Tech

The simple secret to buying the best iPhone 15 USB-C charger

GaN chargersImage: Gordon Mah Ung

With the iPhone 15 adopting USB-C, you’re probably wondering what’s the “best USB-C charger” to pair with your new phone for the fastest charging.

The good news for iPhone 15 chargers (unlike Samsung Galaxy owners) is you don’t need to take a night-class in chargers to figure it out.

Just buy this charger for the iPhone 15

In fact, I’ll break it down in the easiest possible way for those who want the elevator pitch: Just buy this $15 Anker 511 GAN charger that’s tiny and can charge your phone at its maximum rate. 

I’m a big fan of the Anker 511 Nano 3 and have personally purchased at least four of them for personal use and “loans” to family members, who I have realized follow the book rule—you never lend books to people (because you never get them back).

Further reading: Best USB-C cables 2024: Get quality charging and data transfers

The Anker 511 GAN Nano 3 is basically the size of Apple’s original USB-A A1385 5-watt charger but can supply up to 30-watts over USB-C, and it features folding prongs so it won’t poke things in your bag or suffer a bent prong.

The 30-watt Anker 511 Nano 3 is best paired with the larger iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max, but if you have the smaller iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15, you can save $5 and just get the 20-watt Anker 511 Nano Pro instead (just note the Nano Pro doesn’t have folding prongs).

I trust ChargerLAB

Before we go too far, I should disclose that I have not been able to actually test Apple’s iPhone 15-series using the Anker 511 Nano 3 or any charger as I’m a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra user and don’t have access to an iPhone 15-series phone.

The thing is, I didn’t have to go through the painful process of charging and discharging the phone multiple times to make my recommendation, as I was able to simply watch ChargerLAB’s videos that did the work for me here. Yes, I peaked at someone else’s homework in class, but I fully trust ChargerLAB as the company actually makes several items including the Power-Z KM003C tester that I use when evaluating USB-C hardware.

ChargerLAB conducted tests of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the iPhone 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Pro and also the iPhone 15. ChargerLAB’s results shows the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro both max out at about 20 watts. The iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Plus, with their roughly 35 percent larger batteries, will typically charge at about 26 watts from empty.

ChargerLAB

Nerd Talk

In nerd talk, the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Plus will usually charge on the “9 volt rail” at about 3 amps while the smaller iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 will use the same 9 volt rail but draw about 2 amps. All four phones will initially start to charge at 9 volts, and eventually drop to 5 volts to trickle charge the battery to preserve its health.

This is normal behavior I’ve observed in testing the charging behavior of my daughter’s iPhone 14, which charges around 20 watts on the 9 volt rail at about 2 amps before dropping to 5 volts at the end. For the most part, it doesn’t look like Apple changed much of the charge circuits between the iPhone 14-series and the iPhone 15-series despite the iPhone 14 using Apple’s Lightning vs. the iPhone 15’s USB-C.

Gordon Mah Ung

Just buy any USB-PD charger

If your eyes are glazing over by now, the key take away from this is that it’s not complicated at all for iPhone 15 owners.

While I’m recommending the Anker 511 Nano 3 for most because I love its size, weight and cost, Apple’s straight-forward use of the USB Power Delivery standard means just about any quality USB Power Delivery charger that can deliver 9 volts at 3 amps—or from 20 watts to 30 watts will give you the fastest charging on any iPhone 15.

That means a Dell, HP, Lenovo or Apple laptop charger should work fine. Find a good deal on a Ugreen, Nekteck, or Satechi USB Power Delivery charger in the range of 20 watts to 30 watts or more? They should give you excellent fast charging. Want a multi-port charger instead? Go for it—you’ll be OK.

Gordon Mah Ung

Sure, the iPhone’s charging is a slower compared to Samsung’s Galaxy series, which can push 45 watts. But at least you don’t have to break your brain not only looking for a 45-watt charger, but one that also supports advanced PPS charging greater than 4 amps as well as a 5 amp charger cable to pair with it.

So either go with the recommended Anker options or just pick a trusted brand you like and don’t stress about it iPhone 15 owners.

One of founding fathers of hardcore tech reporting, Gordon has been covering PCs and components since 1998.

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Samsung Galaxy owners: Buy this GAN charger for the fastest charges

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