Best USB Wall Charger of 2021
If you're looking for a compact USB-C charger, the Anker PowerPort III Nano is our pick. This pint-sized charger packs quite a punch with the ability to source up to 18 watts from its sole USB-C port. It meets pretty much every fast-charging protocol out there (USB Power Delivery, Samsung Fast Charging, and Apple Charging) with its PowerIQ 3.0 charging standard. It's compact, so it's the perfect travel companion for all your charging needs. The main body of this charger measures approximately 1" on either side and only weighs about 30 grams - perfect for slipping into your backpack, camera, or laptop bag.
The Anker PowerPort III Nano has only a few flaws that stand out to us. Our biggest gripe is its lack of a folding plug. It's still small and compact, but the fixed plug makes it considerably larger and a little less ergonomic to handle when not plugged in. This charger also only works with USB-C cables, so iPhone users may need to invest in some USB-C to Lightning cables if you don't already have some. These are fairly trivial flaws in the end, and we absolutely love this little charger and highly recommend it regardless.
If you're trying to get the most chargers per dollar, then look no further than the X-Edition 4-Pack. While this product might not have the most impressive power output capabilities or conform to the newer quick-charge standards, it's hard to argue with the fact that you can get 4 separate chargers at a comparable price to some of the other chargers in the review. Each of these compact chargers has a pair of USB-A ports and can output a total of 2.1 amps shared between them.
However, this means that these chargers aren't the best bet if you are looking to charge larger devices that require more power, like consoles or large tablets. You can still charge these devices; it's just going to take considerably longer than a charger with more power output. While this probably isn't the best option for a new Macbook or Nintendo Switch, it's a great budget choice if you need a lot of chargers for small devices and don't mind waiting a bit longer for a complete charge.
We think the Anker PowerPort Elite 2 is the perfect option for anyone looking for a solid charger and who doesn't want to spend a whole lot for it. This charger is about average in size and weight for a dual-port charger, complete with foldable plugs. It has a pair of USB-A plugs that are each capable of sourcing up to 2.4 amps (12 watts each). It has a fairly sleek design and a wide blue LED indicator light at the top so you know if it's properly plugged in.
However, while this USB wall charger does have a respectable maximum power output, it isn't Qualcomm Quick-Charge compatible, so it won't be able to charge certain devices — typically Samsung phones — as fast as the other models we have tested. It also can block some of the adjacent outlets, depending on how you plug it in. Regardless, it's a great bargain option — especially since it can charge two things at once — and we highly recommend it for anyone shopping on a budget for a new phone charger.
This bare-bones option can charge phones and tablets at up to 2.4 amps with its single USB-A port. It's compact with a foldable plug, weighing just under 50 grams. It doesn't block both nearby plugs if oriented correctly and has one of the lowest price tags of the entire group when you take into account that it is sold in a convenient pack of two.
This basic charger doesn't support USB Power Delivery or Qualcomm Quick-Charge, so your devices might need a little more time to charge in exchange for saving you some cash with this USB wall charger. We did notice that this charger has an exceptionally bright LED light, but we'll leave it up to you to decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Still, this is a great budget choice if you don't mind buying two at a time.
If you're on the hunt for a charger that can handle multiple devices at once, then we feel the Anker PowerPort 4 is just the ticket. This charger has four USB-A ports and has a combined power output of 40 watts (8 amps), with up to 2.4 amps from a single port. This is plenty of power to charge as many devices as quickly as possible using Anker's PowerIQ and VoltageBoost. While it is larger than many other products, it has a foldable plug and it leaves the outlet underneath it free if you plug it in upside down in a typical wall outlet.
This charger is still considerably larger than other USB wall chargers on the market, however, especially when compared to its single-port counterparts. It weighs 139 grams and measures roughly 2.5" x 2.5" x 1.10" — quite larger than the smallest chargers, which are only about 1"x1"x1" and weigh 30 grams. If you have four devices plugged in this charger at once, the power output drops, so don't expect to get peak charging speed if you have four tablets or high-power phones plugged in simultaneously. Additionally, it doesn't support Qualcomm Quick Charge or USB Power Delivery. In reality, these probably won't be issues for the vast majority of people, so we still strongly recommend this model to anyone who needs a charger that can handle a few devices at once.
Just narrowly missing out on a top spot is the Anker PowerPort PD2. This is an overall excellent charger. It's a USB Power Delivery charger capable of outputting up to 18 watts through its USB-C port, with the other 12 watts allocated to the USB-A port. It can fast-charge most smartphones and medium-power devices, like an iPad Pro.
Due to being a bit bulkier and heavier, we rated the Anker PowerPort PD 2 slightly lower than some of its competition. We found that this was not the charger we reached for when throwing a device into our small laptop bag. However, this charger is still fairly compact and is easy enough to travel with. It's a great option, and we wouldn't discourage anyone from this charger, as it just barely missed its place as a top spot in our tests.
For those on a tight budget who need a USB charger with a high power output, we recommend the Nekteck 100W USB-C Charger. This charger can output 3 amps at 5 volts, increasing to 5 amps at 20 volts according to its USB Power Delivery 3.0 specifications, all while costing significantly less than comparable high-power output chargers. It has a fold-out plug and includes a USB-C to C cable as well.
However, this budget charger is a bit bigger and bulkier than some of the other options. It's a hefty charger, and its power output is going to be overkill compared to many other chargers for all but the largest devices. It also only has a single USB-C port, eliminating the possibility of charging multiple devices simultaneously. This is a good option if you are looking specifically for an affordable charger for a single high-power device, but we'd generally recommend other options for anyone looking for a generalist charger for their smartphone and other smaller devices.
If you're seeking a simple, no-fuss power adapter that can charge your Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0-capable device — usually Samsung smartphones — as fast as possible, then you might want to take a look at the Anker PowerPort+ 1 with Quick Charge 3.0. This charger can output up to 18 watts through its single USB-A port. Its charging specs are impressive, being able to vary its voltage and current output to match your device's needs. It's able to output up to 3 amps at the standard 5 volts for USB charging — one of the highest current ratings of the entire group.
The trade-off of the impressive charging capabilities is this charger is a bit heavier and larger than most of the other single-port chargers. We also think that its charging specs are a bit awkward, as it has more than enough power for most smartphones but not quite enough to fast-charge larger devices. It's a solid QC 3.0 charger with a USB-A port if that's what you are looking for, but we think most people will find more utility with other chargers.
The iClever BoostCube 2nd Generation Dual Wall Charger is a fairly run-of-the-mill wall charger. It has two USB-A ports that are both capable of outputting up to 2.4 amps and can charge two devices simultaneously. It's actually a relatively small charger compared to some of the other dual-port options out there and has a folding plug to make it even more compact for travel.
Unfortunately, while this charger is capable of outputting a significant amount of power, it might not actually fast-charge your devices since it isn't a QC 3.0 or USB Power Delivery wall charger. We also noticed that the price of this charger can vary quite a bit, so it could be a good basic budget option if you find it on sale, but there are comparably priced chargers with more impressive fast-charging specs that we would suggest over the iClever BoostCube.
The Anker 2-Pack Dual Port 12W Wall Charger is an economical charger, especially since it's usually sold in a pack of two at a comparable price to a single unit of many of the other chargers we tested. This power adapter has a foldable plug and has a fairly compact form factor, weighing just under 40 grams, and can be plugged in so that it won't block an adjacent outlet.
Unfortunately, we weren't impressed with how this charger charged. It doesn't really support any quick-charging protocols and is limited to an output of just 12 watts of power shared between both outlets. This means that it does alright if you are just charging a single device but will be one of the slowest of the group to charge if you have two phones recharging simultaneously. While we like that this USB wall charger is inexpensive and compact, it's hard to get past its lackluster charging capabilities. We'd only recommend it if you need to charge low-power devices (earbuds, wireless headphones, E-readers) and are shopping on a budget.
Why You Should Trust Us
David Wise takes the helm of our USB wall charger testing process and hands-on review. He has spent over four years rating and ranking consumer products side-by-side, working in detail with all sorts of USB power products ranging from portable power packs to wireless chargers, and has in-depth knowledge of all the latest and greatest USB charging standards and specifications. He also brings his background as a mechanical engineer with expertise in subsea electronics and lithium batteries into the design of our testing procedures.
We began this review by researching all of the most highly-rated and ranked USB power adapters available today, then bought the best for hands-on testing. We looked at the different voltage and power output capabilities of each charger, as well as the different fast-charging protocols each one can achieve, comparing their performance with a digital USB multimeter, simulated Power Delivery trigger, and a dummy resistive load. We also took the number of ports, overall ease of use, and real-world performance with various devices into account when determining scores.
Analysis and Test Results
We split our hands-on USB power adapter testing process into four different metrics, scoring each product on their charging capabilities, size, multi-device charging, and indicator lights, with some of the most notable products in each metric highlighted below.
The first and most important thing we looked at when rating and ranking USB wall chargers is their charging performance based on their maximum current output at 5 volts. We also looked at which USB fast charging standards each product is capable of, if they are capable of fast charging a Samsung S8, and maximum power output for a single port.
When it comes to power output and charging capabilities, the Nekteck 100W takes the lead. Nekteck states they meet the USB Power Delivery 3.0 protocol and are capable of sourcing up to 100 watts. It has the typical PD 3.0 breakdown of a maximum of 3 amps at 5 volts, up to a maximum of 5 amps at 20 volts for a 100-watt charge.
The Anker PowerPort PD2 is only a USB Power Delivery 2.0 charger. It can also output 3 amps at 5 volts but has a maximum voltage output of only 9 volts, compared to the 20 volts of the PD 3.0 chargers. It is capable of fast charging a Samsung S8 or an iPhone if a USB-C to Lightning cable is used but doesn't support "charge and play" mode for a Nintendo Switch when it's in TV mode.
The Anker PowerPort III Nano did well in our charging performance tests, especially given its small size. This is a USB Power Delivery charger with a maximum voltage output of 9 volts. This pint-sized charger can output up to 3 amps at 5 volts and will fast charge the Samsung S8.
The Anker PowerPort+ 1 with Quick Charge 3.0 is a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 charger with a maximum current output of 3 amps at 5 volts and a maximum voltage of 12 volts. While this isn't a USB Power Delivery option, the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 makes this model a great choice if you plan to power a wireless charger with it, as QC 3.0 is required for wireless fast charging of certain phones.
The remaining chargers — the Anker PowerPort 4, the Anker PowerPort Elite 2, the iClever BoostCube 2nd Generation Dual Wall Charger, the Anker 2-Pack Dual Port 12W Wall Charger, the X-Edition 4-Pack, and the AmazonBasics One-Port 12W Wall Charger — don't really meet any of the newer fast charging standards.
However, all of these chargers can output up to 2.4 amps for a single USB port, except for the X-Edition 4-Pack and the Anker 2-Pack Dual Port 12W Wall Charger, which are limited to 2.1 amps and 1.2 amps, respectively.
After looking at how well each product charged a single device, we moved on to rating and ranking the size of each product. We assessed the size and weight of each charger and noted whether the plug folds up and if it obstructed other outlets when plugged into a power strip, giving a higher rating to those that were more streamlined in design.
The clear frontrunner in this metric is the Anker PowerPort III Nano. This minuscule charger only weighs around 30 grams and measures approximately 1.08"x1.08"x1.18", with the outlet sticking out another 0.5" or so. Unfortunately, you can't fold the prongs in, but we did like that this charger doesn't block the outlet underneath it when plugged into a power strip or typical outlet, though it will block the one above it.
The X-Edition is another charger worth mentioning if you are looking for a compact charging solution. A single charger of this 4-pack tips the scales at only 33 grams, though they are a bit larger than the Anker PowerPort III Nano when it comes to volume. These chargers have a fixed plug and measure approximately 1.32"x1.32"x2.22". We also like that this charger usually doesn't block the outlet above or below this charger.
The Anker Dual Port 12W Wall Charger is a bit larger, tipping the scales at around 40 grams. We liked that this charger has a foldable plug, but it is somewhat frustrating that this model blocks the plug above it when used on a bottom outlet.
Many of the other chargers are designed for charging multiple devices at once and are therefore a bit larger, sticking out about 2" or more from the wall when plugged in. The Anker PowerPort4 is the heaviest of these, weighing approximately 139 grams. Many of the multi-port chargers block both access to the outlet above and below them when plugged in. However, they all have folding plugs, which is nice.
The 90W+ chargers are also some of the largest of the group, with the Nekteck 100W being the largest. This charger tips the scales at 278 grams and measures about 2.6"x2.6"x1.2" but does have a fold-out plug.
Our next metric's results are based on the number of devices that you can charge simultaneously. We looked at how many ports each product has, as well as the shared power output.
The Anker PowerPort 4 took the top spot with its 4 USB-A ports. This charger can output a total of 40 watts. This means charging will slow down a bit to around 2 amps per device if you have 4 things plugged in at once, compared to the 2.4 amps that it can output from a single port.
The Anker PowerPort PD2 has a USB-A and USB-C port and a maximum power output of 30 watts. The USB-A port is limited to 12 watts (2.4 amp output), and the USB-C port can output up to 18 watts if both ports are in use, with the voltage and current determined by the Power Delivery protocol, depending on the device.
The iClever BoostCube, the X-Edition 4-Pack, the Anker Dual Port, and the Anker PowerPort Elite 2 also can charge a pair of devices at once, but both are of the USB-A variety. The iClever BoostCube and the Anker PowerPort Elite 2 both have the same maximum power output of 24 watts — 2.4 amps, 5 volts per USB port.
The Anker Dual Port 12W Wall Charger and the X-Edition 4-Pack are both fairly limited when it comes to power output. The Anker Dual Port 12W Wall Charger can only source up to 1.2 amps per USB port, and the X-Edition 4-Pack is limited to 2.1 amps total between both ports, so only able to provide just a bit more than 1 amp to each device when split evenly.
The other USB wall chargers in the group only have a single charging port, so you are limited to charging one device at a time.
While this is admittedly a fairly trivial detail, we think it's worth noting which chargers lacked LED status lights and which ones have them. We found this is only noticeable if you plug in the charger where you can see it when in bed at night, but some of these products do have a light that is bright enough to practically be a nightlight. We didn't necessarily score these products in this metric, as having your charger double as a nightlight might be a pro or a con in your eyes, and a too-bright light can always be remedied by a piece of tape.
The AmazonBasics One-Port 12W stood out for having a particularly bright light. It's a tiny light, but we think it's one of the brightest of the bunch. Both the Anker PowerPort Elite 2 and the Anker PowerPort4 have wide blue lights but aren't overly bright, with the Anker PowerPort Elite 2 being just a bit brighter than its 4-port counterpart.
The Anker PowerPort+ Quick Charge 3.0 and the Anker PowerPort PD USB-C both have small circular lights that are green and blue, respectively.
The iClever BoostCube doesn't have any external lights but has some small blue lights inside each of its USB ports. These also aren't very bright. The remaining wall chargers don't have any lights at all, making them a better option if you are bothered by an illuminated USB wall charger. The Nekteck 100W has a small, barely noticeable blue light.
USB wall chargers come in all shapes and sizes these days and can vary greatly in their charging capabilities, power outputs, charging speeds, and abilities to charge more than one device at a time. We hope that this has been a useful comparison of all the top USB power adapters currently available and that it's been helpful in your quest for a new charger, whether you want a compact travel option or a top-tier high-power option for larger devices.
— David Wise
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