You probably use it every day without giving it a second thought. The cable that charges your smartphone is an essential part of your tech gear, but is it doing its job in the most efficient way possible? The best ones in the market can charge your phones faster, hold up against daily wear and tear, and loop up easily in your bag for tangle-free storage.
Your choice of charging cable, particularly the end connectors, will depend on the devices you own. Most smartphones, adaptors, tablets and game controllers come with the now ubiquitous USB-C port. An industry standard, the USB-C has drastically reduced the need for varying connectors rolling around in a dusty drawer.
"USB-C is the norm for Android phones today, and, perhaps, soon, the iPhone, as well. The European Union (EU) has asked Apple to switch to a USB-C port on their devices, instead of the lightning interface," Chris Fernando, a Dubai-based tech journalist and reviewer told us.
Not only is it convenient in terms of clutter, but it's also the standard for fast charging in Android phones and Apple products. You're looking for the latest generations of USB, which are 3.1, 3.2 and 4.0. "All super-fast chargers use the 3.2 technology; it also transfers data faster than older versions," added Fernando.
By the end of the day, we all want a robust wire that'll juice our phones and other electronic devices as fast as possible. But, pause to consider if you want the same cable to transfer data between two devices. Fernando said: "Not all charging cables can act as a data transfer cable, so when your phone is connected to the laptop, the wire might not support file transfer between the two. However, data cables can transfer and charge your device".
Most cables that come with our smartphones support both. If there's heavier data involved, try USB PD (Power Delivery), which carries more data and delivers speedy charge at the same time, granted your ports are PD-enabled. This means it's capable of delivering 100 watts of power (though, the latest update maxes out at an impressive 240W), so PD charges your larger, power-hungry PCs and workstations easily.
"Go for a USB PD cable if, say, you want to charge your tablet while transfering important work files from the charging source," said Fernando, adding that you can also tap into a makeshift second screen with a PD cable. For instance, Samsung DeX mode, where your Galaxy phone's user interface can be cast onto a desktop, could be achieved with a USB-C or USB-A to USB-C PD cable.
We share our pick of the five best-rated charging cables on Amazon, from lightning connectors to older micro USBs. Get them as early as tomorrow with Prime’s one-day delivery.
1 Best Overall: UGREEN USB C to USB C Cable, 3m
- Supports PD fast charging up to 100W
- Capable of charging smartphones, laptops, hard drives and handheld game consoles
- Long three-metre cable
- Flexible, durable
- The thickness of the cord can be hard to manage, say reviews
Enjoy moderate-speed 480mbps (megabits per second) transfer speeds with UGREEN's USB-C PD cable, which supercharges your devices within minutes. Plug it into your PD-enabled devices, and get up to 100W power, meaning a Dell XPS 15 laptop can charge 68 per cent in just 35 minutes. One of its best aspects is the nylon braided covering, which allows it to twist, bend and spiral to get to your device, no matter how difficult the path may be to get there. In UGREEN's extensive list of compatible devices, there's the Huawei P series, MacBook, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S series, Xiaomi phones and many more. Reviewers list this cable as their go-to for all charging and data transferring needs, though do note that it's an older USB 2.0 generation with slower transfer speeds than its successors.
2. Best Lightning Cable: Anker USB C to Lightning Cable Powerline+ III, 6ft
- MFi-certified, meaning it works with Apple devices
- PD support charges phones 50 per cent in just 30 minutes
- Supports data transfer between MacBook and iPhone/iPad
- Braided cord
- Only 480mbps transfer speeds
Another winner from Anker, the PowerLine+ III claims to last 35,000 bends in its lifetime, and many happy reviewers testify to that fact. It’s MFi-certified, which means Apple’s quality testing team has given it the green light (MFi stands for 'made for iPhone/iPod/iPad'). This is crucial because cables that lack the certification may not work as well, and even damage your device. Coupled with PD fast-charge ability, the cable delivers 18W power to your iPhone and iPad, if you own a PD adaptor. As with our best overall, however, the data transfer speeds max out at 480mbps. Still, you can use the USB-C connector with a power bank, car charger or MacBook for emergency fuel.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.
3. Best for Charging and Data Transfer: Spigen USB4 Cable, 2.6ft
- 100W PD fast charging
- Transfers 5GB in one second
- Supports up to 8K displays
- Backward compatibility
- Doesn't have a braided covering, though reviews do add that it's durable still
What's going to give you the best data transfer and charging speeds? A USB4 cable is capable of 100W Power Delivery fast charging, transferring 5GB worth of data in a second and supporting 8K displays via Thunderbolt4. This is ideal for graphics professionals and artists, who carry out heavy editing on multiple 4K screens. Don't worry, even if you don't own new-gen devices, USB4 is backward compatible with older USB 2.0 and USB 3.2 gadgets. Spigen's wire is also USB-IF-certified, so it's safe to use. The cable length is a comfortable 0.8 metres. Reviewers marvel at how affordable the cable is, given its extensive capacity. They love using a single cable for all their charging needs, with laptops, tablets and phones.
4. Best Long Charging Cable: Fasgear 5m USB-C Cable (2-pack)
- Great length for charging away from the power source
- Reinforced braided cord for durability
- Fast charging for Android phones
- 18-month warranty
- Only for devices with USB-C compatibility
If you and your partner use Android devices or smartphones, and need a relatively long cable that’ll travel under desks or your bed, choose this two-pack. With data transmission speeds of up to 480mbps and fast charging, you can juice up your devices and transfer data quickly. With nylon braided technology, the cord is extremely durable and will last for a long time. It's compatible with flagship handsets, like Samsung Galaxy Note and Ultra, Huawei P series and Google Nexus. Reviewers find it perfect for charging their phone in bed or across the room. Because its connectors are USB-A to USB-C, the cable works great with game controllers, cameras and power banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers an 18-month warranty if your cable is defective in any way.
5. Best Universal Cable: Anker Powerline II Charging Cable
- Charges micro USB, USB-C and lightning devices
- Qualcomm Quick Charge-compatible
- Lightning connector is MFi-certified
- Decent one-metre length
- No data transferring
Charge a wide range of devices by switching between three connectors - micro USB, USB-C and lightning. The cable starts with a USB-A head and ends in interchangeable tips that are attached, so you're never losing any. Anker's lightning connector is certified by Apple, too. The good news for Android devices is that it supports Qualcomm Quick Charge, which reviews attest to. Thanks to the micro USB, you can charge your Bluetooth speakers, e-readers, cameras and GPS devices, as well. Users say it's durable enough to be their daily charging cable, but do note that it doesn't transfer any data.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.