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Choose the best Qi wireless charging pad for your nightstand

Not all pads are created equal. Here's what you need to know about bringing one to your bedside.

This Seneo Qi pad has too many LEDs, and the non-stop pulsing may drive you crazy if you choose it for your nightstand.
Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

Half the joy of owning a Qi-capable phone is the ease of charging it: Just lay it down on a pad and presto. 

Actually, who am I kidding? That's 100 percent of the joy!

This is especially nice at night, when you can just plunk your phone down on the nightstand without fumbling for a charging cord -- and, if it's a Micro-USB cord, fumbling to get it inserted the right way.

Nothing complicated there, right? Actually, you may want to put a little thought into the charging pad your choose for your bedside table. They're not all alike, and not all ideally suited to the task.

Decide between a pad and stand

Qi chargers come in two basic flavors: pad and stand. One lays flat, while the other props your phone up on a tiny easel. The latter is typically for desk chargers, but if you want to use your phone as a nightstand clock as well, it's actually a great way to go.

The downside, of course, is that when you're half-asleep and want to put your phone down for the night, it's just a shade tougher to get it properly situated. That's been my experience, at least You might have better eyes-closed one-handed coordination.

Avoid excessive LEDs

Some Qi pads go overboard with the LEDs, with a ring of bright or pulsing lights designed to indicate active charging. That may be fine for a desk, but it's horrendous for sleepers who need a pitch-black room.

Before you buy a charger, then, check the product photos and description. Some models, for example, light up when charging begins, but then deactivate the LEDs after a few seconds. Others rely on just a small, single LED, one that shouldn't prove too intrusive at night.

Don't worry about 'fast' charging

You're going to get a solid eight hours of sleep, right? Then don't concern yourself with the wattage of the charging pad or even the speed at which your phone can absorb power.

A trickle charge is fine for the wee small hours; your phone will definitely be back to full strength by morning.

Don't spend a fortune


This Qi pad costs all of $13. You could spend more, but why?


If you're new to wireless charging, you might think your only option is whatever pad is sold by your phone manufacturer. Nope! There's no need to spend big bucks on an Apple- or Samsung-branded Qi charger. Any third-party product will do the trick, and for a lot less cash.

For example, this slim, single-LED Choetech charging pad currently sells for just $12.99 from Amazon. Compare that to the likes of this Samsung Qi pad, which runs $40, and Apple's forthcoming AirPower mat, which will undoubtedly cost even more.

There are lots of Qi-compatible charging pads and stands priced at $20 or less. When it comes to nightstand charging, there's absolutely no reason to spend more.