What to Look for in a Wireless Charger?
As most of the smartphone manufacturers are incorporating wireless charging technology in their smartphones and other devices, you might be inclined towards buying a wireless charger that can be used for years. Hence, you must ensure that the wireless charger that you are going to buy is future-proofed.
Here are some key factors that you must look for while buying a new wireless charger for your gadgets.
1. Wireless Charging Standards:
The wireless charging works on a couple of standards and the most commonly used standard is Qi (pronounced as “Chee”). Before buying a charging pad, you should make sure that your smartphone or tablet and the charger both follow the same standard. If they don’t match, the charger might not work.
The Qi standard is also adopted by most phone manufacturers including Samsung and Apple. A good quality Qi charger offers overcharge and over-voltage protection that makes it completely safe to use.
When you are charging your phone wirelessly, you might notice that the phone is getting a bit warm. There is no need to worry about it as most of these wireless chargers offer temperature control protection to prevent issues that occurred due to overheating.
You should first decide what amount of power do you need to charge your phone. If you want to charge the devices as quickly as possible, you must buy a wireless charger that can provide enough power accordingly.
Base wireless charging starts from 5 watts. The latest Qi 1.2 standard can support charging speeds of up to 15 watts.
iPhones are designed to charge at a maximum speed of 7.5 W. Samsung phones can charge at 9W and few other Android phones can support charging up to 10W.
Even though wireless chargers with lesser output can be used to charge your phone, the speed might not be as fast as others. Hence, it is better to buy a 10W charger so that you can use it to charge any phone.
You can check the speed on the packaging of most of the wireless chargers. You should look for the wattage speed either on the box or in the product specification list of the charger. You can then compare it with the speed at which your phone can charge.
Wireless chargers are available in many shapes and sizes. Each design has its own set of pros and cons. However, everything boils down to how you prefer charging your phone.
The wireless chargers often look similar to tiny oval or circular pads. Not only they are convenient but stylish too. You can simply put your phone over it, and it will start charging the battery of your phone automatically.
These type of chargers are a great alternative if you charge either one or multiple devices without really keeping an eye on the phone. They are perfect to be used on your bedside table.
A charging stand can be used to hold your phone in an upright position at such an angle so that it is easier for you to check the notifications or watch a video while the phone is still getting charged.
You can check for chargers that can be adjusted to get portrait or landscape mode. Some chargers even provide multiple angles to offer more flexibility. Wireless chargers with flexible stands can be a great option for the office where you want to charge your phone but keep an eye on the phone at the same time.
The mat style wireless chargers are quite rare as they have a completely flat surface. They look quite similar to the Pad style. The only difference is the material can be either hard or soft. You will mostly get a soft mat. The most important benefit of this design is its size. Due to the larger size, you can use the charger to charge multiple devices at a time.
However, both mat and pad styles have a common disadvantage. As they provide a flat surface, you might not be able to check the notifications, especially when you are away from the phone or the charger.
7. Number of Coils:
The number of coils doesn’t have an impact on the charging speed that it offers. However, it decides the amount of active charging area that is available on the pad.
If there are 3 coils that are spread across the surface of the charging pad, you will not have to worry about placing your phone for charging at a particular place. It can pick up charging from any point. However, if there is only 1 coil on the charging pad, you will have to be careful and make sure that you place the phone on the coil to charge it.
The same goes for the stands as well. It is better to buy a stand with extra coils as the height of the phones vary. Thus, you will have to make sure that your phone is connected properly for charging.
Some wireless chargers feature a rubber ring that is embedded in the pad. They are helpful in preventing the phone from slipping. If there is no grip, a minor bump can change the alignment of coils in phone and charger. This will disrupt the entire charging process.
Some models of wireless charging pads feature a bright always-on LED light that is embedded in it. Even though these lights look cool, they might not be a great option to be used on the nightstand as the light can disturb you throughout the night.
Few models have LEDs that shine only for a few seconds or minutes after you keep the phone on the stand to charge. The lights shut off automatically after a while so that you can sleep peacefully.
You can either check for chargers with dim LEDs or the ones where the lights deactivate after a few seconds.
10. Number of Devices:
Apart from smartphones, there are multiple devices that you can charge wirelessly. Some accessories like smartwatches, wireless earphones, or tablets can be charged on these chargers. Hence, rather than buying multiple charging pads, you can buy one with dual or trio pads. It will allow you to charge two or three devices at a time.
11. Standard Connector or Wall Adapter:
The wireless charging pads can be plugged into an adapter so that you can connect it to a wall outlet. While some brands use wired proprietary jacks to plug in the pad, others use standard options like USB-C or MicroUSB. It is suggested to go ahead with a standard connector. It can be helpful in scenarios where you might lose or damage the cable.
12. WPC (Wireless Planning and Coordination) Certification:
WPC certification means that the charger has been tested and is safe to be used and meets the Qi standards. If a wireless charger is not certified, it does not mean that it is unsafe or non-compliant with Qi standards. However, it is better to choose something that has been verified already.
As there are so many options available, you can buy a wireless charger that will fit well with the surrounding aesthetics. They are often available in black or white color. Some models feature both colors too. You might even find other color options offered by a few brands.
14. Charger Brand:
As your phone is already costly, it might not be a great idea to charge it using a cheap wireless charger and keep your phone at risk. Hence, you can invest a bit more and buy a branded charger that promises to offer the best performance. There are many brands out there that are manufacturing wireless chargers and the competition is at another level. The prices are relatively low though.
You can buy a wireless charger from a good brand at a price range of Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 3,000. All the products mentioned in the above list fall under this price range only. Charging pads that allow you to charge multiple devices at a time are a bit costlier than the ones where you can charge only one device at a time.
The warranty offered on the wireless chargers varies from brands to brands. While some brands offer a warranty period of 6 months, others can offer up to 2 years. It is always better to invest in a brand offering a maximum warranty period as electrical gadgets are more prone to damages.
How Does Wireless Charging Works?
Qi (called as “chee”) offers the most popular wireless technology. It involves electromagnetic coils in both the charging device and the electronic gadget that you want to charge.
A wireless charger comprises of coils. These coils create an electromagnetic field whenever an electric current is passing through them. When the receiving coil on your mobile or tablet comes in contact with the wireless charger, the electromagnetic field generates an electric current within the device. It is then converted into DC (direct current) that is used to charge the phone.
Types of Wireless Charging
There are two types of wireless charging namely Inductive and Resonant. Let’s learn more about them.
It requires direct physical contact between the smartphone and the wireless charger. Hence, the charging coils present in the phone and the wireless charger should be connected and aligned properly to start the charging process.
In this type of wireless charging, there is no need for direct contact between the phone and the charger. However, it requires both the phone and the charger to be placed within a specific proximity.
Benefits Of Wireless Charger
- Convenience: The best thing about the wireless charger is that you do not have to deal with cords again. It leaves the need for the messy cord as it makes it easy to keep your phone on the charging platform and relax back.
- Integration: Wireless chargers can integrate with most of the cell phones, does not matter the shape, size of its charging socket. There are devices other than smartphones that are charged through the wireless way.
- Many Devices Charging: Sometimes, it happens that we do not have more than one charger at home, and how good it will be if we can charge the two or more devices that will be convenient.At one single charge station, you can charge your multiple devices simultaneously. It will also help to reduce the number of chargers and adapters at your home.
- Fast Charging: The device provides you to get 5W or 10W of energy that will help you to charge your device effortlessly.
- One-time investment: It is one-time investment equipment that can solve your charging problems and make your budget cost-effective.
Drawbacks Of Wireless Charger
- Performance: The wireless chargers lack efficiency as compared to the traditional chargers. The charging slows down sometimes, depending on the power it gives and the brand.
- Compatibility: Every phone does not use wireless charging, there are very few models of mobile phones that offer this feature, and buying them is expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it is not necessary. Phone/gadget manufacturers have started adopting existing charging standards rather than making their own. This gives you a lot of options to choose from.
The most common wireless charging standard used in the market is QI (you can pronounce it as CHEE). Some other ways to charge your phones wirelessly are PMA (also called as Airfuel) and Samsung’s Fast Wireless Charging.
You can buy a charger that matches the standard that your smartphone uses, and you are good to go. If your phone uses the Qi standard, you can buy any Qi-certified charger.
Even though some smartphones are water-resistant or waterproof, most of the wireless chargers are neither water-resistant nor waterproof. Let it be any electrical device, connecting it to a power outlet in wet conditions can be dangerous. Hence, make sure that your wireless charger does not get wet. Along with this, also ensure that your phone is completely dry before you put it for charging on the wireless charger.
A cheap quality wireless charger might not be able to identify other objects like a coin or keys if you leave them accidentally below the phone on the pad. In such scenarios, the charging pad will continue emitting the power to charge the phone. But this can hurt your device and there are chances that the foreign object can start melting on the pad.
Thus, you should buy a wireless charger that features a foreign object detector. It will shut down the charging process and alert you via an LED light so that you can check and remove if there is a foreign object over the pad. This prevents the chances of unsafe charging.
Most of the charging pads trickle charge your phone to keep it fully charged all the time. Hence, it is totally safe to keep your phone on the charging pad overnight or for extended periods. Trickle charging means whenever the phone’s battery falls below 100% while it is still on the charging pad, a very small amount of current is passed to the phone’s battery to keep it fully charged all the time.
As the charging pad or mat is always connected to a wall outlet, there are chances that it can get affected by lightning strikes or other forms of power surges. But the best part here is the wireless charger cannot pass increased voltage to your smartphone. This makes it even safer for your smartphones than charging it directly from a power outlet.
All the chargers turn a bit hot while charging. Let it be power banks, wall chargers, or even docks, they lose some amount of energy in the form of heat. And wireless chargers are no different from them.
Chargers that are passed through multiple extensive testing minimize the amount of energy wasted through heat. Thus, it is suggested to buy it from a reputed brand.
Belkin chargers offer additional safety protocols that are built in the circuitry. There are advanced chipsets that automatically shut down as soon as they detect excessive heat. This is helpful in protecting you as well as your devices.
Wireless chargers are completely safe to use and you can be in its close proximity when your phone is getting charged in the nightstand or your office desk. When you haven’t keep your smartphone or tablet for charging on the wireless charger, it emits a harmless signal that is in constant search for a wireless charging receiver coil (the one that is present in the smartphone).
As the receiver coil (in your smartwatch or your smartphone) needs to be in contact with the coil present in the charging pad, the signal does not extend into the air surrounding it. This entire wireless charging process emits lesser radiation when compared to the process where the phone is connected to a mobile network.
Qi is an established and evolving wireless charging standard that is owned by The Wireless Power Consortium. It is backed by more than 200 leading companies such as Belkin, Apple, and Philips. The company’s goal is to deliver a wireless charging facility to its users safely as well as easily. It does all of this by ensuring compatibility across all the devices bearing the Qi logo.
Some of the common Qi-standard products are as follows:
*iPhone 8 Plus
*Samsung Galaxy S8
*Samsung Galaxy Note8
Before buying a wireless charger, it is very important to check whether your smartphone or tablet is compatible with the charger’s standards. If you are using a Qi phone, check for a Qi logo on the packaging of the charger.
A wireless charger can charge your phone even if it is in a case, given that the case is not made up of metal or any other thicker material. A Qi charger can easily work with leather, silicon, or any similar non-metallic material that is either 3mm thick or less.
In most of the cases, wired charging is faster than the wireless charging. However, it is said that it will definitely change in the future.
The power in the wireless chargers come from a cable that plugs into a USB port. One point that you must note here is, in some charging pads (especially the cheaper models), there is no wall plug. This means that you will have to plug the charging pad to your laptop or other powered port.
No. Till now, there is no proof that a good wireless charger can damage the battery of your phone. However, if you are keeping the battery of your phone fully charged all the time, it can lead to shortening the life of any lithium-ion battery. Even letting the battery to zero or almost zero before plugging it back can shorten its life.
Ideally, you can let the battery drain till around 50% charging and then charge it till 90% or 95%. You can charge it to 100% occasionally.
Yes, you can use a wireless charger in the car. However, it might not be that convenient. Most of the Qi stations in the car are located below eye level, somewhere between the console and the car seats. It becomes difficult to monitor or answer calls while driving.
If you are ok if your phone is out of your sight or if you don’t have to respond to calls or texts, there are many wireless charging stations available for cars where you can mount your phone either on the front or on the top of the dashboard. You can buy one accordingly.
It is simple to use. You have to switch on the wireless charger, then put your phone on the pad, and then LED light will glow and indicates that the charging has started.
It depends on the model of your phone and the charger type if the compatibility match, it charges your device quickly.
Yes, you can keep it on charge overnight, and on the next day, you can use your phone for all-day work.
Yes, but only if it has Qi charging compatibility.