Apple has added fast charging and wireless charging capabilities to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. If you want to take advantage of these features, you’ll have to shell out additional money for some new hardware that Apple doesn’t include in the box. It only gives you a 5W adapter with the iPhone 8. Folks at Apple Insider conducted an iPhone 8 charging speed test to see which method is the most effective in charging your new iPhones.

Apple iPhone 8 Charging Speed Test
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

The regular USB Lightning cable and charger are not going to charge your iPhone 8 any faster or slower than the traditional chargers that the tech giant has been shipping for years. If you want to use wireless charging, you’ll need a Qi-compatible charging pad. Apple currently sells Belkin and Mophie wireless chargers in its stores. It will launch its own AirPower mat that will allow you to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. However, it won’t arrive until 2018.

To enjoy fast charging, you’ll need a USB-C to Lightning cable that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD). It is going to cost you at least $25 depending on the length of the cable. Third-party cables do not support fast charging. You will need it to connect your iPhone 8 to Apple’s 29W, 61W, or 87W USB-C power adapter. Apple Insider found that there was no difference in the iPhone 8 charging speed between the 29W and 87W chargers.

So, you can go for the 29W adapter that costs $49. There is no point spending more money.  You can also use third-party USB-C power adapters such as the Anker Premium 5-Port 60W charger for fast charging.

To test the iPhone 8 charging speed, Apple Insider took Apple’s 29W charger, the 12W power adapter that comes with the latest iPad Pro, the 7.5W Belkin Boost Up wireless charging pad, and Apple’s 5W adapter that comes with the iPhone 8. Interestingly, they also charged the device directly from an iMac using a USB-A to Lightning cable and a USB-C to Lightning cable.

Apple claims fast charging gives you 50% battery in just 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the USB-C fast charger had achieved 52% charging rate. It was closely followed by the 12W power adapter at 36%. The USB-C to Lightning cable that was connected to the iMac reached 34% charge, while the USB-A to Lightning cable connected to the iMac was a bit slower at 26% in 30 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, the wireless charging pad and Apple’s 5W adapter had each charged the device up to about 20 minutes. Wireless charger was no faster than the 5W adapter.

At the end of one hour, the fast charger had charged the phone to 80%. It means the iPhone 8 charging speed via fast charger slowed a bit after the first 30 minutes. The 12W adapter and the USB-C to iMac had achieved 70% and 68% charge in 60 minutes, respectively. As usual, the 5W adapter and wireless charger were the slowest of the lot. They stood at about 40% at the end of one hour.

The wireless charger was as slow as the 5W adapter throughout the test. Even though the Belkin Boost Up offers up to 7.5W of power, the iPhone 8 accepts only 5 watts of power wirelessly. Apple has promised to increase the wireless charging speed via a software update in the future. But right now it sucks. It’s even slower than wireless charging on Android phones.

The fastest way to charge your iPhone 8 is to use a USB-C to Lightning cable that supports USB-PD with a 29W charger. Fast charging doesn’t cause the iPhone to heat up, and it works even when you are using it. You can plug in the same cable into an iMac, which also delivers much better iPhone 8 charging speed than the 5W adapter or wireless charging.

As for wireless charging, it’s good only for an overnight charge or if you love to see your phone placed on a charging mat for hours.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus come with a 1,821mAh and 2,675mAh battery, respectively. It means the iPhone 8 battery is smaller than the iPhone 7 (1,960mAh), and the 8 Plus battery is smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus (2900mAh). Apple claims the new iPhones offer roughly the same battery life as the last year’s models. Apple is well-known for tightly integrating the hardware and software to deliver maximum performance while consuming minimal battery.