USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Chargers to Power Your Devices

It’s the powerful trickster of charging cables.

USB-C or Thunderbolt 3
When using USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, you need to make sure your charger has the correct power to charge your device.Getty Images

The Thunderbolt standard is one of the more confusing elements of tech these days. Here’s the short history: Intel created a standard called Thunderbolt to use faster data transferring speeds. Today, though, Thunderbolt 3 looks exactly like USB-C: in fact, any Thunderbolt 3 cable can use a USB-C port. But regular, non-Thunderbolt USB-C cables won’t deliver enough power to charge a Thunderbolt 3 gadget. It’s all very frustrating. Here’s what you need to know about USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 chargers.

USB C Charger for MacBook Pro Air, RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger PD 3.0 GaN Type C Fast Charging Adapter Compatible with iPad Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max XR XS X SE2, Galaxy S9 S8
This unit can charge two portable computers simultaneously and can quickly rejuvenate battery for compatible devices.RAVPower

You can think of Thunderbolt 3 as a supercharged USB-C...which happens to look exactly like USB-C, and is even compatible with it. Thunderbolt 3 can deliver way more data, way faster, than a regular USB-C cable, which makes it great for not just charging, but displaying video, too. It’s both a power cable and a replacement for HDMI.

USB C Charger, Anker 60W PIQ 3.0 & GaN Tech Dual Port Charger, PowerPort Atom III (2 Ports) Travel Charger with a 45W USB C Port, for USB-C Laptops, MacBook, iPad Pro, iPhone, Galaxy, Pixel and More
This unit offers a port each for new and old USB cables. It features a plug that folds in for easy portability.Anker

USB-C comes in more variations than just Thunderbolt 3, though. Many modern computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other gadgets use USB-C, but have varying power requirements. That means you should always look for a high-powered USB-C charger; at worst, you’ll be charging your gadgets a little bit faster than usual. If you skimp out, your charger may not have enough power to charge your gadget at all—even though the cables are all the right size and shape.

AUKEY Focus 63W USB C Charger 60W PD Charger Power Delivery 3.0 [ GaN Power ] Fast Charger Dual Port USB C Wall Charger for MacBook Pro Air 13" 15" iPhone 11 Pro Max SE, Google Pixel 4 3 XL, Switch
This item has enough power for a laptop, a tablet, or even a power-hungry Nintendo Switch, provided you get the right cable. It also has built-in safety measures to prevent overcharging and overheating.AUKEY

Make sure to use the right port on multi-port chargers. Typically, they’ll have only one high-power port, delivering enough juice to charge your thirsty gadgets like laptops. The other one will work fine for less demanding devices like smartphones, headphones and speakers, but may not be strong enough for the big boys.