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The Best Thunderbolt Chargers & Cables & Accessories for 2021 iPad Pro – Get the Power

Back in the day, buying new iPad chargers was confusing and expensive, but nowadays, with USB-C, charging has made it easier than ever before and more affordable than ever. The best choice for almost any modern tablet is a charger that can deliver at least 40-50W. These adapters are just as robust and reliable as a replacement from Apple and certified to be safe and reliable. Some of the chargers come with their USB-C charging cable, and some don’t. However, don’t worry, as we have also taken this into account and added some great cables so that you can have an easy time browsing for the perfect pair.

The old iPads came with a lightning port which Apple was very proud of but with the recent shift to USB-C, and now Thunderbolt iPads have become much more compatible with after-market accessories. These include various chargers and cables. You see, Apple has started removing chargers from their boxes, and if they do include one, it will be a slow charger that is not at all suitable. Hence, if you need a decent charger with incredible charging speeds, you will have to buy a separate fast charger. However, this option brings up more questions – Where can I buy a decent charger from? Is there the best charger in the market? What wattage should I be looking at? All these questions are answered below. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get to the actual review and product listing.

Thunderbolt on The New iPad Pro

As discussed above, Thunderbolt seems to be a significant change and an impressive one at that. Such a powerful port in the new iPad Pro allows Apple to make headlines with the tremendous power and compatibility that the M1 chip delivers. Thunderbolt is here, and it brings some impressive numbers, with it being the bandwidth improvements for wired connections, which now peaks at around 40Gbps. This will allow people to use “high performance” accessories such as superfast external SSDs, high-res displays at a max 6K resolution, and any other Thunderbolt or USB-C ready accessory.

In Short: You would see support for all the following:

  • Fast data transfer rates up to 40Gbps
  • Impressive Quick Charging
  • Support for external displays up to a 6K panel
  • Compatibility with hubs and docs that extend the functionality (allows keyboard and mouse use)
  • Brings in support for high-speed external SSDs

This is only the base of what you can expect with Thunderbolt. However, Apple may bring more support for Thunderbolt products such as an external GPU, which will boost productivity by making the new iPad Pro a serious performance-based machine for professionals and enthusiasts alike. Though this is my optimistic brain speaking, and nothing is confirmed by Apple yet.

A Glance at Thunderbolt Accessories for iPad

Best Thunderbolt Chargers for iPad Pro (2021)

  1. Anker 65W PIQ – Overall Best Thunderbolt Charger
  2. Belkin USB-PD GaN Charger 68W – Most Versatile Thunderbolt Charger
  3. Amazon Basics 68W – Best Budget Thunderbolt Charger
  4. RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger – Best Thunderbolt Charger
  5. AUKEY Omnia 65W – Portable Thunderbolt Charger

Best Thunderbolt Cables for iPad Pro (2021)

  1. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable – Best Thunderbolt Cable
  2. Apple Thunderbolt 3 – Apple Certified Thunderbolt Cable
  3. Anker Thunderbolt 3.0 Cable – Runner-up Best Thunderbolt Cable
  4. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Cable – Most Versatile Thunderbolt Cable
  5. Nekteck Thunderbolt 3 Cable – Best Budget Thunderbolt Charging Cable

Best Thunderbolt Accessories for iPad Pro (2021)

  1. SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD 1TB – Fast Thunderbolt Ready SSD
  2. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock – Best HUB for all your devices
  3. LG 32″ Ultrafine 4K UHD LED Monitor – Color Accurate Thunderbolt Display for Professionals
  4. Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder – Best Portable Thunderbolt Recorder for Streamers
  5. FiiO Q3 DSD512 – Best Portable USB-C Ready DAC and AMP for Professional Audiophiles

Best Thunderbolt Chargers for iPad Pro

1. Anker 65W PIQ – Overall Best Thunderbolt Charger

Price: $40

Anker is widely known in the charger industry, and the PIQ unit is fantastic at what it does. It only comes with a single port, but if you don’t need another or already have a charger for your phone, this is perfect. The charger can deliver up to 65W, which is impressive, and can also charge laptops with USB – C ports making it one of the most bang-for-buck options on the list.

Build Quality and Wattage

The build quality is impressive and comes equipped with Japanese capacitors for extra durability and safety. It also has overvoltage protection, temperature control, and more to let you charge with total peace of mind, and it delivers a total of 65W.

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • Impressive build quality
  • Up to 65W of power
  • Compact body for portability

Cons

  • Single Port
  • It doesn’t include a cable

2. Belkin USB-PD GaN Charger 68W – Most Versatile Thunderbolt Charger

Price: $65

Belikin is another well-known brand, and it brings some great features to the table with this charger. It is a little expensive, though, but it would ensure that you can charge all your devices at once. It has two ports, one that can deliver an 18W output, and the other delivers 60W at max load. If you’re looking for a single charger that can charge both your iPhone and iPad simultaneously, this Belkin charger is a fine choice.

Build Quality and Wattage

The build quality is impressive. It comes with a slew of features that include an intelligent power-sharing technology that senses and safely delivers the most efficient wattage to each device and overcharge control for the extra safety it provides. It can give a total output of 68W, but if you’re charging a laptop and iPad Pro simultaneously, it will only deliver a max of 50W with the PD laptop port. It also comes with a USB-C cable making this a plug-and-play option.

Pros

  • Two ports with fast charging
  • USB-C Thunderbolt Cable
  • Up to 68W of power
  • Premium built body

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • A bulky size makes it less portable
  • It can be a little confusing with the power splitting between two ports

3. Amazon Basics 68W – Best Budget Thunderbolt Charger

Price: $30

Amazon Basics has always been the affordable, decent option that people enjoy using, and this charger is no different. If you’re in the market for an impressive charger for your new iPad Pro, well, give this a shot, as it will bring a lot of benefits at an affordable cost. It has two ports, one USB-C capable of delivering 50-60W at max and another USB-A port, which ensures backward compatibility and provides a maximum of 18W depending on the total load.

Build Quality and Wattage

The build quality is fine and dandy, and it also brings overcharge protection and temperature control to extend the life of the charger, but it falls short as it doesn’t include a cable which can be a bummer for budget users. However, it is an excellent charger that will charge multiple devices at incredible speeds making this a must-buy option.

Pros

  • Affordable and Budget-Friendly
  • Two ports with USB-A and USB-C
  • Minimal body with foldable plug

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with a cable

4. RAVPower 90W 2-Port Wall Charger – Best Thunderbolt Charger

Price: $55

RAVPower is a premium brand that deals with power banks and chargers, and this is no different. It delivers 90W at max, which is fantastic. You could power two laptops with it, and it won’t budge a sweat. So, rest easy as you can charge your new iPad Pro with no issues. It can also charge a new phone at 45W if it supports it, making this the best charger on this list. However, if you need this, it will cost you a decent chunk of money.

Build Quality and Wattage

The build quality is top-notch and brings in two USB-C PD ports that can deliver 90W at max load. It has the latest & greatest in safe charging technology, including overcurrent, short-circuit, over-discharge & high-temperature protection. So rest easy and let this be your only charger, and finally, to top everything off, it can completely charge your new iPad Pro within an hour. Oh, and did I mention, it also comes with a USB-C cable.

Pros

  • Intelligent power delivery with 90W of total power
  • It comes with a USB-C certified cable
  • Compact body for portability

Cons

  • Can get a little warm while charging
  • Expensive price limiting it to the enthusiasts

5. AUKEY Omnia 65W – Portable Thunderbolt Charger

Price: $45

Aukey is synonymous with premium power-related products, and the new Omnia line-up takes everything to a new level. The new GaN tech enables it to deliver fantastic wattage while being a lot more compact than the previous models, making it the perfect option for travelers as it is compact and well-built.

Build Quality and Wattage

The build quality is impressive, and it also has the new GaN tech built-in, so it delivers a fantastic experience while being small and compact. The capacitors are premium and have multiple protection against over-charging and high temperatures. The two USB-C ports provide a max of 65W, with one being an 18W port and the other being a PD 50-60W max capable port.

Pros

  • Amazing built quality
  • Compact size
  • Dual USB-C ports for fast charging
  • 65W of total power

Cons

  • Expensive price tag
  • It doesn’t include a charging cable

Best Thunderbolt Cable for iPad Pro

1. Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Cable – Best Thunderbolt Cable

Price: $25

This Belkin cable is Thunderbolt and USB-C 3.2 ready, making it a great option to pair with the Belkin charger listed above. You could expect a robust build quality and strong connectivity with your iPad Pro. It also has a led indicator that indicates if the cable is in use.

Build Quality and Thunderbolt

The build quality is impressive and will last you a long time without issues. It also supports Ultra HD displays, and the cable delivers impressive speeds that high video resolutions demand, allowing you to watch high-res content on screens without compromising quality. It also provides a staggering data transfer speed of up to 40 Gbps, making it ideal for file transfers, and is also backward compatible with previous iterations of USB.

Pros

  • Impressive Build quality
  • Thunderbolt 3 and QC certified
  • Affordable price tag

Cons

  • 1.6ft of cable length

2. Apple Thunderbolt 3 – Apple Certified Thunderbolt Cable

Price: $30

Apple is well Apple, and they can charge a premium for anything. However, this cable is at an average price tag with its caveats. It isn’t that well-built and can break if not used with care. The Thunderbolt functionality works fine, and it is also certified by Apple, making it the official accessory that Apple recommends.

Build Quality and Thunderbolt

The build quality is average as the cable is thin and not that well protected. However, if you keep it with care and don’t use it roughly, it will work perfectly. It also supports fast data transfer rates up to 40Gbps of speeds and can run high res displays up to 5K without any issues.

Pros

  • Apple-certified
  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ready
  • Supports up to 100W of power

Cons

  • Expensive price tag
  • Short cable length
  • Average Build Quality

3. Anker Thunderbolt 3.0 Cable – Runner-up Best Thunderbolt Cable

Price: $30

This Anker Cable comes at the same price as Apple’s cable, and well, let’s say the build quality is miles ahead of what Apple is offering. Well, if you’re in the market for a premium USB-C Thunderbolt ready cable, well, you can’t go wrong with this. It works exceptionally well with delivering up to 100W of power and also fast data transfer rates. However, the high price tag is a definite issue with budget seekers.

Build Quality and Thunderbolt

The build quality is fantastic as it’s made with a durable, high-quality plastic material that is exceptionally made. It supports high-speed charging up to 100W when used with a compatible charger. It also delivers up to 40 Gbps transfer speeds meaning you can transfer all your favorite movies, music, and entire TV shows in seconds while also bringing support for 5K displays.

Pros

  • Long 2.3ft of cable length
  • Durable build quality
  • Thunderbolt 3 certified

Cons

  • Expensive price tag

4. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Cable – Most Versatile Thunderbolt Cable

Price: $28

The Plugable cable is an excellent contender for premium cables, and it also supports all other accessories that Plugable makes. This ensures that you will be fully compatible with all the external drives from Plugable, and the Thunderbolt and USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 provides fast data transfer rates making this a must-buy if you’re not sure about the other listings. The price can feel a little high, but the quality and performance it delivers are nothing short of amazing.

Build Quality and Thunderbolt

The build quality is top-notch and is built out of a robust rubber-plastic material. It also supports transfers speeds up to 40Gbps over USB-C, enabling a superset of standard USB-C to become one compact port that does it all. The Thunderbolt compatibility means it also supports external SSDs and high-res displays without any compatibility issues.

Pros

  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ready
  • Robust build quality
  • 2.6ft of long cable length
  • Plugable accessories ready

Cons

  • It comes with an expensive price tag
  • Not compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge

5. Nekteck Thunderbolt 3 Cable – Best Budget Thunderbolt Charging Cable

Price: $15

If you’re looking for a budget Thunderbolt cable that can stand its ground well, this Neckteck product is the way to go. It delivers a decent build quality, fast charging and transfer speeds, and Thunderbolt 3.0 support at an affordable cost. So, do give this a shot if you’re falling short on cash and want similar experiences such as the other cables listed above.

Build Quality and Thunderbolt

The build quality is not bad, but it isn’t great either. If you take care of the cable, you could expect a decent life out of it, and it also delivers an excellent performance as promised. The USB 3.2 compatibility means it can provide transfer rates up to 40Gbps, and the Thunderbolt 3.0 certification makes this the cheapest Thunderbolt-ready cable on the list.

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • Thunderbolt certified with 4K display support
  • Fast charging rate with QC and quick data transfers

Cons

  • Average build quality
  • 1.6ft cable length

Best Thunderbolt Accessories for iPad Pro

1. SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD 1TB – Fast Thunderbolt Ready SSD

Pricing: $330

The Samsung X5 Portable is a fast Thunderbolt-ready SSD that delivers blazing-fast data transfer speeds while being compact and portable for all your daily needs. The USB-C connectivity option features Thunderbolt 3.0 support which brings compatibility with all USB-C devices. Samsung has done a terrific job with the drive, and with the new iPad Pro, you could expect reliable, fast storage that would help you store all your data.

Performance and Capacity

The X5 from Samsung is a compact, robust drive capable of delivering impressive speeds, reaching a theoretical maximum of 2,800 MB/sec and 2,100 MB/sec read and write transfer rates, respectively. This is a great bar set by Samsung, which delivers excellent performance for all users looking to make this their essential choice. It also comes in three different storage capacities ranging from 500GB to 2TB.

Build Quality

The compact, slim build is made out of a black plastic body with some red accents. The build is robust and can be easily used as a daily driver for all your professional workloads. You could easily chuck this in a backpack and not worry about damaging the drive, making it the optimal solution for travelers.

Pros

  • Blazing fast transfer speeds
  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 certification
  • Compact, robust build profile

Cons

  • It comes with an expensive price tag

2. Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock – Best HUB for all your devices

Pricing: $220

The dock from Plugable is a central hub for all your devices. Connect the USB-C port with the iPad Pro and then connect all the other accessories such as the display, storage drives, etc. This dock makes it easy for you to manage all your devices and is also well-built and affordable for all the services it offers.

Ports and Performance

This Thunderbolt 3 dock from Plugable comes with various ports and has decent performance with connected accessories. All the ports it delivers are:

  • 3x USB-A 3.0 ports
  • 2x Display Port
  • 2x USB-C Data Transfer Ports
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet Connector
  • 1x 3.55mm audio jack
  • 1x DC-in power port

The port selection is impressive and would indeed ensure you have a seamless experience with all your devices.

Build Quality

The build quality is phenomenal, and the dock is made out of a unibody aluminum construction which helps it be robust and durable enough for being your daily driver. It also acts as a heatsink when the hub gets hot and passively cools the internal processor faster.

Pros

  • Impressive build quality
  • A range of multiple fast connection standards
  • Reasonable price tag

Cons

  • The device can feel a little warm as you connect multiple accessories

3. LG 32′ Ultrafine 4K UHD LED Monitor – Color Accurate Thunderbolt Display for Professionals

Pricing: $1300

LG has been at work with the UltrraFine 4K display as they have already made the 5K Pro res panel and are trying to strike gold once again with this. The design is modern, and the curved panel makes it look much more enjoyable. You can use the monitor through the single Thunderbolt USB-C cable connected to your iPad, and it also charges your iPad Pro in the process. This is mainly for enthusiasts that need the kind of power and sRGB color accuracy it delivers and should not be purchased by regular folks for gaming or other stuff as it is not built for that.

Display Quality

This 32-inch 4K display is brilliant and displays images at a UHD 4K resolution. Plus, the monitor is compatible and calibrated with multiple devices that ensure impressive color, brightness, and more, all with a single touch. Hence, we feel this is the best option to provide you with a color-accurate display for all your creative use.

Build Quality

The build quality is excellent, and the hinges and stand look great too. There is no deck flex on the monitor, but the screen can be damaged if not used correctly. So, keep it with care and enjoy your new high res display.

Pros

  • Impressive build quality with a great stand
  • Beautiful colors and contrast with superb brightness and saturation
  • HDR support for content creation
  • Thunderbolt 3.0 compatible

Cons

  • Super expensive price tag
  • Clocked at only 60Hz

4. Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder – Best Portable Thunderbolt Recorder for Streamers

Pricing: $270

Are you a video content creator or streamer looking to shift your work on the new iPad Pro? Are you someone who needs a video recorder to record their video or gameplay? Well, you’re in luck as this Blackmagic recorder is designed to save all your files through the impressive speeds of the Thunderbolt connection and can record high res 4K videos without any hassle.

Recording Quality

The device comes with a USB-C Thunderbolt Ready input that can connect to your iPad to record the screen or be connected to a camera directly, making the iPad Pro a glorified viewfinder. The capturing or recording is of very high quality that can go up to 4K as the 10Gbps bandwidth that Thunderbolt provides is entirely used to transfer video data. It also works with compressed and uncompressed (raw) files with support for all codecs.

Build Quality

The build quality is decent as it is constructed entirely out of aluminum construction and it comes equipped with three ports one HDMI, one SDI, and finally, one Thunderbolt-ready USB-C port. This ensures compatibility across multiple devices and allows you to work off multiple devices.

Pros

  • Impressive video quality while recording
  • It has support for fast data transfers through Thunderbolt 3.0
  • It has a decent port selection

Cons

  • The body is a little bulky that sacrifices some portability
  • It is expensive to get into with the entire package

5. FiiO Q3 DSD512 – Best Portable USB-C Ready DAC and AMP for Professional Audiophiles

Pricing: $150

So are you an audiophile that has excellent taste in music and are looking to enjoy all your collection and watch movies on the new iPad Pro display? Or Are you a sound engineer that develops songs through your iPads or Macs? Well, if any of it fits you, then you need to seriously consider getting a DAC or AMP to improve your audio experience. This DAC and AMP combo from FiiO is a portable solution that works from a USB-C input to an audio jack output. It also has a built-in battery that can run your headphones for about 10 hours of continuous listening.

DAC and AMP Performance

The audio quality is excellent if you have a pair of headphones that need this kind of power and is rated for 200+ Ohms, and well, do give this a shot as the audio quality can’t be described in words and needs to be heard to get the complete picture. However, it will boost the maximum volume levels and amplify the lows, highs, and mids with 768K/32Bit default bitrate.

Build Quality

The build quality is impressive and is built out of aluminum which makes it robust and premium. The dial feels of high quality, and the gold-plated ports improve connectivity and minimize static noises. So if you want the premium audio experience, well, get this and enjoy the best possible sound from your iPad Pro.

Pros

  • AAA support brings low distortion, high power, and a clear, uncolored sound
  • Impressive 1800 mAh battery
  • Multiple outputs with 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced outputs, and the 3.5mm output
  • USB-C Thunderbolt input

Cons

  • The complete experience requires a great pair of headphones and this DAC/AMP combo which could result in an expensive investment

Some Related FAQs

What should you expect from a decent charger?

There are a few things that you should keep in mind before getting a new charger for your M1 iPad Pro, and these are:

  • Wattage – Look for higher wattage chargers to provide fast charging support for your iPad Pro and deliver better charging rates for all your devices. The upcoming iPad Pro can easily take 60W of power, and it should be your primary base for a new charger. Anything more is just better and will be overkill.
  • Ports – If you have multiple devices with USB-C ports, like many of us already do, get a charger with two ports so that you can simultaneously charge both the devices for a better and seamless user experience.
  • Build Quality – Be on the lookout for premium materials or sturdy plastic builds as they will provide you with better durability for constant use and travel. Also, check if the charger comes with a Type-C cable and premium capacitors so that you could use the charger without worries.
  • Note: If a charger you like ticks all these options and doesn’t bring in a cable, well, don’t worry, as we have you covered with some decent cable listings below.

What should you expect from a decent charging cable?

Be on the lookout for a premium build quality that will ensure that the cable is durable and look for Thunderbolt 3.0 or 4.0 compatibility. The Thunderbolt compatibility means the cable is rated for up to 100W of constant power and fast data transfer rates, which will make your usage seamless and quick.

What is Thunderbolt 3 port used for?

Thunderbolt 3 is a connectivity standard that lets you connect external hard drives, high-res displays (including 4K and 5K resolutions), and other accessories, such as external PCIe GPUs, to your device. It also supports fast data transfer rates which can reach a max speed of 40Gbps.

Is Thunderbolt 3 the same as USB-C?

Thunderbolt 3 ports look precisely the same as USB-C ports, and the connector is physically the same as well but differs from USB as they can do everything that a USB-C port can, except with much faster data transfer rates.

[ Related: Best USB-C Hubs for iPad Pro 2021 ]

Can I plug a USB-C cable into a Thunderbolt 3 port?

Yes, you can plug in a USB-C cable in a Thunderbolt port or vice-versa as the ports are fully compatible, and they both come equipped with the same port. However, the critical difference lies in the data transfer speeds and the extra functionality that a Thunderbolt cable provides.

So, which charger and cable should you go for?

Well, if you’re still not sure, we would recommend you to pick up the Amazon Basics charger as it delivers excellent value, and with that, you could get the Belkin cable for an all-around great experience. However, if you have a higher budget, well, get the RAVPower charger and the Anker cable, ensuring you the best possible experience.



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