Electronics

The best wireless car chargers

wireless charging pad for your iPhone or Android phone might be a staple in your office or home, but it can also be a useful tool to mount inside your car. Even the best wireless car charger isn’t a totally wireless experience — the charging dock requires power and a cable that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or USB port — but a wireless charging car mount is convenient when you don’t want to have to plug cable into your phone every time you get in the car. Further, wireless charging technology is improving all the time, and wireless charging speed is faster than ever.

Note that each wireless charger in this buyer’s guide is compatible with any wireless charging enabled cell phone, whether it’s an iPhone, Samsung GalaxyGoogle Pixel or other models (or any other Qi enabled device). And if you’re really attached to your phone case — so long as it isn’t super thick — you can leave it on and still be able to charge your phone. Most of these chargers even double as a phone holder with an adjustable arm. Below are 10 best wireless car chargers available on the market.

Top 10 best wireless car chargers in UK 2021

1. iOttie Auto Sense Wireless Car Charger

iOttie finally has an “autosense” automatic clamping wireless car charger with a phone mount — and it’s a good one. The Auto Sense Automatic Clamping Qi Charging Car Phone Mount is available in a dashboard mount version or a CD and vent clip version (I tried the dashboard wireless charging mount). This wireless car charger mount has a nicely designed telescoping arm, a strong suction cup, and the wireless phone charging feature is compatible with most phone cases. You get 7.5-watt charging for an iPhone and 10-watt for Android phones, which is considered fast wireless charging.

This Qi wireless charger comes with a dual charging USB cigarette lighter adapter. My only gripe — and it’s a small one — is that the included cable is Micro USB and not USB Type-C. Once the cable is plugged in to the wireless car charger you can basically forget about it, but if the cable accidentally becomes unplugged (which does happen), it’s easier to plug in a USB-C cable for phone charging, especially when you’re driving.

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2. ZEEHOO Wireless Car Charger Mount

It comes with an attachment to stick to your dash or to attach the charger in your air vent. Samsung users will appreciate speedy 10W of charging speed while iPhone users will have to settle for 7.5W. Once it’s attached, the 360-degree pivot ball gives users the ability to have their phone in the most convenient spot possible. And the sub $30 price tag is nice, too.

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3. iOttie iTap 2 Wireless Magnetic Wireless Charging Mount

Most wireless car chargers feature clunky, claw-shaped designs that grip your device and may even scuff their leather cases. iOttie created a mount that resolves this issue entirely with the use of magnets.

Like other wireless car chargers, this one affixes to your air conditioning vent, your CD player, or your car’s dashboard with an adhesive, but what makes this one different is how you attach your phone to it.

Instead of setting your phone inside of a claw or a cradle, you stick a small magnet to your phone’s backside, or place the magnet in your phone’s case. Then, you just stick it to the magnetic charging pad, and voilà — your phone starts charging. The strong magnet keeps your phone stable and secure, even on bumpy roads.

iOttie’s charger offers a much sleeker design than the competition, albeit at a slightly higher price. Our only complaint is that anytime your phone is charging, a cooling fan kicks on — and it’s loud. Not loud enough that your car’s speakers can’t drown it out, but its hum is definitely noticeable.

This trade-off ensures that your smartphone won’t ever overheat, though!

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4. Trust Urban Yudo 10

This was one of only two devices to offer all three mounting positions, and it came with an impressive 1.5-metre power cable, although it didn’t have a USB adapter. We found it stable when using the rubber sucker on the screen or dash, and the air-vent mount was also solid. We’d have preferred the spring-loaded arms to be damped, and the foot wasn’t adjustable. A combined charge figure of 32 per cent was good, but six per cent off the best. It came close to winning, and for anyone needing its versatility, it’s a keenly priced option.

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5. Anker PowerWave Fast Wireless Charger

Are fast turns your thing? And fast charging too? Okay, then, you’ll love this the Anker PowerWave Fast Wireless Car Charger because it’s sturdy. It provides stability and it doesn’t let your phone wobble around, even if you drive fast. It also charges fast. This Qi-certified phone works at high speed without the wires and with the case still on. Yep, no fumbling through your phone case either. Unlike other car chargers, this one will just transmit through your case.

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6. VANMASS Wireless Car Charger

VANMASS Wireless Car Charger is a standard induction plate charger, not specifically intended for vehicles, despite most of the images of it showing it being used there. This device simply plugs in through a USB adapter, and devices rest on it.

It requires an additional adaptive coupling to either the cigarette lighter or the car’s electrical system in order to deliver power.

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7. Spigen Leather Fast Wireless Charger

For just a few quid more than the Anker, this Spigen charger gives you a slightly more premium feel. The black leather pad stops larger phones from slipping off, and it put an extra 1% on the meter over an hour of charging, taking the phone up to 31%.

It’s a little more awkward than the Anker about where you place the phone, but there’s some margin of error, and a rugged plastic protective case didn’t cause it any problems. We also like the understated charging indicator – a blue ring that glows when the charger connects but turns off 30 seconds later. It’s a great little charger with a thoughtful design.

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8. Belkin BoostUp Wireless Charging Stand

The Belkin 10W is a step up in design and charging power – both of which are noticeable. That charging rate refilled 16% on our iPhone XS Max in 30 minutes.

The Belkin 10W has upstyled glossy plastic with matte rubber for the flat charging surface, as well as the ‘arms’ keeping your phone from sliding off the surface. It tangibly feels higher-quality, and in the solid black color, looks a bit more refined than cheaper chargers.

Whether you like pads or stands is more up to personal taste, but we enjoy the usefulness of keeping your device upright to check the time and scroll through notifications. It only charges phones, though – no smartwatches or tablets.

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9. Mophie Powerstation wireless XL Battery

Mophie’s powerstation is the ultimate wireless phone charger, as it is entirely cordless.

This creation is the investment to splash out on this year as it has a 10k battery, which is sufficient to charge an iPhone and iPad, for over 36 hours of charging.

While it also comes with a 10W port to charge wired devices as well, so it is no surprise it has received glowing five star reviews from customers.

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10. Nanami Fast Wireless Charger

If you’re looking for a wireless charger that’s cheap but delivers the power you need, check out the Nanami Fast Wireless Charger. It comes with a simple stand design that lets you use it with just about any iPhone or Android device. And you can charge your phone in portrait or landscape mode.

The Nanami is  quick charging compatible at 10W for Samsung phones and it supports 7.5W charging for iPhones. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay extra for a QuickCharge 2.0 or above adapter if you want the fastest speeds.

A safety assurance feature means it won’t overcharge your phone or overheat. Better yet, the Nanami is sleep-friendly, as the LED indicator will shut off automatically after 10 seconds. Arguably the best feature about the Nanami Fast Wireless Charger is its price. At under $20, this is one of the best wireless charger values out there.

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How to choose the best wireless car chargers?

You need to consider these following factors when choosing the best wireless car chargers

How does wireless charging work?

For you as a user, incredibly simply. Place your phone on the charger and, hey presto, your phone begins to charge. No wires required.

The actual science is a bit more complex, but, in essence, it uses electromagnetic fields to move power from the pad to the phone based on magnetic resonance.

The wireless charger is plugged into the wall and the electricity from there is converted into a high-frequency alternating current, which creates a magnetic field within the transmitter coil underneath the charging plate.

When a device is put on the pad, the magnetic field spreads to the device’s receiver coil, where energy is converted into a direct current that flows into the battery charging it.

(If that was all over your head, just go with the simpler answer: magic.)

Is wireless charging as fast as using a wired plug?

No. If speed is important to you, then you’re better off using a wired fast charger. Wireless charging is more about convenience than efficiency.

However, the good news is that wireless chargers have got faster over the last few years. The first Qi standard wireless chargers delivered power at a maximum 5W, which meant they were pretty slow, but in 2015 the Wireless Power Consortium – the industry body responsible for wireless charger standards – introduced the Qi Extended Power Profile standard, which allowed chargers and phones to go up to 15W.

Right now, only a few chargers go up to that level, and it’s mostly high-end phones that support it. These include the Samsung Galaxy S7 and onwards and the Galaxy Note 8 and onwards, the Huawei P30 series, plus the Mate 20 and 30 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 9. iPhones from the iPhone 8 onwards will charge at 7.5W, while a range of other Android phones will charge at 10W. It’s best to check whether your phone supports wireless charging and what level it supports before you buy.

Generally speaking, the higher the wattage the faster the charge, though the difference isn’t always as dramatic as you might expect. A 15W charger won’t necessarily charge your phone in a third of the time that a 5W charger would normally take.

Pad or stand?

From a speed point of view, there’s no difference – it’s purely down to aesthetic preference. However, there is one advantage that stands have. As there’s more flexibility of how you place a phone on a pad, getting it into contact so that it charges can be a frustrating fight of trial and error. With a stand, theoretically, there should only be one position available and things should lock on right away.

Is there anything else I should look out for?

You’ll need to power the charger somehow, and while some come with their own power adapter, others rely on your existing charger and a micro USB, USB Type-C or Lightning cable. The cable is usually provided, but it’s worth checking that your existing charger has enough power to give your wireless charger what it needs. If your wireless charger wants 10W but your plug-in charger can only dish out 5W, then you’ll need to invest in a third-party fast charger to get the full benefit.

Conclusion

You need a way to keep your devices charged while out and about – and you really, really need it if you use your phone on the road for music, navigation, and calls.

If you have kids, and you’re going on a car trip, you better keep their phone or tablet charged, because anyone who remembers car trips as a kid before these devices, knows how miserable they made their parents out of the abject boredom and claustrophobia these trips brought on.

One of these chargers is almost definitely going to suit you, it just depends on what does and doesn’t annoy you.

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