For a few bucks, a good USB car charger can charge your phone and other devices faster than the port that came in your car. After testing more than 60 models, we think the best car charger is the dual-port Nekteck PD 45W Type-C Car Charger. You can fast-charge phones, tablets, and laptops from its USB-C port, and simultaneously charge a second phone on its USB-A port. No other charger offers as much power for a better price.
Compared with the familiar USB-A port, the smaller USB-C port can charge most modern phones faster (if you’re using the right cable) and can even charge tablets and laptops. And the Nekteck PD 45W Type-C Car Charger provides the best of both worlds. When you’re using a USB-C–to–Lightning cable, the charger’s USB-C port can charge an iPhone about three times faster (at 18 watts) than the USB-A wall charger that comes in the box from Apple; your phone can charge from empty to roughly 50 percent in just half an hour while you’re sitting in traffic, say, or running errands around town. This Nekteck charger’s 45-watt output and included USB-C–to–C cable also support the maximum charge rate on Android phones (such as the Samsung Galaxy S10), the 2018 iPad Pro, and even many laptops. And you can use the 12-watt USB-A port at the same time to charge a second phone or other device with any USB cable you already have.
With two USB-C ports, the Scosche PowerVolt Power Delivery Dual 18W USB-C Car Charger (CPDC8C8) is what you should get if you want to fast-charge two modern devices at the same time. Each of the PowerVolt’s USB-C ports supports full 18-watt charging, so you can charge two modern phones at top speed; that means an iPhone’s battery will go from 0 to around 50 percent charged in half an hour, compared with about 35 percent on a standard 12-watt USB-A charger. A dual–USB-C setup is rare—this is the only such model we’ve found from a company we trust. You can still use this charger with older phones, such as an iPhone 7 or earlier—they just won’t charge any faster than on a USB-A charger.
We think getting a faster USB-C charger is worth spending a little more, but if you simply want a good, inexpensive power source in the car, go with ZMI’s PowerCruise C2 36-Watt Dual USB Car Charger with QC 3.0. All two-port, 24-watt chargers from reputable companies in this price range work just as well as any other, but unlike similar models we tested, this ZMI charger stands out because it supports Quick Charge 3.0 on both ports, offering slightly faster speeds to devices that support that standard. It’s also made of metal instead of the cheaper-feeling plastic of almost every other charger.