USB-C is the port that USB should always have been – even USB's original creator thinks so. Slim, reversible, and lightweight, USB-C is easy to plug into devices and supports the fastest USB speeds available today for snappy data transfers. But it's the port's ability to enable faster charging and the charging of larger devices, which has made it the darling of tech fans the world over.
Does USB-C charge faster? Absolutely, with the right kit.
How does USB-C charge faster?
The reason USB-C can help your devices charge faster is that the cables are simply designed to carry more power than previous versions of USB, which maxed out at 7.5W. Beyond the physical design of the cables, USB-C also supports USB Power Delivery which drastically enhances charge rates.
USB PD allows USB-C to support up to 100 watts of power, Without PD, USB-C can only support up to 15W of power because it only utilizes 5V. USB PD opens up support to up to 20V and 5A, or a total of 100W of charging and many power profiles in between- not all USB-C equipment can do 100W. Power Delivery is a handshaking protocol where the device and charger communicate and determine the optimal charging rate. Also, the latest iteration of PD, Power Delivery 3.0, enables a feature called Programmable Power Supply which further enhances the efficiency of power delivery without sacrificing your batteries' longevity.
Prior to USB-C and PD, higher charging rates were only accomplished with proprietary technologies like Qualcomm's Quick Charge. With Power Delivery, USB charging becomes standardized and more powerful.
Does USB-C charge faster than Quick Charge and other technologies? Not always but it certainly has a higher maximum than any other USB charging technology. Because of the higher charging rate, it opens up the possibility of USB-C charging to larger devices. You can charge laptops over USB-C, just as you would a smartphone.
USB-C supporting devices can charge far faster now than ever before, as long as you have the right hardware for the job.
What do you need for USB-C fast charging?
We've answered the question of does USB-C charge faster, but how do you actually do it? What do you need to take advantage of USB-C's fast charging capabilities?
The first thing you'll need is a compatible device with a USB-C charge port. That can be a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. As long as it has a USB-C charging port on it, it will almost certainly support fast charging over USB-C. It's possible that it won't, as it's not mandatory for USB-C, but most modern devices do support USB-C charging (though charging rate may vary), as it's a major feature for many when buying such devices.
You'll also need a charger that supports higher wattages. Many smartphones like the iPhone X and many Android devices, ship out with a standard 5w USB-A charger, which isn't enough to take advantage of fast charging over USB-C. To make the most of it, you want at least an 18w charger, though if you're looking to charge larger devices like tablets and laptops as well, or instead, you want a higher wattage. This 30w charger is a great, low-profile charger for all sorts of devices, for example.
The last piece in the puzzle is a high-quality USB-C cable. Depending on the charger you use, you'll either need a USB-C to USB-C cable, or a USB-C to USB-A cable. For charging beyond 60W, you’ll need to make sure you’re using an electronically marked, or eMarked, USB-C Power Delivery cable. This is important to keep in mind when charging larger devices such as laptops.
If you're charging an iPhone and want to take advantage of fast charging, you could also opt for an MFi certified USB-C to Lightning cable.
There have been some reports of cheap USB-C cables causing damage to devices when charging, so be sure to pick a cable manufacturer that you trust. All Cable Matters cables are built to an extremely high standard of quality, many of them featuring gold-plated headers to prevent corrosion, and individual wire braiding and shielding for reliable data transfer and power delivery.