As you are aware, smartphones come with batteries that don’t last for long. A charging brick and cable are a must-have to recharge the phone when the juice runs out. However, regular use of charging adapters and cables can lead to wear and tear, requiring you to replace them quite often. Wireless charging offers you a convenient and efficient way of charging your smartphone. It’s a hassle-free process with fewer cables. All you have to do is place your phone on a special pad, and it starts charging. Most newer phones come with wireless charging receivers built-in, while others require you to buy a separate adapter/receiver to be compatible. Below, we tell you everything you need to know about wireless charging, including the magic behind how a wireless charger works.

How Wireless Charger Works

Wireless charging technology has been in existence since the late 19th century, and we have Nikola Tesla to thank for it. He gave path to the invention of nearly half a dozen wireless technologies today, which are widely applied on devices, such as smartphones, laptops, cars, and kitchen appliances.

The most popular wireless technology currently in use relies on an electromagnetic field between two copper coils. The process, known as resonant-inductive coupling, involves an electromagnetic coil, the induction coil in a charging case, that creates a magnetic field and works as an antenna to transmit a field of energy.

The phone has a smaller coil that receives the energy and converts it back to usable energy (electricity) that charges the battery. For the wireless charger to work, the coils must be close to each other. That’s why you have to place your smartphone directly on the charging pad or surface.

The larger the coils are inside the charging pad, the farther away you can move your smartphone or another device.

How to Use a Wireless Charger

First things first. For wireless charging to be successful, you need a smartphone that supports the technology. However, if your phone doesn’t support it, you can get a case that you can put on one to add wireless charging if it doesn’t come built into your phone.

Secondly, you need a wireless charger, which varies in size and shape. To use it, simply place your phone facing up on the special surface, and it should start charging. Keep in mind that wireless charging may be slower than when charging via a cable, especially for smartphones that support fast-charging technology.

However, you can find wireless chargers that are faster and capable of fully recharging a phone in two hours. The chargers are typically rated by wattage, with 5W and 10W wireless chargers being common. They can also be rated by output amperage, with 1A at 5V being comparable to a standard 1A USB cable charger.

Smartphones support two main standards for wireless charging:

  • Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi standard (pronounced as “chee”), is quickly becoming a popular wireless charging standard. It allows you to use one wireless charger for multiple devices.
  • AirFuel Alliance Resonant standard is the latest standard that lets you charge from 50 millimeters away. It means you don’t have to place your phone at the center of the charger. This option is more advanced and supports charging multiple devices simultaneously.

Which Devices Support Wireless Charging?

Wireless charging is not a new concept. Some of Nokia’s Lumia Windows Phones like the 820 and 920 received support for wireless charging back in 2012. Other models like Google Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S series have been supporting the technology since 2013.

Apart from smartphones, a couple of other devices, including the Apple Watch, LG Watch Style, and Moto 360 can only be charged wirelessly.

What Are the Downsides of Wireless Charging?

One of the major drawbacks of wireless charging is that currently, it can’t operate through metal. That means the device must have a plastic or glass back to permeate the energy. Such materials are fragile and more prone to damage.

Additionally, wireless charging cannot work through thick cases, and you may have to remove your phone’s case (cover) every time you want to charge your phone. Typically, your smartphone will heat up slightly on the back where the wireless charging is happening. However, this is not strange since phones heat up as well when being charged using a cable.

As a good measure, keep checking the phone to make sure it’s not getting too hot. If it does, it could indicate battery problems.

Choosing the Best Wireless Chargers

When shopping for a wireless charger, you can opt for a charging pad, which lays flat on a table, or a charging stand that props your phone upright. Both types work perfectly, and it’s only a matter of preference.

The market is flooded with different models of wireless chargers, and it’s advisable to compare their features as well as prices before settling for one. Some of the well-known brands include:

  • Anker PowerWave II Wireless Charging Stand
  • Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand
  • Apple MagSafe charger
  • Google Pixel Stand
  • Native Union Dock Wireless Charger

All images by Shutterstock

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