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How to Charge Your Phone Faster

by on October 14, 2021
in Phone Accessories, Phones and Mobile, Tips & How-Tos, Tech 101 :: 10 comments

Techlicious editors independently review products. To help support our mission, we may earn affiliate commissions from links contained on this page.

We’ve all been there: you're about to run out to meet friends for dinner, only to notice your phone is at 2 percent battery power. You don't want to bring a bulky portable charger with you, but you need a working phone. What are your options for getting your phone charged up fast with enough power to last you through the evening?

There are a few simple tips we have to speed up your charging time with your current charger and cables. And if you really want to juice things up, there are superfast chargers and cables that can take your phone to 50 percent charged in less than 30 minutes, instead of taking hours. But not all superfast chargers are created equal, and some can even damage your phone. We have our recommended choices for the best, fully-certified charging products below.

1. Turn off your phone while it’s charging

Without Netflix or your favorite game sucking up processing power and your screen shut down, more juice goes where it’s needed sooner. The difference in charging speeds, though, is small versus just having your phone on idle. So weigh the inconvenience of turning off your phone with slightly faster charging.

2. Lock the screen

Along with the phone processor, your screen is the biggest battery drain on your phone's battery. If you can’t live with a turned-off phone, let your screen go black to get more power to the battery.  

3. Make sure low power mode is on

When you hit a certain battery level, this handy setting for iOS and Android devices automatically dials back screen resolution, animations, background app refreshing, and other battery drainers. It may not offer a huge benefit when recharging your phone from near dead, but every little bit helps.

For iPhones, go to Settings > Battery and toggle on Low Power Mode. 

For Android phones, go to Settings > Battery and toggle on Battery Saver. You may also find it in the pull-down quick settings menu.

For Samsung phones, go to Settings > Battery and device care > Battery and toggle on Power saving mode. You'll also find Power saving mode in the pull-down quick settings menu (pull down twice for the extended list of settings). 

4. Upgrade your charger

The potential speed of your charger depends on how much wattage in can output. A regular charger will output up to 5 watts (remember those small white square iPhone chargers everyone had?). A fast charger outputs up to 15 watts, and a super-fast charger more than 15 watts. The more watts, the faster the charge, but only up until to reach the limitations of your phone. At the high end, the Samsung Galaxy Note20 supports up to 25-watt charging and the iPhone 13 Pro Max supports up to 27 watts. Most phones today range from 10 to 22 watts. Any charger outputting more than 30 watts would be overkill, and you're phone's circuitry will just limit the extra current to protect the electronics.

Annoyingly, many phones capable of fast charging, including the flagship Samsung and Apple devices, don't ship with a charger. So if you just pick up an old one you have lying around, chances are good that you aren't getting the fastest charging. If that's you, buying a new superfast charger and cable is one of the best purchases you can make. 

Chargers from reputable brands are certified to work with phones to regulate the output and deliver just the power your phone needs. You’ll notice that after getting to 50 percent charge, the rate of charging slows to protect your phone’s battery. Knock-off or generic chargers can be made from cheap materials that don’t ground electricity properly and leak charge, which can damage your phone’s battery.

The following are my favorite wired and wireless chargers that are certified to keep your phone and other devices safe.

Anker PowerPort Speed 2 Port charger plugged into a powerstrip with a cable attached and plugged into the bottom of a phone. Techlicious Editor's Choice logo is in the upper right corner.

A superfast USB-A charger: Anker PowerPort Speed 2 Ports

These days there are two main types of cables: USB Type A (USB-A) and USB Type C (USB-C). The large USB-A connectors are rectangular with squared corners – they have been around for a while and are what you might think of as "standard" computer USB cable size. The newer and smaller USB-C connectors are rectangular with rounded corners. If you want to use your USB-A cables, I recommend the Anker PowerPort Speed 2 Ports, which supports Quick Charge 3.0 and can output 39 watts of power (up to 20 watts per port simultaneously). I also love the built-in smart light sensor that dims the LED power indicator when the lights are off, so you're not bothered by light while sleeping. Price: $25.99.

Buy it on Amazon button

Anker Nano Pro charger in blue shown on table with USB-C cord plugged in. Techlicious Editor's Choice award logo in upper right.

A superfast USB-C charger: Anker Nano Pro 20-watt

If you have an Android phone with a USB-C port (most do) or iPhone, your best charging option is a USB-C charger. You can get a 20-watt charger that's about the same size as an old 5-watt iPhone charger but charges three times as fast up to 50 percent charged.

I like the Anker Nano Pro 20-watt charger, which uses a new Gallium Nitride chip to stay cool while charging. The tiny charger also comes in four fun colors, Glacier Blue (shown), Cool Lavender, Black Ice, and Arctic White. Price: $19.99.

Buy it on Amazon button

mophie snap+ wireless charging stand shown with the magnetic ring suspended in front and then a phone suspended in front of the ring. In the upper right is the Techlicious Editor's Choice logo.

A fast wireless charger: Mophie 15W snap+ wireless stand

Many phones support Qi wireless charging. And while earlier phones couldn't handle more than around 5 watts, the most recent models, like the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Note20, support 15-watt wireless charging.

I like the Mophie 15W snap+ wireless stand, which, as its name suggests, delivers 15 watts of power to any Qi-enabled phone. The pad has magnets to hold iPhones with MagSafe in place. And if you don't have a MagSafe phone, the stand comes packaged with magnetic rings that you can attach to the back of your phone or case to hold your phone perfectly aligned for charging. The Mophie snap+ can charge through cases up to 3mm thick. Price: $59.95

Buy it on Amazon button

Belkin Boost Charge 32W USB-C PD + USB-A Car Charger from the side on a white background. In the upper right is the Techlicious Editor's Choice logo.

A superfast car charger: Belkin Boost Charge 32W car charger

Just like you'll want a superfast wall charger, a car charger with the ability to deliver more than 5 watts is just as handy on the go. I recommend a charger that can support USB-C and USB-A for older devices to give you more flexibility to use whatever cable you happen to have with you.

My go-to charger is the Belkin Boost Charge 32W car charger. Its USB-C port can charge at 20 watts, while the USB-A port charges at 12 watts. Measuring a small 2.1 by 0.8 inches, you'll hardly notice it's there when not in use. Price: $29.99.

Buy it on Amazon button

Mophie powerstation wireless stand folded flat with a phone on top. In the upper right is the Techlicious Editor's Choice logo

A superfast portable battery charger: Mophie powerstation wireless stand

Like wall and car chargers, you can pick up a portable charger with the ability to deliver a fast charge, though not quite as fast as their wired counterparts. Wired charging will max out around 20 watts and wireless charging at 15 watts.

What sets the Mophie's powerstation wireless stand apart from the competition is its flexibility. Folded flat, the Mophie powerstation looks like an attractive cloth-covered 8,000mAh portable battery pack (enough for around two full charges of your phone, depending on model). But built-in is a stand that you can slide out and tilt up to hold your phone at an angle. Place your phone on the stand for 10-watt wireless Qi charging or plug into the USB-C port for 18-watt fast charging. Price: $99.95.

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5. Upgrade your cable

If you're not noticing faster charging with your superfast charger, it may be the cable. Just because your cable can plug into your phone and your charger doesn't mean that it is up to the task of fast charging. For USB-A cables, make sure they're USB-A 3.0 for the highest charging speeds. For USB-C cables, look for those that are certified for the charging speed of your charger, at a minimum.

Anker PowerLine III Flow USB-C to Lighting cable plugged into iPhone and laptop computer. Techlicious Editor's Choice award logo in upper right.

I like the Anker Powerline III Flow for USB-C to USB-C and Lightning to USB-C cables. They are rated up to 100 watts and, in my experience, they wear well, don't tangle, and come in attractive colors: pink, green, purple, white, and black. Price: starting at $19.99.

Buy it on Amazon button

For USB-A 3.0 to USB-C and USB-A 3.0 to Lightning, I like the  Anker Powerline+ III line of cables. They are rated up to 15 watts charging, and have a nylon braided outer layer that is tested to 35,000 bends. Price: starting at $19.99.

Buy it on Amazon button

Updated with new picks and guidance on 10/14/2021

[Image credit: smartphone charging concept via BigStockPhoto, Zagg, Belkin, Anker, Techlicious]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.



Discussion loading

Fast charging

From Turyahebwa Hillary on March 07, 2019 :: 1:54 am

*For fast charging
,also turn off mobile data connection as it is a battery drainer..
*Also if the phone isn’t needed for communication at that time like at night,put the phone in airplane mode as the battery drains as phone searches network signal.
*Use phone optimisation and task killer apps to stop all or unwanted or battery draining apps while charging.
*limit the number of running apps at once for fast charging.
*on hardware side use more powerful chargers like those of 9V output instead of the conventional 5V.

Reply

*For fast charging ,also turn

From Turyahebwa Hillary (Mech.Eng +256779804523) on March 07, 2019 :: 1:56 am

*For fast charging
,also turn off mobile data connection as it is a battery drainer..
*Also if the phone isn’t needed for communication at that time like at night,put the phone in airplane mode as the battery drains as phone searches network signal.
*Use phone optimisation and task killer apps to stop all or unwanted or battery draining apps while charging.
*limit the number of running apps at once for fast charging.
*on hardware side use more powerful chargers like those of 9V output instead of the conventional 5V.

Reply

Corrections

From Carl on March 13, 2019 :: 8:44 am

1. Most phone optimization apps are rubbish and do very little. What you want to focus on are wakelocks, which is a permission apps get to continue running and keep the phone awake even when they are in the background or the screen is off.

2. Don’t use task killer apps. They do more harm than good. They reduce RAM usage at the cost of CPU usage when you need to reload the app, which is silly in an age when we have 4-12GBs of RAM on our devices. If you can’t manage wakelocks and find an app draining your battery, it’s better to close only that particular app manually when not using it (or force close if necessary).

3. Voltage is irrelevant to charging. It’s all about the wattage (Voltage x Amperage). And as stated in the article, using a higher wattage charger is useless if your phone (and cable) don’t support higher charging speeds. Ultimately the greatest bottleneck is the CPU of your phone and how much charge it can pull, but a fast charging cable that can carry a higher current is also necessary. For example, newer devices will only achieve the fastest charging rate with USB C to USB C cables. Even the newest iPhones benefit from USB C technology for fast charging.

Reply

Car cellphone charger

From Ken on May 03, 2019 :: 11:40 am

Will the cellphone charger draw amps from car battery when left plugged in,  not connected to cellphone 24 hours a day?

Reply

Not an issue

From Josh Kirschner on May 03, 2019 :: 11:52 am

First, many power jacks in cars shut off when the car is turned off. So with no power to the jack, there’s no draw on the battery, even if your phone is plugged in. But if your jack is live, with no phone plugged in there is nothing drawing power, so should not pull anything from battery (unless it maybe has a little power light on it or something). And even if it were drawing a tiny amount of power, it should be so little as to have no discernible effect on the battery, and whatever was drawn would be quickly recharged by your alternator next time you drive.

Reply

Pairing iLUV earbuds

From Randy on May 04, 2019 :: 12:29 pm

I can’t get stereo, both earbuds, to function. They pair to each other successfully per the manual. In pairing with my phones bluetooth app. I can get only L or R at a time.

Reply

Sounds like you've set it

From Suzanne Kantra on May 06, 2019 :: 12:40 pm

Sounds like you’ve set it up to pair with just one bud for handsfree application, like driving. To reset so that you can enjoy stereo, do the following:

Please press and hold the button on both earpieces for about 3 seconds to power them off.

On your phone, remove the “iLuv TrueBT Air” Bluetooth profile from the list of paired devices and turn off the Bluetooth.

Press and hold the button on both ear pieces until they say “Pairing”.

Double click the right or left earpiece. It will say “Searching for slave.” The earpieces will pair together then say “Pair to your device.”

Turn on your phone`s Bluetooth and connect the earphones.

Reply

Charger is only half the battle

From Jeff Michelson on July 31, 2019 :: 1:07 pm

The gauge of the charging cable itself is a big part of the slow charging.  You’ll want to find charging cables at least 24 gauge (the cheaper cables are 28 gauge).  The lower the gauge of the wire, the more current it can transfer, and the longer the cable can be.  Got one of those cheap 6 foot cables?  Bet your phone takes all night to charge.

Reply

Nice job

From Kenneth Tawo on November 19, 2019 :: 1:38 am

Nice job

Reply

Just don’t get fast charging!

From djrobsd on October 15, 2021 :: 11:02 am

Battery experts weigh in but this constant need to have the latest and greatest tech is not necessary.  I have the iPhone 12xs max which supports high speed charging but I still plug it in at night to the old school slow charger and it’s fully charged when I wake up in the morning.

Sure, the high speed charging is great if you live in New York and you are on the go all the time and need to plug in for 30 minutes and get a boost but if you work from home and don’t need the high speed chargers don’t ruin your battery on them, just use a normal charger if that’s all you need.

Reply

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