Charging Wires

Create order from chaos and end competition for chargers.

I (mostly) love my phone, iPad, Kindle and other ‘devices’, but there are challenges that come along with the convenience. One is the mess created by the tangle of charging wires in the kitchen and on my desk. Another is the competition among family and guests for the charging stations and wall plugs. Even with multiple chargers, we sometimes have devices lined up in our kitchen waiting for their turn at power, or plugged into outlets all around the house.

The solution is to get a charging base which plugs into the wall and has multiple USB charging ports. If you have the counter space, get a charger with a stand to hold your devices while they charge. You can get a base with as few as four chargers or go big with an organizer that will charge ten gadgets at once. Note: Most of these chargers are made to charge phones, iPads, Kindles and other devices. Laptops need to be plugged directly into wall outlets.

Considerations when choosing a charger are:

How many devices can charge simultaneously?
How fast will they charge?
Surge protection?
Reliability?
Design? Do you want a charging hub with a stand for devices?
Wattage? The higher the wattage, the more devices can charge at the top rate.

There were a few tech terms I learned as I chose my charger. In case they are new to you as well, here are your vocabulary words for today:

Lightening cable.

This is what Apple calls the cable that powers iPhones and iPads. Many companies make lightening cables that are compatible with Apple products.

Charging IQ or Power IQ.

Charger companies have competing products that offer charging technology which senses each device and optimizes the charge it sends to power each up as quickly as possible.

From the www.Wirecutter.com

There is more than one kind of USB connection, here is your guide:

USB Mini (older cameras and hard drives), USB B (Most common USB), USB C (future devices), USB Micro (Kindle and lots of mobile devices), USB A (source port on computers and chargers).

USB 2.0, 3.0 refers to the speed at which the USB connections can transfer data. A higher number promises faster speed.

Now that you have the lingo, here are the best charging hubs I’ve found from four to ten USB ports. Most are sold without cables so that you can choose the connection to your devices. I have suggested cables at the end of the article.

The Anker 40 watt, 4-Port charger has Power IQ and Voltage Boost for fast charging. It has a foldable plug for travel. 2.5 × 2.5 × 1.1 inches. White Anker charger is $21.89. Black Anker Charger is $25.99. You need to buy the cable separately.

The Anker 60 Watt, 6-Port charger without cables. 3.9 x 2.8 x 1 inches. $22.99

This 7-Port, 84 Watt, Skiva Charging Station has a version of power IQ so that each device charges optimally. The stand will organize your devices. One Skiva Hub without cables is $49.99.

This 10-Port, 94-Watt Unitek Charging station has Quick Charge technology and the power to charge up to 8 iPads simultaneously. The dividers in the stand are movable to accommodate devices of varying widths. It provides protection against power surges, overheating and over-charging. Unitek 10-port 94-Watt Charger for $65.99.

This Unitek 10-Port, 160-Watt Charging Station has eight fast USB charging ports which optimize the charging speed for your devices. It will charge 8 iPads at once. In addition, it has one Quick Charge 3.0 port which works with Samsung Galaxy. It also has one USB PD port which will charge a MacBook Pro and Samsung S8. It charges USB C laptops, phones and tablets at full speed.

It protects devices from power surges and over charging. The dividers are adjustable to accommodate devices of differing sizes. Unitek 10-Port, 160-Watt Charging Station with laptop compatibility for $89.99.

When you have chosen a charging hub, you will need to get cables to connect it to your devices. I suggest short cables 4” to 8” to reduce clutter. Amazon has a good selection with the USB A connector on one end and the right connection for your device on the other. I use mostly Apple devices which require a certified lightening cable.

Amazon Basics makes a 4” lightening cable. This works well on the chargers without device organizers, but it is not quite long enough to reach a device on its side on a stand. Comes in black or white. $5.99 each.

This Apple Certified 5” comes in white or black. Four for $24.99.

I chose the 7” cable for my USB stand. It reaches from the USB port to my iPad when it is standing on its side. These Apple Certified 7” USB-Lightening Cables come in a four pack for $14.99.

These 8” lightening charging cables come in white or black. Four for $12.99.

 

These 8” Micro USB charging cables power up Android devices, e-readers like Kindle and other Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nexus and Nokia devices. In white or Black. $9.99 for four cables.

Just so you are “In the Know” ….

The future of charging may not require wires at all. Apple has introduced the AirPower mat which will charge the iPhone8, Apple Watches and AirPods simply by resting the devices on the mat – no wired connection to devices. It will be available in 2018.