The Best Wireless Car Chargers For Convenient Hands-Free Smartphone Use
Wireless smartphone charging is one of the most convenient advances in portable communications since the creation of the cellular telephone itself. This handy tech lets you charge your phone simply by putting it down on a flat surface—no need to go wandering around your house in search of your charging cable! But wireless charging is just as useful in a vehicle. While many new cars and trucks can be optioned with built-in wireless charging pads, upgrading your vehicle just to get one feature is an expensive proposition. If you’re eager to unplug while staying charged up and connected, consider choosing from one of the best wireless car chargers on our latest list of recommended products.
If you had assumed that adding wireless charging to your vehicle is prohibitively expensive and, therefore, out of reach, we think you’ll get a charge out of how affordable this useful technology really is. Perhaps the best part about buying one of the wireless car chargers featured on our list is that these products double as phone cradles that allow you to use your device’s telephone, navigation, and music player functions hands-free. If you work as a rideshare or delivery driver, one of these wireless car chargers could make your job much easier by keeping your smartphone charged and handy without the need to plug it in.
If you’re ready to discover how one of these cutting-edge products could make your life more convenient, you’ve come to the right place.
For more information on the best wireless car chargers, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor’s Pick: CHGeek Wireless Car Charger (M12)
- 2. Nalwort 15W Wireless Car Charger
- 3. CHOETECH Magnetic Wireless Car Charger (T200)
- 4. MANKIW Wireless Car Charger (C13)
- 5. iOttie Wireless Car Charger (HLCRIO161)
- 6. Auckly 15W Wireless Car Charger
- 7. ZOOAUX Wireless Car Charger (ZA060)
- 8. HonShoop Wireless Car Charger (T6)
- 9. Anker PowerWave Wireless Car Charger (A2551)
- 10. ZeeHoo Wireless Car Charger (ZHWC01)
- How does wireless charging work?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of wireless charging?
- How do I use fast charging?
1. Editor’s Pick: CHGeek Wireless Car Charger (M12)
Our Editor’s Pick for the best wireless smartphone charger is CHGeek’s M12 model, a full-featured unit that comes at an affordable price. The M12’s design begins with an aluminum alloy frame that can accommodate smartphones measuring 2.28 inches to 3.7 inches in width. Adjustable arms automatically grip the sides of your phone when you place it in the charger.
CHGeek also gives you options for mounting the M12 in your vehicle, including a suction-cup dash-top mount, and a clip that lets you attach the charger to a vent. With the suction-cup mount, you can adjust the angle and reach of the charger, and either attachment lets you orient the device in landscape or portrait mode. You can use the M12 to charge virtually any smartphone that supports the Qi wireless charging protocol. Depending on your smartphone’s specifications, the M12 charges anywhere between 5W and 15W.
This recommendation will also protect your phone from damage with an automatic obstruction alarm that warns you if there is a foreign object between your device and the charging surface.
Automatic adjustable phone support, 5W, 7.5W, 10W, and 15W charging speeds, multiple mounting options
One buyer said the charger works slowly in cold weather, another buyer said the charger didn’t hold their phone reliably
2. Nalwort 15W Wireless Car Charger
From Nalwort comes a reasonably priced wireless phone charger that gives you the choice of how to mount it to your vehicle. A suction cup mount attaches to your car’s dash top and supports your phone with adjustable arms and an aluminum frame around the charging surface. It also uses the edge of the dashboard itself to support the weight of your device, while a rubber backing protects the dash edge from damage. You can also use the included vent clip to mount this charger to one of your vehicle’s A/C vents. Either way, a ball joint lets you swivel the phone through 360 degrees for easy viewing angle adjustment.
Once the Nalwort charger’s side arms are clamped around your phone, it will begin charging at speeds up to 15W, depending on your device’s specifications. But you can use this charger with any Qi-enabled device at 5W, 7.5W, and 10W. In the event that a foreign object gets between your device and the charging surface, the Nalwort charger will let you know with an LED indicator that flashes red and green.
Sleek design, auto-clamping side arms
One buyer received a charger that did not work properly, but Nalwort replaced it with a working unit, may need extra accessories to use some features
3. CHOETECH Magnetic Wireless Car Charger (T200)
Next on our list of the best wireless car chargers is this magnetic model from CHOETECH. A magnetic charger is a neat piece of kit: instead of using side and bottom supports to hold onto your device, a magnetic charger uses the power of magnets to hold it in place. The one downside? Very few smartphones support magnetic charging—the CHOETECH T200 is designed specifically for the iPhone 12, the latest generation (at the time of publication) of Apple’s long line of smartphones.
If you have or plan to buy an iPhone 12, this charger is very easy to use. It mounts to one of your car’s vents using a twist-lock mount. Once you’ve got the charger where you want it, place your phone on it, and it will stay in place. The vent mount allows for 360 degrees of rotation, so you can easily orient your device’s screen any way you want. CHOETECH says this charger will work with the iPhone itself or with any MagSafe case that fits the iPhone 12, and will fully charge your phone in as little as 3.5 hours.
Attractive price, uses leading-edge magnetic charging technology
Only compatible with Apple iPhone 12 smartphones, charging slows down as battery approaches its capacity
4. MANKIW Wireless Car Charger (C13)
MANKIW makes our list of the best wireless car chargers with a well-equipped product that is designed to work with almost any smartphone that uses the Qi wireless charging system. Along with its wireless charging functionality, the C13 has an infrared sensor on the charging surface that detects when you place your phone over it, and that engages electric supports that grip your device to hold it in place. You can separately adjust the bottom bracket to ensure your device is properly aligned with the electrical coils in the charger.
When you purchase the MANKIW C13, you get two ways to mount the charger in your car: one is a vent attachment, and the other uses a suction cup that you can place on your car’s dashboard or windshield. MANKIW says it designed the C13 so that it won’t obstruct your view forward if you mount it atop the dashboard. The company also says this charger will work with all but the thickest phone cases, so you shouldn’t have to remove yours before placing your device in the charger.
Motorized phone support arms, multiple mounting options
More expensive than other wireless car chargers, automatic motorized arms may not work reliably in freezing temperatures, one buyer said the suction cup mount was not strong enough
5. iOttie Wireless Car Charger (HLCRIO161)
From iOttie comes the HLCRIO161 wireless car charger, which the company says is compatible with virtually any smartphone that supports wireless charging. As soon as you move your smartphone near this iOttie charger, motorized side arms automatically open to let you place your phone on the charging surface, and then clamp closed on the sides of your device to hold onto it. The only adjustment you have to make yourself is the position of the bottom support: you can move it up and down to make sure your device is in the right place to engage the charger’s electrical coils.
iOttie says you can adjust this wireless charger’s main arm to any length between 4.9 inches and 8.3 inches, and you can also set the angle in a 225-degree arc for an optimal view of your device’s screen. The iOttie HLCRIO161 we’re discussing here uses a dashboard mount. You can also get vent and cupholder attachments, but they are sold separately.
Automatic phone cradle arms, adjustable foot, multi-adjustable dashboard mount
One of the most expensive products on our list, other attachment options cost extra
6. Auckly 15W Wireless Car Charger
Auckly makes our list of the best wireless car chargers with this model, which combines plenty of features with an attractive price. Like several of the other chargers we’ve included here, Auckly’s has electric clamping arms that grip your device and hold it in place while you’re driving. One feature we really think you’ll appreciate is that this charger has a capacitor—essentially, a small battery—that allows you to open and close the clamps even when the car is off.
Auckly’s charger has an adjustable bottom support that you can set according to your phone’s size and the position of its charging coil to ensure good contact. If you use this charger with a QC3.0 adapter, you can take advantage of charging speeds up to 15W. However, it will also charge at slower speeds if you only have a basic adapter. This charger comes only with a vent mount attachment; it attaches to the charger itself with a ball joint that lets you adjust the angle of your phone’s screen through 285 degrees.
Electric phone supports will open and close even after you’ve turned off the car, wide range of adjustability
Kit only includes a vent mount attachment, a few buyers said the charger broke where it attaches to the mount
7. ZOOAUX Wireless Car Charger (ZA060)
Next on our list is the ZOOAUX ZA060, another versatile wireless car charger with multiple mounting and charging speed options. Your purchase includes both vent and suction cup mounts, so you can place this charger almost anywhere it will be within reach of your vehicle’s 12-volt power point. A ball joint lets you rotate your phone 360 degrees for either landscape or portrait orientation and adjust the screen viewing angle.
ZOOAUX says the ZA060 will charge your phone at speeds up to 10W when you plug it into a QC3.0 adapter, though it can also accommodate 5W and 7.5W charging rates. This charger has automatic opening and closing clamps that recognize when you’ve placed your phone on the charging surface and squeeze together to hold your device in place. As with many of the other chargers on our list, you have to manually adjust the bottom feet to ensure your phone’s charging mechanism is properly aligned with the coil in the charger itself.
Works with most common smartphone model, auto-closing clamping mechanism, vent or dash mount
Charger is not the right size to accommodate the iPhone 11, release button only works when the car is on, one buyer said the release mechanism was too sensitive
8. HonShoop Wireless Car Charger (T6)
Next up is the HonShoop T6, another wireless smartphone charger that doubles as a convenient in-car, hands-free holder for your device. This is a well-priced device that comes with a number of features you’ll have come to expect in a wireless charger if you’ve already read through the rest of our list. Included with your purchase are vent and dashboard mounts, both of which use a ball joint to let you adjust your device’s viewing angle. An automatic clamping function uses an electric motor to adjust the charger’s side supports to grip your device, and a one-touch release button opens the clamps.
The only feature missing from HonShoop’s description is an adjustable foot to let you align your phone with the charging surface and ensure an efficient connection. However, HonShoop says you can use the T6 with a wide range of phones that use the Qi charging system. Use this recommendation to charge your device at speeds up to 10W, but it will also work at slower charging rates.
A good price for a well-equipped charger, dash and vent mounts are included
No adjustable support foot, one buyer said the ball joint mount broke
9. Anker PowerWave Wireless Car Charger (A2551)
Anker calls the PowerWave A2551 a “premium” wireless car charger, which fits with this product’s price, which is among the highest on this list. Unfortunately, for a so-called premium product, the PowerWave does not have motorized side clamps, a feature included on many of the less-expensive chargers on our list. The PowerWave A2551 also only comes with a vent mount, so you’re limited in where you can place this charger in your vehicle.
So, you may be asking why we included the A2551 on our list at all. Well, because it’s a good option for a no-nonsense wireless charger. While it doesn’t include some of the tricks found on other products, it does a good job of charging devices at the common 5W, 7.5W, and 10W speeds. And because the PowerWave A2551 is vent-mount only, it avoids the common complaint of suction cup mounts that aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of the phone and charger.
Anker says the PowerWave A2551 will charge your phone through most cases up to 5 mm thick.
Reliable vent mount, wide range of smartphone compatibility
Pricey, no power device clamps, some buyers complained of slow charging
10. ZeeHoo Wireless Car Charger (ZHWC01)
We end our list of the best wireless car chargers with the ZeeHoo ZHWC01, a product that we think will satisfy your search for desirable features in a smartphone charger and cradle at a reasonable price. ZeeHoo gives you the option of mounting the ZHWC01 on your car’s dashboard or windshield using a suction cup base, or to an A/C vent using a mount designed for that purpose. The dash/glass mount has an arm that extends from 5.5 inches to 7.5 inches and adjusts through 270 degrees on a vertical axis. The cradle itself also adjusts for angle and rotation thanks to a ball joint attachment that works with both the dashboard and vent mounts.
Once installed and plugged in, the ZHWC01 automatically clamps around your phone to hold it in place. A manually adjustable bottom foot lets you compensate for different sized phones and helps ensure a good charging connection. If you have a QC3.0 adapter for your car, the ZHWC01 will fast-charge at speeds of 7.5W or 10W, depending on your phone’s specifications.
Available in a range of colors, automatic clamping, dash or vent mounting
Doesn’t come with a QC3.0 fast-charge adapter, one buyer said the suction cup doesn’t stick well
How does wireless charging work?
Photo credit: Abdul Razak Latif / Shutterstock.com
Wireless charging, or the ability to transmit electricity over short distances without a direct physical connection, has been around since the days of Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s. But the technology was only recently refined to the point that it could be used in consumer applications.
Wireless charging works by running electricity through an electromagnet that resonates at a specific frequency. If you have a receiver tuned to the same frequency, it can turn that electromagnetic signal into electricity.
There are wireless chargers that work on electric vehicles, only not many EVs can be charged that way. However, many smartphones and other portable devices do take advantage of wireless smartphone charging.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of wireless charging?
The main advantage of wireless charging is convenience: all you have to do is place your device on the charging pad (which must be plugged into a power source) and it will automatically begin directing electricity to its battery. Another plus is that it’s easy to build into a variety of environments, like tables in airport waiting lounges and the center console of a vehicle.
On the downside, wireless charging is typically slower than using a charging cord, and you will find charging times become longer if you have a case installed on your phone. Wireless charging can make it difficult to charge your phone at the same time as you are using it, as you can with a charging cable. However, you can get around that issue with one of the wireless car chargers on this list, most of which cradle your smartphone for hands-free use.
Be aware that a wireless charger only provides a wireless connection between your device and the charger. You still need to connect the charger to your car’s power outlet using a cable.
How do I use fast charging?
You’ll find wireless smartphone charging is very easy to use. If you buy a charger that is designed for fast charging, taking advantage of that feature requires a bit more forethought. The car chargers that made our list allow for fast charging at 7.5W, 10W, or 15W. However, if you want to charge at those speeds, you will need an adapter for your car’s 12-volt outlet that can provide enough current for fast charging. If you use a regular adapter, your phone will only charge at a relatively slow 5W.
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Photo credit: Monika Wisniewska / Shutterstock.com
More by Chris Chase