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Unlock Qi's Aesthetic Potential With These Disguised Wireless Charging Pads

Graphic: Shep McAllister

Wireless charging is one of those features that only seems moderately cool...until you start using it, become addicted, and can’t ever go back to old-fashioned cables. Trouble is, wireless chargers aren’t exactly pretty, and they take up valuable space on your desk, night stand, or end table that you could be using for other stuff. These products are here to change that.

Sure, you could buy a cheap, traditional charging pad like this Anker one and be good to go—I have a few of them myself. But now that wireless charging has caught on, plenty of manufacturers have started building wireless chargers into other common household objects, letting you maximize your space by ditching the little black coasters.

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Photo: Amazon

Even if your office is well-lit, a little task lighting goes a long way when you’re trucking through that pile of paperwork. And there are quite a few lamps out there with wireless charging pads built-in, like this lantern-style lamp from Brightech, this old-school table lamp from TaoTronics, and this more modern option (also from TaoTronics), not to mention IKEA’s Hektar line. These tend to range in price from $40 to $60, but if you need a lamp at your desk, you might as well get one that pulls double duty as a phone charger.

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My wife likes to make sure every table in the house is covered in family photos and other tchotchkes, leaving little space for all the futuristic tech I want littering the house. But peace has finally returned to my home thanks to Twelve South’s PowerPic picture frame. Apart from the cord coming out the back—which you can shrewdly hide away—you’d never know this thing was a phone charger. Just set your phone inside the frame and it’ll start juicing up with 10 watts of glorious wireless charging power. It’s a bit pricey at $80, but the white version is currently $55 if you want to spend less, and it’s a heck of a lot nicer-looking than typical wireless charging pads.

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Photo: Gaze Desk
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I know mouse pads are so 90s, but as I’ve said before, they’re still worth having to protect your desk from scuffs and other marks from your mouse. And while typical mousepads are dirt cheap, you can spend just a bit more to grab this $40 wireless charging mousepad from Gaze Desk (which we’ve previously tested), with a classy leather-esque surface and a bit of extra space off to the right for you to stash your phone while you work. Plus, it comes in four different colors, so you can get whatever look fits in your space best.

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Charge Wirelessly with Your Portable Battery Pack

Photo: Amazon

This one feels like cheating a little bit, since...well, it’s still a charger, first and foremost. But portable battery packs are all but a necessity for people who work on-the-go, and we’ve reached the point where many offer wireless charging as a feature.

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Samsung offers an official wireless battery bank for $50, though there are also good-looking models from Mophie, Aukey, Lifeproof, and plenty of other manufacturers at different price points. Sure, your phone’ll charge faster with a cable—and you can still use a cable if you’re in a rush—but that built-in wireless pad is handy if you just need a quick top-off and don’t want to dig through your bag looking for the correct cable.

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Wake Up to a Juiced-Up Phone with a Charging Alarm Clock

Photo: Amazon
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I don’t use a particularly fancy alarm clock, but I do charge my phone every night while I sleep, making this iLuv wireless charging clock a pretty sweet deal at $30. In most respects, it’s a pretty old-school clock: it tells the time, it has a buzzer and radio alarm, and a backup battery for those times you trip over the cord and unplug the damn thing. But on top of those standard features, it also has a wireless charging coil built in, so you can plop your phone on top of the clock at night to juice it up. What more do I need to say? If you prefer a clock with red numbers, this Sharp model is the same price, and if you have deeper pockets, iHome’s $70 wireless charging clock is a bit more feature-filled, as is Anker’s hilariously named Soundcore Wakey.

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About the author

Whitson Gordon

Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer, and all-around tech nerd. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so he doesn't get grease on his mechanical keyboard.