Are Wireless Chargers Worth It?

Though the ability to charge your smartphone without needing to plug it into a charging cable may seem like technology from the future, wireless charging has existed for more than 100 years and only in the past few years has it gained interest as a unique method of charging personal electronics. There are now a multitude of different wireless charger models being sold commercially, marketed as the new and convenient way to charge your smartphone. But as wireless phone chargers continue to be developed as a substitute for standard plug-in chargers, we should take the time to ask: are wireless phone chargers really worth it?

First and foremost is the concern of price; when you want to buy something, your main concern is getting a good price for the product you want. Seeing as modern wireless charging technology for personal electronics is still relatively new on the market, wireless charging mats or pads are often more costly than their wired counterparts. However, unlike cables, some larger wireless chargers can recharge more than one device at a time. The ability for these larger wireless chargers to simultaneously charge a smartphone, a pair of wireless earbuds, and a smart watch is a plus for those with a collection of smart devices, especially if those devices are used daily.

Another drawback of wireless chargers is that they take a noticeably longer amount of time to charge a device than with a cord using the same amount of power. Wireless chargers, which use electromagnetic induction to transfer electric charge, are less efficient at transferring electrical energy than the cooper wiring found in the average phone charger cable. On the bright side, the slower charging of wireless means a lower risk of the phone’s battery becoming overheated and degrading the phone’s battery life. Wireless chargers are also able to stop transferring electricity once a device’s battery is full, which also prevents overheating, in addition to saving energy and being a generally safer way to recharge electronics. Another safety feature of wireless chargers is that they do not require frequent plugging and unplugging into phones or electronic outlets, nor are they subject to the corrosion that can occur to a cable, meaning less wear-and-tear over time and a lower chance of electrical faults. Though standard charging cables are fairly safe, these features of wireless charging help minimize risk.

While more durable than cable chargers, wireless chargers sacrifice the versatility and mobility of a regular phone charger. With a regular charging cable, you are able to move your phone around within the length of the cable and can still use the device while it charges. Wireless chargers require your phone to be positioned on top of a specific part of the charging mat to work, which means that moving your phone in any way will stop the charging process. Wireless chargers also do not allow you to use your phone while it is charging, which means that your phone is essentially out of commission until you want to stop charging it or the battery is filled up completely.

Wireless chargers do not utilize any of a device’s ports to charge it, ports which regular plug-in cable chargers require. This means that wireless chargers are universally compatible with any device design with the capability to be charged wirelessly, which includes a vast majority of smartphone models produced in the past several years. Cables are designed to be compatible with only a specific brand or model of phone and are unable to charge any other type.

Overall, while wireless chargers do offer unique features that traditional cable chargers do not have, their technical limitations combined with their higher cost makes wireless chargers hard to justify. They can be serviceable in certain situations—acting as a communal charger for a household with multiple different phone models or someone who has three or more different kinds of portable devices they use on a daily basis—but only in very specific circumstances like these. Realistically, a regular charging cord is more practical in just about every way, which is why most electronic devices produced are designed to recharge via cable. In fact, most phones
come with a cable charger when purchased. This is different from a wireless charger, which equates to extra money spent for a slightly worse version of what already comes with your phone. A wireless charger is a novel way of refilling your phone battery that tech geeks will surely enjoy, and something nice for smartphone owners willing to spend extra on their home phone chargers. For everyone else, wireless chargers are not worth it.

Article By: John M. Gay