If you have an Apple watch, chances are you are familiar with the myriad of chargers and stands available for them. These range from low-cost budget options to more expensive premium options, but what is the difference between these options and why should you care? What benefits do these stands offer, and why should you spend your hard earned money on one?
What Makes Apple Watches Different?
The current generation of Apple watches does not use traditional cable chargers. Apple has been working to remove cable chargers from all of its devices for years, and it has made significant progress with its watches. The current Apple Watch uses a magnetic charger to charge your device. This offers a series of benefits over traditional chargers. First, you are not going to ruin your charging port by accidentally pulling on the cable. The days of broken charger ports and bent cables are effectively over, as far as the Apple Watch is concerned. Second, it allows the Apple Watch to be water resistant up to one meter, or three feet, four inches, for up to half an hour.This means that the current series is IPX7 rated. Being IPX7 rated does not mean the Apple Watch is waterproof, but it is water resistant and should be fine if you forget to take it off before jumping in the pool or getting into the shower. Third, not having a charger port makes the entire design look more modern and sleeker.While some companies focus on function over form, this is a primary objective for Apple. Apple makes it its mission to provide both function and style, without compromise.
What Are the Benefits of an Apple Watch Stand?
With the Apple Watch using a magnetic charger, rather than a traditional charging cable, you may be wondering what benefits a stand can offer.Why spend extra money on a stand with a charger built in when you can just place your watch on the magnetic charger when you go to bed?
First, consider the reliability factor. If you are reading this, chances are good you already own an Apple Watch and are familiar with the charger design. If this is the case, then you are also likely familiar with the limitations of this design. The small size of the charger means that if it is pulled or bumped during the night, then your Apple Watch is likely to be knocked off of the charger and stop charging. Since this is most likely to happen in the middle of the night, the result is that you wake up in the morning with little to no charge on your watch and the battery dies during the day.
The next advantage to consider is that it turns your watch into, essentially, a bedside clock. Rather than having to grab your phone or take your watch off of the charger, you can simply glance over at the watch on the stand to check the time, check text messages, or anything else that you may need on your watch. All of this is done without ever having to find your phone and blind yourself by turning on the screen in the middle of the night.
Starting out in tenth place is Orzly’s Compact Stand for Apple Watch. This little stand is one of the more budget-friendly options in the lineup, but it is still well made and offers many of the benefits of more expensive models. The Orzly stand comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose one to match your Apple Watch, or simply select the one that you like the best.
The Orzly Stand comes with a cutout in the back of the stand for attaching your stock Apple Watch charger. This allows Orzly to keep the price of the stand down while still making it fully functional as a charger. Since the Apple Watch lays on its side, this allows the watch to go into “Nightstand” mode. This mode enables the Apple Watch to turn off the screen during the night but will bring it back on with a light touch, making it a convenient replacement for an alarm clock or blinding cell phone.
• Comes in a variety of colors
• Includes cutouts for your charger and cable management
• Compatible with all models of Apple Watch, including BASIC and SPORTS
• Small and lightweight design makes it easy to travel with
• Made from TPU – a light, but sturdy material, for durability
• Orients the Apple Watch into “Nightstand” mode for easy use at night while allowing the screen to turn itself off
• Adhesive strip on the bottom in case you want to attach it to your nightstand permanently
• Broader footprint than other Apple Watch only stands
• Creates a sharp bend in the charger cable when you install the charger
• The charger is difficult to install
• Adhesive can leave a stubborn residue on furniture
The next contender on the list is the ElevationLab NightStand. The NightStand provides a sleek, modern design that is specifically designed to be aesthetically pleasing while also being easy to use. While it is one of the more expensive options to make this list, it makes up for it with clever design work and by being sold in Apple Stores, so if by chance you do have a problem with yours, you can simply take it back to the Apple Store. One of the most common complaints regarding Apple Watch chargers and stands is the difficulty of aligning your Apple Watch on the charger. If it is not aligned correctly, the charger will not charge your device. With the NightStand, this is not an issue. The sloping design allows the Apple Watch to self-align when placed on the charger. The designers at ElevationLab made this ease of use a high priority when designing the NightStand, and it shows. What they came up with is as much a work of art as it is a functional device.
The NightStand offers other conveniences as well, such as the ability to attach to your bedside table or nightstand without the need for adhesives. The NightStand uses a powerful suction cup on the bottom to allow it to securely connect to smooth surfaces without ever leaving a residue behind or risking damaging your furniture when removing. Since it does not use adhesive, this also means that you can quickly move the NightStand as much as you want or need to, without reducing the efficacy of the attachment.
- Easy to align, even in the dark
- Suction cup adhesion, not tape or glue, allows for multiple movements and reuse
- Sleek, low profile design
- The charger is easy to remove without damaging the stand or charger
- Sloped design makes you Apple Watch self-aligning
- Can be purchased at your local Apple Store
- Higher price than similar stands
- Does not include a charger for the additional premium
Coming in at number eight is the MoKo Premium Scratch-resistant TPU Charging Dock. Coming back from the premium side of things, the MoKo is a well-designed budget option for those who don’t want to spend more than your weekly coffee bill on a watch stand. MoKo makes this charging stand from scratch-resistant TPU material. This material is lightweight, structurally strong, and smooth, making it extremely resistant to scratching from normal wear and tear. The smoothness of the material also means that it is not going to scratch your Apple Watch.
Unlike previous models reviewed, the MoKo Charge Dock does not offer a way to attach it to your desk or nightstand. Instead, it provides a weighted, non-slip base to keep your watch secure without the need to connect the base. This makes the MoKo Charge Dock easier to travel with if you are always on the go.
Unlike many other entries, the MoKo Charge Dock does not come in a variety of colors. As Henry Ford once said, “You can get it in any color, as long as it’s black.”
- Weighted, rubberized, non-slip base for securing your Apple Watch
- Cable routing from either side of the stand
- Smooth, TPU construction prevents scratches to the stand or your Apple Watch
- The rubberized base will not lose adhesion over time like glue or tape-based adhesion
- A lip on the bottom of the base secures your Apple Watch in place
- Budget Friendly
- Only available in black
- Does not offer permanent attachment
- The charger can come loose over time
- Easy to get misaligned when putting your Apple Watch on to charge
The Macally Apple Watch Stand Holder comes in at number seven on the list. It is unique from the rest in the way it holds your Apple Watch. The Macally Apple Watch Stand Holder holds your Apple Watch at an elevated level and keeps it turned vertically 90 degrees. Since it keeps your watch elevated, rather than just above your desk or nightstand, the Macally Apple Watch Stand Holder offers better protection of your Apple Watch in the event of a spill. If you knock over your drink in the night or while you are at work charging your Apple Watch, many of the stands available will not have your watch elevated enough to prevent it from getting exposed. While the Apple Watch is IPX7 rated water resistant, it is still likely to leave a sticky residue that you will now have to clean off, depending on your drink. This is not an issue with the Macally since it keeps you watch several inches above the mounting surface.
The Macally Apple Watch Stand Holder is a middle of the road charging stand when it comes to pricing. It is not quite a premium unit, but it is not a budget unit either. However, the unique design and added protection it offers your Apple Watch makes it worth the extra cost. It does not come in a variety of colors but instead comes in a black and aluminum finish with which even Steve Jobs would be impressed.
- Elevated mounting point to prevent damage from spills
- Elegant black and aluminum finish
- Completely hidden cable management
- High-Quality construction for a lower price
- Weighted metal base for a secure fit
- Sleek, modern design
- The raised profile can make it difficult to read your Apple Watch while lying in bed
- The base is weighted but unsecured
The designers at Studio Neat have created a genuinely unique charger and stand for your Apple Watch and iPhone or Android. Studio Neat, the company behind the Material Dock, makes it out of natural, aesthetically pleasing materials that make it truly stand out among the crowd. The charging dock is milled from walnut and given a matte finish. They are not made from pressed particleboard with a walnut pad either. No, Studio Neat makes the Material Dock from a solid piece of walnut. Since it is made from natural materials, each one is unique. You will never get two with the same grain pattern, any more than you would find two trees with the same pattern.
While the Studio Neat Material Dock is undoubtedly at the top of the price range, it does offer some features that others just don’t. Materials aside, the Material Dock is not only an Apple Watch charging stand. In fact, you cannot order just a watch stand. The Apple Watch option is only available in conjunction with either Qi, for Android, and Lightning, or with an iPhone wireless charger. While this does increase the price, it also increases the functionality of the device. If you have an Apple Watch, you have either an Android or iPhone, so unless you have an Android without wireless Qi charging, you are still going to be able to take full advantage of this dock.
- Milled from solid walnut, not particleboard
- Beautifully designed
- Multiple charging configurations for your devices
- Premium design and construction materials
- Can charge all of your devices
- Each one is unique
- The unit comes with a charger built-in
- Charging cables and power brick do not come with the device
A list of the best Apple Watch chargers and stands wouldn’t be complete without Apple’s Official Charger. Unlike many device manufacturers, Apple actually manages to compete and often outshines its third-party competitors. The Apple Magnetic Charging Dock is about as minimalist of a design as you are going to find. When the charger is laid flat, it looks like a simple round pad. When the charger is standing, it merely adds the standing charger to the profile. Where most of the devices on this list are stands that use your stock charger, the Apple Magnetic Charging Dock is a charger and does come with the USB to Lightning cable needed to power it. What does not come with the device is a power brick. This means that you will either need to have an extra power brick already or you will need to purchase a new one to power your charger.
Since this is an Apple branded device, it goes without saying that the price is on the higher side compared to other devices on the list. In fact, only the Belkin Valet Charge Dock for iPhone and Apple Watch and the Studio Neat Charge Dock are more expensive, and both of these options offer additional functionality. In truth, what you are getting when you buy the Apple Magnetic Charging Dock is the peace of mind of purchasing an official Apple-branded charger.
- Official Apple branded charger
- Compatible with the 1st generation, Series 1, 2, 3, and 4 Apple Watches
- Can charge laid flat or in nightstand mode
- Fully compatible charger
- Lightning to USB cable included
- Slow charging compared to other chargers
- Apple branding demands a high premium
- Despite the price, the device does not include a power brick
The Elago W3 Stand will be a favorite of vintage Apple fans around the world. It features a unique design that is reminiscent of the vintage Apple computer designs from the 1980s. The face of the Apple Watch replaces the screen, and it gives the impression of a real, albeit miniature, Apple computer. Unfortunately, the mini mouse and keyboard shown in the pictures is not included with this stand and does not appear to be available for purchase at this time.
The Elago W3 is another budget-friendly option for your Apple Watch and as such, does not include a charger. This means that you will need to supply your own charger, preferably an official Apple charger, but aftermarket chargers should work just as well. Unlike many of the other budget options on the list, the Elago W3 is not made from TPU material. Instead, Elago makes the W3 of soft, but durable silicon. The silicon design ensures it will never scratch your Apple Watch. The softness and flexibility of the silicon material also make installing the charger easy and risk-free, as well as making inserting y our watch easy. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of this design is that the stand does not support Series 4 Apple Watches, the 40mm screen is too large for the cutout.
- Vintage Apple Computer design for fans of 1980s classic Apple computers
- Silicon design makes installation easy and will not damage your Apple Watch
- Compatible with almost all models of Apple Watch
- Flexible silicon prevents damage to your Apple Watch or charger
- Nostalgic design
- Charges in nightstand mode
- Low price for superior materials
- The miniature keyboard shown in pictures is not available
- No way to attach it to your desk or nightstand
- Does not fit Series 4 Apple Watches(40mm)
Coming in at number three on the list of best Apple Watch chargers and stands is the Zens Apple Watch Charger. This device is unique among the entries on this list in that it is not only a charger but a battery bank as well. The built-in battery is 1300mAh. This is enough power to charge your Apple Watch completely, three times. You can also leave the unit plugged in and use it as a conventional charger. The size of the unit is only two or three times the size of the Apple Watch body, so it is easy and convenient to carry with you – just put it in your pocket and go.
The Zens Apple Watch charger is Apple certified, so you never have to worry about having an inferior quality charger damage your Apple Watch. Zens also stands behind its product with a two-year warranty included. You can extend this warranty by an additional year, so up to a three-year warranty, by simply registering the device on their website.
The Zens Apple Watch charger features built-in LEDs for tracking the charge level of the built-in battery. There are four LEDs, indicating the charge level, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. While this is not necessary on standard plug-in chargers, it is a must for power bank chargers such as this one from Zens.
- The built-in battery bank can charge your Apple Watch from empty to full three times in between charges
- Small cube design can fit inside of the band to secure the watch to the battery bank
- Support Nightstand mode
- Apple certified
- Excellent backup in case of power failure
- You can easily carry this compact cube in your pocket
- Micro-USB charger, not Lightning
- Build quality could be improved
- Difficult to align Apple Watch to the charger
Chances are you are familiar with the Belkin name. It has built a legacy in home networking equipment and have begun expanding into other consumer electronics over the last several years. Belkin has built its reputation on adding newer and premium features to cheaper devices, rather than long term reliability. That is not to say that Belkin makes an inferior product. On the contrary, Belkin makes an excellent product and stands behind its products with good customer service and warranty coverage. You are just more likely to need that warranty than with other, admittedly more expensive, brands.
The Belkin Valet Charge Dock stands out from the rest since it also includes an Apple iPhone charger, which is compatible with Apple iPhone 6 and above. Since the Belkin Valet Charge Dock does include an Apple iPhone charger, it does cost the most of any charger on this list, with the possible exception of the Design Neat Material Dock, depending on what configuration you choose. That said, the Belkin charger does provide everything you need to get it set up. While the Material Dock and Apple Charger do not come with a power brick, the Belkin Valet does have a power brick and cable.
- Includes Apple iPhone charger for iPhone 6 and above
- Adjustable Lightning charger height
- Elevates Apple Watch to prevent spill damage
- Includes everything you need to get started
- No additional pieces to buy, everything you need comes with it
- Solid cast arm for supporting your Apple Watch
- Modern design does not waste space and looks elegant
- Belkin backed warranty
- Reliability could be better
Now for the top Apple Watch stand on the list, the Spigen S350. This Apple Watch stand is a budget option, but it offers superior construction and durability. Unlike most of the stands and charger on the list, the Spigen S350 does allow you to charge your Apple Watch with the case on your watch. While not all cases are supported, most are. The cases that will not work are bulkier and, while they offer better protection, you will be hard pressed to find a charger that will support such a case.
The Spigen S350 does not include a charger, but for the price, you should not expect one. Unlike some other models, it does not support aftermarket chargers and will only fit an official Apple Watch Charger. The design makes aligning your Apple Watch with the charger easy and fast, so there is no need to struggle with getting it aligned before it will begin charging.
The base does not have glue adhesive. Instead, Spigen opted for a tacky rubberized material that will grab onto surfaces to prevent sliding without the need for adhesives. This same tacky coating is on the stand where the bottom of the Apple Watch meets the stand. This, combined with a small lip on the stand, prevents your Apple Watch from slipping or sliding while it is on the charger. This will ensure that you wake up with a full charge.
- A rubberized base prevents the stand from sliding, without leaving a sticky residue or damaging furniture
- Lip on the stand prevents your watch from sliding off during the night
- The stand is reversible to support bulky cases
- Simple but effective design
- Low cost, but superior construction
- Supports most Apple Watch cases
- Can sometimes stop charging watches with bulky cases
What Makes a Good Charging Stand?
A good charging stand should offer either built-in charging or the option for cable management to allow you to route cables and keep them from getting tangled easily. It should also securely hold your watch to ensure that it does not come off of the charger during the night. What good is a charging stand if it has the same limitations as a stock charger? A good stand should also allow you to perform basic functions on your watch without the need to remove it from the stand or letting it fall off of the stand.
In addition to being functional, a stand must also be well built. A stand can look perfect and be available for a low price, but if the manufacturing quality and materials used for construction are sub-par, the entire stand is likely to break without a few weeks or months. Stands should be made with thick, high-quality plastic to ensure a long life. Likewise, if the charger is inferior quality, then the chances are good that the cable will break and the charger will cease to function. It is not uncommon for budget chargers to contain a single copper wire, rather than winding cable. This is unlikely to last very long, even under ideal circumstances. You want a charger that uses thicker, winding cable which can flex and bend more without being damaged.
How Was This List Chosen?
This list was comprised of options ranging from budget-friendly stands to premium stand and charger combos. It was chosen because these are the most functional and aesthetically pleasing designs available today for your Apple Watch. Many of the stands and chargers on this list are designed to work with a range of Apple Watch generations and should continue to serve you well when the next model comes to the market and for several years to come.
If you own an Apple Watch, one of the best accessories that you can buy for it is the Spigen S350 Apple Watch Stand. This watch stand offers an excellent, modern design for a low price. By using the stock Apple Watch charger, rather than a third party or in-house charging solution, Spigen ensures that an inferior charger will not damage your Apple Watch. This also reduces the price of the stand significantly since the most expensive component in many charging stands is the charger itself. It is also compatible with most Spigen cases. No matter which model you choose, you cannot go wrong with a high-quality Apple Watch stand.