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Smartphones should never die: Great chargers and alternative power sources

There’s little more frustrating that having your smartphone run out of charge, not just in emergencies, but anytime. Here are some great items to keep your never-without handheld device charged up.

The newest iPhones and Androids have been announced. Whether you have one of the four versions of Apple’s new iPhone 12, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20, or just want to keep your smartphone battery at full capacity, chargers and alternatives are essential. Today’s chargers can fit in a pocket or purse, be solar-powered or wireless, or (the reliable standby) plug-in. Here’s a sampling of what’s available to keep you and your very-relied-upon smartphone charged up and always turned on.


iPhone MagSafe Charger

Image: Apple

Even if you’re looking for a few charger alternatives, iPhone users should always make sure that one of these is in their arsenal.

$39 at Apple


RAVPower Fast Wireless Charger


This wireless charger boasts “no annoying current sound” with overcharge protection. The 10W Max comes with a QC3.0 and is compatible with iPhone 8 and above, as well as the Galaxy Note 10, Note10 Plus, S10, S9, S8 and others. 

The company says the charger was built with “HyperAir technology” and can provide a full charge from 30 to 80 minutes faster than “ordinary wireless chargers.”

$24 at Amazon


AUKEY Wireless Power Bank with 18W PD

Image: AUKEY

It’s two chargers in one! The AUKEY Wireless Power Bank with 18W PD offers both wireless and wired charging. It has 20,000 mAh, a digital readout of the remaining charge, as well as a built-in kickstand. Although it comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable, an adapter is separate.

$46 at Amazon


Nekteck 45W USB Type C Car Charger

Image: Nekteck

The Nekteck 45W USB Type C Car Charger is compatible with USB type C, but not micro USBs, although, Necteck said it features a 45W power delivery and 12W USB-A port for iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro and Air, Galaxy S9/S8, Google Pixel 3XL, among others, and comes with a 3.3-ft USB-C cable. Nekteck said users can plug in “without fail” no matter how the user is holding or inserting the cable. 

Nekteck warns this charger is not ideal for Samsung Note10/S10+ PPS devices. 

$20 at Amazon


Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter

Image: Apple

The Apple 20W USB‑C Power Adapter is another must-have for iOS users. This plug-in charges your iPhone at home or the office and is compatible with all USB-C-enabled device. It works best, suggests Apple, when paired with an iPad Pro and iPad Air for optimal charging performance. The fast-charging feature also works with iPhones from the iPhone 8 to the current phones. Charging cables are sold separately.

$19 at Apple


AUKEY 18W PD Charger

Image: AUKEY

A bargain at $9, most people can afford putting one in popular rooms throughout the house: Home office, bedroom, bathroom, dining room, kitchen, garage, or even the entry way. This AUKEY charger is compact and features a foldable plug. The white version sells for $1 more, inexplicably. Could it be because it more closely resembles an iPhone plug-in charger?

$14 at Amazon


Image: Anker

If the nearly 20K reviews (4.5 stars) the Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger has on Amazon, are to be believed, this ultra-compact (10cm tall and 3cm wide), tubular battery may be just the thing if you’re looking to slip it into your pocket or purse. It contains 5000 mAh of power and, Anker notes, is equipped with the proprietary “PowerIQ technology” for “the fastest possible charge to any phone or tablet (up to 2A).” It does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge. In addition to the PowerCore 5000, it includes a travel pouch, a micro-USB cable, a guide, and an 18-month warranty. USB-C cable and Lightning cable for iPhone and iPad sold separately. Blue, white and red versions are $30, the black version is $20

$30 at Amazon


Anker 30W PowerPort Atom III Slim USB-C Charger

Image: Anker

The Anker 30W PowerPort Atom III Slim USB-C Charger is pocket ready–or, at the very least, front shirt pocket or back pants pocket ready. Anker says it’s the companies most slim charger, at 0.63 inches, and that it offers full-speed charging for a MacBook 12 (250% faster than the iPhone XS Max stock charger, 100% faster than the Samsung S10 stock charger, and 150% faster than the iPad Pro 11″ stock charger). It will work with cables for USB-C to lightning, as well as USB-C to C cable and claims a “cooler operation.”

$21 at Amazon


Anker PowerCore Fusion III 5K PD

Image: Anker

This is a very good (and cool) idea–a wall charger that doubles as a power bank and now comes with USB-A and USB-C ports, with up to 18 watts of power. Since it has a dual function, it is heavier than a traditional wall plug-in or portable charger, and you’ll have to watch that the weight of it may pull downwards, severing its connection or slowing down its charging considerably. Anker claims it will recharge devices to 100% in two hours and 40 minutes.

$40 at Amazon


Hiluckey Solar Portable Power Bank

Image: Hiluckey

Available in black, orange, and red, the Hiluckey Solar Portable Power Bank has 25000mAH, dual USB ports, and is waterproof. It’s designed with a high-efficiency Li-polymer battery and Hiluckey said it can charge most smartphones eight to 10 times, and tablets up to three to four times. It has four solar panels up to 1A input with recharge under direct sunlight, four to five times faster than most other solar chargers, according to the manufacturer. It features two USB outputs to charge two devices simultaneously and comes with a micro USB cable too.

$47 at Amazon