The best charging stations and USB charging hubs in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • There are many multi-port USB charging stations to choose from with support for a variety of devices.
  • The Satechi Dock5 is our top pick thanks to its convenient ability to charge up to five devices at the same time.

Charging stations and hubs come in all shapes and sizes. We’ve included different options to suit different needs and device charging specifications, so whether you have an iPhone, an Apple Watch, AirPods, a Quick Charge Android phone, a laptop, or a USB-C Android phone; we’ve got you covered.

These days, more and more devices are shipping with USB-C cables instead of USB-A cables, so we’re including charging stations that come with both USB-C ports and USB-A ports if you’re still using your older cables.

For Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra users, specifically – unfortunately, none of the charging stations we’ve encountered support Samsung’s 45W fast charging for the Galaxy S20 Ultra. If you’re looking to max out your charging speeds with those devices, your best bet is to get Samsung’s own charger. Just note that the latest Galaxy S21 series, including the Galaxy S21 Ultra, only support up to 25W charging, which some of the chargers below can achieve.

Here are the best charging stations and USB charging hubs:

The best charging station overall

Satechi Dock5 charging station

The Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station neatly charges five devices simultaneously and includes two USB-C PD ports, two USB-A ports, and a Qi charging pad.

Pros: Charges up to five devices at the same time, holds devices in place neatly, affordable, meets standard charging speeds on most devices, can fast charge iPhone, includes USB-C charging ports

Cons: Short charging cables are sold separately, won’t meet top charging speeds on some Android devices

Households with several smartphones and/or tablets, and wireless charging earbuds will appreciate the Dock5 by reputable tech accessories maker Satechi. 

The Dock5 can charge five devices at the same time with its variety of two USB-C ports, standard USB-A ports, and a Qi wireless charging pad. Devices can be organized neatly with the silicone dividers that prevent scratching. 

The USB-C ports are rated at 20W each, and will be best used on smartphones with fast charging, or devices with large batteries, like a tablet. For reference, the Dock5‘s 20W USB-C ports exceed the iPad Pro’s 18W included charging brick and the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12’s 18W fast charging capabilities. The Galaxy S21 phones can charge up to 25W.

The standard USB-A ports are rated at 12W each, which makes them more suitable for smartphone charging at decent speeds. 

The wireless Qi charging pad is rated at 10W, which is double what the AirPods Pro charging capacity. Unfortunately, the Dock5 won’t charge AirPods Pro faster, as they’ll only accept up to 5W for wireless charging. Still, the wireless charging pad can be used to charge a smartphone up to 10W wirelessly.

The Dock5 doesn’t come with the short charging cables you see in the images — those are sold separately and range between $9 to $18, and you’ll have to use your existing cables. That’s a shame, because charging four wired devices with longer cables will make for a messier look than what you see in Satechi’s images. Still, the convenience is undeniable.

Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best budget charging station

Anker PowerPort 5

Charging multiple devices on a budget means you’ll miss out on USB-C charging ports, but you get five USB-A ports on the Anker PowerPort 5 is a cheap, easy solution that will do a great job charging several devices.

Pros: Charges up to five devices at the same time, cheap

Cons: Doesn’t include USB-C or fast charging tech

While you may not get USB-C ports or very fast charging, Anker’s 40W 5-Port USB Wall Charger will do nicely for up to five mobile devices. For under $25 on Amazon, it’s hard to beat. You can easily charge devices like smartphones, smartwatches, headphones, and other accessories that use USB for charging with the PowerPort 5. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station with wireless charging

Nomad Base Station

The Nomad Base Station is a premium, elegant wireless charging station that can charge up to four devices at the same time with its USB-C, USB-A port, and wireless charging pad. 

Pros: Elegant and premium design, versatile charging options, affordable for what it offers, included EU and US adapters

Cons: Doesn’t wirelessly charge Apple Watch, doesn’t charge iPad Pro through Magic Keyboard

The sleek, elegant Nomad Base Station has a padded leather wireless charging surface that can wirelessly charge two devices at the same time at 7.5W, or 10W for a single device. Just note that different phones have different speed limits for wireless charging. Alternatively, you could charge a phone and a pair of wireless charging earbuds or a smartwatch on the pad. Also note that it won’t charge the Apple Watch.

If the wireless charging pad won’t charge your phone fast enough in a pinch, the 18W USB-C port will do the trick for iPhones and Android devices, and it’ll charge most tablets at a standard pace.

The USB-A port is rated at 7.5W, which is pretty slow for phones, but is suitable for charging wireless earbuds.

For its price, the Nomad Base Station is among the best options for a versatile charging station. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station for Quick Charge devices

RavPower PD Pioneer Charging Station

The Ravpower PD Pioneer 65W 4-Port USB C Desktop Charger offers quick charging for both standard USB-A ports, as well as two USB-C ports.

Pros: Compact design, charges most devices quickly, can charge a laptop, inexpensive

Cons: Doesn’t support Samsung’s 45W charging tech

The Ravpower PD Pioneer 65W Desktop Charger offers a variety of quick charging USB-A and USB-C ports for a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It’s the best quick charger for the money. 

It features Power Delivery for the USB-C ports that charges up 65W for USB-C PD-compatible devices up to 65W from a single port. If you connect two USB-C PD-compatible devices to the USB-C ports, it’ll charge one at 45W and the other at 18W. 

As for the standard Quick Charge USB-A ports, it can charge one port at 18W, and 12W if you have two devices plugged into each USB-A port. Ravpower also includes this handy chart to show you what it can do with different connection combinations:

Connected port combination Output for each connected port
1 USB-C port USB-C – PD 65W
2 USB-C ports USB-C – PD 45W; USB-C – PD 18W
2 USB-A ports USB-A – 5V/2.4A; USB-A – 5V/2.4A
1 USB-C port + 1 USB-A port USB-C – PD 45W; USB-A – QC 18W
1 USB-C port + 2 USB-A ports USB-C- PD 45W; USB-A – 5V/2.4A; USB-A – 5V/2.4A
2 USB-C ports + 1 USB-A port USB-C – PD 18W; USB-C – PD 18W; USB-A – QC 18W
When connected to all ports USB-C – PD 18W; USB-C – PD 18W; USB-A – 5V/2.4A; USB-A – 5V/2.4A

Just note that like any other quick charging hub we’ve encountered, the Ravpower won’t support Samsung’s ultra-fast 45W charging, as it uses a special protocol that only Samsung seems to use with its own chargers. If you have a Samsung device that supports 45W charging, it’s best to go with Samsung’s own chargers. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station with USB-C for laptops

Aukey charging station

The Omnia Mix4 100W 4-port PD Charger by Aukey has a huge 100W capacity that will charge almost any standard laptop via USB-C at full clip while charging other devices at the same time.

Pros: Can charge multiple laptops while charging other devices, compact, affordable

Cons: Doesn’t support Samsung’s 45W smartphone charging

This 100W charger is smaller than most included charging bricks that come with laptops these days and meets their full power needs. For example, Aukey claims it can charge the power-hungry 16-inch MacBook Pro in 1.8 hours, at least if it’s the only device connected to the charger.

If you connect two laptops to the Omnia via USB-C, the USB-C ports will reduce to 45W each, which is enough to power two MacBook Airs at the same time. If you’re looking to charge laptops that require over 45W, the Omnia will work best as a single-laptop solution. 

The two USB-A ports can charge at a 12W maximum each, but are reduced to 6W each if you have two laptops connected to the USB-C ports. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station for iPhone and Apple Watch

Mophie charging stand

The Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand is an ideal charging station for your pre-iPhone 12 iPhone , AirPods (with wireless charging), and Apple Watch. iPhone 12 users should look at the Belkin Boost Charge Pro.

Pros: Perfect for desks or night stands, ideal for Apple users

Cons: Mophie is slow for iPhone 12, Belkin doesn’t support pre-iPhone 12 generation

If you’re looking to charge your daily Apple portable Apple devices that you regularly charge overnight all in one place, the Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand should be near the top of your list. 

The Mophie charges iPhones that support wireless charging up to 7.5 watts, which is fine for any iPhone that supports wireless charging before the iPhone 12. It will also charge your Apple Watch with the magnetic charging pad that props the Watch up in horizontal mode, and there’s a dedicated charging pad for AirPods with wireless charging.

If you have the iPhone 12, consider Belkin’s Boost Charge Pro instead, as it uses Apple’s MagSafe technology and wirelessly charges the iPhone 12 at 15W — faster than the Mophie above. It also features wireless charging for your Apple Watch and wirelessly charging AirPods. — Antonio Villas-Boas, Senior Tech Reporter

The best charging station for travel

Zendure_Passport_Travel_Adapter

The Zendure Passport is a clever travel adapter that fits international outlets and offers one USB-C and three USB-A ports to charge your mobile devices.

Pros: Clever design, works in more than 200 countries, charges five devices at once, auto-resetting fuse

Cons: Chunky, can slide out of some outlets

If you frequently fly abroad for work or pleasure, then you should consider the Zendure Passport travel charger. This global travel adapter works with outlets in more than 200 countries and it also provides four charging ports for mobile devices that can deliver a total of 30W.

It’s quite a chunky adapter, measuring 2.24 by 2.8 by 2.5 inches, and it comes in black or white. There’s a blue LED on the bottom that lights up when it’s plugged in, and Zendure’s signature ribbing runs around the outside.

This charger plugs directly into the wall and has four sliders on the side that enable you to choose the correct plug for the EU, US, UK, or Australia. These four plug types will fit the outlets in most places you’re likely to visit. You can also plug into the other side using devices from any of these countries. On the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port, marked in blue, and three USB-A ports. The USB-C port supports the Power Delivery standard and offers up to 30W. The USB-A ports are rated at 5V/2.4A for 12W each. The AC output is 6A (600W at 100V or 1,500W at 250V). 

This travel adapter has accompanied me on every trip I’ve taken for the last couple of years and it has served me well in the US, the UK, and across Europe. Being able to charge two phones, a smartwatch, a tablet, and a camera battery from one outlet can be very handy. It has also served my family of four, keeping all our phones charged up, and still offering an outlet for a laptop.

You will need your own charging cables, but you can effectively charge five devices at once with this travel adapter. It is quite bulky, so I’ve occasionally found it’s a tight fit with some outlets. If you have a lot plugged into it the weight can also begin to pull it out of the outlet. 

One feature that has proved very handy is the auto-resetting fuse. Fuses inevitably blow occasionally, but this will cut-off automatically for safety, then reset and be usable again, without you having to worry about changing a fuse.

There’s an older version of the Passport that just has four USB-A ports, so make sure you get the newer one with the USB-C port. It comes with a 24-month warranty. — Simon Hill

How fast does your device charge?

Here are the charging speeds of several popular devices:

Device Charging speed
iPhone 11 18W wired, 7.5W wireless
iPhone 11 Pro 22.5W wired, 7.5W wireless
iPhone 12 20W wired, 15W wireless (with Apple’s MagSafe charger), 7.5W with standard Qi charger
iPhone 12 Pro 20W wired, 15W wireless (with Apple’s MagSafe charger), 7.5W with standard Qi charger
Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S21 Ultra 25W
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 45W

What else we considered

Aukey_QC3_6Port_Charging_Station

You can pick up a wide variety of other charging stations and USB charging hubs that will meet your charging needs. Here’s a small selection of the ones that didn’t quite make our list, but are still worth considering if you’ve yet to see something you like. 

  • AUKEY Quick Charge 3.0 6-Port USB Wall Charger: The affordable Aukey 6-Port Desktop Charging Station has two Quick Charge 3.0 ports marked in orange, four green ports rated at 2.4A apiece, comes with a detachable, 4-foot power cable that plugs directly into an outlet, and can deliver a total of 60W. It may be worth choosing over the Anker if you need that extra port, but the boxy design leaves something to be desired.
  • Anker PowerPort Atom PD 4: This charging station has two USB-C ports that support the Power Delivery standard and two USB-A ports. It can deliver up to 100W. That means you can plug in two laptops and two phones and have all four charge up at once. If you have a new MacBook or Pixelbook and want to charge it alongside your phone, then this could be the ideal charger, but it is expensive.
  • Vogek 5-Port 50W Charging Station: This doesn’t quite match our top pick from Satechi, as it only has five ports, but it’s a similar design, with slots to hold your devices neatly. One advantage of this charging station is that it comes with a mixture of eight short charging cables, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
  • Amazon Basics 60W 10-Port Wall Charger: If you need a large capacity, no frills, wall charger, you won’t find anything much bigger, or cheaper, than this charging station from Amazon. It can supply 60W in total to up to 10 devices, but ports are capped at 2.4A each and there’s no support for any fast charging standards.
  • Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock: This is another stylish charging dock for the nightstand that’s designed to accommodate an iPhone and Apple Watch. Instead of plugging in, it wirelessly charges your iPhone, and it has a USB-A port for a third device. The only reason this didn’t make the list is the high price. — Simon Hill

How to choose a charging station

To find the right charging station for you, there are a few questions to ask. There are also certain features that you may want to consider before you buy. 

How many devices do you need to charge?

The first thing to work out when you’re shopping for a charging station for your gadgets is how many ports you need. Count up your phones, tablets, smartwatches, and any other devices that need frequent charging. Remember that you’ll also need charging cables for each one.

Not all ports are created equal

As you’ll see when you peruse our guide, many charging stations offer a mix of ports. You might find USB-A and USB-C, and you may also find that some ports are capable of faster charging rates than others. It’s also quite common for charging stations to have some ports that support certain charging standards and others that don’t. 

Get the right cables

You can always use the charging cable that came with your device, but if you’re buying new cables, make sure they’re fit for the purpose. Look for certified safe cables that can deliver the charging rate you want. We like these 4-inch Anker Powerline Lightning cables and these 8-inch Aukey USB-C cables for keeping things tidy. 

Where will you put the charging station?

Think about where you’re going to put your charging station and consider what size you can accommodate. You will need a wall outlet handy and space to rest your devices while they juice up. It’s a good idea to choose somewhere out of sight because there will be a tangle of cables. We have one on a bookcase in the upstairs landing and another tucked away under a side table at the end of the couch in the lounge. We also use a magnetic cable tidy that helps us quickly find the end of an unused cable and keeps things from getting too messy.

Is charging rate important?

For people planning to plug in overnight, there’s little point in paying a premium for fast charging, but if you want to be able to top up quickly, charging rate matters. Check what charging standards your phone or other device supports and look for a charging station that can deliver. There’s USB Power Delivery, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standard, and a host of other manufacturer-specific charging technologies. 

Check the safety features and warranty

You’ll be plugging some of your most prized possessions into your chosen charging station, so it’s important to think about safety. Cheap, uncertified chargers can fail, damage your devices, or even cause a fire. Stick to trusted brands, check the reviews, and look for safeguards covering surges and overheating. It’s also a good idea to check the warranty and review people’s experiences with customer support before you buy. 

Check out our other tech accessory guides

native union

The best charging cables

Although most devices come with charging cables, it’s smart to have several on hand in case yours breaks, gets lost, or you simply need to charge multiple devices at once. These are the best charging cables for iPhone, Android, and other devices. Whether you need a lightning cable or a USB-C cable, there’s an option for you here.


The best phone chargers

We’ve rounded up the best phone chargers of all kinds so you can finally have more than one charger on hand.

We’ve included fast-charging options, ones for USB-C-to-USB-C cables, and more. Regardless of your charging needs, you should find an option in our guide.


The best iPhone cases for every model

There’s a seemingly endless variety of iPhone case out there, so we’ve rounded up the best ones we’ve tested from top brands.

These case makers have options for every model of iPhone, so whether you have an iPhone 8 or an iPhone 11 Pro, you can get the right case for your phone.


The best iPhone accessories for every model

No matter which iPhone you have, you can find tons of different accessories for your device. We’ve rounded up the best chargers, cases, cables, and other fun accessories that you might want to have to make the most of your device.

Read the original article on Business Insider

6 ways to care for your laptop charger and power cord to extend its life

Laptop power cord
Protecting your your laptop power cord from damage will save you money and stress.

  • Maintaining the integrity of your laptop charger will help ensure you can safely charge your laptop with it for longer.
  • Tightly wrapping your laptop power cord is among several reasons it breaks down faster.
  • Avoiding contact with table edges, exposure to liquids and more can help prevent wearing down the rubber protecting the wires inside your cord.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

A laptop charger is essential to have on hand, and replacing one is a pain (and can be expensive.) There are a few simple tips to follow when it comes to extending your laptop charger’s life. 

Laptop chargers have two parts: a transformer and a power cord. The transformer is the brick that converts the current from your power outlet from AC to DC, and the power cord connects the charger to the outlet. 

Over time, transformers can overheat, which can cause internal damage. Simultaneously, any section of your power cord can wear away and expose the wires inside.

How to care for your laptop charger and power cord

Macbook charger
Laptop charger health can save you money and unexpected stress.

Maintaining your laptop charger’s integrity will help ensure you can safely charge your laptop with it. Here are six ways to do it. 

Avoid tightly wrapping your laptop power cord

Wrapped laptop power cord
Wrapping your charger tightly can damage the wires.

While it may be tempting to wrap your laptop power cord in a tight pattern to keep it organized, doing so can shorten the life of your charger. This practice puts repetitive stress on the thin copper conductors inside power cords and can cause them to break. 

To avoid this, loop your laptop power cord loosely to avoid crimping the wires and if you can wrap it a different way each time to avoid repetitive stress on the same section.

Use a power strip

GettyImages 1143499309
Consider a power strip to avoid any electrical damage to your laptop’s power cord.

But not just any power strip––make sure it has a built-in surge protector. In addition to offering convenience (allowing you to plug in multiple devices with only one outlet), power strips with surge protectors can protect your laptop, phone, and other electronic devices from power surges that can damage your device.

Ensure the transformer has room to breathe

Laptop charger transformer
Your transformer can get overheated and damage your charger wires.

The transformer can get hot during the charging process. To avoid overheating while your laptop is charging, make sure it’s placed somewhere with plenty of airflows (e.g., not wedged in a couch cushion), especially if you know you’ll be plugged in for an extended period.

Avoid contact with sharp edges

Power cord on table edge
Resting power cords on the edges of desks and tables can wear them down.

Exposed wires are a big no-no, and extended contact with sharp surfaces like table edges can wear away the rubber protecting the wires in your laptop power cord. 

Whether you often move your power cord from one place to another or have a designated charging hub, ensure your setup doesn’t expose these delicate wires to sharp edges.

Keep your power cord away from water

Glass of water next to computer
Try and keep your cord and your computer away from liquids.

Water and electronic devices don’t mix, so it’s essential to avoid situations where your laptop power cord could be accidentally exposed to water as this can cause electrocution, damage to your laptop, or both. This means not charging your laptop in or near your kitchen or bathroom. 

If your laptop charger comes into contact with water, disconnect it from the outlet at once and move it away. Thoroughly dry the charger and make sure it is completely dry before deciding whether to use it again.

Use different cords to avoid overuse during transport or storage

Device cords
Keeping multiple cords for all your devices can help you avoid charging hiccups.

Of course, this means you’ll have a backup when one breaks down. But opting to have two in your possession is about more than being proactive. It can help reduce the wear and tear of both — and will likely improve their life span.

Reserve a cord specifically for travel, and leave your other charger in your living room or bedroom. Only use the travel cord while you’re on-the-go and the living or bedroom cord while you’re working in the house and in those rooms.

This will help you avoid pulling, stretching, and wrapping your cords as frequently. 

3 easy ways to charge a laptop in your car when you’re working on the goWhy is my laptop hot? How to troubleshoot and cool down an overheated laptopTips for fixing an iPhone or iPad charger that appears to be broken or frayedA full guide to wireless charging, including how it works and the best models to buy

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best deals from Amazon’s week-long Samsung sale include discounts on the Galaxy S21, 4K TVs, and more

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Samsung Q90T 4K TV

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your entertainment center or mobile device, there are several compelling Samsung deals available on Amazon. 

That’s because Samsung has launched a special week-long sales event on Amazon called  “Samsung Week” that runs from February 22 – 28 and includes discounts on a wide variety of Samsung gadgets.  

The promotion heavily discounts TVs as well as mobile devices, tablets, earbuds, soundbars, and other devices. In addition to the ongoing deals, Samsung will add new “Deal of the Day” listings throughout the week. You can find a full list of all the Samsung deals on Amazon here

Although there are several worthwhile TV deals below, it’s worth noting that these discounts apply to Samsung’s 2020 TV models. The company’s 2021 TV lineup will be launching in the coming weeks, so those who don’t mind spending more to get the latest tech might want to wait. 

We’ve looked through all of the deals and rounded up the best ones here:

TVs

Samsung Q70T 4K TV

85-inch QLED Q80T 4K Smart TV (medium)55-inch QLED Q80T 4K Smart TV (medium)75-inch Q800T QLED 8K Smart TV (medium)65-inch QLED Q800T 8K TV (medium)
Smartphones, tablets, and wearables

galaxy s20 ultra

Galaxy S21 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S21 Plus (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S21 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy Tab A7 (medium)
Earbuds and soundbars

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Galaxy Buds Live (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Q900T Soundbar (medium)Q70T Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Read the original article on Business Insider