Everything you need to know about charging your device

Belkin device and phone charger

These days, the humble phone charger is anything but. As charging technology rapidly evolves, more options for how you charge a device have become available. As well as high-speed wall chargers, you can now choose a wireless charging pad, a power bank, or even use device-to-device charging on compatible phones and tablets.

While every charging method has a role to play, it’s important to be informed about the different types of technology/ This way, you can use gear that is safe and helps prolong the life of your device’s battery.  

Belkin phone chargers run the full gamut of cutting-edge charging tech, and are designed with your device in mind. That’s because battery health is every bit as important as fast and convenient charging – maybe more so! To work out which kind of charger is best for you, and in what situation, let’s take a look at the options.

Wired chargers explained

For many people, the term “phone charger” is still synonymous with the tried-and-tested wired charger. Until recently, premium phones came with a wired charger in the box, which was usually a decent little unit and did the job. Many devices are no longer shipping with the charging cable. This doesn’t have to be bad news; it means you can choose the best wired phone charger for your needs.

Belkin BoostCharge PPS fast charger
You can use the Belkin BoostCharge 30W wall charger with both iPhones and Android devices.

With USB-C and PPS Fast Charging, wired chargers are still the fastest way to charge your phone (or tablet). Top-end devices now support 45-watt charging, or even higher, and require a charger that can handle the job.

Belkin’s BoostCharge USB-C PD 3.0 PPS Wall Charger 30W, for example, is as simple to use as older technology, but it has Power Delivery 3.0 and PPS onboard, 30W charging, and can pump an iPhone 14 Pro to half-full in 23 minutes.

For something more hardcore, you can step up to the Belkin BoostCharge Pro line of wall chargers. These chargers use a technology called GaN – it stands for Gallium Nitride, which is what the semiconductors inside are made of. Don’t worry, there won’t be a test: all you need to know is that GaN chargers can safely and reliably push 108W to multiple devices at once.

On chargers like this, you’ll see the USB ports are labelled: Belkin’s four-port model has two 12W ports to handle older devices, a 30W USB-C port, and a 65-96W USB-C port for super-rapid charging of compatible phones. You might also be able to charge some laptops from this port, though it depends on your specific device.

Belkin wall charger GaN
With the BoostCharge Pro4-Port GaN 108W Charger, you can charge up to four devices at once.

What about wireless chargers?

A phone charger with wireless charging is super convenient, but not all devices support wireless charging, or they might not be compatible with every wireless charger. It’s a complex situation, but one that can be made simpler if you look out for devices (both phone and charger) that support the Qi wireless standard.

Qi-compatibility means you can be certain your device will actually charge, and that the charger itself won’t damage your expensive phone.

One of the great things about wireless chargers is that they allow for a range of form factors, including dual- or even triple-charging pads. So a single charger takes care of your phone, smartwatch, and another device such as wireless earbuds.

Belkin’s BoostCharge wireless range includes a basic Qi charger that keeps power to a modest 10W for maximum compatibility. There’s also a dual-pad version, and then the Pro line has those triple-pad setups. For devices that support faster wireless charging, you can get Belkin wireless chargers that support up to 15W too. These chargers also take advantage of Apple’s MagSafe tech, which incorporates a small magnet into the pad to keep your device secure.

Device-to-device charging

While we’re talking wireless, we should mention device-to-device charging too. This is where you place two phones back-to-back, or place a smaller device (like the aforementioned earbuds) on the phone’s wireless charging “coil”. All devices need to have “power sharing” or “device-to-device” compatibility (and that usually means being the same brand), but once everything lines up, you can use the battery of one phone to charge another.

When you put the two devices together, a notification should appear offering to start power sharing. You can choose which device is giving power, and which is receiving, and set rules for when to stop charging, such as when the host phone drops below 30% battery.

For now, device-to-device charging is more something that’s great to have in a pinch, rather than a feature you’ll rely on daily. But watch this space: portable power is only just getting started.

Power banks bring the best of both worlds

This brings us to power banks. These are essentially a big phone battery inside a dust-and-water-resistant housing, alongside some clever circuitry to manage the charging process itself.

A power bank, when used as a phone charger, is like a wall charger that doesn’t need a wall: plug your phone in and charge as normal. The power bank will have some kind of display to show how much charge it has left on board, such as a row of green LEDs.

Belkin’s BoostCharge range of power banks includes the Magnetic Wireless Power Bank 5K+, which combines wireless charging and Apple’s MagSafe connection. It attaches to the back of your iPhone (iPhone 12 or newer) and provides an extra 5000mAH of charge – and without any cables at all.

Belkin phone charger power bank 5k
An ultra-portable power bank that doubles as a phone stand? Belkin’s got you covered.

Naturally, the power bank does include a USB-C port so you can charge non-Apple devices, and in fact, this port can deliver a full 10W charge, while the wireless connection is limited to 7.5W. Don’t let these lower numbers fool you – when you’re using a power bank, the focus is on endurance, not quick charging.

This newer power bank from Belkin is a very slim and lightweight device, but you can sacrifice mobility for capacity and flexibility. The benefit is a power bank with a range of ports, a massive capacity (think, 10­–15 refills of an average smartphone), and a range of wattage and amperage outputs so you can use it with your laptop, portable games console, or other electronic devices.

Because of their very high capacity, power banks do take a while to recharge. Bigger power banks with 24000mAh or higher will need a good few hours to top up.

So if you’re planning to go literally off the (electric) grid for a while, make sure you put that power bank on to charge, at least a day before departure.

General charging tips

The technology in a high-quality phone charger often seems to get taken for granted. But there’s a lot going on in those clean white boxes: there’s circuitry and smarts to manage the flow of current, to avoid the build-up of heat where possible, to make sure voltages don’t exceed what the attached device can handle, and more.

This means you don’t need to worry about accidentally plugging a 12W device into a 65W port – the charger will only provide 12W of power. But if you plug a high-end phone like the Google Pixel 7 Pro into a 12W port, the battery won’t charge as fast as it can, and you’ll see the dreaded message on the lock screen: Charging slowly!

It’s not just the charger: the battery in your phone also has a surprising amount of “smarts” built into it. Among these is its ability to signal a charger to stop the current when it reaches a full charge.

This means you can leave your phone plugged in to a (good quality) charger all night, without worrying that the battery will get overloaded.

Good battery care

Letting a phone battery go absolutely flat and then leaving it discharged for a long time (such as leaving your tablet in a drawer for a year!) might cause some problems. Some batteries won’t charge again, while others may exhibit a reduced capacity.

And let’s not forget basic safety. Frayed cables can prevent your phone from charging properly, and if the charger has a cracked or damaged casing you should stop using it immediately. And if your phone gets super hot while charging, you should change the USB cable (and if that doesn’t fix it, get a new charger).

Another important peace-of-mind consideration is to use a charger that includes a Connected Equipment Warranty. This means that in the unlikely event that something happens to your device while using a charger, the manufacturer will support you with repairs or replacements. Belkin’s Connected Equipment Warranty covers repairs or replacements for devices valued at up to $2,500. As long as you use the device and charger as intended, you’re all good. It’s a great service not often seen in the device-charging world, and one that gives you greater confidence in choosing a charger that will last the distance.

Battery charging tech has come a long way and there are more options than ever. But now you know what each kind of charger does, you can choose the best for your needs. There are also sustainably-made chargers that use recycled materials, which is good for the environment too.

And if you use a quality charger, and keep good charging practices in mind, then prolonging the life of your device’s battery really is as simple as “plug and play”. The humble phone charger – not only is it anything but humble, if you think about it, it’s actually one of the most important gadgets in our day-to-day lives.

Find out more about charging your device on Belkin’s website