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 up to 100W, so to find a compatible device you really need to know what is required by your particular model of laptop.
RavPower PD Pioneer 65W 2-Port Wall Charger - Best Overall
This RavPower USB charger has a sleeker, more compact design than some, as well as an additional USB-A output. As Power Delivery chargers go it's also super-fast, rated at 65W - enough to charge any USB-C laptop.
In fairness, the amount of power your laptop draws might decide whether or not you use that additional USB port. Though it is capable of running at 15W, which is sufficiently fast for charging a phone or tablet, the device's maximum total output is 65W. That means using both outputs will force the PD output to max out somewhere closer to 50W.
We like this device for the fact it sits somewhere in between bulky muti-port desktop charger, and single-use USB-C PD charger. You almost certainly have a phone you'll want to keep topped up in addition to your laptop on your travels, and the PD Pioneer is a space-saving device that won't take up a huge amount of precious space in your laptop bag or travel case.
The RavPower feels durable and well made, and is no larger than it needs to be at 55x55x31.5mm and 125g. That's because this is one of the newer variety of GaN (gallium nitride) chargers, which require fewer components and are more efficient than silicone chargers. As a result, it's about 30% smaller than most chargers of this capacity.
The design does look as though you should be able to detach the UK three-pin UK plug to access a US or EU two-pin adaptor, but this thing isn't budging in our tests.
RavPower PD Pioneer 65W 4-Port Desktop Charger - Best Design
This is a really stylish dual-PD port charger from RavPower, which additionally has two full-size USB outputs for your other gadgets.
The majority of desktop chargers have a very similar design, so it's refreshing to see something new. This is a matte black rectangular brick, with smooth, rounded edges, an unintrusive RavPower logo running along two of its edges and a silver trim around the end output plate.
Because the RavPower uses GaN charging tech, it's incredibly compact for such a device, roughly 3in long and about 1.5in wide.
Each of the two USB-C PD ports are capable of outputting 65W, while the USB-As go up to 18W with Quick Charge support. However, the maximum output of the device is 65W, so using more than one port will lower these outputs. Therefore, you should not expect it to be capable of powering two laptops at once.
With both PD ports in use one will run at 45W and one at 18W; with a PD port and a USB-A port in use you'll see the same 45W and 18W; with two USB-A ports in use you'll see 12W and 12W; and with all four in use you'll get 18W from each PD port and 12W from each USB-A.
Nevertheless, this is a super-handy charger whether you want to power multiple gadgets or particularly power-hungry devices such as a laptop.
Anker PowerPort Atom III (45W PD + 15W) - Best Compact Charger
The PowerPort+ Atom III utilises the latest PowerIQ 3.0 fast-charging chips that are compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and Power Delivery.
It can output a total of 60W via its two ports - one USB-A and one USB-C – so you can charge a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 laptop at the same time as a smartphone or tablet.
The USB-C PowerIQ 3.0 port charges at 45W, and the USB-A PowerIQ 2.0 port at 15W. Apple’s iPhones, for example, ship with a puny 5W charger in the box, so this 15W phone charger will power up your mobile much faster.
It’s not a huge unit either, being 15 percent smaller than a MacBook 60W or many other laptop stock chargers. Anker says this is because it uses efficient GaN (gallium nitride) semiconductors instead of silicon. It's great for travel.
HyperJuice GaN 100W USB-C Charger - Best for Charger for Maximum Power
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 - Best for Multiple Power Delivery Outputs
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.
Satechi Type-C PD Car Charger (60W PD + 12W) - Best for Car Charging
Charging on the road, or rather in your car that's on the road?
Try the Satechi 72W Type-C PD Car Charger.
It delivers up to 60W from its USB-C port to fast-charge compatible laptops, tablets and phones, and features an extra USB-A port to simultaneously power another device, at up to 12W.
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.
We've put together a range of articles to help you choose the best charging tech for the mobile devices you carry everywhere. You'll also like: