Best Retractable Lightning Cable 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Lightning cables were first introduced in 2012 with the launch of the iPhone 5. Since then, these connectors have remained the standard way to charge Apple devices. Fast-forward a decade later, and we now live in a world of infinite amounts of cables and cords. Untangling an unruly jumble of headphone cords and mobile phone charging cables in your bag, car, office, or home can be quite frustrating, to say the least.

Enter retractable cables. These nifty pieces of innovation keep everything nice and tidy with a quick push of a button or snap of the wrist. We tested some of the best-selling charging cords on the market to bring you our top picks for the best retractable lightning cable for 2022.

 Asicen Lightning Charging CableCellet Lightning Charging CableReTrak Lightning Charging Cable
Best OverallBest Compact OptionBest Durable Option

Cable type

USBUSBUSB

Connector type

Lightning, USB C, micro USBLightningLightning

Color

BlackBlackWhite

Compatible devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case, Android smartphone, and tabletApple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging caseApple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case
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How We Tested and Compared These Products

When comparing the top-rated retractable cords on the market, there were certain things we were looking for.

For starters, they had to be MFI-certified for reliability and compatibility with Apple devices. We eliminated any cable that did not meet this standard. Retractable cords from reputable Apple cable manufacturers like Asicen, Cellet, ReTrak, EDG, Cable Matters, Anker Powerline (the makers of Powerline II cables), and Fuse Chicken (the makers of the famous Fuse Chicken Titan range of charging cables) ranked higher on our list.

Next, we were interested in whether or not they support fast charging. We only ranked cables that were rated 2.4A and above. Anything lower than that was eliminated from our list.

We also compared the retracting mechanisms. We only wanted cables that easily snapped back into place with minimal effort while remaining tangle-free. The cord material was equally important. The cables needed to have a thick nylon jacket and reinforced iOS port connectors to keep them from fraying and breaking. Anything with braided nylon made the cut.

Finally, we looked at their portability. The charging cable case needs to be slim and compact enough to fit in a bag or pocket without taking up too much space. If the Apple lightning cable could fit in the palm of our hand, it passed the test.

Our Pick: Asicen Lightning Charging Cable – Best Overall

 

Features:

  • Cable type: USB cable
  • Connector type: Lightning, USB C, micro USB
  • Color: Black
  • Compatible devices: Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case, Android smartphone and tablet

Around here, we’re all about versatility. The more uses we can get out of a product, the better. That’s precisely what Asicen brings to the table.

Unlike most of the charging cables we’ve come across, this particular cord is a 3 in 1 retractable charging cable. It has a lightning connector port to charge Apple iPhone X and earlier/later generations, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case, and other Apple products. It also has a micro USB and USB C connector port for charging Android smartphones and tablets. You don’t need to flood your power outlet with a bunch of different cables to charge the various devices you might have in your home.

One of our favorite things about it is its quick charge capability. It offers a maximum charging speed of up to 3.0A via the Type C cable port and 2.4A via the lightning port. These are significantly faster than what you would get with standard cable chargers. We also like the 500Mbps data transfer speed it supports.

The Asicen retractable lightning charger cable extends up to 3.3 feet, making it ideal for use at home, in your office, in your car, or even while traveling. The cable feels sturdy but remains flexible enough not to break even when you bend it.

All in all, we were quite pleased with this particular lightning charger. The cord quality, charging speed, and data transfer rate make it, by far, the best lightning cable on the market right now. It has a pretty sweet price point as well, making it a clear winner in our books.

Pros
  • Flexible and sturdy charger cord
  • Fast charging and fast data transfer capability via the USB A port, USB C port, and micro USB port
  • 3-in-1 charging port design for enhanced versatility
  • 3.3ft. cord length makes it ideal for a wide variety of uses
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
Cons
  • The power adapter neck on the end of the charger cord is a little short, so it might not be ideal if your device has a thick case
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Best Alternatives

Cellet Lightning Charging Cable – Best Compact Option

Cellet Retractable Lightning Cable

 

Features:

  • Cable type: USB cable
  • Connector type: Lightning
  • Color: Black
  • Compatible devices: Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case

Cellet lightning cable is another favorite. Its sleek, compact design is one of the features that immediately stood out to us. We also like how smooth the retractable mechanism is. The moment you disconnect it from your phone, the cord rapidly snaps back into the case without any prodding whatsoever.

Cellet is also one of the few lightning cables on the market that are Apple MFI-certified. This makes them compatible with multiple devices that use Apple lightning wired or wireless charging systems. The 3-foot-long cord is quite flexible and sturdy, although its flexibility does not compare to the Asicen lightning cord.

We put it to the test to find out how good its fast charging mechanism was. It charged our iPhone at 2.4A, which was slightly slower than the Asicen’s 3.0A maximum. The difference in time was marginal, though. It only took a couple of minutes longer to get it to 100% charge, which is still pretty good, all things considered.

Cellet lightning cables are compatible with a wide range of Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, and AirPods charging cases. All in all, its performance was pretty solid even though it doesn’t double up as a micro USB cable or USB C cable like the Asicen. It delivers excellent value for the money.

Pros
  • Highly efficient retractable mechanism
  • Apple MFI-certified
  • Supports fast charging
  • Compatible with a wide range of Apple 8-pin devices
  • The 3-foot-long cable length
Cons
  • To get the full cord extension, you need to pull on both ends at the same time
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ReTrak Lightning Charging Cable – Best Durable Option

ReTrak Lightning to USB Cable

 

Features:

  • Cable type: USB cable
  • Connector type: Lightning
  • Color: White
  • Compatible devices: Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case

One of the main things we were looking for when comparing the different retractable lightning cables on the market is durability. We’ve gone through our fair share of chargers over the years. It’s almost as though the lifespan of chargers on the market keeps dwindling with each passing year.

That said, the ReTrak range of lightning chargers has to be one of the most durable brands we’ve ever used. The ReTrak phone charger we have has served us for more than three years and is still going strong. This can perhaps be attributed to the reinforced connectors both on the lightning end and the USB end of the cord. The cable jacket is also remarkably thick, which keeps it from fraying. It explains why our charger still looks pretty new, even with consistent use over the past few years.

The newer ReTrak cables on the market are rated 2.4A for fast charging via USB power delivery. This is the current standard for iPhones and other Apple devices. The cord measures 3.2 ft. and retracted pretty quickly without tangling. We also liked how compact it was. Its ultra-slim design makes it ideal for daily, on-the-go use for commuters and travelers.

The lightning charger is Apple MFI-certified for sync and charging compatibility with Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case, and other Apple devices. If durability is at the top of your priority list when it comes to Apple chargers, ReTrak is your best bet. Keep in mind that it does not have a USB Type C port like the Asicen lightning cable.

Pros
  • Fast charging capability
  • MFI-certified for sync and charging capability
  • Ultra-durable, wear-resistant cord with reinforced connectors for durability
  • Slim case for enhanced portability
  • Affordable price point
Cons
  • The retractable mechanism is manual as opposed to an automatic one-touch-button
Sale
ReTrak Lightning to USB Cable, Retractable MFi Certified iPhone...
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EDG Lightning Charging Cable – Best for Length

Apple MFI Certified Retractable Lightning Cable

 

Features:

  • Cable type: USB cable
  • Connector type: Lightning
  • Color: White
  • Compatible devices: Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, AirPods charging case

Having a lightning charger with a long enough cable saves you from having to stay hunched over your power outlet while using your device as it charges. The EDG lightning charger is one of our favorites for many reasons.

For one thing, it is a whopping 3.5 ft. long, making it one of the longest lightning cords we’ve encountered. It is also surprisingly compact for a charger with such a long cable. It is portable enough for on-the-go use, especially when traveling or using it with a car charger or power bank when commuting.

EDG is Apple MFI-certified for reliability and compatibility with all Apple devices. You don’t have to worry about your battery getting damaged, as would be the case when using non-certified cables. We also like the powerful retracting mechanism it comes with. It is super-fast and stows the cable away neatly by gently tugging at both ends. We would have preferred an automated button-oriented mechanism as opposed to manually pulling on the charger cord, but given its performance, this was not a deal-breaker.

The cord is quite flexible and feels extremely sturdy despite its thin profile. It doesn’t tangle even when retracting it from being fully extended. All in all, the EDG is a solid option if you’re looking for an Apple charger with an extra-long lightning cable.

Pros
  • The charger cord is Apple MFI-certified for reliability and compatibility
  • Its ultra-long yet slim profile
  • Pocket-sized for enhanced portability
  • The flat, tangle-resistant cable
  • Smooth retracting mechanism
Cons
  • You have to tug on both ends of the charger cord to retract it
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How to Choose the Best Retractable Lightning Cable – Buying Guide

With so many different brands of retractable lightning cables on the market, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Here are a couple of tips to help you choose the right one.

Retracting Mechanism

A retractable charging cable needs to be, well, retractable. Most cables on the market have one of two retracting mechanisms. Some require you to tug on both ends of the cable to stow away the cord, and others come with a one-touch button you press to retract the cable in its case.

The choice of one over the other is a matter of preference. The one-touch-button variety tends to be more convenient, although they are prone to breaking down. On the other hand, the ones that require you to tug at them might be a little cumbersome, but they are more reliable.

MFI-Certification

When purchasing a lightning cable, always keep an eye out for the ones that are MFI-certified. Apple’s MFI program ensures that chargers and other smartphone accessories work properly with the original dock connectors in iPhones, iPads, iMacs, MacBooks, AirPods charging cases, and other Apple products. It is the stamp of approval that lets you know the lightning cable you’re using has been engineered to meet Apple’s exacting standards.

Using an uncertified lightning cable could potentially expose your device to malicious hardware. MFI-certified cables also save you from using poorly constructed cords built from low-quality materials that could damage your device’s battery.

Construction

The other factor you need to consider is the sturdiness of the lightning cable you buy. It needs to be flexible enough to bend without breaking and encased in a thick cable jacket to keep it from fraying.

Also, check that the cable connectors are reinforced on both ends. These high contact areas are subjected to constant abuse from tugging and pulling on them, causing wear and tear in the process. Keep this in mind when shopping for the best retractable lightning cable for your Apple device.

Cable Length

As a rule of thumb, always go for charging cables that are at least 3 feet long. This is especially important if the power outlet you normally use to charge your device is situated at a distance that makes it difficult or awkward to use while it’s charging.

Unless you’re comfortable staying hunched over your socket while scrolling through social media as your iPhone charges, get a long enough cable that gives you enough length to work with. The EDG retractable lightning cable is a great option since the cord is a whopping 3.5 ft. long.

Portability

If you’re looking for an everyday cable for use on the go, portability should be high on your priority list. This is particularly important when you’re traveling or commuting. The case they’re in should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and slim enough to carry in your pocket without a visible bulge through it.

For this reason, look out for flat, tangle-free cables with a slim profile. That way, they remain compact in your bag without having to deal with a tangled mess every time you need to use them.

FAQ

Are retractable cables any good?

Yes, they are, provided that the retractable cable in question is MFI-certified. Apple’s MFI program ensures that chargers and other smartphone accessories are compatible with the original dock connectors in iPhones, iPads, iMacs, MacBooks, AirPods charging cases, and other Apple products. It lets you know that the lightning cable you’re using has been engineered to meet Apple’s exacting standards and will not harm or damage your device.

Which lightning cable is best for fast charging?

Any cable rated 2.4A and above falls in the realm of fast charging. Some great options for lightning cables that can be used with a fast charger include Asicen lightning charging cable, Cellet lightning cable, and ReTrak charging cord. They’re all MFI-certified, making them safe for use with a wide range of Apple devices.

How can you tell a good charging cable?

When choosing the best retractable lightning cable, always check that it is MFI-certified for sync and charging compatibility with Apple devices. The cord jacket should be thick enough to keep the cable from fraying, and the connectors on both ends should be reinforced to withstand constant tugging and bending without breaking. You also need to ensure that the retracting mechanism works as it should for the cable to snap back into place after use.

Conclusion

There you have it – the best retractable lightning cables on the market right now. While any of the products we’ve reviewed here would be a solid choice, the Asicen lightning cable outperformed all of them, bar none.