Chances are you’ve been in a situation where you realized your phone battery was at 10 percent right before you’re about to leave the house.
Even worse, you may have suffered a dead battery while you were out.
It’s in those moments — the ones where you want your phone to charge as quickly as humanly possible — that you probably wonder how to make your phone charge faster.
If that’s the case, all hope isn’t lost: There’s a chance that you’re not using the best charger for your phone.
While those iPhone bricks and USB ports may all look the same, the reality is that they can be quite different.
Sure, any USB charger will charge most any device with a USB port, as long as you’re not trying to charge a laptop with a 5W iPhone cube. But the time it takes to fully charge that device will differ greatly depending on what charger you use.
Figuring out which one is the most optimal for your phone can be a headache for the uninitiated, but that’s why we’re here to help.
In this explainer, we’ll look at:
- How fast charging works
- Why you should use a wall charger for the quickest charge
- Why having more than one fast charger is key
- Which phones typically support this rapid charging
- Why you also need the right cables
- Why you might want a charger with more power than your phone needs
Let’s get started.
What Are USB-C and USB Power Delivery?
First things first: When we’re talking about how to make your phone charge faster, we’re mostly thinking about USB-C chargers that support USB Power Delivery (or USB PD).
In the past, getting the fastest charge possible was as simple as plugging a phone into a charger meant for a bigger device, like a tablet.
But it’s not that simple anymore.
The emergence of the USB-C standard over the past few years has brought USB PD with it, which means that it’s capable of filling the batteries of most phones to 50 percent in as little as 30 minutes. USB-C also has enough juice to charge more powerful devices, like a laptop.
What you’re looking for is a charger and a cable with a USB-C ports and connectors (the oblong, oval-shaped ones). This will ensure that you’re getting the fastest charge possible with most devices.
But in this brave new world of rapid USB charging, paying attention to wattage is now mandatory. Depending on your phone, it will require a charger that has a minimum output between 18W and 45W.
The Wall Is Your Friend
In order to deliver enough power to make your phone charge faster, a charger that plugs into a wall or power strip is required. But this even applies to non-USB-C devices that don’t support PD fast charging.
The USB ports in your computer, monitor or game console simply don’t supply enough power to enable rapid charging. They might not even supply enough power to charge your phone at “regular” speeds.
Same goes for the overwhelming majority of wireless chargers, which charge slower than a wall brick.
Using either of these methods is a guaranteed way to be stuck waiting around for your phone to refill.
One Charger Is (Probably) Not Enough
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re using the best charger for your device is to use the charger that came with your phone.
In theory, that’s simple enough, but do you take that one charger with you everywhere you go? Probably not.
It’s also worth noting that aside from the iPhone 11 Pro, which comes with an 18W charger, the rest of Apple’s phones which support rapid charging only come with the old 5W brick that has shipped with iPhones since the beginning of time.
That’s why we think it’s a huge quality of life upgrade to have multiple chargers spread out in the places where you use your phone the most: Your living room, bedroom, workspace and an extra one to use on the go or wherever you may need it.
You could just buy more of the same charger from the company who made your phone, but those are often overpriced. You could also litter your home and office with 90W and 100W chargers from a reputable third-party brand and not have to think about it for a few years, but that’s an overkill solution that will leave you with chargers that are physically bigger and more costly than you will need.
Make Sure You Have the Right Phone
Any old phone won’t magically support rapid charging.
When we’re talking about a fast-charge technology like USB PD, the phone has to support it.
Luckily, USB-C chargers and PD fast charging work with any of the best smartphones currently available and has been supported by many other phones over the last three or four years.
PD is quickly becoming the de facto fast charging standard, but there are a few phones that support other similar technologies. A few phones from the likes of Motorola and LG have opted to support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standard, while phones made by OnePlus also support the company’s proprietary Warp Charge 30 standard. If you own a less common phone, this is something to consider when shopping for the right charger.
What to Know About Charging Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones
Apple has kept things simple in recent years, and all of their phones that support rapid charging only need an 18W charger to do so at max efficiency.
This includes the iPhone 8 and all the variants that came after it. In short, any iPhone model that has 8, 11 or X in its name will support rapid charging. Same goes for the 2020 iPhone SE.
On Google’s end, every Pixel phone it has ever produced also supports 18W rapid charging, which makes it dead simple to figure out how to make your phone charge faster.
This includes the Pixel, Pixel 2, Pixel 2XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL and Pixel 4a. Any charger mentioned earlier is a great choice for powering your phone.
For both of these phones, we like the Aukey Minima 18W USB-C Fast Charger, which is a small, compact cube with a single USB-C port that will charge your phone in a snap. It’s not only ideal for Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones, but also for most recent mid-range smartphones that have a USB-C port and support PD fast charging. It will also work well with a few older Samsung phones, like the Galaxy S10.
Even better, it’s inexpensive, so whether you need a spare charger for your living room, something to keep in the office or to take on the go, you can grab a few and have one for any occasion.
Aukey Minima 18W USB-C Fast Charger
What to Know About Charging Samsung Galaxy Phones
Things get a little more complicated when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy line of phones because they support rapid charging at different wattages.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy S10 (along with the S10+ or S10e variants) or the Galaxy Note 8 or 9, an 18W USB-C PD charger like the Aukey Minima 18W will do just fine.
But once you move up to the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and Galaxy Note 20 devices, you will need at least a 25W charger to take advantage of the fastest charging speeds.
For this, the Anker 30-Watt PowerPort III Slim is great because its flattened form allows it to easily slide into your pocket, which is convenient for having around when you’re out of the house. But because it supplies 30W of power, it’s also a safe pick for most Samsung Galaxy owners wondering how to make their phone charge faster. As a bonus, it’s also capable of fast charging tablets such as the iPad Pro, as well as some smaller laptops like the 12-inch MacBook Air.
Anker 30-Watt PowerPort III Slim
If you happen to own either of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or Note 10+ phones, congrats — you’re on the extreme end of the phone power spectrum. For these phones, you’re going to need to jump up to a 45W USB-C charger, which is the same type you’d need for most small laptops. Thankfully, the Anker 45-Watt PowerPort III Slim is virtually the same as its 30W counterpart, except that it supplies an extra 15W of power. And while it’s ever-so-slightly bulkier, it should still easily fit into a pocket or a bag when you’re on the go.
Anker 45-Watt PowerPort III Slim
What to Know About the Rest
Newer Motorola phones, such as the Moto Edge and the Moto G7, should charge optimally with an 18W USB PD charger. Older Moto phones with a USB-C connector, such as the Moto G6, utilized the Quick Charge 3.0 standard.
For phones that only support this standard, the Anker Quick Charge 3.0 is the way to go. It supplies 18 watts of power and comes in a compact form factor. But because Quick Charge isn’t widely supported by the top phones, we don’t recommend going overboard with these chargers and only recommend getting them if it’s your only option for fast charging. You will also need a USB-A to USB-C cable to use this charger.
Anker Quick Charge 3.0
OnePlus Phones use a proprietary USB-C fast charging technology called Warp Charge 30T that promises to charge your phone to 70 percent in as little as 30 minutes. While One Plus phones do receive a boost from USB PD, the fastest speeds will come from the official OnePlus chargers (which are currently sold out).
Once you get into the realm of mid-range Android smartphones, things get a bit unwieldy when it comes to determining what fast charging standard they support (if they support one at all). But as long as it has a USB-C port, a good rule of thumb is that an 18W PD charger should work just fine. At the very least, using a PD charger won’t hurt anything.
Don’t Forget About the Cables
When you’re figuring out how to make your phone charge faster, one thing to keep in mind is that most of these chargers don’t come with USB cables.
On one hand, this is fine since you can pick the right cable for your device at the length you want. On the other hand, you have to make sure that it can carry enough power through its wires to support PD fast charging.
Thankfully this is not so complicated. The one thing you want to make sure of in any instance is that you don’t pick up a cable with a USB-A connector. That is a one-way ticket to slow charging.
iPhone owners will want to go with the official Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable, which will work fine with any of the USB-C chargers we listed above. While there are quality third-party options available, they’re not much cheaper than the official Apple cable. When it’s the most affordable solution, there’s no downside to getting your gear directly from the source.
Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable
For Android owners, we like the Anker Powerline III USB-C to USB-C Cables. They support fast charging for devices up to 60W, are reliable and are backed by a lifetime warranty. Depending on your needs, there are also different lengths available. We like the one-foot cables to carry around on the go, and the 10-foot cables for the living room. But for your office desk or bedroom nightstand, we find that the six-foot cable is the perfect length.
Anker Powerline III USB-C to USB-C Cables
More Power Doesn’t Automatically Mean Faster Charging (But it Doesn’t Hurt, Either)
While having the most powerful charger that your phone supports ensures the fastest charging, pairing a 60W charger with a phone that only requires 18 watts will not charge your phone any faster. Your phone will simply pull 18 watts.
The most cost-effective solution in most cases is to get a single-port charger that’s appropriately rated for your phone.
That said, using a more powerful charger won’t damage your phone or its battery (as long as its a quality charger), and there are some perks to having a charger that’s more powerful than you need.
If there’s more than one phone or device to charge in your house, going with a more powerful charger that packs multiple USB ports offers convenience.
The Aukey Focus Duo 30W Fast Charger is appealing because it offers up 30 watts of power along with an extra USB port that is ideal for older USB-powered devices, or phones that don’t support PD fast charging. This means that you could quickly charge an iPhone or Google Pixel while simultaneously charging an accessory like wireless earbuds. That said, it won’t support rapid charging for two phones at the same time, and if you have a more power-hungry phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S20, it will only quick charge if it’s the only device plugged in.
Aukey Focus Duo 30W Fast Charger
The RAVPower PD Pioneer 90W Fast Charger is the one charger to rule them all and takes all of the guesswork out deciding if a charger has enough power to make your phone charge faster. Offering 90W of power, this dual-port USB-C charger supports PD fast charging for any two phones you want at the same time. In many cases, it can also rapidly charge a phone and tablet, or even a phone and laptop at the same time. It even has enough power to rapidly charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro as long as it’s the only gadget you have plugged in. And considering the versatility and range of devices it’s compatible with, this charger is surprisingly affordable.