If you’ve never tried a fast charger for your mobile devices, you’re missing out. They may not sound very exciting, but when you’re in a hurry, being able to charge your phone or tablet two to three times faster makes a world of difference.
That kind of speed also comes in handy when you have to charge several devices in a limited amount of time, or need to share one outlet amongst multiple people.
Choosing the best fast charger for your needs can get a bit complicated due to the range of charging standards and power requirements for various devices, but there are two basic things to consider.
First, look at the maximum wattage that the charger can put out, and compare it to what your device can take. The standard USB wall chargers that used to come with iPhones only put out five watts, for instance, but the latest iPhones can charge at up to 20W. Using a higher-rated charger won’t hurt your device: it’ll only use what it can handle.
Second, make sure that your charger and your device can agree on a charging standard. There used to be a huge mess of standards out there, but things have improved in recent years. If you have a recent phone or tablet, there’s a good chance that it supports USB C Power Delivery (PD).
This is true of almost all recent Android devices, and even current iPhones and iPads that charge from a Lightning port. As long as you have the right charger and a USB C to Lightning cable, you’ll get fast charging for your Apple devices as well.
The other common standard, Qualcomm Quick Charge (QC) 3.0 or 4.0, is declining in popularity. As a result, you’ll often find modern phones and tablets that support QC also support USB C PD, so you can use a fast charger that supports either standard.
Note that I’m mostly focusing on phones and tablets in this article. That said, some of the best fast chargers, including my top picks, have enough juice to charge a laptop as well.
They’re necessarily larger in size, but if you want a true all-in-one charger, that trade-off is often worth it. If so, check the specifications of your current laptop charger to see how much power you need.
For particularly small and lightweight laptops, you may only need a USB C PD charger that can put out 30W. In most cases, however, you’ll need one rated for somewhere between 45 and 65W. If the charger has multiple ports, make sure that’s the power rating for one USB C port by itself, not the entire charger.
- Size: 1.7 x 1.4 x 1.7 inches
- Weight: 5.3 ounces
- Ports: 1 x USB C PD
- Output: 65W (USB C)
- Size: 1.8 x 1.1 x 1.1 inches
- Weight: 1.1 ounces
- Ports: 1 x USB C
- Output: 20W
- Size: 3.5 x 2.0 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 4.5 ounces
- Ports: 1 x USB C PD, 1 x USB A
- Output: 20W (USB C), 12W (USB-A), 20W max
- Size: 3.1 x 0.9 x 1.4 inches
- Weight: 1.6 ounces
- Ports: 1x USB-A, 2 x USB-C
- Output: 100W USB C, 22.5W USB-A, 130W max
- Size: 2.4 x 2.4 x 0.2 inches
- Weight: 3.5 ounces
- Ports: none
- Output: 15W (wireless), 20W (from bundled wall charger)
Best Fast Charger (1 Port): Anker 715 Nano II
Anker is one of the biggest names in charging techology, and I’ve long used and recommended its products. If you’re looking for a small, powerful single-port charger that can live in a day bag and juice up everything from your phone to your laptop, the 715 Nano II is currently my top pick.
This charger weighs a bit over five ounces and fits easily in one hand, yet is still able to put out an impressive 65W of power. That’s enough to fast-charge any phone, tablet, or other small electronic device, along with pretty much any laptop you’re likely to have with you.
I’ve been using one while traveling for the last couple of months, and it’s been super-convenient. I just keep it in the bottom of my daypack, along with one of Anker’s 140W USB C cables, and use it to charge up anything that’s running low on power during the day.
There’s a reason I mention the cable: with fast chargers like these, a high-quality cable is important. If you just use a cheap one you happen to have lying around, chances are you’ll end up with slower charging speeds, especially if you’re plugging it into a laptop.
In terms of output, there’s no difference between my factory laptop or phone chargers and the Nano 2. It puts a rock-solid 50W into both my laptop and my partner’s MacBook Pro; the latter is particularly impressive, since it’s been notoriously fickle with non-Apple chargers in the past.
Sizewise it’s slightly larger than other single-port charger options, but not by a lot. Being able to fast-charge pretty much anything you’re traveling with makes that tradeoff more than worthwhile as far as I’m concerned. The wall prongs also fold down, so they don’t snag in your bag while you’re on the move.
Whether you’re traveling or not, the high power output makes this the best fast charger for iPads, iPhones, and most other smartphones and tablets. Being able to charge the vast majority of laptops at full speed is the icing on the cake, and makes it easy to choose the Nano II as my top fast charger pick for most people.
Best Fast Charger for iPhone: Anker 511 Nano
If you’re only looking to fast-charge an iPhone and want the best small fast charger on the market to do it with, look no further than the Anker 511 Nano. The same size as most standard wall chargers yet able to put out up to 20 watts, it’ll charge any iPhone at top speed while weighing barely an ounce.
Starting at 0% battery power, you can charge an iPhone 15 for fifteen minutes and get over three hours of video playback. A quick charge in an airport coffee shop could give you enough battery life to last an entire medium-haul flight.
The charger is compatible with many phones and tablets, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel, as well as accessories like AirPods and Apple Watch. The PowerPort III Nano is only designed for phones and tablets, though: it’s not powerful enough to charge your MacBook or other laptop.
Note too that while this charger can put out up to 20W, it doesn’t support USB C Power Delivery. That doesn’t matter for Apple devices, but does mean that a few Android phones and tablets may not charge at full speed.
It’s also worth noting that while iPad Pro models will still charge quickly using the Nano, it’s not quite powerful enough to charge them at maximum speed.
This handy quick charger doesn’t cost a lot, and even comes in a range of attractive colors. You can buy it with or without a USB C to Lightning cable, depending on whether you’ve already got a good one lying around or not.
Best Fast Charger for International Travel: Native Union Smart Charger
The Native Union Smart Charger is a fast charger that comes with its own plug adapters for international sockets. If you’re tight on space and traveling to multiple countries, taking this with you means fewer chargers and travel adapters to deal with. That’s always a good thing.
The charger has two ports: one USB-A that puts out 12 watts, and one USB C PD port that can charge at up to 20 watts. Note, though, that the maximum output is capped at 20W whether you’re using one or both ports, so you can’t fast-charge two devices simultaneously.
The charger is designed for any North American-style plugs, and there are clip-on EU and UK adapters in the box. The EU adapter (Type C/Type F/Type E) is used across most of Europe, as well as Egypt, Somalia, Singapore, Greenland, and more.
The UK (Type G) adapter is required in the UK, Ireland, Malta, Hong Kong, parts of Africa, and elsewhere. We’ve written (much) more about the different plug types in use around the world here.
The charger can restore a flat iPhone to 50% in less than 30 minutes. That’s similar to some of the others I’ve recommended, but since this one includes those two plug adapters, it makes the cut for international traveler.
It’s a bit larger than other options, but still small enough to fit in a pocket. The adapters are separate, of course, so try not to lose them!
Best Fast Car Charger: UGreen 130W Car Charger
Whether you’re trying to get as much juice as possible into your phone during a short drive to the store, or need to quickly charge the kids’ iPad back up on a lengthy road trip, a good car fast-charger makes a big difference.
The best I’ve come across so far is the UGreen 130W, which is powerful enough to charge any USB-powered device you’ll have in the car with you, including laptops.
The charger has two USB C PD ports, one of which can output at an impressive 100W, while the other manages up to 30W. There’s also a USB-A port that’ll put out up to 18W if your device supports QC 3.0, and 22.5W if it’s a Samsung phone or tablet.
You’ll still get full charging speeds even with two devices plugged in at once, which is fairly unusual: the combined output of the two USB C ports is 130W. This is the perfect car charger for vanlifers and anyone else who lives or works in their vehicle, but it’s useful for a wide range of other people as well.
My one lives in my car most of the time: the only time it gets taken out is when I’m off on a trip somewhere that’s going to involve driving a rental or someone else’s car. It’s been super-reliable, and being able to charge my phone and laptop at full speed while driving around is a gamechanger.
It also doesn’t have the eye-searing LED on the front that’s so common with car chargers, opting instead for a relatively subtle blue ring that lets you know where it is without lighting up your car like a nightclub when darkness falls.
To sweeten the deal (not that it needs it), UGreen even includes a USB C cable in the box that’s rated to 100W. I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about this car charger. If you want to fast-charge your phone, tablet, or laptop while you’re driving, just buy it.
🚗 Looking for a different way of powering mobile devices in your vehicle? We looked at many of the best car chargers on the market, including wireless and multi-purpose models.
Best Fast Wireless Charger: RAVPower Magnetic Wireless Charger
Let’s be honest, when it comes to fast charging, wireless just isn’t as good as wired options. If you’re truly looking for the fastest charge, a physical cable is still the way to go. If you’re set on wireless, the RAVPower Magnetic Wireless Charger provides up to 15 watts of power, although what you’ll actually get depends on the device.
The “magnetic” part of the name refers to the Magsafe-compatible section of the pad that ensures ideal placement and a firm connection to the latest iPhones.
Note, though, that this isn’t an official Magsafe charger, so you won’t get the maximum 15W charging speed from your iPhone 12 or higher. For that, you’ll need to buy Apple's own (more expensive) version, along with a separate wall charger.
The pad is coated in soft-touch rubber to prevent scratches, and is compatible with phones and accessories that support the Qi wireless charging standard. This means you’ll get 7.5W on any iPhone, up to 10W from most Samsung phones, and as high as 15W on certain LG and Google phones.
The wireless pad is powered by one of RAVPower’s 20W USB C PD wall chargers, which comes in the box. This means you can also use a USB C or USB C to Lightning cable to fast-charge almost any device (including the latest iPhones), making this a particularly versatile charging option.
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Fast chargers can charge your devices much more quickly than the generic versions that ship with many phones and tablets, and often don’t take up any more space. Whether you’re an impatient person or just find yourself frequently needing to charge in a hurry, they’re certainly worth the small investment.
Whether you need a speedy charge at home or in the car, attached to a cable or wirelessly, there’s an option out there that’ll do the job. Check the wattage, ensure it’s compatible with the devices you hope to charge, and you’re good to go!
Main image via Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com, product images via Amazon unless otherwise noted