Stop for a second and think about how many hours you spend each day using some sort of tech device that needs to be regularly charged. Between laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, wireless earbuds, fitness trackers, and handheld gaming devices, most people's answer would probably be "every waking hour" — and we say that with very little exaggeration.
It's just the nature of the world we live in, though! Work takes place on our laptops, socializing on our smartphones, entertainment on our tablets, and workouts go hand-in-hand with our fitness trackers and wireless earbuds. With each one of those devices comes a big, unsightly cord that needs to be plugged in so we can use 'em all again tomorrow. And when all of those cables gather near our electrical outlets — twisting, turning, and twirling around each other day after day — we're eventually left with a grotesque, un-detangleable jumble that rivals nature's worst rat kings. Powerology Power Bank Station
While those nightmarish rodent collections are actually quite rare, the mess of charging cables and endless wall chargers in your corner is very, very real. Fortunately, a charging station for multiple devices can completely transform your space. In the past, device charging stations or hubs have looked, well, really really ugly. But lately, enough products have come out to solve this issue that are also stylish to match your home.
A device charging station is a hub where you can organize all of your mobile devices while they charge. There are different types, but each one provides some form of cord management to prevent your cables from getting tangled or, possibly even worse, falling out of your reach when you need them the most. These charging stations keep your charging cables close (or eliminate them altogether) so you can enjoy a clutter-free home or workspace.
There are three main types of charging stations: wired, wireless, and non-tech hubs designed purely for organization and cord management. Each of these types comes in various shapes and sizes that cater to a range of devices. Some may have a special spot to charge small devices, like a smartwatch or earbuds; others will have ample space to accommodate larger tech like laptops and tablets, or a whole household's worth of smartphones.
Wired charging stations plug into a wall outlet for their power delivery. They typically feature a number of USB ports along one side — usually a mix of USB A and USB C ports — to accommodate multiple charging cables. These USB charging stations also typically have a series of dividers along the top where devices can be slotted in between like books on a bookshelf, and plugged into their corresponding cables.
Wireless charging stations also plug into a wall outlet for power delivery, but that's the only cable they're concerned with. Just place your device down on the station and it will charge (as long as it's compatible, of course).
Non-tech charging stations do not plug into the wall like their wired and wireless counterparts. In fact, they have no power running through them at all. Instead, these charging stations act as an aesthetically pleasing place to hide a power strip or surge protector inside their base. On top, there are slots to place your devices (much like the average wired charging station), and they have small cutouts so you can feed your charging cables up from the base to give your devices some juice whenever needed. They're the most flexible of charging stations because they can accommodate so many different device types.
Wireless charging stations tend to be really aesthetically pleasing. Not only are they typically the most stylish type of charging station, but they're also the best option for cord management as there are virtually no cords involved in their use (other than the one that plugs it into the wall, of course). They're also very easy to use since you just place your device down on them and they begin charging.
On the flip side, wireless charging stations only work with certain products, like smartphones, smartwatches, and wireless earbuds. Furthermore, you may be even more limited when it comes to the maker of your tech devices. For example, Android devices are not compatible with some Apple charging stations and vice versa. (This is especially true when it comes to smartwatches and wireless earbuds.) For this reason, it's crucial to check the compatibility specifications before you make your purchase to ensure that they will actually charge the devices you own.
Wired charging stations are a lot more flexible than wireless charging stations when it comes to the types of devices you can charge. If your device fits in the slot and you have a USB cable to plug it in, you're good to go. They often provide the ability to charge a higher number of devices too.
Unfortunately, these stations are usually a lot less attractive than their wireless counterparts. And, if you don't have mini charging cables to plug all your devices into the charging base, you can still wind up with a mess of cords.
Some wired charging stations include a set of these mini cables with your purchase, which is great because they're just a few inches long — enough to reach from the USB port to your device, reducing cord clutter. However, you'll have to make sure those cords are compatible with your devices. If they're not (or if they're not provided at all), you'll have to buy a pack for yourself, such as these mini lightning cables for Apple(opens in a new tab) , these micro USB cords for Android(opens in a new tab) , or these mini cables for USB C ports(opens in a new tab) .
Like wired charging stations, these non-tech hubs or docks allow you lots of freedom in terms of the devices that you charge on them, primarily because they're just a box that hides a power strip. Unlike most wired charging stations, however, their dividers are removable so you can customize their arrangement. You could even leave some free space on top of the box — next to your charging devices — to accommodate something like an Echo Dot or a clock to maximize the use of your desktop or nightstand.
Many non-tech charging stations are made from bamboo, which is highly durable, attractive, easy to clean, and sustainably made. This type of charging hub is also the best at accommodating larger tech devices, like laptops and tablets.
The downside to these non-tech charging stations, however, is that you need to provide your own power strip, USB hub (like an Anker PowerPort(opens in a new tab) ), or surge protector to put inside the box — and you need to keep an eye on measurements to ensure that it will fit. There's typically enough space inside the base of the charging station to keep lots of longer cords wrapped up neatly, though, so you don't need to go out of your way to get a whole new set of mini-length cables like you might with a wired charging station. And each of the holes can feed out many cords, so you're really only limited by your power strips.
The Hercules Tuff Charging Station provides a sleek home for smartphones, tablets and other slim tech devices to charge via USB. It has six clear, moveable dividers — one for each of its fast charging, USB A ports — and comes with six mini lightning cords compatible with iOS devices to prevent tangling. (The Hercules Tuff Charging Station is compatible with Android phones and devices, too, but you'll just have to provide your own USB cables.) It has overvoltage and overcharge protection to keep your devices safe. Its responsive LED dividers also light up when a device is plugged in (and turn off once fully charged), so you know it's charging at a glance.
This sleek and simple, non-tech, bamboo charging station is all about the beauty of bamboo. It keeps power strips and surge protectors (not included) elegantly hidden inside its covered base, while cutouts along the back and side allow easy access to plug in all your devices for charging. Whether you set it up on your desktop, nightstand or kitchen counter, the bamboo charging station can house up to five smartphones and tablets between its individually removable divider slots. You can even customize it to leave a couple of those sturdy dividers off, creating a flat base on one side to place your wireless charger or a smart home hub like the Echo Dot. Best of all, it's made from 100% natural, sustainably harvested bamboo, making it an environmentally responsible, durable, and easy-to-clean product.
If your household plays host to a wide variety of mobile devices from different brands, look no further. This multi-device charging station boasts two USB C ports and two fast charging USB A ports along the side, and a Qi-certified wireless charging pad in the front for charging your AirPods or a compatible smartphone. The device slots are generously spaced (although not removable), and the station organizer as whole is sturdy enough to accommodate larger tablets or iPads without the base tipping over. The LED light at the front displays the station's charging status and it has built-in protection to keep your devices from overheating. Just keep in mind that mini cables are not included with this charging station, so the cord side can look a little messy if you don't purchase some separately.
If you're already a fan of the popular Anker Powerwave 3, you'll love this similar — but far more portable — style from the same brand. This wireless charging station has the ability to fold down flat and weighs less than eight ounces, making it perfectly packable for travel. When settled at your destination (whether that's a vacation spot or just your office desk), you can flip up the smartphone stand on the left side to charge your phone wirelessly while viewing the screen vertically or horizontally. On the right side, there's space to wirelessly charge your AirPods and charge your Apple Watch with your charging cord, too.
This MagSafe charging station is the perfect dock for Apple fans who like to keep up with the brand's latest technological advances. The 3-in-1 device has two arms — one for your iPhone and one for your Apple Watch — and a space for your AirPods to wirelessly charge while sitting on the base. It aligns perfectly for optimized charging of your iPhone every time you place it (the LED indicator will let you know), and you can charge your iPhone horizontally or vertically (perfect for Facetime calls or streaming videos at your desk). Best of all, the whole charging station looks super sleek and futuristic with its clean, white base and chrome-like arms.
If you prefer Android phones and devices, this wireless charging station will be right up your alley. Its base has been designed specifically to charge the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds, and the phone stand on the left accommodates any Qi-certified Android phone or iPhone. (However, Samsung phones benefit the most from its fast charging capabilities.) The phone stand sits at an easy viewing angle so you can use your phone as it wirelessly charges, and the LED indicators along the bottom turn off after 15 seconds so you can keep this on your nightstand and still sleep undisturbed. Plus, it has built-in temperature control, surge protection and short-circuit protection, and is made of fire-resistant material to keep you and your devices safe.
With the smallest footprint of any charging station on this list, this choice is ideal for packing a lot of function into a small space. Whether you have a tiny bedside table, a shallow shelf or a cramped desktop, this slimline charging station wirelessly charges your smartphone in the front, your Apple Watch on the top shelf and your AirPods on the base below. You can charge your phone at the perfect viewing angle — both horizontally and vertically — and the LED indicator at the bottom lets you know if it's lined up properly. (The light also goes off after 10 seconds so you can sleep easy!) The charging station has an anti-slip bottom and rubber-grip surfaces so your devices don't slide off, and it has overtemperature, overcurrent and overvoltage protection to keep your devices safe from harm.
If you need a charging station that can accommodate larger tech items — like laptops and tablets — this tall-sided organizer is the ideal dock for you. It has two spots to rest your big devices as they charge, and it's sturdy enough to do so without tipping. Then, in the front, there's space to fit up to three smartphones vertically, or a combo of smartphone, earbuds, fitness tracker, handheld gaming device or any other smaller tech. Inside the base, you'll place all your cords so their clutter is hidden, and feed them out of the opening in the back and into the power strip (not included for all styles). There are three openings at the base of that front slot to feed charging cables up and into your device's charging port, and two openings on the right side to feed chargers into your larger devices propped up in the back.
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While we haven't hands-on tested all of these charging stations, one of our editors is in love with the Natural Bamboo Charging Station from Prosumer's Choice. (Seriously, she said it was life-changing!) Beyond that, we put forth hours of careful research to find a variety of multiple-device charging stations, and specifically sought out options to cater to different use cases.
First, we prioritized charging stations from well-known brands to come up with a list of options that are widely regarded to be dependable and well-made. We then narrowed down the field by focusing on items that were well-rated and had no glaring issues with their functionality (at least not that we could find among a large portion of user reviews). Each of the charging stations on this list has hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews — a generally reliable sign that the product is often in stock and available for purchase — and is ranked 4.3 stars or higher by Amazon customers at the time of writing.
To ensure a varied range of options for different types of users, there were a number of factors that we took into consideration while researching charging stations for multiple devices, including:
Capacity: Whether it was a wired charging station with a certain number of USB ports, a wireless option with docks for multiple devices, or a non-tech organizer with cutouts for cables, we wanted to showcase choices for people who need to charge just a few devices for themselves, as well as those who need to charge devices for the whole family.
Cost: While most of these charging stations fall in the $40–$60 range, we wanted to include options for shoppers who were looking for a more budget-friendly (but still high-quality) item, as well as those who were looking to treat themself with a splurge-worthy item.
Style. A charging station is something that's going to be sitting out in the open, so it should look nice. And at the very least, it should reduce the amount of clutter that the eye can see. So, we sought out charging stations made from quality materials with smart designs that make it easy to keep your cords and devices neat.
PD Quick Charging Shared Power Bank Ashley Keegan is a freelance contributor to Mashable.