Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

Charging USB-C Laptops


  • Most laptops with USB-C support charging through that port. How much output your charger needs depends on the model, size, and apps you run.




Most laptops with USB-C are able to charge through their USB-C port. It is becoming a standard in the industry, with few holding on to proprietary chargers. While this did away with things like MagSafe it gave users more options when buying a second charger for home, office, or commute bag. And now laptops can use consumer grade power banks for charging on the go.

The type of USB-C charger your laptop needs depends on its model, size, and usual activities. To help you find your best charging option we’ll go over these factors. Including details on the included charger for the more popular USB-C laptops.


LaptopSizePower Adapter Output
Apple MacBook12-inch30W
Apple MacBook Air (2018)13-inch30W
Apple MacBook Pro13-inch
15-inch
61W
87W
Acer Chromebook 1414-inch45W
Dell XPS13-inch
15-inch
45W
90-130W
Google Chromebook Pixel13-inch60W
HP EliteBook 1040 G414-inch65W
HP Spectre x36013-inch
15-inch
60W
90W
Lenovo Yoga 700 SeriesYoga 720 13-inch
Yoga 730 13-inch
45W
65W
Lenovo Yoga 900 SeriesYoga 920 14-inch
Yoga C930 14-inch
65W
Huawei MateBook X Pro13-inch65W
Razer Blade Stealth13-inch45W

These are the chargers I recommend for USB-C laptops. Keep your other USB-C devices in mind, as another charger might work better for all your devices.

A USB-C PD charger offering 30W or more will fully power a 12-inch laptop. If you have other, larger USB-C devices to charge consider a USB-C charger which supports your largest device.

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 | Review

  • 30W USB-C PD
  • USB-IF Certified
  • Uses GaN tech to reduce size and heat, could fit in your pocket
  • No USB-C cable included

ZMI PowerPlug Turbo | Review

  • 45W USB-C PD
  • Larger and more output than a 12-inch laptop needs, but cheaper than most smaller 30W options
  • Includes a USB-C to USB-C cable

Need a charger with additional USB ports? Check out multi-port chargers offering 30W USB-C PD.


These are the power banks I recommend for USB-C laptops. Keep your other USB-C devices in mind, as another power bank might work better for all your devices.

A USB-C PD power bank offering 30W or more will fully power a 12-inch laptop. If you have other, larger USB-C devices to charge consider a USB-C power bank which supports your largest device.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD | Review

  • 30W USB-C PD
  • 26,800mAh capacity
  • All-in-one bundle with a 30W USB-C PD wall charger and USB-C to USB-C cable
RAVPower PD Pioneer 26800 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

RAVPower PD Pioneer 26800 with MacBook Pro 13-inch

RAVPower PD Pioneer 26800 | Review

  • 30W USB-C PD
  • 26,800mAh capacity
  • Similar specs as Anker model, but cheaper with no bundled wall charger
  • Includes a USB-C cable

ZMI QB820 | Review

  • 45W USB-C PD
  • 20,000mAh capacity
  • USB hub function, connect USB-A device to the laptop by plugging into the power bank
  • Includes a USB-C to USB-C cable

How Much Output Do I Need

What charger you should buy comes down to laptop model, size, and expected workload. Keep in mind what you do on the road without a power outlet may not be what you do in the office near an outlet.

12-inch Laptops

  • 30W charger and power bank
  • Works under all conditions
  • Inexpensive and many available models

13-inch/14-inch Laptops

  • 60W wall charger, 45W power bank
  • 60W works under all conditions
  • 45W works under best when asleep or doing office apps, Internet, entertainment, etc. Worst case will slow down battery drain.
  • Plenty of inexpensive options for both with wall chargers. 45W power banks are more common and less expensive.
  • The 2018 13-inch MacBook Air is a big exception. It only requires a 30W charger or power bank.

15-inch Laptops

  • 60W wall charger at least, consider something closer to 90W
  • Settle for a 45-60W power bank unless willing to pay a lot more
  • 90W works under all conditions
  • 60W is considered minimal for larger laptops. Best when asleep or doing office apps, Internet, entertainment, etc.
  • 90W chargers are available, or buy a second charger from your laptop’s maker
  • There are a lot more 45W power banks than 60W. There are a couple of ~90W power banks, but all are Kickstarters with high prices and no ship date.

65-100W Chargers

Several mid size laptops use 65W chargers. And larger laptops can use all the power they can get. Yet I don’t often recommend a 65W charger over a 60W charger. This is because with 65W or higher USB-C chargers you run into a few issues.

Under USB-C Power Delivery standards you would find these power profiles:

  • 60W: 5V/3A, 9V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/3A
  • 65W: 5V/3A, 9V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/3.25A
  • 90W: 5V/3A, 9V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/4.5A
  • 100W : 5V/3A, 9V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/5A
  • In all cases 12V/3A is optional

Notice the 5V, 9V, and 15V profiles are all the same. Only the 20V profile changes, by adding more amps. To get 65-100W through USB-C you increase the current at 20V. The catch is not all USB-C cables can handle the increased current.

5A supporting USB-C cables

Most USB-C cables only support 3A. Some support 5A and are advertised as such. It is worth nothing that you cannot eyeball two cables to see if they support 3A or 5A. Without the proper cable you won’t get more than 60W out of the charger.

When you connect a 65-100W USB-C charger is looks for the cable’s eMarker. A USB-C cable is required to have an eMarker if it supports USB 3.1 (Gen 1 or Gen 2) data transfer and/or more than 5A current. It allows connected devices to know what it is capable of. If there is no eMarker the cable will only support USB 2.0 and 3A current. If the charger confirms it can handle the current it’ll charge normally at the higher output.

Why some devices don’t work well with high output chargers

There is often a delay for the eMarker to respond. It is short for us, but the charger has to do something in the meantime. Most advertise themselves as a 60W charger. Once the eMarker response they’ll re-advertise their higher output. A re-advertisement itself is okay and within USB-C standards. But some chargers go about this process in a weird way. And some less than standard perfect devices can have a problem with it.

Apple’s 87W USB-C power adapter has a weird approach. It forces the device to 5V/2.4A until the eMarker is verified. If there is an eMarker it’ll offer its full output. If none is found it’ll offer up to 20V/3A. But by only showing 5V/2.4A at the start it prompts a complaint from larger devices (MacBook Pros don’t charge at 5V). And it forces a re-advertisement of its power profiles whether there is an eMarker or not.

The Nintendo Switch, which has its own issues, has been found to crash when using an Apple 87W charger. It doesn’t handle re-advertisements well (Switch’s fault). But with another high output charger it wouldn’t be re-advertised to, and wouldn’t crash.