I really loathe buying device chargers. This isn’t even to complain about the fact that Apple stopped selling them with iPhones, because I never counted those as useable — much too slow. Generally I am constantly needing to buy and change out chargers to find the right balance of size/speed/ports/cost. Faster is better, but faster also means bigger, usually. And then you have costs and what ports you want.
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t like slow chargers; I don’t like bulky chargers; and I don’t like spending tons of money on chargers. And also half of the time my chargers get taken from me by the family, so I get to test all sorts of new stuff. To that end, here’s some chargers I want to direct your intention to…
Because I often have to charge two iPad Pros when I am traveling, or need to charge an iPad Pro while doing a video call — a really fast charger is important to me. And when you want something fast, cheap, and useable: RAVPower is where you should be looking. Be sure to signup for newsletters on their site, as they often run promotions with good discounts. My pick is their RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger PD 3.0 GaN Type C (RAVPower Direct), it’s $46 and has two USB-C ports.
I love it and it’s one of two chargers I travel with. But if I need a single charger to grab which covers everything, it’s that one. If you compare that to the similarly priced Anker 60W 2-Port PowerPort Atom PD, they are the same size, but much less power from the Anker. For charging an iPhone and iPad Pro — go with whichever you can snag for less money, as both will charge those two at about the same speed. But otherwise I see no reason not to snag the RAVPower with its 90W.
One other recommendation is this Anker 36W 2-Port PIQ 3.0 which offers two USB-C ports on it, but has a much slower charging speed. The upside is that it costs $26 and is good enough — I own a few. If someone wants to borrow a charger, or my kids need a new one for their iPads — this is the one I hand out. It offers no advantage over the others, beyond cost and slight reductions in size — cheap it is though.
The only thing I will add is that all my picks are USB-C only, and I tend to travel with a second charger that has a USB-A port on it — so that I can charge/power any random thing I might come across which I don’t have a cable for. For this I use the RAVPower 65W 2-Port PD Charger GaN, but you could get away without this if you are willing to charge something you come across like that off a battery pack — which is my preference when traveling alone. My family tends to necessitate the need for me to travel with two chargers generally, fun stuff.
I used to be a ‘give me all the power I can get’ person when it comes to power banks, but no more. Now I want a good trade off between size and power. I’ve found that 10000mAh is perfect. I rarely need more than that, and at this capacity you get a small enough brick you can easily pocket it, or place it in a bag and forget about it. For this I go with the a RAVPower and I have an Anker which first sent me down the rabbit hole on this size battery pack — Anker is way more expensive than the RAVPower variant.
- RAVPower Portable Charger, Most Compact 10000mAh Power Bank (RAVPower Direct), $29.99 at writing
- Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux, $45 at writing
$29, only slightly larger, feels lighter — RAVPower is silly value.
For longer trips, or going places I know I will need a battery pack (or just for home emergencies) I go with the RAVPower Portable Charger 15000mAh PD3.0 Power Bank QC 3.0 (Current RAVPower model). I love this battery pack — it is a little wider and flatter than others, and I find that preferable to carry and use. That it is $33 helps as well. Crazy price.
If you need more power than 15000mAh, I would encourage you to think about multiple battery packs rather than one larger one. It will add a little more bulk to carry, but there’s a lot more benefits from loaning them out, to recharging one while you take the other with you, and general redundancy. It’s a much better option than grabbing a huge 25000mAh battery pack.
Power Strip Type Things
Ok, this area I have not extensively gone through. That is a multi-port USB power strip type setup. These are great for charging stations, your home office, stuff like that. I use this one in my office: Anker Power Strip with USB C, Power Delivery Travel Power Strip, 30W PowerPort Strip PD 2 Mini with 2 Outlets & 3 USB. I like that it still has two normal plugs on it, which helps me out where I have it located, but it’s slow — so no recommended.
If I were buying today, I would get this one: Anker 63W 4 Port PIQ 3.0. That’s also a great addition if you want to make a nice space for guests, so they don’t need to hunt for a plug, or risk unplugging something you don’t want them to. I very much do not like guests unplugging my shit, so I try to make sure they have the power they need right where they need it.
Small Upgrade for MagSafe Users
Ok, one last thing. When I snagged Apple’s MagSafe charging cable for my iPhone I was lamenting how much I think it adds no value. And then some members encouraged me to get the Material Dock from Studio Neat and holy crap this thing is great. Nice little wood block that sticks the entire thing to my nightstand — and now there’s value: secure enough that my phone doesn’t vibrate off the nightstand, but quick and easy to place on it at night for charging. Oh and you can swipe your iPhone from it without the cable coming with it. Sweet, it’s almost like those old wireless chargers which didn’t have unnecessary magnets, but centers correctly each time — future. Everyone should have one or three of these. Great stuff.
Enjoy your better chargers.