If you just got a new iPhone, chances are you picked up the iPhone 11, the successor of the iPhone XR, the most popular device in Apple's 2018 series. Since the XR did so well, it's likely the iPhone 11 will too. However, one thing missing out of the box that the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have is a fast charger, and getting the same 18-watt charger will set you back another $48 (plus tax).
Although the iPhone 11 is capable of fast charging, it's the only iPhone in the 11 series to not include a fast charger and its USB Type-C to Lightning cable in the package. Therefore, if you want the ability to charge your iPhone 11 to 50% in 30 minutes, you're going to need a good charger and cable, and there are cheaper ones than Apple's own 18-watt charging system the other 2019 iPhone models have.
If you go the official Apple way, you will need to spend a minimum of $48 for the 18W USB-C Power Adapter ($29) and USB-C to Lightning Cable ($19 for the smallest one). While this price is cheaper than when Apple first introduced the iPhone to fast charging in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X (at the time, it totaled $74 minimum), $48 is still really high when considering other OEMs include a fast-charging power brick on even their cheaper variants.
Well, there are cheaper solutions out there that will do the same if not a better job. For fast charging, you need two things: a USB Type-C to Lightning cable and USB-PD (USB Power Delivery) adapter with a high wattage rating. Let start with the cable.
The official cable from Apple is currently $19 for an approximately 3.3-foot long cable (which isn't long at all). If you want a longer cable (around 6.6 feet), the price increases to $35 plus tax.
Because Apple hasn't made the switch to USB-C ports on the iPhone, the cost of third-party cables isn't dirt cheap. That's because third-party manufacturers have to pay a licensing fee to use the Lightning technology, which raises the cost. With that being said, there are still cheaper options.
One option is the Poweradd USB-C to Lightning Cable for $12.99. It's also 3.3 feet and Apple MFi certified. Plus, it has a nylon-braided sheath. While it's just as short as Apple's cheapest cable, it costs $7 less (at the time of this writing) and that braiding adds extra durability not found in Apple's cables.
If you need a longer wire, try the Jsaux USB-C to Lightning cable. It's 6-feet long, Apple MFi certified, and works with USB-PD fast charging bricks. Also, like the cable above, it's nylon-braided. Right now, it's currently $13.99, a $21 savings from Apple's six-footer.
Anker Powerline II offers its 3-foot cable, which is $15.99, two dollars cheaper than Apple's own 3.3-foot cable. For just one dollar mode, you can get its 6-foot long cable, which is $18 cheaper than Apple's 6-foot cable.
Aukey offers a 3.6-foot long cable (a little bit longer than official cable) at $15.99, and it's braided for extra durability. That's still a $3 deal compared to Apple's.
The second component you need is the power adapter, and that's where things can get tricky. Since Apple uses USB Power Delivery to provide fast charging, you need a power adapter that supports the standard. USB Power Delivery (or USB-PD) has come a long way, and like other fast charging methods, has different versions. The version the iPhone 11 supports is USB-PD 2.0 or newer.
Finally, there is the wattage. With USB-PD, the cable, power adapter, and phone communicate with each other before any power is sent. What makes USB-PD so special is that it manages a higher amount of power if the device needs it but can still provide charge to devices that don't need as much power. In the case of iPhone 11, it's only capable of using up to 18-watts of power (officially, though, according to Weibo it may be able to support up to 22 watts).
So while it's enticing to purchase a higher wattage power adapter, doing so is actually a waste of money unless it just happens to be cheaper than Apple's 18-watt charger. Therefore, unless you plan to use the same charger for another device (such as a MacBook), it doesn't make sense to get a charger higher than 18 watts.
While you can go to the Apple Store (whether in person or online) and buy the 18W USB-C Power Adapter for $29, there are cheaper options. And with the $699 you at least just spent on the iPhone 11, how about you save some money and get a quality third-party option at a discount.
RAVPower has a compatible 18-Watt USB-C Power Adapter for $19.99, which is $9 cheaper than Apple's. Not only does it have a USB-C PD port, but it also has an additional USB Type-A port to charge another device. If you use both ports at the same time, power output drops to 15 watts on both ports.
You can also look at Aukey which offers a super-compact 18-watt charger at $19.99 as well. What's great about this charger is that it not only takes a minimal amount of space, it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty that includes product replacement.
What if you want to charge an iPhone with another device? While you could use the RAVPower 18-watt charger above, it would make more sense to use a charger with a higher power output. With more power, when you charge both devices at the same time, you can charge your iPhone 11 at 18 watts while still maintaining a fast charge for the second device. Aukey makes an excellent 30-watt charger that offers 18 watts of power to both ports when used simultaneously. And it's only $26.99. Yes, that's only $3 less than Apple's, but you get the dual-charge support that's sure to come in handy.
Even with our most expensive combination of cable and charger, you will save over $4 compared to Apple's cheapest combination. And that would include a more durable cable, dual ports on the power adapter, and a much longer warranty (the cable has a lifetime warranty). But if you don't need the extra port, the saving increases even more.