iPhone – The best iPhone 12 fast chargers starting at just $12
Until the release of the iPhone 12 series, Apple always used to put a USB cable, power adapter and a pair of wired EarPod headphones in new iPhone boxes. But that all changed with the iPhone 12, which doesn’t include headphones or a power adapter in the box. All that’s included is a USB-C-to-Lighting cable, which offers the fastest charging speeds if you pair it with the right Apple iPhone charger.
Apple’s new 20-watt USB-C power adapter sells for just over $16, which is about $13 less than its overpriced and discontinued 18-watt USB-C power adapter. But several attractive alternatives can be considered among the best iPhone chargers. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Apple device chargers to give a boost to your battery life. Many of them are available for less than $20 and some as low as $12. A few quick ground rules before we start:
- You’ll need a charger with a USB-C port, or you’ll need to get a USB-A-to-USB-C adapter. At the prices below, you might as well just get a new charger.
- Chargers with USB-C or PD (power delivery) support can generally charge devices faster than chargers with USB-A ports.
- Two ports are always better than one, allowing you to charge two phones at once, or a phone and an accessory like wireless headphones.
- Higher wattage is better up to a point. But getting 18 watts or better will allow you to charge tablets and even a Nintendo Switch. Get 65 watts or more and you can charge most newer laptops, too.
- Many of these new chargers use a new, fast semiconductor material called gallium nitride (or GaN) that is replacing the old, slow, silicon chip. Chargers with “GaNFast” have a charging speed up to three times faster than traditional chargers — and they’re half the size and weight. They’re compatible with everything in today’s Apple range, from AirPods and the iPhone 12 all the way to the big 16-inch MacBook Pro. They might not be optimal for an older iPhone model, however.
- Every charger here can also juice up an Android phone (so long as you supply a compatible charging cord or USB cable) as well as the Nintendo Switch.
While there are a plethora of charging brands available, including some generic ones on Amazon that offer 20W USB-C chargers for as low as $12 for a 3-pack, we can broadly recommend three phone-charger brands: Anker, Aukey and RAVPower. All three have similar offerings at similar wattage, and prices fluctuate almost daily. Our latest iPhone favorites are below, including some power bank (battery), wireless, charging stand and car options. We’ve used all of these over the past few months (or their direct predecessors).
None of these incorporate Apple’s new MagSafe charging standard — an upgrade from the Lightning connector. That’s brand new and will have a price premium for the foreseeable future — don’t expect to pay less than $39.
While we haven’t yet tested these iPhone charger models with the iPhone 12, they should all work based on our experience with previous iPhone models. We’ll update this periodically in our quest for the absolute best iPhone charger.
Note that in May and June of 2021, most RAVPower, Aukey and Mpow products disappeared from Amazon amid reports that the retailer was cracking down on fake reviews. Many of those products remain available at ravpower.com and aukey.com, but their prices tended to be a little lower on Amazon.
Read more: Best headphones for iPhone 12
The Anker Nano II 30W is a next-generation fast charger that is powered by gallium nitride, or GaN II, technology. It’s about the same size as the original 20W Nano charger but delivers more power and will not only charge your phone but a MacBook Air and other slim laptops. Anker also sells 45W and 65W chargers. Read our first take of Anker Nano II chargers.
Anker’s Nano is literally the size of old Apple’s 5-watt USB charger that used to ship with iPhones but offers 20-watt charging. Featuring Anker’s PowerIQ 3.0 technology, it charges more than 2.5x faster than that 5-watt charger (with a USB-C-to-Lightning cable). It was recently upgraded from 18 to 20 watts. It’s less than $14 with an instant 20% off coupon on Amazon.
A GaNFast charger that uses gallium nitride (or GaN) technology, Spigen’s 20-watt ArcStation Pro is one of the smallest fast USB-C chargers you’ll find. While the Anker Nano is a bit smaller, it doesn’t have a foldable plug like this model. Using a USB-C-to-Lightning cable, it charges close to three times faster than Apple’s standard 5-watt USB charger.
This 30-watt dual-port charger delivers the full 30 watts of juice if used alone and 18 watts if used while charging a second device via the USB-A port, which delivers 12 watts of charging. Usually $31, it’s currently selling for $20 and includes a USB-C to Lightning cable. It, too, is a GaNFast charger.
This svelte Anker 30-watt charger with foldable plugs is pocket friendly and can charge your iPhone impressively fast with a USB-C-to-Lighting cable. Like many other compact chargers, this uses gallium nitride (or GaN) technology.
I originally had an Aukey cigarette-lighter power adapter on this list, but it’s out of stock and this low-profile Ainope mini fast USB Car Charger offers even faster charging (up 24 watts) and costs less. It has both a USB-C and USB-A port so you can charge two devices at the same time, but to get 15-watt wireless charging, you’re going to be better off charging one device.
Yes, a 100W charger is overkill for charging your phone. But if you want a charger that can charge any USB-C laptop, including the 16-inch MacBook Pro (which happens to be my work computer), the new Baseus 100W GaN II Fast Charger with Qualcomm Quick Charge 5.0 is the latest and greatest of high-wattage USB-C chargers. As its name implies, it features GaN II technology and it’s significantly smaller than earlier 100W chargers and is more energy efficient, so it doesn’t heat up as much. It adapts to whatever device you’re charging, delivering the highest charging speed that the device is capable of.
Nimble is all about making its products from recycled plastics, and not having any plastic in its packaging. Its Wally Mini is a dual-port 20-watt PD charger with fast-charging capabilities. You can charge two devices at once, but to get to top charging speed for your iPhone you’ll need to connect it using a USB-C-to-Lightning cable (to the USB-C port) without having any other devices connected to the USB-A port.
It has retractable prongs, is quite compact and also feels pretty light. If you didn’t know it was made out of recycled plastic, you might not guess that it was. But since I did know, I did think, “Yes, this feels like recycled plastic.” Not that it feels bad, but it does look and feel a little different.
Nimble also includes a bag in the box for your e-waste items. If your old electronics product is on Nimble’s list of approved electronics for recycling, you can print out a free shipping label to send in your gear for recycling.
Note that the Nimble Wally Mini is currently out of stock but should return soon.
Just looking for a compact single-port fast-charger? The Aukey 20-watt Minima PD charger is available for as low as $12.
No, this isn’t a fancy new MagSafe charger — but it doesn’t cost $60, either. I like this RAVPower charging pad because it’s relatively inexpensive and comes with a power adapter that allows you to get the faster 10-watt wireless charging speeds (some top out at 7.5 watts, and a lot of cheap wireless charging pads don’t include a power adapter). It lists for $30, but there’s currently a 30% off discount code that brings the price down to $21.
Another good choice in the best all-around wall charger category is RAVPower’s 65-watt dual-port charger. It’s very similar to the Aukey and often costs within a few bucks of the same price. RAVPower currently has a $20-off discount code that brings the price down to $24. This is also a GaNFast charger.
Why carry around both a power adapter and a portable battery when you can have both in one device? We loved the earlier version of this model, and now it’s back with both USB-A and USB-C ports, with power up to 18 watts. Yes, it’s bigger and heavier than most of the power adapters on this list, because it does have that integrated battery.
Another GaNFast charge, this compact 65-watt USB-C charger will not only charge your iPhone at maximum speed (if you spring for a USB-C-to-Lightning cable), it also charges most USB-C charging laptops. Additionally, you can charge a second device via the USB-A port.
This Power Bank from Aukey has both wired and wireless charging options. If you use the USB-C port, you can get 18 watts of charging. Go wireless and lay your phone on the charging dock battery and it will wirelessly charge at 10 watts, which is where the iPhone currently maxes out for wireless charging. You’re paying a premium, but this phone charger unit has a massive battery (20,000 mAh), a built-in kickstand and a digital readout listing the remaining charge. It comes with a USB-A-to-USB-C cable, but you’ll need to supply an adapter to charge it.
Aukey’s smaller wireless 10,000-mAh portable charger with foldable stand is selling for around $40.
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iPhone – The best iPhone 12 fast chargers starting at just $12