright magnetic stand only charges iPhone 12s and 13s and AirPods — but it will charge even with the phone or AirPods case on (be sure to only use it with MagSafe-approved cases that meet Apple’s specifications for magnetic alignment and spacing). With both of those bases covered, journalist and software engineer Michael Peres tells MarketWatch Picks that the 2-in-1 provides a quick 15-watt charge and it holds the iPhone aloft in portrait or landscape mode for easy use while charging.Buy on Amazon
— The fastest wireless charge is still (for now) slower than the fastest outlet charge, although Edwards at Gear Live believes that wireless will become the standard within a few years.
— Consider how much wattage your iPhone is designed to absorb. So if your iPhone accepts up to 27 watts during a charge, a 60-watt charger doesn’t add any more speed than a 30-watt charger. “In general the charger is a passive device; it won’t force the phone to pick up more [electricity] than it asks for,” says Philip Pong, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. So look for chargers and charger cables with overall power capacity that’s similar to your iPhone’s, Pong says.