Best Power Cords of 2022

You probably don’t give much thought to the cable that charges your iPhone. But the right charging cable can charge your phone fast, prevent spoilage and coil beautifully in your bag for tangle-free storage. CNN Underscore tested 10 of the most popular Lightning cables over the past few weeks so you can ditch the old, shabby fire hazard in your bag and pick up a charger that’ll stand the test of time — and only one Lightning cable which we tested out.

best composite lightning cable

Anker Powerline II USB C to Lightning Cable

It doesn’t get much better than Anker’s PowerLine II cable. It’s extremely affordable, charges quickly, and is more durable than Apple’s own cables. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty should anything go wrong.

1-best power cords outlined

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Anker’s PowerLine II is a basic cable that does everything well without any bells and whistles that drive up the cost. The 6-foot cable does come in three colors, though: white, green, and black—with a 3-foot version that comes in white and black.

The PowerLine II uses the same rubber shielding as most other cables, albeit a bit thicker than Apple’s offering, with stronger joints. We stress tested the cables with some tough tugs and some tight twists, and it seemed like it would hold up well over time, where other cables can break and fray at the ends. It’s flexible enough to coil up easily, while also being tough enough that it won’t fall apart and tangle in your bag as easily as some flimsy cables, and it comes with a tiny Velcro cable tie Also comes with The Lightning end is small enough to fit into the opening of all phone cases we tried, and both ends fit snugly into their respective sockets without wiggling or loosening their housings.

Most importantly, the Powerline II is also MFi certified, which means it meets Apple’s quality testing for iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and other products. This is important, as cables without Apple’s certification may not work, and may even damage your device – so buying from a reputable, MFi certified company is preferable to those cables. that you find in the pharmacy checkout line. Oh, and we’ve had multiples of this exact Powerline II cable over the years, so we can personally speak to its quality and longevity.

Anker also offers a USB-A version that we tested, and it would be a suitable alternative if you don’t have any USB-C chargers. That said, we recommend the USB-C cable for most people. USB-C is not only the future — Apple and many PC makers have moved to it exclusively on their laptops — but it has the potential to charge your phone faster than USB-A. With a compatible USB-C power brick, Anker’s USB-C to Lightning cable charged an iPhone 8 or later to 50% in about 30 minutes in our testing. You can see more about which iPhones and iPads are compatible on Apple’s fast charging page.

USB-C cables will also charge older iPhones and iPads, and while they won’t necessarily charge at the same rate as Fast Charge-capable devices, we found in our testing that they charge slightly faster than USB-A cables can charge. On our older 9.7-inch iPad Pro—which isn’t compatible with the new fast charging standards—Anker’s USB-C cable charged the iPad about 50% faster in 15 minutes than its USB-A sibling. In fact, all of the USB-C cables we tested on this old iPad turned out to be faster than their USB-A counterparts, so it’s worth going USB-C even if your device doesn’t support fast charging. may not be compatible with – after all, your next device probably will be.

4-The Best Lightning Cables Underscored

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While Anker’s cable is durable enough for average use—and comes with a lifetime warranty in case of problems—there are other, more durable cables on the market for those with more active lifestyles. Anker’s PowerLine II+ line, for example, comes with a braided shield and more color options for a few extra bucks. If you have more serious durability needs, the Nomad’s cables are second to none thanks to a strong Kevlar-reinforced design and seriously thick joints. And if you’re looking to solve the problem of cables constantly falling off the desk or nightstand, Native Union deserves a look. The brand offers a unique cable with a weighted knot on the end so it won’t fall off your table.

6-The Best Lightning Cables Underscored

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Over the course of a month, we tested each of these cables with our iPhone 7, iPhone 8 Plus, and 9.7-inch iPad Pro using a number of different metrics. Most important for a charging cable, of course, is its ability to charge and transfer data at a reasonable rate. So we used each cable in conjunction with a 65-watt power adapter to charge our devices from dead to 50%, timing the results. We also used them to transfer a 1.5GB video file from our computer to the device using iTunes, timing the process as well.

Thankfully, all of our MFi certified cables performed comparably in both scenarios—on the fast charging device, all the USB-C cables we tested charged 50% in about half an hour, as Apple promised, all USB-C A cables take longer. but are performing within minutes of each other. Data transfers were similar as well, with each cable taking roughly the same amount of time to transfer data to both our iPhone and our iPad. Thus, we eliminated charge and data transfer speeds mostly from our evaluation, with the exception of the difference between USB-C and USB-A (USB-C was slightly faster, even on our non-fast-charging iPad). Pro, compared to USB-A cables). The Native Union cable was the only cable that exhibited noticeably slower charging speeds, most likely due to its length, which was quite long compared to the other cables we tested.

This left most of the competition battling for design. While we weren’t able to spend months or years testing with each cable to determine how it would hold up over time, we did evaluate each cable’s construction, joints, and flexibility, as well as the flexibility of each cable to find any obvious differences. Slight bending and pulling. weak link. We looked at the length of the warranty for each cable – after all, no matter how well-made a cable is, some users will encounter problems, and the way the company deals with problems is just as important as much as how they manufacture their products.

The 5-Best Lightning Cables Underscored

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While Anker offers the best bang for your buck, the Nomad USB-C cable actually scored highest in our testing for its excellent design and durability. Shielded with a double-braided Kevlar sheath, the Nomad’s cable felt thicker and sturdier than every other cable we tested, without losing much flexibility in the process. It also comes with a rubber cable tie to wrap it up neatly, and its joints were easily the sturdiest of the bunch – with a five-year warranty to boot.

If you want the best cable you can buy, Nomad’s Lightning to USB-C cord — and its Lightning to USB-A version, which we also tested — are second to none. Their $40 price tag was too high for us to recommend to everyone in all scenarios, and it’s more suited to heavier commuters who want increased luxury and durability.

Belkin’s USB-C to Lightning Cable is another good option for a cable on the premium side. Made with what Belkin calls “Duratec,” this cable uses a soft braided sheath with unique speckled connectors on the end.

It also comes with a leather snapping strap to wrap the cable, although our model was already flaking when we took it out of its brand-new box, which didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Belkin also offers a USB-A version of this cable in a few lengths and colors, though we didn’t test that version ourselves.

After publication, Belkin sent us another cable that demonstrated not to be out of the box. They tell us this is not a common problem, and they are looking into it.

Anker’s latest cable is called the PowerLine III Flow, no doubt because of the cable’s unparalleled flexibility. Unlike the typical hard rubber found in charging cables, the Powerline III Flow uses an incredibly soft silica gel, and flexes freely in a way that no other cable we’ve tested can match Is.

The brand also claims the cable is its most durable yet, despite its flexibility—and it stood up to normal use in our tests. It comes in both 3-foot and 6-foot variants, with five colors to choose from—though unlike Anker’s other cables, it only has an 18-month warranty. Our top pick, the PowerLine II, comes with a lifetime warranty.

3-Best Lightning Cables Underscored

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Everyone knows the frustration of unplugging the cable from your phone, only to have the cable fall off the end of the table into the abyss behind your desk. Native Union’s cables attempt to solve this problem with a weighted knot that you slide along the cable to hold it in place. It’s incredibly practical, and very stylish, thanks to a braided shield that comes in multiple colors and patterns.

There’s only one downside: Original Union only offers these cables in 10-foot lengths, which charged our test devices five to 10 minutes slower than with 4- to 6-foot cables. If speed isn’t of the essence, though, the practical design here may be worth that small sacrifice. There’s also a USB-C version for fast charging, though we didn’t test that model ourselves.

If you like the idea of ​​braided, durable cables but prefer a more affordable price point, Anker’s PowerLine+ II cable is a great compromise. It costs a few bucks more than the standard Powerline II cable, but for that extra money you get a braided sheath and a few extra colors—along with the same stellar lifetime warranty as Anker’s other cables. We tested the USB-A version, although a USB-C version is also available for faster charging.

Belkin’s standard BoostCharge cable is similar to Anker’s Powerline II—no frills, just good cables at a good price. They use the same standard rubber sheath you’ll find on other cables in this price range, and the same standard joints.

We found Belkin’s cable to be a bit more flexible than Anker’s slightly stiffer offering—but with only a two-year warranty, we thought Anker was the better buy for everyone. Belkin offers these cables in both USB-C and USB-A variants.

Apple’s own Lightning cables are thinner and more flexible than the competition’s, with much smaller connectors on the end. These may sound like a boon, but even Apple’s own cables have earned a reputation for fraying and fraying easily — so while both USB-C and USB-A cables performed well in our tests, we think That most people would be better off with a more sustainable option from a third party.

Mophie’s USB-C and USB-A cables feature a braided design in three different lengths, but otherwise don’t differ much from the competition—they’re thinner than Anker’s cables without being more flexible, and the warranty lasts only two years. Lasts for years. But they performed well in our tests, so if you like the design, they’ll do the job.

Satechi’s cable is clearly designed to be a durable monster similar to Nomad’s Kevlar cable. However, while the Satechi performed about as well as its competition in charging and data transfer, we found it much stiffer than every other cable we tested, without the extra-strong joints of the Nomad cables. It’s a good choice – we prefer the more flexible nature of the other cables we’ve tested.

Read more from CNN Underscore’s hands-on testing:

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