Update: Since this list is a few years old I created a brand new one for 2016… check it out here!
By now, many Apple fans have accumulated a nice collection of iOS devices and companies out there are realizing that people need to charge multiple iPads/iPhones/iPods at once in an easy, uncluttered and efficient manner–hence this list. Actually, I’ve included a variety of solutions. Some for home users and others for corporate or educational campuses. For instance, many university classrooms are rolling out iPad curriculum integration and need a way to securely organize, sync and charge 30 devices at a time. Likewise, as corporate workforces begin to let go of RIM’s BlackBerry as their go-to communications device, businesses are also in need of similar charging/syncing solutions. From consumers to libraries to hospitals to resorts, this list is sure to help you find a way to keep your arsenal of iOS devices going strong like the Energizer bunny.
Also read: The 100 best iPhone 6 and 6 Plus accessories
The Quirky Converge charging station looks like a shiny plastic piece of thick white paper that has been molded into a permanent curvature to form a shelf that can cradle and charge your devices in style. With 4 USB ports the Converge is perfect for charging multiple iPhones or iPods. Alternatively, you could easily fit an iPhone and an iPad at the same time. Unsightly cords can be kept from view by stashing them underneath the shelf.
The Kanex Sydnee looks super slick and amazing, almost like a piece of art–until it’s got four iPads sitting in it with cords popping out the side and running around the top then bottom–at that point it looks more like something that belongs in a server closet. Whatever your thoughts on the visual image it projects, the usefulness of this device is unquestionable for families with multiple iPads. Each device in the dock receives 2.1 amps of charging power for quick charging and the built-in cable management system is a nice feature since there isn’t a side cavity to stuff the cords in like other products on this list.
iSound Power View Pro
The iSound Power View Pro is perfect for an individual’s desk. Your iPad can sit in this charger either vertically or horizontally in case you want to use it as it charges (though in horizontal mode your iPhone/iPod will be a bit hidden in the rear). Thanks to two additional USB ports in the back you can actually charge up to 4 iOS devices at once. I love how the website lets you know that the Apple products pictured in the photos are NOT INCLUDED (just in case…).
XtremeMac InCharge Docks
XtremeMac announced at CES 2012 a new line of charging docs with the monicker InCharge (coming soon). There are going to be three different versions that will charge 2, 3 or 5 iPads, iPhones or iPods at once. What’s nice about the upcoming InCharge units is that they are case-friendly thanks to the adjustable rear supports in each bay. To look at, the InCharge is a nice minimal effort that makes your devices the focus of attention as the dock itself just melts into the surface you sit it on.
IDAPT i4 Charger
The IDAPT i4 is capable of charging, you guessed it, 4 devices and takes a more pointed approach to charging thanks to it’s interchangeable tip system (get it?). While not the most stylish entry on this list, the IDAPT i4 does earn points for compatibility (if you must charge something besides an Apple device) and for helping to cut down on cord clutter since only one cord is needed to charge multiple devices. An ideal setup for this would be to charge an iPad and two iPhones.
While compatible with over 1,800 devices, the Bluelounge Refresh is perfect for 2 out of the only 3 that anyone reading this post really cares about: the iPhone and iPod (this little charger is too small for an iPad). I’d say this charger is best suited for a bedroom (where a couple can easily charge their devices simultaneously) or a desk. Another great use for this, while non-iOS but sort of in the same vein, is to charge an iPhone and a Bluetooth headset at the same time.
Bretford PowerSync Tray for iPad
To me, the Brandford PowerSync Tray looks a bit like something out of a futuristic science lab with it’s smooth metal finish, glowing lights and laser cut numbers (and that’s not a bad thing). According to the company’s website, “The PowerSync Tray for iPad saves a significant amount of time and cost for organizations looking to deploy and manage multiple iPad devices.” Able to charge 10 iPads at a time and sporting features such as a lockable security lid (made of 18 gauge steel) and the ability to daisy chain multiple trays, the PowerSync Tray certainly seems purpose-built for corporate or educational settings. Also check out the PowerSync Cart (holds 30 iPads) and the PowerSync Case (holds 20 iPods).
Here’s another great option that seems perfect for classrooms: the Griffin MultiDock. Like a couple of other products listed here, the MultiDock allows you to charge/store 10 iPads at a time, and, you can also sync your files with iTunes as you charge for convenience. You can purchase a separate laptop riser to stash your Mac on as well if you are teaching a class, for instance. Also works with iPods and iPhones.
The Parasync is a multi-charger designed to charge and sync 20 iPods/iPhones at a time. There’s also a Parasync option that charges 10 iPads. Using the Parasyn, you can sync 1GB worth of content within 20 minutes. According to the website, syncing “is best done with a Mac (running OS 10.4 or higher and iTunes 7.1 or higher). PC users experience fluctuations in performance when syncing to a large quantity of devices.” Hmmm…. is that Parasync’s fault or do we chalk that up to the PC world?
iHome iB967 Dual Docking Charging Station
While it could use a snazzier name, the iHome iB967 looks like a decent choice for people with multiple iPhones and/or iPods. While it doesn’t say it was made specifically with the iPad in mind, it does look to have to extra USB ports in the back that you could use for that purpose. I wouldn’t call this the most stylish product out there, but then again it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either so it may do well in the lower end of the market.
Bonus: XTG 4 Port USB Wall Apapter
The XTG 4 Port USB wall adapter was designed with travelers in mind. This is evident given the light weight, ultra-compact design with foldable AC prongs. While I suppose you could use this solution at home as well, there is no cord management included which means you’re left with a nice rats nest to deal with (in which case I’d prefer the Kanex Sydnee any day).