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The best iPhone 12 adapter and charging cables for your new iPhone

iPhone 12
(Image credit: TechRadar)

With the iPhone 12, Apple is removing the adapter that has come with every single mobile phone since they were invented. While almost everyone has an extra adapter, there will be some that will want a newer one to replace an aging one with slower charging.

Until very recently every iPhone came with a 5W charger, but iPhones have supported fast charging since the iPhone 8. For that you’ll need an 18W charger or better, and it should have a USB-C connector, especially since the cable that comes with the iPhone 12 is USB-C.

The bigger and better Apple's batteries get, the bigger the screens and the more powerful the processors the company attaches to them on the iPhone. That means we all still need to charge our iPhones regularly.

Below you'll find advice on what to look for in a charger, followed by our picks for the iPhone 12 adapter.

Best iPhone 12 Chargers

1 Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter

2. Anker PowerPort III Nano

3. Anker PowerPort III Duo

4. Satechi 75W Dual Type-C PD Travel Charger

Wireless vs wired charging

Wireless isn’t as fast, but it’s more convenient. The latest iPhone 12 features MagSafe technology that allows you to wireless charge your phone faster at 15W.

Most standalone charging pads expect you to provide the actual adapter, and can’t deliver more power than you put into them – so even if an iPhone wireless charging pad can deliver 15W, it can’t do that if you’re plugging it into a charger that only gives it 5W.

How to pick an iPhone 12 adapter

Don’t just look at the price. Look at what you want to do now, and what you might want to do next year. For example, an 18W charger will fast charge your iPhone, but it’s not powerful enough to run a MacBook Pro; a more powerful one may be a better option for your future tech arsenal.

It’s also wise to go for USB-C: that’s where everything is heading. Apple has already moved to US-C on the iPad as well as Macs. Even the cable that comes with your new iPhone 12 has USB-C plugging into the charger and Lightning on the other end to plug into the iPhone. 

Below are our favorite iPhone 12 adapter and charging cables. We’ve chosen them on three key criteria: quality, usefulness and value for money. Whether you’re a road warrior or a box set binger, these chargers and cables are the best ways to keep your iPhone 12 powered up.

What to look for...

In a charging block

Power and ports matter here. For fast charging (iPhone 8 onwards) you’ll need 18W or more and USB-C, not the older, more common USB-A.

In a charging cable

Durability is key. Nylon braiding reduces tangling; look for reinforcements where the cable meets the connector, as that’s where cables tend to fray.

In a wireless charger

Many wireless chargers deliver 5W, which is fine for overnight charging, but 7.5W charges faster.

The best iPhone chargers and charging blocks

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter

Offers a big speed boost

Specifications

Wattage: 18W
Weight: not stated
Ports: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
18W is much faster than 5W
+
Typical Apple quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Typical Apple pricing
-
Should have come with your phone

Apple recommends this charger for the iPad Pro and iPhone 8 or later, all of which support fast charging. With no charging brick inside your iPhone 12 box, it’s a somewhat essential investment. The difference between the 20W charger and the ancient 5W one is dramatic: with the former you can get about 50% charge from flat in half an hour, but the latter takes about six years.

Buy it from Apple

(Image credit: Anker)

Anker PowerPort III Nano

The tiny 20W charger

Specifications

Wattage: 20W
Weight: 106g
Ports: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
Empty List

Reasons to avoid

-
Empty List

If you're looking for the smallest brick for your iPhone 12 then look no further. The Anker PowerPort III Nano offers the same wattage as the official Apple charger but in a smaller and lighter package. It supports Anker's latest PowerIQ 3.0 to fast charge competing phones as well.

Buy it from Amazon

(Image credit: Anker)

Anker PowerPort III Duo

Two ports and high speeds

Specifications

Wattage: 36W
Weight: 145g
Ports: USB-C x 2

Reasons to buy

+
Fast charging for iPhones
+
Also has a USB-A port

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit bulky
-
Not quite powerful enough for a laptop

If you want to be able to charge more than one device at a time, this dual USB-C weilding Anker PowerPort III Duo is a good bet. It supports 36W fast charging and works with all iPhones and fast charges iPhone 8s onwards.

It’s half the price of the Apple one and has one high-speed USB-C for fast charging and a second USB-A for other devices. Cables aren’t included.

We’ve used many Anker chargers for many years now and we’ve found them to be utterly reliable.

Buy it from Amazon

Satechi 75W Dual Type-C PD Travel Charger

(Image credit: Satechi)

Satechi 75W Dual Type-C PD Travel Charger

One charger to power them all

Specifications

Wattage: 75W
Weight: 212g
Ports: 2 x USB-C, 2 x USB-A

Reasons to buy

+
Three ports
+
Fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
It’s massive
-
Like a whale

Most of us live in households where there’s more than one kind of device to charge. While this Satechi is not incredibly light or small, it is pretty useful and powerful. 

The Satechi 75W Dual Type-C PD Travel Charger can throw up to 60W through its USB-C connector, which is enough to charge a laptop, and still fast charge your iPhone 12 using the secondary 18W USB-C connector. You also have two additional USB-A connectors for charging an Apple Watch and one more device such as the AirPods.

Buy it from Amazon

The best iPhone charging cables

(Image credit: Anker)

Anker Powerline Plus II USB-C to Lightning Cable

Very fast and built to last

Specifications

Length: 0.9m
Connections: USB-C to Lightning

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly fast
+
Virtually unbreakable
+
Lifetime guarantee

Reasons to avoid

-
Empty List

The Powerline Plus II is exceptionally tough and exceptionally quick, and may be the last Lightning cable you ever buy. That’s because it’s designed for USB-C connections, which deliver much faster charging than USB-A ones – assuming your charger delivers the right amount of juice, of course.

It works with high-powered chargers including Apple’s ones and is lab-tested to withstand 30,000 bends, which means it should last thirty times longer than lesser cables. Anker is so confident that it offers a lifetime warranty: this cable should last much longer than any of your iPhones or iPads.

Buy it from Amazon

(Image credit: Anker)

Anker Powerline USB-C to Lightning Cable

A cheaper, weaker option

Specifications

Length: 1.8m
Connections: USB-C to Lightning

Reasons to buy

+
Cheaper than the Powerline Plus II
+
Lifetime guarantee

Reasons to avoid

-
Not braided

If you’re not fussed about getting a braided cable and want a 1.8 meter one, the original Powerline cables are very good value: you’ll be hard pushed to find a similarly good quality USB-C cable of the same length for the same price.

The question here is whether you want the increased strength of the braided Powerline Plus II, which is only a little bit more expensive. Where that one has been lab-tested to survive 30,000 bends, the original Powerline has only been tested to 12,000 bends – although like its sibling it does come with a lifetime warranty.

Buy it from Amazon

(Image credit: Amazon)

AmazonBasics DoubleBraided Nylon USB-A to Lightning Cable

A cable with a lot of length

Specifications

Length: 3m
Connections: USB-A to Lightning

Reasons to buy

+
It’s really long
+
It comes in nice colors

Reasons to avoid

-
USB-A, not C
-
Some colors cost more

This 3 meter cable may be the most useful iPhone charging cable ever made. It’s available in much smaller sizes, but there’s a reason we love the long one. It’s long enough to stretch from a wall socket to the sofa or from your in-car charger to the kids’ iPad in the back seat.

Length isn’t the only good thing here. Nylon braiding means it doesn’t tangle easily, and the sleeves at the joint between the cable and the connector prevent the bending that can lead to dangerous fraying.

The colors range from utilitarian grey to hard-to-lose red and rose gold. Our only niggle is that the lightning end feels a little looser than Apple’s own cable, especially in our iPad.

Buy it from Amazon

(Image credit: Belkin)

Belkin Boost Charge USB-C cable

A high-quality choice that gives you room to maneuver

Specifications

Length: 1.2m
Connectors: USB-A to Lightning

Reasons to buy

+
A little bit longer
+
Typical Belkin quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited color choice
-
Not braided

Sometimes little things make a big difference: at 1.2 meters (4ft) compared to the more common 0.9 meter (3ft), Belkin’s Boost is a little bit longer than the average iPhone charging cable.

That extra foot means it’s a lot more useful: it’s long enough to reach from the floor socket to the sofa without you having to sit in an awkward position; it’s long enough to reach the bedside table without having to rearrange the furniture; it’s long enough for the passenger in your car, and so on.

It’s a typically high quality Belkin product, although personally we prefer braided cables to smooth ones.

Buy it from Amazon

Contributor

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Carrie Marshall (Twitter, Google+) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to .net, MacFormat, Tap! and Official Windows Magazine as well as co-writing stacks of how-to tech books. "My job is to cut through the crap," she says. "And there's a lot of crap."