Charging Cell Phone: How Long Does It Take?

Here’s how long it takes to charge a cell phone:

The answer depends on many factors, such as the capacity of your battery and the charger you are using.

Modern smartphones generally take between 40 minutes and two hours to charge.

These are just averages because real charge times vary so much, even between phones that are from the same company and model.

If you want to learn all about how long it takes to charge a cell phone, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s jump right in!

Table of Contents

What Is the Battery Capacity?

The first thing to understand about phone charging is to understand what exactly we are charging. 

Batteries, more specifically lithium-ion batteries, power modern smartphones. These batteries store energy in the form of chemical potential energy.

stacked lithium-ion batteries

And when that energy is needed by the phone to work, this chemical potential energy is converted into electrical energy. This flow of energy is power. 

This is the power that runs all the little circuits and display screens on your smartphone. But like any source of power, this is finite and limited. 

Once there is no more chemical energy to convert to electrical power, your phone dies.

This is where charging comes in. Charging your phone is the reverse process of the one I just described. 

Now electrical energy from your outlet is converted into chemical potential energy to be stored.

Charging a battery can be thought of as filling up a tank of gas. If we take this analogy, we can better understand how long it takes to charge a phone fully. 

smartphone charging showing 36% before full charge.

So, for example, a smaller tank will take less gas and less time to charge. 

While a larger tank will take more time and more gas to fill up.

Similarly, depending on your battery capacity, usually measured in mAh or milliamp hours, the time to fully charge a phone can change. 

A smaller battery will take less time to charge as compared to a larger phone.

Most current phones can have battery capacity in the range of 3000 mAh to 5000 mAh. There will obviously be outliers to this range. But on average, this is the range of most battery packs.

What Are Charging Speeds?

The second most important factor that has an effect on how long it takes to charge your mobile phone’s battery is how fast your charger is. 

These days chargers come in various shapes and sizes and offer different charging speeds. 

Charging speed is a more informal term for the power output of a charger.

Power is measured in Watts. 

Mobile cell phone charge battery from wireless smart charger.

At the lower end of the spectrum, we have phone chargers of 9 Watts. But a lot of modern android phones come with 27 Watt or 30 Watt chargers. 

There are even companies that make 65 Watt and 85 Watt chargers. The higher Watts of a charger, the faster it can charge the battery.

So having said that, what kind of charger you are using can drastically affect how long it takes to charge your phone to full. 

So depending on what kind of wattage your charger is rated for, this time can vary. In fact, it is not just on the charger side. 

The phone also has to support that wattage to take full advantage of that charger.

So, a 65 Watt charger will only charge at the rated 65 W if the phone supports it. 

If a phone doesn’t support 65 W, the phone charges at the highest wattage it is rated for.

What Is Quick Charging?

Quick Charging, Fast charging, and Bolt charging, etc., are different marketing names for the same thing. 

black fast charger with red cord.

These are just branding for different types of high wattage charging. So don’t get confused with this naming nomenclature.

Just look at the number of watts your charger charges it at. It will give you an idea of how fast your phone will be charged.

So, What Are the Charging Times?

So now that we understand chargers, battery capacity, and quick charging. What are the charging times you should expect?

At the lower end, a lot of new phones with good chargers can be fully charged in 30 to 40 mins. This is the absolute minimum with the current technology. 

While the cheaper or older phones usually take 1 hour to 1 hour 30 mins in total time to be fully charged. But like I said before, this all depends.

Time to full charge showing on screen.

You can accurately picture your phone’s battery charging time by looking up your exact phone company and model. 

You will find all the calculations and numbers for your exact phone.

But as I mentioned before, even mobile phones that are the same make and company can have drastically different charging times. 

This is because of how much your battery has been used. This is usually measured by a term called battery fatigue.

What Is Battery Fatigue?

So what exactly is battery fatigue? Battery fatigue is your battery slowly loses its capacity over its life. This happens due to many reasons, like charging cycles. 

Charging cycles is your battery charging and discharging throughout its life. 

So as your battery gets older, it goes through more and more charging cycles. 

Male hand holding a lithium-ion battery with smartphone in the background.

Hence usually, the more used a battery is, the less capacity it has.

A battery that has more fatigue usually ends up having less capacity. 

A battery with less capacity can actually get charged quickly. 

So, you might think this is a good thing that your phone is charged quickly. But there is a downside to this. 

The phone will discharge quickly as well. So your phone will last for a shorter period of time as compared to a new phone.

Should You Be Charging Your Phone to a Full Battery?

You might be wondering, is it even a good idea to charge your battery to full? The answer is No. 

It is never a good idea to charge your phone 100%. 

In fact, most experts recommend that you charge your phone to just 80% to improve its life.

Smartphone screen over wireless charger showing a fully charged battery.

And in terms of discharge, most experts agree that you don’t let your phone’s battery fall below 20%. 

This 20% and 80% rule generally allows you to extend your battery’s life. 

So it is not a good idea to charge your phone to full battery. 

You should always unplug the charger at 80%. 

How Does Wireless Charging Work?

There are even chargers that can wirelessly charge your mobile phones. 

In this case, your phone needs to actually have the hardware to get charged wirelessly. 

Wireless chargers charge the phone by using electromagnetic induction.

Woman charging mobile phone battery with wireless charging device.

But generally speaking, wireless chargers are still slow as compared to used wired ones. 

This is because it is far harder to get the same amount of power delivery you can get with wired chargers. That isn’t to say that it will be like this in the future. Wireless charging is catching up. 

And it might even meet the fast charging speeds of currently wired chargers we have.

But it is important to understand that wireless chargers are more convenient than wired chargers at the cost of being far slower.