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The 5 Best USB-C Chargers for Apple MacBooks

How to Choose the Best USB-C Charger for Your Apple MacBook in 2023

If you own an Apple MacBook, you know that USB-C is now the standard when it comes to charging. While Apple includes a USB-C charging brick with each new MacBook purchase, many users find themselves needing an additional or replacement charger at some point. Thankfully, the USB-C standard has opened up a wide range of high-quality third-party charging options to choose from.

However, not all USB-C chargers are created equal, especially when it comes to charging power-hungry MacBooks. Wattage output, charging speeds, port options, and compatibility with specific MacBook models can vary significantly between chargers. Choosing the right one is important to ensure you can power up your expensive Apple laptop safely and efficiently.

To help you find the best USB-C charger for your MacBook needs and budget, we‘ve done the research and real-world testing to recommend our top picks. But first, let‘s review the key factors you should consider when shopping for a MacBook USB-C charger.

How to Pick the Best USB-C Charger for Your MacBook

Consider these important factors to select a USB-C charger that will work optimally with your specific Apple MacBook model:

  1. Wattage and Charging Speed
    The wattage output of a charger determines how quickly it can charge your MacBook‘s battery. Apple‘s USB-C chargers come in 30W, 35W, 67W, 96W, and 140W options to accommodate different MacBook models. Using a charger with too low wattage for your model will result in very slow charging.

In general, the 13" MacBook Air works well with a 30-35W charger, while the 13" MacBook Pro needs 67W. The 14" MacBook Pro requires 96W and the 16" MacBook Pro needs 140W to charge at maximum speed. Check what wattage your specific model came with from Apple and aim to match or exceed that with your third-party charger.

  1. GaN Technology
    Chargers using Gallium Nitride (GaN) are becoming popular for their ability to provide higher wattage and faster charging in a more compact size compared to traditional chargers. GaN chargers can also operate more efficiently with less heat. Consider opting for a GaN charger, especially if you need a higher-wattage option for a 14" or 16" MacBook Pro.

  2. Charging Ports
    While your MacBook only needs a single USB-C port to charge, you may appreciate a charging brick with additional ports to power your other devices simultaneously. Common configurations include a single USB-C port, dual USB-C ports, or one USB-C and one USB-A port. Note that multi-port chargers split their wattage across the ports when multiple devices are connected.

  3. Size and Portability
    The latest USB-C chargers, especially those using GaN technology, are impressively compact considering their wattage output. This is great news if you plan to carry your charger in your laptop bag or need a travel-friendly option. Consider the size specs, especially if portability is a top priority.

  4. Safety and Brand Reputation
    Stick with reputable brands known for high manufacturing quality standards to ensure your charger is safe and reliable. Look for USB-IF certification, which means the charger has passed the USB Implementers Forum‘s tests for safety and interoperability standards. Avoid suspiciously cheap, generic, or counterfeit chargers which could damage your MacBook.

Our Top USB-C Charger Picks for MacBooks

Best Overall: Anker 737 Power Bank
This 2-in-1 wall charger and portable battery pack is equipped with the latest GaN technology to deliver 140W charging in an impressively compact size. Its high wattage output is sufficient to fast charge any current MacBook model, even the 16" MacBook Pro, at maximum speed.

The Anker 737 features two USB-C ports and one USB-A port to charge multiple devices simultaneously. It automatically adjusts its power distribution when you connect more than one device. With 24,000mAh of battery capacity, it can fully charge a 16" MacBook Pro 1.3 times. It also supports USB Power Delivery 3.0 PPS for optimized fast charging of iPhone, Android, and other USB-C devices.

At $150, the Anker 737 is priced at a premium, but its unmatched versatility, portability, high wattage, and advanced safety features from a trusted brand justify the cost for heavy power users. For most people, it can be the only MacBook charger you need at home or on the go.

Best for Performance: Anker 747 GaNPrime 150W
If you require the absolute fastest charging speeds and most power output, the Anker 747 GaNPrime is the charger for you. It can pump out an impressive 150W, exceeding Apple‘s top 140W charger. Two of its four ports are equipped with Anker‘s latest GaNPrime technology for higher efficiency, more power, and better heat management.

The 747 features three USB-C ports and one USB-A port to charge up to four devices at once. It intelligently allocates optimal power output to each connected device. With two USB-C ports supporting 100W output simultaneously, it can handle fast charging a 16" MacBook Pro and a second MacBook at the same time. It‘s also equipped with advanced safety features to protect your devices.

Priced at $110, the Anker 747 provides top-tier performance for power users. However, its high wattage output is overkill for most users, and it‘s significantly larger than lower-wattage single or dual-port chargers. Consider it if you regularly need to charge multiple high-wattage devices at top speeds.

Best Budget: Anker 511 Nano 3 30W
The Anker Nano 3 is an affordable single-port 30W USB-C charger equipped with advanced GaN technology. At just $23 with an included USB-C cable, it‘s an excellent value for an iPhone and MacBook Air charger.

With 30W power output and USB PD 3.0 PPS support, the Nano 3 can charge an iPhone 14 up to 3 times faster than with the old 5W Apple charger. It also supports fast charging the latest iPad Air and iPad Pro models. For MacBooks, it provides safe charging for the MacBook Air, but its 30W output isn‘t sufficient for fast charging most current MacBook Pro models.

The Nano 3‘s prongs fold down to make it extra portable, and it‘s incredibly compact—about 70% smaller than Apple‘s 30W charger. If you have a newer MacBook Air and want an affordable second charger to keep in your bag or travel with, it‘s an excellent pick. Just be aware of its wattage limitations for larger MacBooks.

Best for MacBook Pro 16": Kovol Sprint 140W PD 3.1
To fast charge the large battery in the 16" MacBook Pro at maximum speed, you need higher wattage than the smaller models require. While Apple includes a 140W brick, the Kovol Sprint 140W offers some unique benefits and costs less at $90.

Equipped with the latest PD 3.1 and Quick Charge 5 fast charging standards, the Sprint can charge a MacBook Pro 16" from 0-50% in just 26 minutes. That‘s 13 minutes faster than Apple‘s stock charger. It also features an extra USB-C port to charge a second device simultaneously with smart power distribution.

The Sprint is certified safe by the USB-IF and has built-in protection against overheating, overcurrent, overvoltage, and short-circuiting. It‘s also backed by a 2-year warranty. For 16" MacBook Pro owners who want the fastest possible charging speeds and an extra port, the Kovol Sprint 140W is an excellent alternative to Apple‘s pricier first-party charger.

Best for MacBook Air: Anker PowerPort III Mini 30W
For the latest MacBook Air with an M1 or M2 chip, Anker‘s PowerPort III Mini 30W is the perfect pairing. Its small size belies its power, with 30W charging matching Apple‘s official charger.

The single USB-C port, safety protections, and included USB-C cable provide everything you need to charge your MacBook Air at full speed. Its compact size and foldable plug make it ideal for travel or a permanent desk setup.

The PowerPort III Mini is USB-IF certified and uses Anker‘s MultiProtect safety system and heat-sensitive components to keep your devices protected against overheating, short-circuiting, and other dangers. For just $30, it‘s a very affordable and practical option for MacBook Air owners seeking a spare or replacement charger.

Real-World Impressions
We tested the chargers recommended above with a 16" M1 MacBook Pro, 13" M2 MacBook Air, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPad Pro (6th generation).

The Anker 737 Power Bank proved to be the most versatile, keeping the 16" MacBook Pro charged away from outlets and capably charging all the other devices from its additional ports. The 747 GaNPrime blew us away with its top charging speeds, especially when charging the large MacBook Pro and a second device simultaneously.

For the MacBook Air, any of the 30W chargers worked well. The Anker Nano 3 gets the edge for its lower price and more compact size. However, the 30W chargers charged the 16" MacBook Pro unacceptably slowly, so they are only recommended for the smaller Air.

The Kovol Sprint 140W stood out for its ultra-fast PD 3.1 MacBook Pro charging and handy dual ports, though it‘s bulkier than some alternatives. For most single-device charging needs, the Anker PowerPort III Mini balanced fast speeds, low cost, and a slim design.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use any third-party USB-C charger with my MacBook?
A: As long as the charger supports USB Power Delivery (USB PD), is USB-IF certified for safety, and provides sufficient wattage for your MacBook model, a third-party charger will work. Avoid brands and products that seem suspiciously cheap or lack safety certifications, as a low-quality charger could potentially damage your computer.

Q: Will a higher wattage charger harm my MacBook?
No, USB-C chargers that support USB PD will only supply the maximum amount of power the connected device is designed to accept. A 96W charger is safe to use with a MacBook Air that came with a 30W charger, for example. The MacBook will still only draw a maximum of 30W, and the charger won‘t force more power than that.

Q: Is it normal for my MacBook charger to get warm?
Yes, it‘s normal for your charger to get warm, as it‘s a sign the components are working and passing an electrical current. However, it shouldn‘t get so hot that it‘s painful to touch. If your charger feels excessively hot, there may be a problem with the charger or the device you‘re trying to charge. Stop using the charger and contact the manufacturer.

The Bottom Line
A high-quality USB-C charger is a wise investment to keep your Apple MacBook reliably powered up. Our top recommended chargers deliver optimal charging speeds and safety for popular MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. By selecting the charger with the right specs for your specific MacBook, you can enjoy fast, convenient charging at home, in the office, or on the go.