If you're wondering why your laptop will happily charge from some USB plugs but not others, the answer is USB-C Power Delivery. We've rounded up some great examples you can buy right now.
It's not quite as simple as searching for a charger with Power Delivery support, however. While some laptops will charge from a 30W adaptor, others require significantly more power. These chargers range in output - as of May 2021, up to 240W! - so to find a compatible device you really need to know what is required by your particular model of laptop.
If you're looking to fast-charge a smartphone that promises charging of, say, 65W, do note that many third-party Power Delivery chargers will not support protocols such as PPS (Programmable Power Supply) or SCP (Super Charge Protocol) that is required by proprietary fast-charging standards. You can expect 18W charging from such devices, regardless of the theoretical output of the USB-C port.
Choetech PD100W Charger - Best Overall
- Excellent performance
- Excellent value
- Compact design
- Two PD outputs
- May be overkill for some laptops
The problem with PD chargers with enough oomph to power a USB-C laptop is they can be super-expensive, and you have to be extra careful that the adaptor you choose is capable of delivering sufficient power for your particular device - as well as any laptop you might upgrade to in the near future.
We love this Choetech 100W PD charger because it is future-proofed, supporting the maximum 100W Power Delivery output on a single port. Even when both USB-C outputs are in use, each is able to deliver 45W, which is sufficient for fast-charging a phone, tablet and many (but not all) laptops.
It's also competitively priced for a 100W charger, supports international voltages and, because it uses GaN tech, it's a diddy little thing for such a powerful device.
Unless you need additional USB ports, we really can't see how you'd be better served by another Power Delivery charger.
UGreen GAN X 100W Fast Charger - Best Performance
- Two 100W USB-C PD outputs
- Versatile with four outputs
- Good value
- Sticks out from wall some distance
This UGreen device is an absolute beast of laptop charger, and it's now finally available in the UK.
We tested the UK three-pin model, which has a slightly different design to those available in the UK and EU - necessarily so, because the elongated design and sheer weight (268g) of this thing would likely have trouble staying attached to the wall without that third prong to steady itself. Those models have a taller, more rectangular design, with folding plugs to make them more compact for travel, but the core specs are otherwise the same.
Actually we quite like the design, and it feels much better made than some cheap plasticky chargers. There are no angular edges here, with every line smoothed out and rounded to soften its appearance. The outer casing is a matte gun-metal grey, and all the necessary tech specs are hidden out of sight where the adaptor plugs into the wall. It's not overly bulky, despite its weight, thanks to the GaN tech inside.
But it's really not about what it looks like; it's about what it does - and this UGreen GAN X 100W adaptor has some serious power behind it.
There are four USB ports in all - three USB-C and one full-size USB-A - two of which support a 100W output, with the other two rated at 22.5W. There's a maximum power output of 100W, which means when you use more than one port the power rating will be reduced, but it's still possible to get up to 65W on either of those two 100W USB-Cs.
This UGreen adaptor supports multiple charging protocols, including Power Delivery 2.0 and 3.0, Quick Charge 4+ and PPS, and it will work with pretty much any device that charges over USB.
Note that you can purchase this adaptor with or without a USB-C cable. If you are buying one separately or providing your own, you'll need to make sure it is capable of carrying up to 100W.
Choetech PD 65W Charger - Best Value Wall Charger
- Excellent value
- Compact design
- Dual-USB outputs
- No PPS/SCP support
If you don't need the 100W power of Choetech's alternative Power Delivery charger, this 65W model lets you step down a little in performance and price.
It swaps out its brother's second USB-C output for a USB-A with support for Quick Charge 3.0, making it an ideal device for simultaneously charging your phone and your laptop or tablet, whether it supports USB-C, Micro-USB or Lightning.
Like the 100W model it uses GaN tech, which means it is relatively compact as laptop chargers go.
Anker Nano II 65W GaN II PPS Fast Charger - Broadest Device Support
- Reliable brand
- Supports PPS
- No cable supplied
- Only one output
Anker is perhaps one of the best-known names in charging tech, and this single-port PD charger is attractive to us for several reasons.
Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology has made chargers a fraction of the size of silicon-based models only a couple of years old, and once considered small themselves.
Anker’s new Nano II chargers utilise next-generation GaN II tech that transmits energy more efficiently and operates at twice the frequency of the first generation of GaN - making these chargers even smaller.
We haven’t seen PD chargers this small before. They are tiny – about the size of Apple’s weedy 5W iPhone charger but over 10x more powerful. The 65W Nano II charger weighs just 132g and comes in at 41.7-x-36-x-44mm. There are even smaller models at 30W and 45W.
Moreover, they support not only Power Delivery, Quick Charge and Anker's own PowerIQ smart charging, but also PPS. This means it stands out among other third-party adaptors in its ability to fast-charge smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 that require the Super Fast Charging protocol for their proprietary charging standards.
On the downside, there is only one output, which means you can charge only one device at a time and it'll need to support USB-C.
Zendure Passport III - Supports the Most Devices
- 65W output
- Supports six devices
- Supports PPS
- Works as a travel charger
- Currently available only on Kickstarter
- Not shipping until April
The Zendure Passport III is a compact GaN charger that caps out at 65W, but makes up for it with plenty of ports and the fact that it doubles as a travel adapter – plus a range of snazzy gradient finishes.
The main USB-C port supports the PD format at up to 65W, and PPS charging at up to 45W. For slower charging, you’ll find an additional three USB-C ports and one USB-A port, which go up to 15W speeds.
What’s handy is that in addition to all those USB ports you can also use this as a travel adapter. Sliding connectors will fit into US, European, Australian, and British wall sockets, and you can plug a similar range of plugs into the Passport III from the other side.
You can buy it now from Kickstarter, with products shipping from April, at an early bird price of $39 – down from $69 at full price.
Syncwire PD 30W USB-C Charger - Cheapest Charger
- Unbeatable value
- Compact design
- Supports PPS
- 30W not enough for all laptops
- No cable supplied
- Only one port
This 30W Power Delivery charger from Syncwire keeps things simple with a single USB-C output for charging your phone, tablet or - potentially - laptop.
There's support here for PPS, but it's worth pointing out that 30W is not enough to charge all laptops, so do check your spec to see if it's appropriate before you buy. It should be plenty for a MacBook Air, but perhaps not some of the more powerful Windows laptops.
If it's powerful enough for your needs, this is a really appealing device - significantly more affordable than other devices in our round-up, and thans to GaN tech it has a sleek, compact design that is easily portable. We like the smooth, rounded corners, and the tiny LED that sits just above and lights up the USB port when in use.
We tested the three-pin UK version of this plug, but a two-pin variant is also available. You should note that no USB cable is supplied in the box, as is very often the case for these devices.
Nekteck 111W USB C Charger - Best Value Desktop Charger
- 5 USB outputs
- 87W PD
- Ideal for desktop use
- 100W USB-C cable in box
- No Quick Charge/PPS support
- Messy rear design
This is a slightly different breed of charger than those we've discussed so far in this group test, and is what we call a desktop charger. Rather than hugging the power socket, it has a 1m extension cable that lets you plug it into the wall but bring the USB outputs themselves up to a more accessible area on the desk.
It has five USB outputs in all, making it an ideal device if you have multiple devices to charge. However, not if you have multiple laptops to charge...
Four of these five ports are full-size USB-As, rated at 12W. That's pretty fast if you want to charge a phone, but it's not Quick Charge-fast. Indeed, Quick Charge is not supported; nor are proprietary protocols used for various phone makers' fast-charging standards. And the device's maximum output with all ports in use is 111W, which means you can't run them all at full power at once.
Yet we are drawn to the versatility of this desktop charger, plus the impressive 87W output of the single USB-C PD output. This will support any USB-C laptop, although Nekteck claims some, such as the Dell XPS 13, might restrict charging to 45W with third-party chargers.
We're impressed to find a 100W USB-C cable is provided in the box, as this will be required to fully utilise that output.
Our only real gripe is with the design: viewed from one side it looks fine, plastic, yes, but with smooth rounded corners and a small, unobtrusive logo in the bottom corner; viewed from the other side the entire surface is filled with tech specs and safety information. Of course, this being a desktop charger, you can simply turn it on its side.
Sadly, this particular model is not currently available in the UK.
Anker PowerPort III 65W - Best Travel Charger
- Interchangeable plugs for international travel
- Three USB outputs
- No PPS support
Anker's PowerPort III is interesting for two key reasons: first, it has three outputs (one 45W USB-C PD, and two full-size USB-As), which makes it super-versatile; and, second, supplied in the box are interchangeable plugs for the UK, US and Europe, making it an excellent travel charger.
This is another GaN charger, which means it is delightfully small for a device that is potentially going to be consuming suitcase room.
With a 45W maximum output for the PD port, do double-check this is sufficient for your laptop before you buy. It's also worth pointing out that unlike some of Anker's other adaptors, which support the PPS protocol required by some devices for their proprietary fast-charging standards, this one does not.
It does support PowerIQ, however, which is Anker's own intelligent device-detection tech, able to adjust the output for optimal charging of the connected device.
HyperJuice GaN 100W USB-C Charger - Highly Recommended
- Two 100W PD outputs
- Multiple outputs
- Travel adaptors
- Overkill for many users
As a GaN charger, the HyperJuice 100W USB-C Charger is much smaller than other PD chargers with multiple ports. It weighs 217g and will fit in your pocket - it's the width and length of a credit card, although deeper, of course.
At 100W (PD 3.0), it's also the most powerful we have tested - enough to full-speed power-up a large, top-end laptop plus other devices.
There are two 100W USB-C power ports, and two 15W QuickCharge 3.0 USB-A ports, which should be enough to charge most of your devices out of one charger. You could charge a laptop, tablet, and a couple of phones at the same time (maximum 100W).
It comes with US, UK, EU and AU pin converters, so should also do away with the need for a dedicated travel adapter.
The HyperJuice features over-current, over-voltage, overheating and short-circuit protection.
Satechi 75W Dual USB-C PD - Highly Recommended
- Multiple USB outputs
- Nicely designed
- Second PD port is low-power
A version of Satechi's desktop charger with two USB-C Power Delivery ports and two USB-A ports - especially useful if you're travelling with more than one power-hungry USB-C device.
However, do note that one will charge at the full 60W and the other at a more sedate 18W (fine for a phone, but unlikely to be enough to power a laptop).
The two USB-A ports are handy as most of us still have devices that require a charging cable connection into this old standard.
It is light enough for travel at just 214g.
How much power do I need to charge my laptop?
The easiest way to find out how much power is required to charge your laptop is to inspect the charger that was sold with it, if you have that to hand. Alternatively you can look for its specification on the manufacturer's website.
You're looking for a figure in Watts, although it may be expressed in Volts and Amps. If so, simply multiply these two numbers to get the figure you need. For example, a laptop that requires 12V/2A to charge will need a 24W USB-C PD charger (12x2=24).
Once you know what power rating you're looking for, finding a USB-C PD charger for your laptop or console is easy. Sometimes it can pay to get one a little faster than you need - it may be more expensive, but you'll be pleased you bought it if you later decide to upgrade your laptop.
Look out for newer GaN (gallium nitride) chargers that require fewer components than traditional silicone chargers, allowing them to be less bulky and also more efficient.
My laptop won't charge
The adaptor itself is only one piece of the puzzle, and the cable with which it is combined must also be capable of delivering the required amount of power. And these, frustratingly, come in all different types.
With Power Delivery now able to deliver up to 240W, the USB-IF group has implemented new 240W and 40Gbps certification logos in an attempt to take away some of the pain in working out the specifications of the various USB-C cables available to buy today, but even still the situation can be confusing. Read more about the differences in USB-C - and Thunderbolt - cables before you buy.
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