The bigger and better Apple's batteries get, the bigger the screens and the more powerful the processors we attach them to. That means we all still need to charge our iPhones regularly.
There are two kinds of charging: wired charging and wireless. Wired can be faster, but not always: what matters is the power of the charger. Until very recently every iPhone came with a 5W charger, but iPhones have supported fast charging since the iPhone 8: for that you’ll need an 18W charger or better, and it should have a USB-C connector, not the more familiar USB-A.
iPhones use slightly different wireless charging to Android devices, so it’s crucial that you look for PD (Power Delivery) if fast charging matters to you: that’s the one Apple’s iPhones use. Without it, a fast charger won’t charge, er, fastly.
Below you'll find advice on what to look for in a charger, followed by our picks of the best. And if you're on the lookout for a deal, make sure to keep an eye on our Black Friday and Cyber Monday pages.
Wireless vs wired charging
Wireless isn’t as fast, but it’s more convenient. Wireless iPhone chargers deliver 5W or 7.5W and work through most iPhone cases.
Most standalone charging pads expect you to provide the actual charger, and can’t deliver more power than you put into them – so even if an iPhone wireless charging pad can deliver 7.5W, it can’t do that if you’re plugging it into a charger that only gives it 5W.
How to pick a charger
Don’t just look at price. Look at what you want to do now, and what you might want to do next year. For example, an 18W charger will fast charge your iPhone, but it’s not powerful enough to run a MacBook Pro; a more powerful one that can may be a better option for your future travels.
It’s also wise to go for USB-C even if you don’t need it right now: that’s where everything is heading, so USB-C is future-proof and backwards compatible.
These are our favorite iPhone charging blocks, iPhone charging cables and wireless iPhone charging pads. We’ve chosen them on three key criteria: quality, usefulness and value for money. Whether you’re a road warrior or a box set binger, these chargers, cables and pads are the best ways to keep your iPhone powered up.
What to look for in a charging block
Power and ports matter here. For fast charging (iPhone 8 onwards) you’ll need 18W or more and USB-C, not the older, more common USB-A.
What to look for in a charging cable
Durability is key. Nylon braiding reduces tangling; look for reinforcements where the cable meets the connector, as that’s where cables tend to fray.
What to look for in a wireless charger
Many wireless chargers deliver 5W, which is fine for overnight charging, but 7.5W charges faster.
The best iPhone charging cables
Anker Powerline Plus II USB-C to Lightning Cable
Very fast and built to last
Length: 0.9m | Connections: USB-C to Lightning
The Powerline Plus II is exceptionally tough and exceptionally quick, and may be the last Lightning cable you ever buy. That’s because it’s designed for USB-C connections, which deliver much faster charging than USB-A ones – assuming your charger delivers the right amount of juice, of course.
It works with high-powered chargers including Apple’s ones and is lab-tested to withstand 30,000 bends, which means it should last thirty times longer than lesser cables. Anker is so confident that it offers a lifetime warranty: this cable should last much longer than any of your iPhones or iPads.
Anker Powerline USB-C to Lightning Cable
A cheaper, weaker option
Length: 1.8m | Connections: USB-C to Lightning
If you’re not fussed about getting a braided cable and want a 1.8 meter one, the original Powerline cables are very good value: you’ll be hard pushed to find a similarly good quality USB-C cable of the same length for the same price.
The question here is whether you want the increased strength of the braided Powerline Plus II, which is only a little bit more expensive. Where that one has been lab-tested to survive 30,000 bends, the original Powerline has only been tested to 12,000 bends – although like its sibling it does come with a lifetime warranty.
AmazonBasics DoubleBraided Nylon USB-A to Lightning Cable
A cable with a lot of length
Length: 3m | Connections: USB-A to Lightning
This 3 meter cable may be the most useful iPhone charging cable ever made. It’s available in much smaller sizes, but there’s a reason we love the long one. It’s long enough to stretch from a wall socket to the sofa or from your in-car charger to the kids’ iPad in the back seat.
Length isn’t the only good thing here. Nylon braiding means it doesn’t tangle easily, and the sleeves at the joint between the cable and the connector prevent the bending that can lead to dangerous fraying.
The colors range from utilitarian grey to hard-to-lose red and rose gold. Our only niggle is that the lightning end feels a little looser than Apple’s own cable, especially in our iPad.
Belkin Triple Pack of 6-inch Charge and Sync Cables
Connects to almost everything
Length: 6 inches | Connectors: USB-A / Lightning, USB-A / microUSB, USB-A / Apple 30-pin
Here’s a handy one for people with gadgets of various vintages: a triple pack of 6-inch charging cables that covers pre-Lightning iPhones, iPads and iPods, plus modern Lightning devices and non-Apple micro USB devices such as Kindles, console controllers and cameras.
We’d argue that the main benefit of buying a triple-pack of good-quality cables from the likes of Belkin instead of a single cable with swappable connectors is that swapping connectors causes wear and tear for the three days you get before losing all of them.
Belkin Boost Charge USB-C cable
A high-quality choice that gives you room to maneuver
Length: 1.2m | Connectors: USB-A to Lightning
Sometimes little things make a big difference: at 1.2 meters (4ft) compared to the more common 0.9 meter (3ft), Belkin’s Boost is a little bit longer than the average iPhone charging cable.
That extra foot means it’s a lot more useful: it’s long enough to reach from the floor socket to the sofa without you having to sit in an awkward position; it’s long enough to reach the bedside table without having to rearrange the furniture; it’s long enough for the passenger in your car, and so on.
It’s a typically high quality Belkin product, although personally we prefer braided cables to smooth ones.