After launching the Apple Watch way back in April 2015, Apple took eight months to release a charging stand for it. Accessory manufacturers stepped in with their own dock, stand and cradle chargers in the meantime, and the rest is history.
That's not to say Apple's Magnetic Charging Dock isn't a stylish and worthwhile option - it's made our list, after all - but it won’t suit everyone. So here are all the best Apple Watch chargers we've found.
We've collected together some of the best Apple Watch, Apple Watch 2, Apple Watch 3, Apple Watch 4 and now Apple Watch 5 docks below, ranging from handcrafted wooden designs to docks machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. So check out the list below to find the finest stands available for your bedside table. Just remember to bring your charging cable along with you.
These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.
Our selections, with the newest entries at the top, takes into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability or unique features, to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.
1. Apple Watch Charger
The unexciting Apple-brand charging cable
The Control Option, the standard upon which all the other chargers in this lineup are based, is Apple's signature Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable that comes in the box. It's little more than that - a pad the watch snaps to and a meter-length of cable ending in a USB-A port.
The cable is functional and inexpensive, but it doesn't prop the watch up to double as a nighttime visible clock - plus, it tends to separate from Apple Watches at slight jostling. But in a pinch or if you don't have much room, this could be the right pick - at least until you see what else we have in store.
Note that the cable also comes in a USB-C option, as well as lengths of 0.3m, 1m, and 2m options.
2. OLEBR 3 in 1 Charging Stand
One charger for all your Apple devices
Colors: Black, Rose Gold, Space Grey, Silver | Material: Aluminum and plastic
If you have an Apple Watch then you almost certainly also have an iPhone and there’s a good chance you have AirPods as well, and if you have all of them, then you should definitely consider the OLEBR 3 in 1 Charging Stand, as it can charge all three of those devices at once.
It holds your Apple Watch at an angle that allows you to see the screen, so you can use it in Nightstand mode, and it supports all Apple Watch sizes, so whether you’ve got a 38mm, 40mm, 42mm or 44mm one, you’re covered.
The OLEBR 3 in 1 Charging Stand also has a reasonably stylish design, in a choice of black, rose gold, space grey or silver colors, so you should be able to get one that matches your iDevices.
3. AICase Bamboo Wood Charging Holder
A fusion of tech and nature
Colors: Bamboo | Material: Wood
We’re always big fans of wood here at TechRadar, and charging stands are an ideal place to use it, as shown here by the AICase Bamboo Wood Charging Holder. This dock houses both your Apple Watch and iPhone, and it looks great doing so.
That’s thanks mostly to the aforementioned wood – bamboo in this case. As well as providing a great look, the use of wood also makes this charger sturdy, so it’s not going to go skidding across your desk with the slightest nudge.
It’s quite compact too, at least for a dock that charges multiple devices. The horizontal angle it positions your watch screen at perhaps isn’t ideal, but since you can dock your iPhone at an easily viewable angle it’s not a big deal.
4. Mercase Apple Watch Stand
Cheap, small and stylish
Colors: Space Grey, Rose Gold | Material: Aluminum and TPU
The Mercase Apple Watch Stand is a cheap option, but you get quite a lot for your money. For one thing it’s partially clad in aluminum, giving it a more premium finish than even some pricier docks.
It also has a compact design, so it won’t take up your whole bedside table, and it can charge both your iPhone and your Apple Watch at the same time.
There are some reports of it toppling over when charging a watch with a heavy band, so that’s something to be aware of, though if you charge your iPhone at the same time it should help weigh the stand down. And if you have a light watch strap there’s nothing to worry about.
5. Fuse Chicken Bobine Watch
As flexible as it is affordable
Colors: Silver/White | Material: Metal
Most docks are rigid, inflexible things, but not the unique Bobine Watch from Fuse Chicken. The cable-like device can be twisted into all manner of shapes, meaning you can get the perfect angle for your desk or bedside table every time (to activate Nightstand mode, for example).
We managed to wrap this thing around pretty much anything - coiling it around a lamp, an iPhone stand, and even a bed post for some in-your-face screen interaction. Of course, flexibility is key to its adaptability, but crucially the stand holds position on its own and doesn't droop under the weight of even the heaviest metal wrist straps.
The only drawback is the lack of cable routing beyond a small plastic clip tucked behind the charging disc holder – ideally you'd be able to channel it through the inside of the stand – but to be fair you can wrap the cable around the neck pretty easily instead. The Bobine also comes with stabilisation clips for mounting in your car.
6. TwelveSouth HiRise for Apple Watch
A premium finish without the price tag
Colors: Black, White | Material: Brushed aluminum
TwelveSouth has taken the same brushed aluminum of its mainstay HiRise for iPhone device and machined it into a wide-base stand that gives great stability if you like to interact with your watch when it's not on your wrist.
The charging disk fits snugly into a silicone recess in the reclining stand and the cable runs down a rear channel and underneath the base's band-friendly leather-lined platform, which raises for easy routing and storage.
Silicone padding on the cut-outs protects from any mishaps when placing and removing your watch, making for a solid, yet surprisingly lightweight, stand all round.
7. Griffin WatchStand
A Watch and iPhone stand all in one
Colors: Black, White | Material: Plastic
Your Apple Watch is a gorgeous thing to behold, so it's no surprise Griffin has designed this totemic stand to help you show it off when it's not on your wrist.
At the top of the plastic stand lies an angled cradle for your Watch's charging connector and a hole for the cable to wind around the detachable rubber inner core and slip out the rear of the base. The Watch sits securely on top with the band either buckled round the back or open and hanging down the front (hint: not the best look).
The weighted, non-slip base provides confident footing to the display and has a thoughtful lip at the front to rest your iPhone against lengthways; there's no power outlet for it, mind, but that's where Griffin's WatchStand Powered Charging Station (£41/US$60/AU$84) comes in - it takes care of your iPhone's power needs too.
8. Just Mobile TimeStand
An artful option with a weighty feel
Colors: Black, Silver | Material: Aluminum
If you're not so taken by the idea of twinning your all-metal Watch with a plastic stand, take a look at this artful option from Just Mobile. Machined from a single block of aluminum, the cylindrical bar feels nice and weighty in the hand but stays kind to bedside cabinet surfaces thanks to its protective rubber-lined base.
The Apple Watch charger slots in to an angled recess in the top, which has a channel running out from the side and down to the base to route the cable neatly. And that sculpted cylindrical hole isn't just for looks - your Watch's buckled wristband tucks in here when you mount it on the stand (in portrait orientation at least). The price seems about right, too.
9. Mophie Watch Dock
A simple yet stylish way to show off your Watch
Colors: Metallic silver | Material: Aluminum
This aluminum stand keeps things simple from the moment you open the box. The included quick start guide explains how to place your Watch's inductive charger into the circular cut-out and feed the cable down a rubber channel inside the vertical arm, through the base and out the back.
Faux leather padding on the angled cradle provides a safe buffer between the metal and the back of your watch, while a rubber pad on the base provides protection for your desk/table. At four ounces, it's fairly light, but provides a stable mid-size mount for both sizes of watch. Some might find the price a bit steep though.
10. Native Union Dock
Display your Watch your way
Colors: Slate/Space Gray, Midnight Blue/Gold, Stone/Rose Gold | Material: Graphite silicone, plastic and aluminum
Native Union's minimalist dock comes in two parts: a heavy block base made of rubbery-soft matte graphite silicone, and a plastic/aluminum cylinder. The Apple Watch charging disk snaps into a moulded cradle on the cylinder, which has an elliptical groove inside where the cable feeds through and runs out of the bottom from a discreet well.
With the charger in place, the cylinder slots magnetically into the reversible base, where it can be rotated freely. Your Watch snaps onto it securely, buckled or not, while the base can be reversed and placed horizontally or vertically, depending on how you want to view and interact with the watch display. Nightstand mode works fine as well.
Apple's Midnight Blue wristband color really looks the part with this design. The dock works with both watch sizes, too. The price is a bit steep for something so simple-looking, but at 450g, the sheer heft of the dock feels like money well spent – unless you're packing it for travel, of course...
11. TwelveSouth Forté
A stylish dock that looks the part on any surface
Colors: Silver/Black | Material: Chrome and leather
The second TwelveSouth stand to feature in our roundup, the Forté goes one better in the style department and genuinely looks great from any angle, on any surface. The chrome and leather combination helps, but it's actually the open design of the curved stand that puts your watch's band front and centre.
The clasp goes over or through the curve, which is where your charging cable routes through (it has a rubber-lined open back). The chrome mount has a metal ring that pops off, revealing the rubber enclosure for your charging disc.
The 45-degree angle of the mount activates Nightstand mode in sideways orientation and provides ample support for interacting with the screen. And the leather lining of the base provides a soft rest for open clasps, for when you just can't be bothered to buckle up.
12. Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock
Elegant and official
Colors: White | Material: Polyurethane
If you want a stylish charging solution for your Apple Watch who better to go to than Apple itself? This official dock is every bit as simple and elegant as you would expect from a company with Apple’s eye for design, and it’s a perfect companion to the Apple Watch.
The design allows you to charge the Watch flat, or on its side – the latter of which puts it into Nightstand mode, so you can use it as an alarm clock.
The only real downside to this dock is that - in typical Apple fashion – it’s expensive, but if you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem that’s something you’re probably used to.
13. Belkin PowerHouse
A pricey option that works with cases
Colors: White, Black | Material: TBC
The Belkin Powerhouse isn’t cheap, but it is well thought through, letting you charge both your Apple Watch and your iPhone, with the latter working even if the phone is in a case thanks to an adjustable Lightning connector that can be moved forwards, backwards, up and down.
The PowerHouse looks sturdy too, yet it shouldn’t take up too much space, and it’s designed to charge both watch and phone quickly.
Disappointingly, the position it holds your Apple Watch in means Nightstand mode won’t work when using this dock, but if you can live without that – and live with the price – it’s a great two-in-one option that won’t force you to take your phone out of its case.
- We've curated a list of the best Apple Watch apps too