While some Android manufacturers have included wireless charging in their devices for some time, it only hit mainstream consciousness when Apple added this feature to its iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X in 2017.
Those phones - along with the following year's XR, XS and XS Max handsets - work with any wireless charger dock, pad or stand that follows the Qi (pronounced 'chee') standard. But which charger is best? In this article we round up our recommendations.
Can I use a third-party wireless charger with an iPhone XR, XS or XS Max?
The phones don't currently ship with a wireless charger, but the universal Qi standard means you can choose from a wide range of third-party wireless chargers, safe in the knowledge that they will work with the iPhone 8, X, XS, XS Max and XR.
Apple is working on its own wireless charging pad called AirPower, which will be big enough and smart enough to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods at once. We expect it'll come at a high price, and is yet to become available to buy.
How much power do I need?
To begin with, Apple's iPhones were capable of 5W wireless charging, but with iOS 11.2 this increased to 7.5W. That's still not particularly fast, when you consider that wireless charging on Samsung phones can go up to 15W. In 2019 we could see Android phones that wirelessly charge at up to 27W.
It's important to note that not all wireless chargers come with a wall plug, which means that even if your iPhone and wireless charger support 7.5W or even 10W charging, you'll need to use a more powerful wall plug than a 5W iPhone plug (like the 30W USB-C adapter from Apple - £49/$49).
Now that we've explained the technical stuff, let's take a look at some of the best wireless chargers for iPhone.
1. Choetech Dual Fast Wireless Charger
One of the best alternatives to AirPower as we wait (and wait, and wait) for it to go on sale, Choetech's Dual Fast Wireless Charger can support two iPhones, or other Qi-compatible phones, at the full 7.5W at once.
It's likely to be significantly cheaper than Apple's own device, available direct from Choetech for $39.99, which is around £30. You can also find this dual-wireless charger over at Amazon US for the higher price of $52.99.
With five coils tucked away inside, the charging pad is about the same size as an iPhone XS Max. It's sleek in design, with a meshed top surface not unlike what you'd expect to find on a speaker, which aids grip. There's also a subtle LED to signal operation on the front edge, rubber strips to hold it to the desk and vents to aid heat dissipation.
2. Native Union Dock
The Native Union Dock lets you charge compatible iPhones standing up rather than flat on a surface, which is handy if you want to glance at notifications or even use Face ID without picking up the phone. (If flat charging is more your thing, consider the company's smart and grippy Drop charger instead.)
It offers up to 10W fast charging speeds but only comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable, so you'll have to use your own plug or fork out for a larger power supply if you want 10W. But it's the most premium wireless charger we've used and it works excellently, with a nice fabric texture to the unit and the power cable.
Perfect for desk or bedside table.
3. Dodocool Fast Wireless Charger
Dodocool's Fast Wireless Charger operates at up to 10W: that's actually faster than iPhones can handle right now, but adds a bit of future-proofing. It's almost unbeatable at this price, just £13.99 in the UK and $16.99 in the US, but doesn't look or feel cheap.
Just 69g in weight and only 10mm thick, this compact wireless charger is square in shape with soft rounded corners. It has a matt surface and a C-shaped rubber strip that helps hold an iPhone in place. It won't move on a desk thanks to some handy rubber feet, and vents allow heat to escape.
With just a small LED that lights up green when charging is in operation, there's no chance of this tiny device keeping you awake at night. A great deal.
4. Anker PowerWave 7.5W Pad
Anker is well known in the world of charging and offers lots of wireless pads and stands. Our pick would be this slightly more expensive option which has a great spec and comes bundled with a Quick Charge 3.0 mains adapter.
If someone in your household is an Android user, it's also good to know that (despite the product's name) it can ramp up to 10W on supported devices.
The pad is well designed, with a fan in its base to prevent overheating and a small blue activity LED that is functional but won't keep you awake at night. We like the light grey non-slip surface too, and it can charge wirelessly through cases up to 5mm.
5. Belkin Boost Up Bold Wireless Charging Pad
Belkin was first out the door with a pad marketed for iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, and the Boost Up Bold Charging Pad is compatible with the XS, XS Max and XR too. It offers up to 10W, but you can find the 7.5W version, which costs slightly less, via the Apple and Amazon links above.
Belkin's offering is a neat black or white disk that has an LED to indicate when your phone is charging, and an AC adapter is included.
6. Ted Baker Connected wireless charger
It isn't really surprising that this Qi-compatible charging pad is at the upper end, price-wise, bearing in mind its fashionable label.
You're definitely paying for the brand, then, but the product does its best to justify the price tag in other ways. It looks great, has just the right weight and texture so it doesn't move around annoyingly on your desk or bedside table, and doesn't force you to be overly fussy about placing your phone on exactly the right part of the pad (the shape of the pad under your fingers also helps guide the device on to a chargeable area, we found).
It's rated at 10W, which will be handy if Apple raises the limit for iPhones beyond the current 7.5W or if you want to use it with Qi-compatible Android devices as well.
7. Mophie Wireless Charging Base
Mophie's Wireless Charging Base is a simple black disk capable of charging the new iPhone XS/XS Max and iPhone XR along with the older iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X models.
The charging indicator is a small light that shines downwards onto the surface of whatever you've rested it on, which we expect could be a bit tricky to spot but at least it can't get covered up by the phone itself, unlike the Belkin charger.
It typically ships within a week if you choose the free delivery option, though you can get it by the next day if you pay the premium.
8. ESR Wireless Charger 10W
The ESR Ultra-Slim Wireless Charger supports the iPhone 8 up to the new XS and XR. It uses a metal frame that dissipates heat faster than plastic ones, while the bottom has an anti-skid rubber pad.
ESR claims its charger should charge the iPhone up to 1 hour faster than other wireless chargers. The Fast Charge Mode will need a Quick Charge adapter that's not included, although it does come with a 1m USB cord and lifetime warranty.
9. Thinkbee Wireless Charger 10W
The Thinkbee Wireless Charger works with iPhone models from 8 up to XS and XR. It uses two charging coils which, according to Thinkbee, charges the iPhone up to 1.4 times faster because it more effectively covers your device's charging area.
The Thinkbee charges the iPhone at 5W out of the box, but you can get a faster charge if you supply a more powerful adapter.
10. Moshi Symbus Q
If all you want is a wireless charger, then the Moshi Symbus Q is overkill - you can get one for a lot cheaper than this.
But what makes the Symbus Q interesting is that it doubles as a USB-C dock, making it ideal if you want to expand the functionality of a modern MacBook while keeping your iPhone topped up.
The charge base is coated in a soft fabric with rubber ribbing to prevent slippage, and supports speeds up to 15W - faster than the current iPhone top speed, so there's plenty of future-proofing here.
Beyond that, you get two USB-A ports, HDMI, and ethernet, and it will double as your MacBook charger too.