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15 great wireless chargers to free yourself from cables

You know what’s missing from all our visions of a futuristic utopia? Wires. You never see anyone fumbling with a wire to plug in a device. Everything just magically works. We’re not there yet, but wireless charging technology is improving all the time. Leading the way toward this brave new world, we find wireless chargers for smartphones. They’re not entirely wireless, because they still have to be plugged into a wall outlet, but they do free you from your nightly plug-in. You can just pop your phone on a pad, and know that in the morning it will be good to go.

Related: 30 of the juiciest portable battery chargers money can buy

Before you splash out on a wireless charger, though, make sure that your phone supports it. For some smartphones, you’ll need to buy a special replacement back or a case that enables wireless charging. You also have to check that the wireless charger you choose is the right standard for your device. The most popular standard right now is Qi, under the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), but there is a rival called Powermat, under the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), which merged with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) to form the AirFuel Alliance, which is pushing a new standard called Rezence.

Another thing to keep in mind when you buy a wireless charger is that it won’t charge up your phone as fast as a wall charger can.

5 great wireless chargers

Itian Charging Stand ($21)

Itian Charging Stand

This stand is specifically for the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, Note 7, or Note 5, because it supports a slightly faster rate of wireless charging, provided you pair it with a Quick Charge 2.0 Adaptive Fast Charger. Use it with a standard charger and you’ll get slower charging speeds. It can also charge the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but not at the faster speed. You have to prop your phone in this charging stand in portrait view and there are padded sections to prevent any scratches.

There’s a standard LED to indicate when it’s working, which could be annoying if you want to use this on your nightstand, but it will work well on a desktop. The design is fairly plain, black plastic. There’s a big white Itian logo, which is thankfully covered up when you place your phone on it. This is one of cheapest options we’ve seen for the faster wireless charging rate. Unfortunately, though you do get a cable in the box, there’s no power adapter.

Specs
Power output 1.2A
Standard Qi
Dimensions 5.5” x 3.8” x 3.8”
Weight 181g (6.4oz)
Cable included? Yes
AC Adapter included? No

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Choetech Iron Stand Wireless Charger ($30)

Choetech Iron Stand Wireless Charger

We really like the look of this aluminum wireless charging stand from Choetech. It’s very solid and props up your phone at a convenient angle. There are three coils inside, so you can charge your phone in landscape or portrait view and it charges through most cases. There are also rubber feet on the bottom to prevent it from sliding around. There’s some cushioning on the cradle lip, but the central panel is glossy plastic. If we weren’t using a case, we might worry about a glass-backed phone resting on this.

It will work with any Qi-compatible smartphone, and you can add receivers or cases to phones like the iPhone, so they can be charged with this stand, too. The LED is on the side and it’s quite subtle, the four pinholes light up blue when your phone is charging, or flash to indicate an issue. Unfortunately, the Micro USB port is on the same side as the LED, down at the bottom of the front part, which makes it tough to keep the cable out of sight. It’s not absolutely perfect as a wireless charger, but it does moonlight as a really good stand. Overall, it’s a nice option at a good price.

Specs
Power output 1A
Standard Qi
Dimensions 5.2” x 3.2” x 4.1”
Weight 172g (6oz)
Cable included? Yes
AC Adapter included? Yes

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad ($41)

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad

This circular wireless charging pad from Samsung resembles a flying saucer. If you have a Note 5, or a later Samsung flagship such as the S7, you can use it to quickly charge your device without a cord. It’s capable of fast charging at around 2A, instead of the standard 1A you get from most wireless chargers, making it around 1.4X faster, at least according to Samsung. It’s outfitted with a circular strip of rubber to prevent your phone from sliding off the top, and another one on the bottom to prevent it from sliding around on your desk or bedside table. The LED is, unfortunately, quite bright and it shines blue when charging and green when fully charged. It also flashes when there’s a problem.

Because the pad can charge supported phones faster, there’s a silent fan inside to help keep the temperature down. You’ll also have to use the charger and cable supplied if you want the faster speeds, but you can use this pad with other Qi charging devices for standard speeds. You can get the pad in black or white, and it’s pretty portable. It does the job, but the design is dull, and if you don’t have a Samsung phone that supports fast wireless charging, there’s little reason to pay a premium for this pad.

Specs
Power output 2A
Standard Qi
Dimensions 4” x 4” x 0.81”
Weight 117g (4.12oz)
Cable included? Yes
AC Adapter included? Yes

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Montar Air Car Mount ($60)

Montar Air Car Mount

Once you get used to wireless charging, you really don’t want to have to go back to plugging in cables, but that means you need a few wireless chargers dotted around to cover you in different situations. Montar has created an excellent cradle for the car with built-in Qi wireless charging. It can accommodate smartphones up to 6 inches in size, and it supports fast wireless charging at up to 2A, if your phone does. This charger and cradle is ideal if you like to use your smartphone to navigate as you drive.

It’s a versatile beast with various mounting options. You can slot it into a cup holder, use the suction cup, or securely stick it to your dash with 3M adhesive. The cradle is fully adjustable and will accommodate larger phones like the iPhone 6S Plus or the Note 5. There’s also a cable included with Micro USB at one end to plug into the cradle, and a power adapter that fits a standard car power socket at the other. The power adapter lights up, so you know when it’s charging and drawing power. The cradle is great, because it has adjustable feet to change height and clamping arms with a release button, which makes it easy to fit and remove your phone with a single hand. You can also rotate it, thanks to a ball joint, to find the exact angle you want.

Specs
Power output 2A
Standard Qi
Dimensions 7” x 4” x 5” (adjustable)
Weight 212g (7.47oz)
Cable included? Yes
AC Adapter included? Yes (for car socket)

Buy it now from:

Amazon

TYLT VU ($50)

TYLT VU

As far as we know, TYLT was the first manufacturer to offer wireless chargers with this tilted, 45-degree cradle design, which allows you to see your phone more easily than if it were lying flat. The VU is a Qi charger with three coils inside, so you can put your phone on the cradle in portrait or landscape mode and it will still charge. There’s a single LED under the lip of the stand which goes green to indicate that it’s charging.

However, this charger is a bit on the expensive side, the power adapter is ugly and chunky, and some people have found that the pad can produce a lot of heat. The bright, plastic design is available in blue, green, and red, or you can go for black if you want something a bit more subdued. It also has a nice, soft-touch finish. We like the distinctive design, but it will take up a bit more space than a simple pad.

Specs
Power output 1A
Standard Qi
Dimensions 7.5” x 3.5” x 0.5”
Weight 161g (5.7oz)
Cable included? Yes
AC Adapter included? Yes

Buy it now from:

Amazon

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