Beginning in the first half of 2019, Apple finally certified other companies to make USB-C to lightning cables. Competition breeds quality and often better pricing. Apple’s standard USB-C to lightning 1 meter cable dropped in price from $25 to $19 but is still pricey. I own three. More concerning is that many reviews note that the Apple cable’s outer jacket tends to fray and break down fairly quickly, a longtime concern for many of its products.
Read on to learn who makes the best USB-C to Lightning cable: Apple, Belkin, or Anker. Spoiler Alert: The most famous brand name in the world does not make the best quality USB-C lightning cable.
Belkin has been around a long time and has a strong reputation. Anker was unknown just a few years ago and is now a leading, well-respected name in electronics peripherals, especially cables. Buying Belkin or Anker cables will not save you much money, but far more important is, are they better? Do they last longer? Are they faster? Are their warranties better than Apple’s?
COMPARING APPLE, BELKIN AND ANKER: BUILD QUALITY AND SPEED
Apple to Lightning to USB-C Cable:
As you see in the photo, Apple’s 39 inch cable is the thinnest and offers the least protection against bending damage where the plug meets the cable jacket. I have owned my three Apple versions for six months. They are picking up dirt and starting to look more light grey than white but are all working normally with no fraying, YET. The warranty is one year only.
What about Apple charging speed performance?
Impressive! It also charged an Apple iPhone XS from 1% to 53% in 30 minutes, meaning a total charge of 52%. But at $19, I’d opt for either of the Anker Powerline versions due to better warranties and superior construction.
To get this wired charging performance, you must have a Power Delivery charging brick or car charger of at least 18 watts. Any higher wattage WILL NOT get you better performance. I’ll explain more about what to look for in a charging brick this later in the review. I have settled on the Excellent Aukey 18W charger. It is very compact, bargain priced at $12 when it's often on sale. I own three. In my previous tests it outperformed other brands and that’s a contributing factor to the amazing 52% increase. In our cars, I use Aukey and Choetech chargers. Both will also give a roughly 50% charge in 30 minutes. Again, for the car, you must use a USB-C to Lightning cable with a a charger of at least 18W.
Belkin Boost Charge USB-C to Lightning Cable:
The $20 Belkin cable has the typical plastic jacket, but at 3.4 mm thick, it is notably thicker than the Apple cable. It is extremely well constructed and impressive. Not likely to fray. Its length is the longest of the three at 4 ft. That can be an advantage inside. For the car, I’d rather have a shorter 3 ft. cable. It has an impressive two-year warranty, a full year longer than Apple’s.
What about Belkin’s charging speed performance?
Tied with Apple! The Belkin charged an Apple iPhone XS from 1% to 53% in 30 minutes, meaning a total charge of 52%. Highly impressive! At $20, only a dollar more than Apple’s cable, you get much more solid cable with a longer warranty. Impressive work, Belkin!
Anker Powerline+ II Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable:
As you can see in the photo, Anker’s woven black 3 ft. cable is the thickest of the three. Solid! The shielding runs deep and is unlikely to separate from repeated use where it meets the braided section. This is my first woven cable. It’s actually dark gray. It’s so thick and solid, it doesn’t immediately lay flat, and would be a little more cumbersome when traveling compared with the Apple or Belkin, or with Anker’s regular Powerline cable. At $22, it’s the most expensive of the three. However, it has a lifetime warranty compared with 18 months for Anker’s regular Powerline. A few bucks more is worth it. One thing I love about Anker cable’s that the others reviewed don’t have: a handy cable tie.
What about Anker charging speed performance?
Terrific! It also charged an Apple iPhone XS from 1% to 53% in 30 minutes, meaning a total charge of 52%!
If I already had three Apple cables why did I keep shopping for more?
My new search began when I sought a black color USB-C to lightning cable. Impossible to find when Apple held the monopoly. My car seats are a dark color and I do much of my rapid car charging while driving. Apple’s white cable stands out unattractively against the dark leather.
What about all the other brands suddenly popping up?
Despite some enticing reviews, I implore you not to buy any USB-C to lightning cable that is not “Apple MFI Certified.” Stay away from cheapies that claim to be certified that are likely to fall apart quickly--not worth it for such a vital cable in your arsenal. I also really trust the speed of products from Aukey and Choetech, but have found Choetech’s customer service lacking. UGreen has a good reputation but I have not yet tested their products. Morphie is also expensive yet makes good stuff.
ALL IMPORTANT WARRANTY AND SERVICE COMPARISONS:
Apple is always easy to deal with but the one-year warranty is a disadvantage. I only own two Belkin products. Their typical two-year warranty is terrific and they are a reputable company. I’ve had mixed results with Anker’s service. Three of the lower line Powerline USB-A to lightning cables have failed on me. One was within the warranty and replaced. The others were beyond the warranty. Thus, the lifetime warranty of the Powerline II is really worth it in my opinion for just a few extra dollars up front.
I did have one bad Anker experience and it still puzzles me because the company’s reputation is typically good. I got a new wireless stand charger from Anker that advertised a six-foot cable. When it came with only a three-foot cable I thought it would be easy to get a replacement from Anker. However, Anker told me that the six-foot cable was only through one vendor, even though the charger model was identical. I was only offered a 10% discount on a new cable and thought that really unfair, even when the offer was raised to 20% after I asked for a supervisor. This was highly disappointing and I would have returned the Anker charger if it was not a gift from my wife. (If you buy a wireless charging stand, just know that a 3 ft. USB-A to Lightning cable may not be long enough to reach from desk to wall plug.)
CHARGING BRICKS FOR WALL OR CAR: Which to buy / Tips:
Be sure you get one labeled “USB-C Power Delivery.” This is also known as PD. Wired USB-C to Lightning charge speeds are the nearly same whether you use an 18W power brick, or one of any higher wattage, as long as it is a Power Delivery charger. Stay with less expensive and smaller 18W bricks unless it will do double duty charging a laptop. On sale, reliable PD charging bricks can occasionally be found on Amazon as low as $12. That is how I first discovered Aukey. It’s petite 18w charging brick is as fast as any on the market and I now own three. It was also the fastest by 2-3% in comparison testing with other brands.
The same holds true for car chargers. Look for PD and at least 18 watts. Of course you’ll need another USB-C to Lightning cable to take advantage of max speed possible discussed in this review. Only get a charging brick or car charger of more than 18W if you will be also using it to charge a tablet or laptop.
About "fast" wireless charging vs. wired charging:
Wireless charging technology is still relatively early stage. Wireless chargers are wonderfully convenient. Yet, if you are in a hurry, the fastest way to charge an Apple phone by far is with a USB-C wired charging brick of at least 18w, along with an Apple-certified USB-C to Lightning cable.
Hope this review has been of help--thanks for slogging through all the detail. These are all good cables depending on your specific needs re preferred length, color options, and warranty.
|Product Dimensions||3.15 x 2.64 x 0.83 inches|
|Item Weight||0.634 ounces|
|Item model number||MX0K2AM/A|
|Is Discontinued By Manufacturer||No|
|Date First Available||November 1, 2018|