When Apple canceled AirPower, it created a market for a product that could charge all of your AirPower-enabled Apple devices. And other manufacturers seized the opportunity to fill the void. AirPower is dead, long live AirPower!
What to Look for in an AirPower Alternative
AirPower was intended to be a charging device based on the Qi wireless power transfer standard. Beyond just a standard wireless charging station, AirPower had lofty goals of being a one-stop-shop charging device for all your Apple products that support wireless charging. The ability to just plop down an iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch on the AirPower without having to hunt for lightning ports would have delighted Apple fans everywhere.
It turns out that achieving this nirvana was not entirely possible. Apple couldn’t get all the features it wanted into a single device at a level of quality with which the company could be satisfied.
Here are the AirPower features we’re looking for in an alternative:
- Size: The charging pad area should be large enough so multiple devices fit easily.
- 3-in-1 charger: A simple charging mat typically charges a single device that’s usually the size of a cell phone. Dual charging pads can charge up to two devices simultaneously. The Apple Watch doesn’t necessarily work with all standard Qi charging pads. A proper 3-in-1 charger that advertises support for Apple Watch should provide a charging capability dedicated to charging it. Also, any Qi-certified charging station should be able to charge all Qi-certified devices—not just Apple.
- Device appropriate charging power: Power requirements for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods are not the same. A charging pad has to feed the right amount of power to each device. This might be as elegant as automatic device detection, or as simple as an intuitive design that implies where you should place certain devices on the pad.
Since Apple couldn’t get all these features into a single device, it’s reasonable to expect that other manufacturers can’t either. Let’s check out the alternatives.
Best Overall: mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad
If you’re an Apple fan to the core, you probably have an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and the new wireless charging enabled AirPods. The mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad ($140, at this writing) charges all these devices simultaneously. It provides intuitive locations for each of your Apple devices to ensure it charges each appropriately. This wireless charging system “just works,” and it takes care of the most important features AirPower brought to the table.
If you don’t have an Apple Watch, or you want a more cost-effective mophie device, take a look at the mophie Wireless Charging Dual Pad. This device charges your iPhone and AirPods in just about any position combination on the pad. The mophie dual earns bonus points for its additional USB-A charging port, which you can use to charge your Apple Watch or another device.
One of the best in the business, mophie has been setting the bar for mobile power solutions for some time now.
The Premium Pick: Nomad Base Station
If you’re interested in a more upscale look, consider the Nomad Base Station ($140 at this writing). Functionally, it checks all the same boxes as the mophie 3-in-1. It can wirelessly charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. The “premium” qualities of the Nomad are its elegant look, and the padded leather that provides a soft, grippy surface for your devices.
A larger iPhone fits better on the right side of the Nomad, and it doesn’t bump into the Apple Watch charger. The process of elimination reveals that the left side of the pad is for your AirPods. While this might be the obvious layout, the Nomad base pad has three charging coils that allow for other layout possibilities.
The Nomad is right at home on any countertop or nightstand, but also looks perfect on an executive desk.
Best Modular: Nexgadget 3-in-1 Charging Stand
The Nexgadget 3-in-1 modular charging stand ($36 at this writing) is a bit of a hybrid. Yes, it wirelessly charges your iPhone and Apple Watch, but you plug your AirPods into a lightning port, and they rest on top of the charging tower. It’s still a clean look—no wires are visible. While the Nexgadget stretches the definition of wireless, it might be a better alternative for those who have AirPods without the wireless charging case.
The Nexgadget differentiates itself in a couple of interesting ways. First, your iPhone rests on a stand in either portrait or landscape mode. This is helpful if you want to be able to glance at notifications or use FaceTime hands-free.
Second, you can separate the Nexgadget into two components, and power each independently. This allows for more versatile placement options. Magnetic attraction and alignment pins that double as power transfer conduits easily recombine the two halves into a single device.
Wireless Charger,7.5W Fast Wireless Charging Stand Compatible iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max/XS Max/XS/XR/X/8/8+,Charging Dock Organizer Compatible Apple Watch,AirPods-No AC Adapter
The budget-friendly Nexgadget takes an innovative approach to most AirPower requirements.
The Budget Pick: Choetech Dual Fast Wireless Charger
If you don’t have an Apple Watch and would like a more affordable AirPower option, the Choetech Dual Fast Wireless Charger ($30 at this writing) might be for you. It’s a simple dual charging pad that can charge iPhone and AirPods (or two iPhones) in just about any position. It can’t charge a third device, but not everyone needs that.
The Choetech boasts five powerful coils across the width of the pad. In this configuration, it’s easy to locate a good charging position. It’s leather-like finish grips your devices and conveys a more premium feel.