Desktop chargers, multi-port USB chargers or whatever you want to call them may not be the sexiest tech gadgets we can think of, but beyond our core mobile computing devices - our laptops, our tablets, our smartphones - we can't think of a more useful gadget to have around the home. It's not so much a question of why would you want a desktop charger, but why wouldn't you want one? Also see our round-up of the best power banks and best charging cables.
Also see: Best Gadget Deals
Desktop chargers let you charge multiple phones, tablets and other USB-powered devices from a single mains outlet, and are great for freeing up some suitcase room on your travels. We round up the best desktop chargers and travel chargers you can buy in the UK in 2017. Also see: What is Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0?
When choosing a desktop charger it's important to consider the number of USB outputs it offers, the rating of each, and the total output of the device. A 10-port desktop charger is of little use if it can simultaneously support only three of those ports at full-speed. That said, it isn't unusual for a desktop charger to be unable to run all its ports at maximum power at once. Also see: Best MiFi 2017.
Many of the desktop and travel chargers we review here support intelligent technology that lets them recognise the attached device and automatically deliver the correct amount of power. Others will offer slow- and fast-charging ports for your phone, tablet or other USB devices. See all desktop charger reviews.
- RRP: £24.99
The Tronsmart Titan is the best desktop charger we've come across, faster and with more Quick Charge ports than any other, and for roughly the same amount of money as its rivals, just £24.99 at Amazon UK ($35.99 at Amazon US).
With a name like Titan, the size of this thing shouldn't be underestimated. At 292g and 160x81x28mm it's a beast, and roughly twice the size of the other desktop chargers in our chart. But the Titan is designed to sit on your desk and stay there, rather than go with you on your travels as a compact multi-charger.
The design is functional, a matte black box with flashes of gloss at the edges. Lying flat on the desk a Tronsmart logo is visble from the top, and around the back is a dedicated power switch that lets you turn off the charger without unplugging it from the mains - this will prove attractive to those who worry about trickle-charging devices munching away at their electricity bills.
From the front you can see five USB ports, each with a green plastic prong inside. In the world of charging green (or blue) is used to signal speed. And this desktop charger from Tronsmart has loads of it to hand.
We've seen desktop chargers that support one or two USB ports compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge. All five ports on the Titan support the technology, plus there's VoltIQ intelligent device recognition for phones and tablets that do not, allowing the Titan to deliver an optimum charge to suit the device.
Quick Charge 2.0 is a technology (now superceded by Quick Charge 3.0) that allows phones and tablets with certain Qualcomm Snapdragon processors inside to support faster charging that can see charging time reduced by up to 75 percent. The technology is usually seen in flagship devices but is becoming more commonplace, hence the need for five suitably equipped ports on the Titan.
When compared to other desktop chargers the Tronsmart Titan also has the highest maximum power output. Rated at 90W, it can deliver a full 18W to each of its five USB ports simultaneously. This means it will be as efficient with one phone plugged in as it would with five.
If, like us at PC Advisor, you're a bit of a gadget hoarder, a device that can simultaneously charge five phones or tablets at high-speed is a must-have. You won't find a better one than the Tronsmart Titan.
- RRP: £21.99 inc. VAT
Charge all your devices from a single mains power outlet with this super-fast multi-port USB charger. With Quick Charge 3.0 support it's a great fit for the LG G5 and more. The Tronsmart U5PTA desktop charger is available from Amazon UK for £21.99, or Amazon US for $29.99.
The Tronsmart U5PTA is the latest in a series of Quick Charge 3.0 devices we've tested. Quick Charge 3.0 is the latest revision to Qualcomm's fast-charging technology, and it can charge compatible devices up to four times faster than a conventional charger. It's backward-compatible with Quick Charge 1.0 (up to 40 percent faster than a standard charge) and Quick Charge 2.0 (up to 75 percent faster charging), which will be handy if you aren't eligible for a phone upgrade just yet.
This Tronsmart is a five-port USB charger, and only one of these ports supports Quick Charge 3.0. That's not really an issue, since right now you'll be lucky to have one QC3 device, let alone five. The four remaining ports are rated at 2.4A (12W), but with a maximum output of 7.2A shared between these ports the Tronsmart can't simultaneously run all four at full-speed. VoltIQ technology allows it to recognise your device type and deliver the optimum charge to each, however, ensuring that the available power is distributed in the best possible way. Should all four connected devices demand a lot of juice, the Tronsmart can supply 1.8A or 9W to each, which is still pretty fast.
Looks might well be the deciding factor here. We've always found desktop chargers incredibly useful because we don't like having to search for a vacant wall socket everytime we need to charge our phone, nor having to decide which device's charging should take priority over anothers. (And who wants to fill their hand luggage with phone-, tablet- and camera chargers when it should be filled with bikinis and shoes?) It can get to the stage where you have so many USB cables coming out of plug sockets that everything starts to look a bit messy. A desktop charger such as this lets you clear away all that clutter, so it makes sense that the device itself is small and unobtrusive.
The Tronsmart U5PTA is a compact device, no larger or heavier than most desktop chargers we review at 165x156x56mm, and ideal for taking with you on your travels. A black rectangular plastic brick with matt sides and gloss edges, it's designed to lie flat on a desk, with all the legends save the Tronsmart logo hidden from view on the bottom of the device. The USB ports each have a black prong, while the Quick Charge 3.0 port is blue, making it instantly recognisable. As with most such devices the power supply is built-in.
Aukey 10 Port USB Wall Charger with QC 3.0
- RRP: £24.99 inc. VAT
Now this is what we call a multi-port charger! If your needs are great, the Aukey offers a staggering 10 USB ports for charging all your phones, tablets, smartwatches and other USB devices at once. And surprisingly, it's not expensive: £24.99 from Amazon UK ($38.99 Amazon US).
The Aukey 10 Port charger is, as you might expect, a rather large device. Measuring 167x79x27mm and weighing 296g it's roughly two- to two-and-a-half times the size of the five-port chargers listed here. In common with the Tronsmart Titan there's an on/off switch and a 2m power cable so you can cut off power for all devices without needing to reach down to the wall outlet.
Whereas the other chargers here feature USB outputs on their side, and can be laid flat or on their edge, this Aukey has 10 ports across its top surface so must lay flat on a desk. To stop dust and other grime getting into those ports when not in use it supplies plastic port covers, which will be very handy until they get lost.
Two of the 10 USB outputs support the fastest Quick Charge 3.0 technology, which we're beginning to see filter through to desktop chargers though many here are rated QC 2.0. Each of the remaining 'AiPower' (another term for smart charging) USB ports is capable of 2.4A (a fast 12W), though the box itself can support a maximum output of only 70W. This means if you use all 10 ports at once they will operate much slower. Nevertheless, the Aukey will be a great buy if your family has multiple devices to charge daily.
Zendure A-Series 4-Port USB charger
- RRP: £29.21 inc. VAT
Desktop chargers are intended to help clear away cable clutter, yet the vast majority of them also add to it by the requirement for a long cable that reaches from the mains to the charger itself. That's why we particularly like Zendure's take on the concept, and its A-series multi-port chargers plug directly into a mains outlet.
Don't be fooled by the US plug shown in the picture here, since the Zendure also comes with adaptors for EU and UK plug sockets, making it more useful as a travel charger than many of its rivals. It's also reasonably compact, and the 4-Port version measures just 85x63x32mm and weighs 176g.
The 4-Port version is better suited to this round-up, offering one Quick Charge 2.0 output and three Zen+ outputs that can intelligently recognise your device and offer anywhere between 1- and 2.4A. The max total output across all four ports is 40W.
In common with Zendure's highly recommended range of power banks, the A-Series USB chargers are incredibly durable, with an ABS+ aluminium case that is fire-resistant and all but indestructable.
A carry case is provided, allowing you neatly pack together both charger and any necessary cables.
SyncWire 4-Port Quick Charger
- RRP: £10.49 inc. VAT
The SyncWire 4-Port Quick Charger is a more compact solution than many of the desktop chargers in this chart, itself slotting directly into a mains power outlet. This will suit if you want to avoid messy power cables, but only where your sockets are within easy reach.
At £10.49 on Amazon UK ($16.99 Amazon US), the SyncWire is one of the cheaper options here. It’s built entirely from plastic, but feels well made and sturdy, and yet surprisingly heavy at 191g. A US plug tucks into the base of the device for easier transportation, and supplied adaptors for the UK and EU will happily slot over this and remain securely in place with no wobble. If we had one quibble, we’d like to see a bag supplied to keep all parts together.
It’s width isn’t much more than the width of a UK power socket, so it is unlikely to restrict other devices in use. And we like the fact that its height is all above the socket, so you won’t have any skirting board dramas.
In terms of tech the SyncWire supports four full-size USB outputs, with two rated at 1A/5W (not very exciting) and two at 2.4A/12W (very fast though without support for Quick Charge). A LED on the front sits above the SyncWire logo and lets you know when it’s in use.
The total maximum output is 6.8A (34W), which means all four can simultaneously operate at full-pelt. However, thanks to i-Smart device-recognition tech, each connected device will draw only the power it requires.
We didn’t find the SyncWire got overly warm in use, which is reassuring. Indeed, SyncWire is pretty confident with its USB Quick Charger, offering a lifetime warranty.
CHOEtech 60W 6-port Desktop USB Charger
- RRP: £19.99 inc. VAT
Desktop chargers are useful when you have more mobile devices to charge than spare power outlets, and this CHOEtech is one of the fastest desktop chargers we've seen. The CHOEtech is available to buy from Amazon UK for £19.99 and Amazon US for $29.99.
With six USB outputs in total, two of which are compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, this CHOEtech Desktop Charger is seriously fast. It has a 60W total output, which is double that of many desktop chargers on the market, and means that with all six ports in use each can average a fast 10W output.
Even if your devices don't support Quick Charge, the CHOEtech's fast-charging ports can each offer up to 12W output. Smart technology can recognise your device type and automatically deliver the correct amount of power, too.
Leaving aside the sheer usefulness of this fast multi-USB charger, the CHOEtech is also a nice-looking device. It's compact, just 71.5x29x88.4mm and 158g, with a black plastic casing that has a smooth, rubbery soft-touch finish and rounded edges. The two Quick Charge ports are instantly recognisable by their blue- rather than black prongs.
The CHOEtech feels very well made and as though it has been built to last. A power lead (supplied in the box along with a Micro-USB cable) plugs into its rear and, at 1.5m, is long enough to be tucked away behind the desk and hidden out of sight.
The design isn't entirely without fault, however. With the device specifications and Qualcomm Quick Charge logo covering half of one of the two larger panels, you're probably going to want to lie this device flat on a desk to conceal it. We prefer to stand our desktop chargers upright to save space, but doing so would put this information on full view on the device's right side.
There are also two CHOEtech logos on the top of the device, which is a bit OTT, and a large 'USB charger' legend imprinted on the rear, which is unnecessary.
Lumsing QC 2.0 40W 5-Port USB Desktop Charger
- RRP: £12.99 inc. VAT
If a desktop charger is going to be on show in your living room or elsewhere in the home, it should look good. We love this baby blue desktop charger from Lumsing. It looks attractive, and better still it offers amazing value at £12.99 from Amazon UK ($17.99 from Amazon US).
The Lumsing is a plastic device with angular corners and a small lumsing logo on the front surface. It doesn't feel as tough as, say, the Zendure, but you're unlikely to be throwing it into a backpack and taking it away from the home or office.
It's a five-port desktop charger that is capable of a total output of 40W, which means with all five ports in use you'll get on average 8W from each. However, one of these ports supports Quick Charge 2.0, and the remaining four support smart recognition technology that delivers an optimum charge for your device type. Even so, there are certainly faster desktop chargers out there if you have many USB devices to charge at once.
Weighing 200g and measuring 3.6x2.3x1.1in, the Lumsing is no larger than it needs to be, and a 1.5m power cord enables you to plug it into the mains but place the box itself somewhere more useful.
Anker PowerPort+ 5 USB-C
- RRP: £29.99 inc. VAT
You can charge multiple phones and tablets - even USB-C-connected devices - from a single power outlet with the Anker PowerPort+ 5 USB-C desktop charger. It’s available from Amazon UK for £29.99, or in the US via Amazon.com at $36.99. That’s on the pricey side for a desktop charger, but in return for your cash you’ll get peace of mind from the fact Anker is one of the best-known names in charging tech, plus new features we’ve not seen elsewhere.
There isn’t a huge amount of difference between desktop chargers. Primarily they are differentiated by the number of USB outlets they feature, at what speed they are able to charge your connected devices, and the maximum total output that dictates how many of those ports can be simultaneously supported at full-speed.
The Anker PowerPort+ 5 USB-C doesn’t lead the pack on any of those fronts, but it stands out as one of the first desktop chargers we’ve seen to support USB-C at 3A, which will be handy if you own one of the increasing number of compatible devices, such as Google’s latest Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Anker says it can also charge the new MacBook at the full 29W required.
The PowerPort+ also boasts four fast-charging (12W) full-size USB ports for charging your other gadgets. With a maximum output of 60W it can easily support all four of these at full-speed, although if you are also using the USB-C port the amount of power available may be restricted. Fortunately, PowerIQ technology means the Anker PowerPort+ will recognise your device type and deliver the optimum charge - it’s possible that not all your devices will draw the full 12W available from each USB output.
Remember that this box will sit on your desk at all times, so appearance is important. The Anker PowerPort+ is nicely designed with the power supply built in, even if it’s a little larger than some desktop chargers we’ve seen at 103x78x28mm. Its smooth black casing with rounded corners should fit into any office or bedroom without causing an eyesore.
Aukey 5 Ports USB Charging Station
- RRP: £17.99 inc. VAT
Aukey's five-port desktop USB charger is an excellent solution for simultaneously charging multiple mobile devices - especially if one of those phones or tablets supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0.
The Aukey five-port desktop USB charger is available from Amazon UK for £17.99 ($24.99 at Amazon US), making it slightly cheaper than its Choetech rival. It also looks nicer on the desk, a stylish and compact black rectangular plastic box with smooth, polished sides, a matt top and fewer logos and legends that are always on show.
But the Choetech is 'technically' better, a 60W desktop USB charger (this Aukey is 54W) with an additional USB output that, importantly, is a second Quick Charge 2.0 compatible output. Indeed, whereas only one of the Aukey's five outputs support Quick Charge 2.0, two of the Choetech's six do so. If you have multiple compatible devices you may find the Choetech a better buy, but if you don't you'll find better value in the Aukey.
The four 'standard' USB outputs on the Aukey power bank have a shared total power output of 36W, meaning with four devices plugged in there is 9W available to each. It doesn't quite work like that, though, because the Aukey will recognise the type of device attached and deliver the optimum amount of power (Aukey calls this tech AlPower). This means that if one device is drawing only 5W, there will be more power available to the remaining ports, and it can in turn charge your devices faster.
iHarbort 5-Port USB Charger
- RRP: £14.99 inc. VAT
All of us these days live in homes with multiple devices that charge over USB, many of which need recharging every single night. It quickly gets to the point where you have more devices than you have mains power outlets, and messy USB chargers and cables sticking out of wall sockets in every room of the house. Desktop chargers such as this five-port USB charger from iHarbort remove the need for all that clutter and free up your power points, allowing you to fast-charge multiple USB devices from a single socket.
The iHarbort isn't the fastest multi-USB charger we've seen, with its five ports offering a total output of 40W, but it does come in at a great price - just £14.99 at Amazon UK or $13.99 at Amazon US.
With five devices connected each is capable of 8W; with fewer attached the ports can offer a much faster 12W. We've seen USB chargers that can support all their ports at 12W, and those that offer Qualcomm Quick Charge super-fast charging. But if your devices don't support Quick Charge - perhaps you're an iOS family and use mainly iPads and iPhones - then this iHarbort may be all you need.
As with most such devices the iHarbort claims to offer intelligent technology that recognises your device type and delivers only the amount of power it requires. In truth this isn't really something you need to worry about, since USB will only ever draw the amount of power it requires. However, with all the ports in use, you can be confident that the iHarbort is divvying up that 40W of available power the best way it can.
The iHarbort is a compact, sleek charger with the power supply built-in to the main box. With its plain gloss exterior, this 98x60x26mm, 169g unit can slip unobtrusively into any home environment. It operates silently, and efficiently.
Something that's often displeased us with multi-USB chargers is the logos, legends and information printed all over them, which can look ugly on display. The iHarbort has an iHarbort logo at the top left of one of its sides, but the only other information is printed out of sight on the rear.