Consumer Reports: Cell phone charging mats

Consumer Reports put various charging mats to the test.
November 5, 2013 3:06:36 PM PST
If you've ever hunted unsuccessfully for the charging cord for your cell phone, you can imagine the convenience of a charging mat.

Just plug it into the wall and drop your phone on the mat to recharge the battery. Consumer Reports just tested several charging mats to see if they deliver.

Bonnie LaRaus and her family have plenty of cell phones and tablets to keep charged.

"We have ten chargers, they're probably scattered all over the house, in every outlet. It's insane," she said.

Bonnie says she'd love a way to make charging her family's phones more convenient.

Consumer Reports tested four charging mats that promise to make charging easier. You just put your phone on the mat, and it charges wirelessly using magnets.

A key question - how fast do these mats work?

"In our tests, we found that the mat that charges the iPhone charges about the same time as the adapter would for the wall," said Gerard Catapano of Consumer Reports.

Some charging mats for Android phones took a little longer than a regular charger, but not much.

Phones need to have wireless charging capability. Newer phones have it built in. With others, you have to buy a special case so they'll work with a charging mat.

Overall, Consumer Reports says the charging pads are a great way to make charging your cell phone easier.

"You come home at the end of the day, you plop your phone on this device, you don't have to look for a charger, you can just drop it on there, and in a couple of hours your phone is charged. And you can charge multiple phones at the same time," said Catapano.

If you have an iPhone, testers recommend the Duracell Powermat for 70 dollars. It charges up to three phones at a time in two to two-and-a-half hours.

For Androids, the fastest mat Consumer Reports tested was the 75-dollar Energizer Inductive Charger. It can charge two phones wirelessly at a time.

Consumer Reports says you can go longer between charges by closing any apps you aren't using and by turning on any energy-saving settings your phone has to maximize battery life.