Buying a new MacBook charger from Apple can be an expensive game, and you’re not always getting the most bang for your buck. Here are our favorite alternatives to keep juice in your battery and cash in your wallet.
It is worth noting that there are several options available; you don’t have to stick to a single-device charger, for example. You can plump for a multi-device charger and save yourself a bit of desk space, too.
Shopping around for a charger is usually going to yield a cheaper (and potentially more hard-wearing) substitute that may even perform better than an official product.
Apple’s official-branded chargers cost $49, $69, and $79 for the 30W, 61W, and 96W respectively, so as you probably already know if you’re looking for a replacement charger, they charge a hefty premium for their products.
If you’re on the hunt for a USB-C aftermarket MacBook charger, then read on.
What to Look for When Buying a USB-C MacBook Charger
It isn’t simply a matter of grabbing the nearest charger off the shelf. There are certain pitfalls to look out for when you buy an aftermarket MacBook charger.
- Wattage: The wattage of the charger is probably one of the most important factors you need to be wary of. If you buy a charger with a wattage that doesn’t match your MacBook, then you may find that charging is incredibly slow. It may not even work at all.
- Mac Model: Knowing your MacBook model is also crucial when buying a new charger. If you don’t know the model of your MacBook, then you won’t know the required wattage output of the charger. Chargers can’t just be used with any device. The current models and respective adapters are:
- MacBook (2015 onwards): 30W USB-C adapter
- MacBook Air (2018 onwards): 30W USB-C adapter
- MacBook Pro 13-Inch (2016 onwards): 61W USB-C adapter
- MacBook Pro 15-Inch (2016 onwards): 87W USB-C adapter
- Charging Cable: Before you grab a new charger, check that it isn’t the USB-C charging cable at fault. You don’t necessarily need an official Apple cable (in fact, these can be a bit poor in terms of build quality and longevity). Also, don’t buy a $2 charging cable just because it is 6m long and super-cheap. While it may seem like a bargain, you will probably end up buying a new one again fairly soon.
Okay, now we know what wattage you need, what your MacBook model is, and that the cable isn’t damaged, it is time to shop. Here are our top five aftermarket USB-C MacBook chargers.
Best Overall: Anker PowerPort Atom III Slim
Anker’s PowerPort Atom III Slim is a great bit of kit, especially when it comes to charging multiple devices. Housed in a comparatively small 3.54 x 3.41 x 0.79-inch shell, this GaN (Gallium Nitride) charger boasts three USB ports (which share 20W across the three) and one USB-C port (with a 45W max output).
If you are unsure why GaN chargers are the next big (or small, actually) thing in charging devices, check out our guide. In short, they are more compact, more efficient, and more hard-wearing over time than their silicone counterparts.
The PowerPort Atom III USB-C port makes use of Anker’s PowerIQ3 tech, which maximizes the charging capability of the device to ensure your MacBook gets the boost it needs.
The top of the shell has a handy charging light in the center, so you can see when it is in use, and the front ports are all labeled in electric blue, so you can easily tell whether you’re using a PowerIQ or PowerIQ3 port.
The box also contains a handy mounting strip, so you can fix the PowerPort Atom III to the underside of your desk, making excellent use of otherwise redundant space. This also keeps your work surface free of clutter.
Anker 65W 4 Port PIQ 3.0 & GaN Fast Charger Adapter, PowerPort Atom III Slim Wall Charger with a 45W USB C Port, for MacBook, USB C Laptops, iPad Pro, iPhone, Galaxy, Pixel and More
Anker's PowerPort Atom III Slim packs GaN charging into a compact desktop multi-charger, with a USB-C port and three USB-A ports. PowerIQ tech is used to ensure charging efficiency remains constant.
Best for MacBook Pro: RAVPower 90W
A MacBook Pro is a thirsty little tyke, and you’ll need a charger with plenty of oomph if you want to get some fast-charging on the boil. This is where RAVPower’s 90W charger comes into play.
As you have probably already guessed, the charger is capable of delivering a maximum of 90W of power. This means it is even hardy enough to take on a 15-inch MacBook Pro; it can fast-charge one of these in approximately two hours.
The front of the unit, which plugs directly into the mains supply, features two USB-C ports so you can charge two devices simultaneously. This is a great feature if you’re using a MacBook and a power-intensive smartphone.
The RAVPower 90W is also a GaN charger, similar to the PowerPort Atom III, above. Because of this, it is a fairly small device and won’t take up much room in your laptop bag. It is also relatively unobtrusive when plugged into the mains.
The box contains the charger itself and a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.
Best Budget Option: Nekteck 45W
Despite being named after some sort of futuristic-sounding whiplash solutions corporation, Nekteck takes the Best Budget accolade. This 45W USB-C wall charger may only charge a single device at a time but, at $18.99, who’s complaining?
The charger plugs directly into your mains sockets and comes with a detachable 2-meter USB-C to USB-C cable. At 2.5 x 1.8 x 1.1 inches, it isn’t the smallest charger on the market, but it isn’t the heftiest, either.
The Nekteck is only capable of producing 45W, so it won’t charge your MacBook Pro when in use. You will only be able to charge a Pro in standby. It will, however, make light work of your MacBook Air or a standard MacBook, both of which only require 30W.
One neat feature is the intelligent charging, which optimizes the output of the NekTeck 45W depending on what device you have plugged into it. This means that charging should be faster and more efficient.
Nekteck USB Type C 45W Wall Charger with Power Delivery, 6Ft USB-C Cable Compatible with New MacBook Pro, MacBook Air 2018, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Google Pixel Galaxy (NOT Ideal for Note10/S10/10+PPS)
The NekTeck may only hit a maximum output of 45W, but at such a low price and with a USB-C to USB-C in the box, we couldn't overlook this simple, no-frills charger.
Best Compact Option: Aukey Omnia 65W
Aukey’s Omnia 65W charger contains GaN technology under the hood, so it makes sense that we would call this out as our best compact option. At 2.05 x 2.05 x 1.18, it is the smallest of the bunch, so it isn’t going to look unsightly when it’s sticking out of the wall.
This obviously means the Omnia is lightweight, too, so you can pop it in your bag for some portable power that won’t make a dent in carrying weight. And with a 65W output, the Aukey Omnia is great for charging anything up to and including the MacBook Pro 13″. This charger won’t tackle the MacBook Pro 15″ efficiently and charging will be very slow.
It is worth noting that the 65W is shared between the USB-C and USB-A ports, so if you do charge two devices at a time, the power is split. You get 45W from the USB-C and 20W from the USB-A ports respectively.
Honorable Mention: Runpower USB-C 4-Port
Runpower’s USB-C 4-Port is a great catch-all charger if you want to boost multiple devices at once. It features a 60W USB-C output, as well as an 18W USB quick-charge output and two standard USB outputs sharing a total of 12W.
The charger itself may be considered fairly large in terms of desk space, though. The profile dimensions are 4.1 x 2.9 inches and the power cable is only 1.2 meters long, so it is likely to take up a bit of space on your desk, particularly if you use the integrated base stand.
The Runpower will be able to charge a MacBook Pro, but only the 13″ model and it will be a bit slower as this MacBook requires 61W to charge efficiently.
You might consider $45.99 to be a little on the expensive side, but as this will charge several devices at once, it may be the solution you’ve been looking for.
USB C Charger Runpower 90W 4-Port Fast Charger with 60W & 18W Quick Charge Ports and Dual USB A Ports 12W, USB C Wall Charger for MacBook Laptop, Phone, Tablet and More
The ability to charge multiple devices at once makes the Runpower a great contender. There are multiple outputs so you can charge pretty much any device and save desk space too.