Free US Shipping for orders over $75

What is Induction Charging?

Induction Charging is gaining in popularity in many consumer electronic devices and is sometimes referred to as wireless charging. While it may sound like new technology, there is actually a long history. As early as 1831, Michael Faraday had discovered the ability for electromagnetic forces to travel. Nicola Tesla expanded upon the technology that evolved to radio wave transmissions.

There are actually three different types of wireless charging.

Radio Charging:This sends a very low power radio wave that can charge low-power devices like medical implants.

Resonance Charging: Similar to Inductive charging, resonance charging utilizes a coil that creates an oscillating magnetic field. The typical range is 1-3 feet. The costs tend to be higher and the coils are larger for smaller electronic devices. However, improvements in size and efficiency continue to develop at a rapid rate. The dream of having your phone actually start charging right when you enter your car or home will likely be based on some sort of resonance charging technology.

Induction Charging: This is the most popular type of wireless charging today and you are seeing more and more manufacturers incorporate wireless charging technology. One of the first examples that most people are familiar with are electric toothbrushes. The receiver coils have been engineered to be extremely thin at about 1mm in thickness. They tend to be slower charging and less efficient than directly plugging into a wall outlet. However, we are starting to see some higher power (2A vs older .5-1A) output and efficiency has been improving from about 40-50% 10 years ago to 75-90% today.

With Induction Charging, you need to have a transmitter and a receiver. The typical working range is 4-5mm apart. When they come into this range and are aligned, an electromagnetic field is created that transfers energy between the two objects.

Benefits of Induction Charging
  • Arguably the greatest benefit is convenience  If you have an Induction Charging Receiver device, you can simply put the device on a transmitter to begin charging. For instance, putting your phone on a nightstand base in the dark is more convenient than fumbling with a cord. Or putting your phone on a charging pad in a car that is has a charging base is more convenient than dealing with cords.
  • Safety is also a major benefit. There are no physical connections that can lead to shocks or corrosion. That is the primary reason for using induction charging technology in electric toothbrushes near a water source.
  • Durability is greater since there is no physical connection that needs to be constantly plugged and unplugged.
  • Coolness factor. There is just something about being able to charge a device with no wires.
Drawbacks of Induction Charging
  • The costs of the coils are quite expensive. Advancements in terms of quality and efficiency typically result in additional patent and licensing costs as well. So you are starting to see a divergence of quality and price range.
  • Wasted energy due to lower efficiency. While charging efficiency has increased dramatically over the past ten years, it is still not as efficient as directly plugging in a device. Higher quality devices typically have efficiency of 80%. So devices take slightly longer to charge and have some heat loss.
  • No connection - no charge. When using a cord, you can continue to charge the device while using it. With Induction Charging, once the device is removed from the charging pad, you are no longer charging the device.
  • Lack of a universal standard. We believe the benefits of Induction Charging outweigh the drawbacks and we can envision a world where every car has a charging location, most fast food restaurants, coffeeshops and airports have charging pads embedded in their furniture and most consumer electronics companies incorporate induction charging receivers into their devices. What is holding this all back is the lack of a true global standard. See our Qi vs PMA vs A4WP article
Today, we are seeing more and more companies introduce Induction Charging products into the market place. Smartphones such as Nokia Lumia 820 and 920, Motorola Droid, HTC Droid DNA, Nexus 4 are all early pioneers with induction charging capabilities. Even auto companies are entering the market with current availability on the Toyota Avalon and announced plans by GM.

We believe that the drawbacks will begin to decrease over time as costs come down, efficiency increases, range increases and most importantly, some sort of winning standard emerges. - See more at:

Also in Blog

Swatch obsession
Swatch obsession

As founder and designer for VoltNow, the aspect I love most is the ability to design without compromise. Every product has to serve a functional purpose but it can also excel in design. There are thousands of choices to serve a functional need but a truly well designed product resonates with a user in a way that truly delights.

Read More

Exciting times for BYD
Exciting times for BYD

Yes, I am one of the hundreds of thousands that have placed their deposit for a Tesla Model 3 even prior to the launch. These are exciting times for EV development with more and more entries into the space. The worldwide leader BYD is relatively unknown here in the US but keep an eye out for them in the future.

Read More

Form + Function = VoltNow
Form + Function = VoltNow

Decades ago, consumers had limited selection of products to choose from. Being convenient or simply available was often enough to generate a sale. With the rise of direct marketing and the internet in particular, soon consumers were met with hundreds if not thousands of options to choose from.

Read More