The best charging solutions for the MacBook Pro

The best charging solutions for the MacBook Pro

Thanks to the adoption of USB PD charging technology and the USB-C standard interface, most modern-day laptops can be recharged via USB-C ports, and Apple is the major flag-bearer with its MacBook Pro models. In this sense, Apple is known for offering chargers with practically an unmatched performance, including 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W, 87W, and 100W, which can be used for MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, and other devices.

However, what if your MacBook Pro charger gets damaged or if you lose it? Since most Apple chargers, we dare to say all of them, cannot be repaired, you’ll need to buy a new one, which not only can be expensive but there’s a strong chance that it’ll also get damaged after some time.

Therefore, we decided to look for a replacement for the original MacBook Pro charger. But before making our choice and recommend any alternatives, we need to consider some key aspects of the newer MacBook Pro models.

A quick glance at the MacBook Pro models

Apple MacBook Pro chargers

Currently, there are two MacBook Pro models available on the Apple shop, albeit they differ slightly in terms of hardware, which can also be customized. These are the following:

MacBook Pro 13-inch Power requirements

Although originally released in 2008 as part of the second generation of Apple portable computers, the Mac Book Pro 13-inch has undergone several changes throughout the time. Unveiled in mid-2019, the newest update of the fourth generation features Touch Bar (hence named after it), and a non-removable lithium-polymer battery of 58.2 Wh. This battery is so powerful that it allows slightly more than 10 hours of web surfing.

MacBook Pro 16-inch Power requirements

On November 13th, 2019, Apple released the next generation of its MacBook Pro (also known as the MacBook Pro Magic Keyboard, or simply the MacBook Pro 16-inch), which replaced the last 15-inch version. Soon after its launch, the MacBook Pro 16-inch was well-received, with particular praise towards its battery capacity. In this sense, it comes equipped with a lithium polymer 100 Wh battery, which can last up to 11 hours, an improvement over the 83.6 Wh of the 15-inch version.

The official Apple chargers for the MacBook Pro

Being the two MacBook Pro models considerably different in capacity size, it makes total sense that these are being packed with different power adapters and cables to cover their individual charging needs. However, both continue the Apple charger style, being compatible with any device supporting USB-C and including multiple sets of voltage gears. Still, the best charging effect can only be achieved when used on the MacBook Pro.

When it comes to the MacBook Pro 13″, this can be recharged in around 2 hours using the 61W USB-C power adapter that comes in the box. As in other products from Apple, the adapter needs to be paired with a cable, so the 2-meter USB-C Charge Cable, which is also included, is the perfect match.

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Apple 61W USB-C Power Adapter

  • 61W maximum output.
  • Made specifically for MacBook Pro 13in.
  • One USB-C port.
  • Input: 100V-240V ~ 50/60 Hz, 1.5A Max.
  • Output (USB PD): 20.3V=3A / 9V=3A / 5V=2.4A.
  • Compatible with all Apple products.
  • Does not come with a USB-C charging cable.

Last update on 2020-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Apple USB-C Charge Cable (2 m)

  • Comes with USB-C connectors on both ends.
  • Works with any Apple device (iPhone, iPad, iPod).
  • Works with any Apple wall charger.
  • Supports USB 2 for syncing and data transfer between USB-C devices.
  • 2 meters long.

Last update on 2020-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As for the MacBook Pro 16″, it comes packed with an even more impressive 96W USB-C power adapter and the same standard 2-meter USB-C Charge Cable. This Apple 96W USB-C charger is currently the largest power USB-C charger introduced by Apple, and, under low-use conditions, it charges MacBook Pro in around an hour and a half; certainly impressive considering how big its capacity is.

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Apple 96W USB-C Power Adapter

  • 96W maximum output.
  • Made specifically for MacBook Pro 16in.
  • One USB-C port.
  • Input: 100V-240V ~ 50/60 Hz, 1.5A Max.
  • Output (USB PD): 20.5V=4.7A / 15V=3A / 9V=3A / 5.2V=3A.
  • Compatible with all Apple products.
  • Does not come with a USB-C charging cable.

Last update on 2020-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Of course, having either a 96W or a 61W USB-C power adapter is great, all things considered; they’re undoubtedly high-quality and reliable, but coming from Apple, we’ll all know that they nor the cable are going to last a lifetime.

The problem with Apple accessories is that they’re not so durable, and cables, in particular, fray over time. This might be because of the wear and tear, or inadequate use, especially by those who tend to manipulate their devices (iPhones and MacBooks) while they are charging, causing the cables to bend and suffer stress.

On top of that, if you lose both the adapter and cable or they get damaged, you’ll have to buy each of them separately as it’s the way Apple commercializes them. Besides, they are not cheap by any means, as you’ll need to spend as much as $79.00 for the 96W power adapter, $69.00 for the 61W power adapter, and additional $19.00 for the USB-C Charge Cable (2m).

And, while you can indeed buy either lower-watt USB-C Apple chargers or cheaper third-party USB-C charging adapters that resemble Apple’s, you could end up with slightly slower charging speeds, or an inferior quality charger.

For these reasons, we’ve come up with a selection of more affordable and versatile options for your MacBook Pro, in case you need a replacement or simply want to have an extra charger.

Non-Apple alternatives for the MacBook Pro charger

We went through several charging options for MacBook Pro from the best-known brands on the market, such as Anker, Apple, Aukey, Nekteck, RAVPower, Satechi, and ZMI, using the following criteria to make our picks:

  • Adapters with USB-C ports with at least 60-watt output: Given the 58.2W battery of the MacBook Pro 13″.
  • Adapters for each of the current MacBook Pro models: Multifunctional chargers are great if you own more than one MacBook Pro model, but as each MacBook Pro has its own power requirements, it’s best to stick to them.
  • Adapters that can output the same or come close to the MacBook Pro battery capacity: The nearest to the MacBook Pro battery capacity, the faster the laptop recharges.
  • Adapters with multiple USB output ports and different charging protocols: These can be used with a broader range of devices.

Our top MacBook Pro charger picks 

Best Overall Charger for the MacBook Pro 13″: ZMI zPower Trio Desktop Charger

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ZMI zPower Trio Desktop Charger

  • 65W maximum output.
  • Charges up to 3 devices at a time.
  • 1 x USB-C PD 65W output.
  • 1 x USB-C PD 18W output.
  • 1 x USB-A QC3.0 18W output.
  • Small and compact.
  • 1.5 meter AC power cord included.
  • 1 x USB-C cable to USB-C included.
  • 18-month limited warranty.

Last update on 2020-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ZMI brings the zPower Trio, a desktop charger that promises to charge your MacBook Pro 13″ at a great speed, and it features two USB-C PD outputs: a 65W USB-C PD output and an 18W USB-C PD port, which can charge an iPhone 11 or an iPad. There are several reasons why we picked this charger over other competitors with dual USB-C PD output, such as the AUKEY 63W USB C Charger or the Anker PowerPort III 3-Port 65W Charger.

Firstly, the AUKEY 63W USB C Charger and the zPower Trio sell for only $29.99 each and deliver the same PD output through each USB-C port while both are in use (45W and 18W). However, the zPower Trio comes with an extra USB-A port with Quick Charge 3.0, which is perfect for any QC compatible device. Moreover, its main USB-C port will deliver 45W regardless if one or two devices are plugged to the secondary USB-C port and the USB-A port, meaning that 18W will be split.

Secondly, while the Anker PowerPort III 3-Port 65W Charger is capable of detecting the power requirements and to deliver power accordingly, with the Power Trio, you’ll get the same power for $27 less. Besides, with dimensions of 3.74″ x 2.62″ x 0.91″ and a weight of just 5.50 oz, the zPower Trio is a small and light charger ideal to travel. With this 3-in-1 charger, there’s no need for multiple AC adapters and plugs, and you won’t have to spend another dollar either since a 1.5-meter USB-C to USB-C cable with e-mark is included in the package.

Therefore, in terms of affordability and versatility, the ZMI zPower Trio Desktop Charger is almost unbeatable. Just make sure not to plug any device to the other two ports, or your MacBook Pro 13″ will take longer to charge.

Another alternative for the MacBook Pro 13″: RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger

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RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger

  • 90W maximum output.
  • Dual fast charging PD port.
  • Compatible with QC charging protocol.
  • Smart power distribution function.
  • Advanced GaN tech.
  • Small and compact.
  • LED Indicator.
  • 1 x 100-watt USB-C to USB-C cable included.
  • 18-month limited warranty.

Last update on 2020-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Unlike the ZMI zPower Trio, the RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger is great for charging your MacBook Pro at its fastest speed (60W) on 1.8 hours, as well as a second USB-C device, such as an iPhone or an iPad. The best thing is that each port is individually capable of using all 90 Watts, so when you plug the second device, the charger will immediately detect its power needs and adjust the power output.

Furthermore, it’s been designed using GaN tech and Pi Chip to maximize charging efficiency (93%) and to achieve a size convenient to travel of 2.6″ x 1.3″ x 2.6″. It also comes with a LED indicator and in-built protection against problems such as overheating, overcurrent, overvoltage, and short-circuit.

The only downside of this charger is the cost, which, at $54.99, can be a little expensive. However, it’s still cheaper than the Apple 61W USB-C Power Adapter.

In conclusion, if you have the budget for an adapter capable of charging the MacBook Pro 13″ and a second USB-C device without losing speed, then the RAVPower PD Pioneer 90W GaN Tech Type C Wall Charger is a great alternative.

Best Overall Charger for the MacBook Pro 16″: Zendure SuperPort 4 100W

Zendure SuperPort 4 100W USB-C Desktop Charger

  • Charges 4 devices simultaneously.
  • 136W maximum output.
  • 1 x USB-C PD 100W output.
  • Extra USB-C PD 18W output.
  • 2 x USB-A 18W output.
  • Intelligent safety protection.
  • LED charging indicator.
  • 1.5 meter AC power cord included.
  • USB-C cable not included.
  • 24-month limited warranty.

Last update on 2020-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Zendure SuperPort 4 100W USB-C Desktop Charger is even more powerful than the 96W Apple charger, which is great as it makes it the ideal match for the 100Wh battery of the MacBook Pro 16″. Moreover, provided the MacBook Pro can take up its 100Wh, then you can make sure that it will charge it faster.

It comes with two USB-C ports and two USB ports with its patented Zen+2.0 technology, allowing four devices to charge simultaneously. Therefore, it is compatible with all MacBook Pro models, as well as the iPad Pro, iPhones, the Nintendo Switch, and many other USB powered devices from other brands such as Samsung.

Besides the obvious power, what’s great about this charger is that thanks to its maximum combined output of 136W, speed won’t be sacrificed while charging other devices at the same time. For example, with an 18W output, the second USB-C port is as fast as the Apple 18W USB-C Power Adapter, meaning that it will charge any version of the iPhone 11. 

With measures of 4.5″ x 3.9″ x 0.9″, the Zendure SuperPort 4 100W USB-C Desktop Charger is a bit bulky, but it does not occupy much space. It comes in two color choices (black and silver); however, the silver one is considerably more affordable at $64.99. It also comes with a multi-faceted protection system and is backed by a 24-month warranty in case of any defect.

Overall, it’s the most powerful charger you can get; just make sure to get your USB-C cable.

Other options for all MacBook Pro models

PowerPort Atom PD 4

Despite being more expensive than the actual 96W Apple charger for MacBook Pro 16″ (total price stands at $100), Anker’s PowerPort Atom PD 4 is also a reliable option, which comes with 4 USB ports and the brand’s signature technology.

However, it only supplies 100W if no other port is being used at the same time, which gets reduced in half if there’s a device plugged into the second USB-C port. Besides, the 50W output can even decrease further, by 6W, for each USB-A port that is in use.

Nevertheless, this charger outputs its power according to the number and type of connected devices, so it’s still great to charge the MacBook Pro 15″ (it’s likely that many of our readers still own one) while one of the USB-A ports is charging your smartphone.

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PowerPort Atom PD 4

  • Charges 4 devices simultaneously.
  • 100W maximum output.
  • 2 x USB-C PD ports (5V=3A / 9V=3A / 20V=5A)
  • 2 x Additional USB-A 12W output (5V=2.4A max per port.)
  • Intelligent safety protection.
  • Intelligent Power Allocation.
  • LED charging indicator.
  • 1.5 meter AC power cord included.
  • 18-month warranty.
  • USB-C cable not included.

Last update on 2020-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Better Line’s High-End Performance Wall Charger

Another great option is the High-End Performance Wall Charger by Better Line. This is a legit 100W USB-C PD charger that features a total of 4 output ports: 1 USB-C PD, 1 USB-A with QC 3.0, and 2 Smart USB-A.

This charger is compatible with all MacBook models, and for $59.98, it’s $9 cheaper than the 61W power adapter by Apple. Besides the low price, given the number of ports and versatile charging technology, we think it’s a great deal.

Better Line's High-End Performance Wall Charger

  • Universally compatible.
  • 1 x USB-C PD 100W output.
  • 1 x USB-A QC3.0 output (18W max).
  • 2 x Smart USB-A output (5V/2.4A each, 12W max).
  • UL, FCC, CE, RoHS Certified.
  • LED charging indicator.
  • AC power cord included.
  • USB-C cable not included.

Last update on 2020-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

While Apple chargers perform great, their durability is questionable, as well as their expensiveness. Thus, we recommend the ZMI zPower Trio Desktop Charger and the Zendure SuperPort 4 100W for the MacBook Pro 13″ and MacBook Pro 16″, respectively. However, some of the other chargers on the list might better adjust to your personal charging needs, preferences, and budget.