USB—short for Universal Serial Bus—is the most commonly used interface for devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers, capable of both data and power transfer. You may think ‘universal’ means that all USB ports—and the wall chargers that house them—are all the same, but that is far from the case. USB wall chargers vary widely in shape, size, functionality, type and number of ports, charging speed, and device compatibility.
For example, if you purchase a multi-port USB wall charger that only has USB-A ports, you could charge several smartphones or tablets at one time, but you wouldn’t be able to use it to power up a laptop that requires a USB-C port to charge.
In our pursuit of the best gadgets to make your life easier, we checked out a multitude of products to help you find the best USB wall charger for your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: iPhone 12 Charger, Anker 30W 2 Port Fast Charger
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: USB Wall Charger, LUOATIP 3-Pack 2.1A/5V Dual Port
- BEST FOR MULTIPLE DEVICES: USB Wall Charger, Anker 60W 6 Port
- BEST DUAL-PORT: USB C Charger for MacBook Pro Air, RAVPower 90W
- BEST FOR FAST CHARGING: Anker Quick Charge 3.0 43.5W 4-Port USB Wall Charger
- BEST FOR HIGH-POWER DEVICES: AUKEY Omnia USB C MacBook Pro Charger 100W
What to Consider When Choosing the Best USB Wall Charger
When considering the best USB wall charger for your needs, keep in mind where and how you are planning to use it, the type and number of devices you need to charge, and how much wattage those devices require for a proper charge.
Most USB wall chargers are small and light, measuring around 8 to 10 cubic inches (not counting the outlet prongs) and weighing around 3 ounces. This makes them ideal when packing a charger in your purse, tote bag, or briefcase. Many USB chargers look very similar to the charger included with a new smartphone, which is usually a single-port charger designed to work with that specific device.
Size increases proportionately with dual or multi-port USB wall chargers. If you work from home, the size difference isn’t considerable. Every one of the chargers featured in this guide should easily fit behind your desk or sofa.
In terms of transporting a USB wall charger, a 5-port charger, while larger in size, isn’t an item you would be likely to carry around every day unless you routinely need to power multiple devices from remote locations or share an outlet with multiple people.
If you own an iPhone 8 or any later version, you can use a wall charger with a USB-C port as long as you also have a USB-C to Lightning conversion cable. By using a USB-C port, you take advantage of the faster charging time it offers. If you already own an Android and a USB-C cable, you have everything you need to fast charge your device.
When you are charging multiple devices, the total output of the USB wall charger must be greater than or equal to the total amount of power needed to charge them all. How do you discover this output? Add together the required amps for all devices you plan to charge by checking the packaging for the information you need. For example, if an iPhone requires 1 amp, an Android phone requires 1.6 amps, and an iPad requires 2.4 amps, you would need a USB wall charger with an output of at least 5 amps.
There are two types of USB ports in wide usage today. A USB-A port is the one with which you may likely be familiar. It looks like a flat rectangle, and a charging cable only fits into it one way. The newer USB-C port is smaller and features curved sides. Many computers use a USB-C port for charging since it can transfer more electrical current and data. Some USB-C ports are also Thunderbolt ports, which you can use to charge your device as well.
There is also a USB-B port, but it’s typically only used to connect special devices like printers, and not for charging. Most USB-B devices connect to a power source using a USB-A port.
Number of Ports
Consider how many devices you need to charge. If you only have one device, then one port is likely all you need. If you have multiple devices that you need to charge regularly, keep in mind that a multi-port charger will often only include USB-A ports. Thus, if you have a laptop with a USB-C port, a multi-port charger is likely not the best option for you.
If you transport your devices to various locations, try to match the number of ports to the number of devices you think you might be carrying. If that isn’t possible, remember that even if you don’t have enough ports, it’s unlikely you would ever have critically low battery levels on all of your devices at the same time. In most cases, you can leave other devices unplugged while you charge your most battery-depleted device.
Another consideration is whether you may be sharing a USB wall charger with others at the same time. Having one charger that can handle several people’s devices simultaneously—especially if outlets are limited—can be very convenient. In these circumstances, particularly if you are hosting guests in your home or spending nights on a sleeper sofa as a visitor, a multi-port USB wall charger is ideal.
Choosing a USB wall charger with the appropriate wattage for your device(s) will significantly speed up charging time. If a charger’s wattage exceeds the minimum requirement for the device, you will never have to worry about having enough wattage to charge it. However, if you plug a device into a USB-A port housed on a PC, for example, which only has an output of 500-900 milliamps (0.5mA to 0.9mA), most devices will need considerably more time to charge compared to using a dedicated charger—in some cases, up to four times the usual charging time.
With the advent of wall chargers using the new USB-C port, fast-charging has gone into overdrive. These are typically 100W chargers, which means devices that require much less wattage can charge very quickly via a wall charger with a USB-C port. Remember, though, that if your device has a USB-C port, you will need an adapter cable.
Our Top Picks
Our top picks take into consideration all the features and factors we’ve mentioned above, and include manufacturers that produce many of the most highly-rated chargers on the market today. Check out some of the best USB wall chargers for your smartphone and other devices below.
This USB wall charger from Anker is equipped with both an 18W USB-C port and a 12W USB-A port, totaling 30W of available power. Additionally, the USB-A port features Anker’s PowerIQ technology, which allows the port to intelligently recognize the device it’s attached to and deliver the fastest charge possible. Having both kinds of USB ports available means you can connect to any type of device, and, as a dual charger, you can also connect two different kinds of devices at once.
This charger is also small, making it ideal for easy storage when on the go, and the outlet prongs fold in so it won’t poke through your bag or backpack. Both versatile and affordable, it also provides an 18-month warranty. The only downside to this charger is that it falls a little short in charging power for larger devices that require more wattage. However, for the needs of most everyday devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, it’s one of the best USB chargers on the market.
A common inconvenience of our technological age is how often we misplace our phone chargers. They’re often small and can easily be kicked under sofas, disappear in the crevices of your car, or fall out of your backpack or tote bag.
An easy solution is to always have extra chargers handy, and for the price of this 3-pack of dual-port USB wall chargers from LUOATIP, you can afford to lose one every once in a while. Luckily, these chargers are also widely compatible with a variety of smartphones and tablets from the most popular manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, Google, and more, with the exception of all variants of the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12. Just remember that you won’t be able to effectively charge larger, more high-powered devices with these chargers.
Like our pick for Best Overall, this 6-port charger from Anker employs the manufacturer’s intuitive PowerIQ technology to automatically recognize any device to which it is attached. This model also makes use of another exclusive Anker technology called VoltageBoost, which allows for faster charging. With 60W of power, this charger has the capability to simultaneously power up all six ports, but keep in mind that since they are all USB-A ports, the unit is compatible with an array of smartphones and tablets but isn’t for charging laptops.
The charger also provides UL certification, temperature control, surge protection, and an 18-month warranty, all of which ensure a high standard of protection and safety for your devices. This particular model features a 5-foot detachable power cord to help you reach awkwardly-placed outlets. One potential negative to this model is the length of the power cord makes storage more challenging, but that is a small price to pay for the versatility of having a compact multi-port charger.
This dual-port charger from RAVPower features two USB-C ports with a total power output of 90W, so you can quickly and simultaneously charge a laptop and a smartphone, a laptop and a tablet, and even two laptops. In particular, it can charge a MacBook Air at a lightning-fast speed of two hours, and it’s compatible with other laptops as well.
This charger provides the latest in safe-charging technology to guard against overheating, short circuit, overcurrent, and overvoltage issues for more secure performance. In addition to being powerful, the small size of this charger and its foldable prongs make it ideal for when you are charging on the go. A USB-C to USB-C cable is included.
This compact yet powerful 4-port charger—also from Anker—features Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, an innovative technology that charges compatible phones up to 80% of full power in as little as 35 minutes. Like the other Anker chargers on our list, it also includes the manufacturer’s proprietary PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies to intelligently sense the most efficient charging method for each device, all while ensuring the 43.5W of power charges them as quickly as possible.
Since all four ports are USB-A, keep in mind that this unit is primarily for charging smartphones and tablets but isn’t compatible with laptops. As portable as it is stylish, it’s slim enough to fold away the plug and tuck into a purse, backpack, or briefcase, but its black matte finish combined with high-gloss accents may make you want to proudly show it off.
This 100W USB-C charger from Aukey features the manufacturer’s GaN (gallium nitride) power chip, which can operate more than 100 times faster than more archaic silicon semiconductors. What does this techspeak mean for you? You can charge your laptop up to three times faster than with other chargers, all with a compact size about 50% smaller than most other chargers on the market. It’s compatible with a variety of devices from Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and Apple. It can fully charge a 16” MacBook Pro at a dizzying speed of only 1.8 hours or an iPhone 12 from zero charge to 50% in only 30 minutes.
Built-in safety features protect your favorite devices from dangers like excessive current, overcharging, and overheating. While only having one port can be limiting, adding a second port to this highly efficient charger would cut its recharging ability in half. Therefore, this dedicated, single-port charger is definitely worth considering to satisfy the charging needs of your most power-hungry devices.
FAQs About Your New USB Wall Charger
If you need a few additional pointers about USB wall chargers, check out these most frequently asked questions and their answers.
Q. What is a USB charging port?
A USB charging port is the most common type of connector for personal technology devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, and more. A USB charging port transfers power for both the energy needs of these devices, as well as data.
Q. What is a dual USB charger?
A dual USB charger features two USB ports. A charger may have two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, or one of each.
Q. Can you charge a laptop with a USB port?
You can charge a laptop via its built-in USB-C port and a USB-C cable.
Q. What is the fastest USB charging port?
Among the products on our list of the best USB wall chargers, the Anker Quick Charge 3.0 43.5W 4-Port USB Wall Charger is one the best USB wall chargers on the market for fast charging your devices.