Last update: October 9, 2017
RAVPower 16750 Deluxe Power bank
If we’re going by our main criteria to judge the best power bank: value, versatility, portability and capacity, the RAVPower 16750mAh power bank takes first prize in our book.
A whopping 16750mAh allows you to charge your phone about five times, your medium sized tablet twice, and you can even do it simultaneously thanks to its double charge slots. For the capacity it boasts, it’s also relatively compact. A bit uncomfortable to carry in your pocket, but this portable charger is just the right size for a purse, handbag or backpack. Overall, the RAVPower 16750 Deluxe is without question our top pick for best power bank.
Anker PowerCore 10000
A power bank to charge your smartphone on the go should ideally be compact, and the Anker PowerCore 10000 is just that. The best pocket sized portable charger for your smartphone with the overall best value in terms of compactness, price, capacity and power is the Anker PowerCore 10000.
This pocket sized external battery packs a 10,000mAh capacity which is enough to provide you with about three charges for your phone, or one full charge for a medium sized tablet. This makes it an amazing powerhouse relative to its size, as it easily slides into your jeans or jacket pocket. It’s also encased in a sturdy shell, and overall, is a very reliable piece of equipment. The only minor downside may be that it only has one charging port. But it’s a small sacrifice for fantastic portability.
RAVPower 22000 mAh ACE Power Bank
If you’re specifically looking for a power bank to charge tablets, you’re going to need a real powerhouse. The RAVPower 22000mAh Portable Charger is a fantastic choice for this job as it sports a huge capacity of 22000 mAh. Which makes it capable of charging a large tablet twice, or an average smartphone about seven times. It also has three charging ports, so you can simultaneously charge three devices of choice at great speeds thanks to its massive max output of 5.8A, which is one of the highest maximum outputs we’ve come across on a power bank.
On top of that – like most RAVPower devices – it’s encased in fire resistant plastic to give it an allround sturdy body and it can easily survive long trips while being shaken around in your backpack.
A Power Bank, also known as a portable charger or portable battery pack, is your much-needed savior when the battery of your smartphone, tablet, smartwatch or laptop is running on empty. But with so many different portable power banks to choose from, picking the right power bank for your needs can be quite the hassle. Check out this guide below to cure some of your analysis paralysis and help you choose the best power bank for your situation.
How will you be using the Power Bank?
Before buying the best power bank for your needs, you need to ask yourself in which situations you’ll be using it the most. You don’t need a fireproof indestructible 20,000 mAh power bank if you’re taking a trip to the laundromat. On the other hand, if you plan on taking it with you on a 2 hour commute daily, you surely need a lasting power bank with high capacity. Decide in which category you find yourself before choosing a power bank.
Pocket use (1 – 2 average phone charges)
If you’re looking for a power bank to be as compact as possible and provide you with one or two charges on the go, a low capacity power bank is probably perfect for you. It should slide in your pocket for ease of use, and ideally has integrated cables so you can charge your device without bagaging separate cables:
EasyAcc 6000mAh Ultra Slim
Similar to the Jackery Bolt 6000, but with just one integrated cable instead of two: the EasyAcc 6000mAh Ultra Slim is available with either an integrated micro-USB or a Lightning cable, whichever suits you best. It also has a separate USB slot for a second charge option, which means you can charge two devices simultaneously.
The power bank is very convenient thanks to its slim design and easily fits in your jeans or jacket pocket. All in all, it’s an incredible bargain and if you don’t need the triple charge option the Jackery Bolt offers, the EasyAcc Ultra Slim is a fantastic alternative.
Jackery Bolt 6000
The Jackery Bolt 6000 is an incredibly versatile piece of equipment as it comes with an integrated micro-USB cable, integrated Lightning cable, and even has another USB output for a third charge option. With pass through charging, you can very conveniently charge three devices at once while the power bank is charging itself as well.
The casing is made of strong aluminum and it’s definitely one of the more robust power banks we’ve come across, and the flashlight function makes for a nice bonus. It easily fits in your pocket, provides you with one or two charges on the go, and has great overall versatility.
Regular use (2 – 5 average phone charges or 1 tablet charge)
If you have long periods of being away from an outlet, like when you’re driving long commute hours or fly regularly, it’s handy to have a power bank with you that can give you at least two charges for your phone, and ideally three.
A 10,000 mAh or bigger power bank will fulfill your needs here perfectly. Especially if you’re a user of heavy apps like Waza, Spotify or Netflix, you might see that your phone needs regular charges multiple times a day. 10,000 mAh range power banks are great in these types of situations, as they’re relatively compact and portable, while still providing you with multiple charges.
Long trips and vacation (5+ average phone charges or 2 tablet charges, multiple ports)
If you’re going on a trip or vacation you’re probably going to need a power bank that charges multiple devices at once, and has a great lasting capacity. It’s smart to pick up a power bank with a high charge capacity of at least 18,000 mAh and three output slots so you and your family can charge your phones and devices at the same time:
Anker PowerCore Elite 20000 Portable Charger
The upgraded version of the Anker PowerCore 20100 is a worthy pick over its predecessor. The Anker PowerCore II 20000 has three USB ports which allows you to charge three devices at once, it feels denser, and can be charged up twice as fast thanks to the double input.
All in all it’s a great pick for a vacation or trip as it will last you an average of seven charges for your phone, or two full tablet charges.
Zendure A8 Quick Charge 3.0 26800mAh
The Zendure A8 might be a bulky power bank, but that’s only because it packs an immense capacity of 26800mAh (8 average phone charges), and has four charging ports so you and each family member can charge up their device simultaneously. These features combined with the Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility, make it an ideal vacation buddy to provide you with extra battery charge whenever you need it.
It’s also made of incredibly sturdy material and some users have tested it against heavy impact and car run overs, tests which it passed with flying colors. Altogether the Zendure A8 QC 3.0 26800 is our best pick for long trips and vacation.
What is a Power Bank / Portable Charger?
A Power Bank also know as Portable Charger is an external battery pack for mobile devices. They’re easy to carry around in your pocket and provide you with an extra battery charge when your smartphone, tablet, laptop, digital camera, smartwatch or any other micro USB supported device is running low on juice. Power banks come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are only capable of powering phones, while others are dedicated to powering up your laptop to full battery. Some power banks only have output for one device, while others have up to four different slots so you can charge multiple devices at the same time.
A Power Bank can be used to charge basically any micro-USB supported device:
- Smartphone (Apple, Android, Windows)
- Tablet (iPad, Samsung, Sony and other tablets)
- eReader (Kindle, Nook etc.)
- Activity tracker
- Digital Camera and Digital video camera
- Gaming device (PSP)
- MP3 Player (iPod)
Keep in mind though that some devices have bigger battery capacities than others, and need a stronger power bank to fully charge.
Anyway, enough reason to not just make a hasty decision and choose the first power bank you come across. Take a look below and we’ll go through some of the most important features in a power bank and see which of these features are crucial to you.
Who should buy a Power Bank?
But, who actually needs a portable charger? Simple, anyone who has a device that always dies at the most inconvenient times. Does this sound like a situation you find yourself in often? I bet it does, because it basically describes everyone, ever.
You definitely need a portable charger if you:
- Drive long hours
- Commute to work
- Travel a lot
- Go on vacation
- Go camping, hiking or fishing regularly
- Visit concerts and festivals
- Play pokemon GO
- Don’t have a wall outlet near your bed
Yes, practically everyone can use a portable charger every once in awhile. It’s always nice to have a backup whenever your phone, tablet or other device is in dire straits and struggles to stay powered while you need to make that important phone call. Devices are so feature packed these days that most batteries have trouble making it through one full day. Which is ridiculous, but hey, power banks are a great simple solution to this problem. Plus, they’re pretty cheap too.
Are Power Banks allowed on airplane flights?
Yes, but only in carry-on bagage.
In the USA, the limit for power banks to carry on a flight stands at 100Wh. This means that most power banks 20,000mAh and below are perfectly fine. You’re allowed to take a maximum of twenty <100Wh power banks with you.
Larger power banks starting from 101Wh to 160Wh—which mostly consist of power banks between 20,000mAh to 32,000mAh depending on their efficiency—need prior approval from the airline company you’re flying with. So it’s best to contact your airline before checking in. You’re also limited in taking just two of these.
Limits for international flights can vary enormously so be sure to do your due diligence and check the restrictions for the particular country you’re flying to.
How to Choose the Best Power Bank?
When choosing a portable charger there are two important attributes you need to keep an eye on:
- Power capacity is the total battery capacity of the power bank. A power bank with high power capacity can give your phone multiple charges. The higher the power capacity, the more charges it can give your device. Power capacity is specified in mAh or milliampere hour.
- Output amperage is the ‘strength’ of the port(s) of the power bank. High amperage means it’s strong enough to charge large devices like tablets. The output amperage of the power bank needs to be at least 2A (ampere) to charge tablets and even stronger for laptops. For smartphones, 1A will do the job just fine. But the higher the amperage, the faster it charges. Power banks with multiple outputs usually have varying amperages, so pay close attention to this when choosing one.
Other features you should take into consideration when buying a power bank are:
Ideally, a portable charger should be compact so you can easily carry it with you. The smallest power banks usually have a low power capacity, whereas high power capacity power banks are on the larger side. The best power banks are a perfect balance between power and portability. Meaning they are relatively strong in power, as well as compact enough to carry with you on a daily basis.
The price of power banks varies a lot and depends on the brand, power capacity, outputs, size and other features. Prices can range from $5 to more than $300. A normal power bank with 6,000mAh and one output usually goes for around $15. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
Amount of charging ports
Some power banks have multiple outputs so you can charge more devices simultaneously. This can come in handy when you’re out and about and both your phone and tablet run out of battery. With multiple outputs you can charge them up at the same time.
Having multiple outputs is also quite handy when you’re out with more people. You can let your friends charge up their phone while yours is charging too.
Power banks come in different varieties and can have as many as four outputs, and in rare cases even more. Keep in mind that the more outputs a power bank has, the bigger it will be.
Smart charging ports
Charging your device with too much amperage can harm your battery’s life in the long run. For instance, an iPhone battery can only take around 1.2A. If an iPhone was being charged with 2.4A, it would charge quicker, but shorten the battery life over time. Charging ports that detect your device and automatically adjust to the ideal amperage are called smartports. Smart charging ports will find the ideal power for your device, and charge it as efficiently as possible without damaging your battery’s longevity.
Of course you want your power bank to stand the test of time and survive a few drops here and there. Most power banks are made of plastic and can easily break when dropped, especially if it’s a heavy model too. It’s smart to get a power bank encased in quality material. Anker and RAVPower devices are made of high grade plastic, and Jackery Power banks are made of dense aluminum.
However, if you really want a robust power bank that can even be ran over by a car without damaging and survive heavy impacts, Zendure power banks are the ultimate choice.
If a power bank doesn’t have built in safety protection for things like overcharge, overcurrent or overheat, it could very well damage the device you’re charging. It’s smart to choose a power bank that’s equipped with this feature. Safeguarding features are becoming the norm for most power banks in 2017, basically all modern brand power banks have safeties built in.
An incredibly useful feature on a power bank is when it has integrated charging cables. Which means you don’t have to bring separate cables with you to charge devices. The Easyacc 6000 mAh Ultraslim Power Bank and the Jackery Bolt versions are among the best power banks with integrated charging cables.
Some power banks have an integrated input cable to charge itself instead of charging other devices, in the case of the Xtorm Powerbank Air.
LED Battery indicators
Knowing how much charge is still left in the power bank is very useful. Most power banks are equipped with battery indicators in the form of four or more LED lights. Some power banks like the iMuto 20000mAh, Crave Travel 5200mAh and the Lumina 15000mAh show the exact percentage of how much battery is left.
Not the most important feature to look for in a power bank, but can come in handy when, well, I don’t know.. Maybe when it’s too dark to see your smartphone’s input when you want to put the cable in?
There are probably many situations where it can be nice to have an extra light on you. You need to decide for yourself if the flashlight function is important or not when picking a power bank. Some great examples of power banks with particularly bright flashlights are the EasyAcc Monster and the Dulla M50000 Power Bank.
If you want to charge your phone directly with the power bank sitting in your pocket (I’m talking to you Pokemon GO players..), it’s best to get a power bank with the output on top. A power bank with output(s) on the side will sit uncomfortable when keeping it in your pocket during charging.
How much Power do you need?
Different devices have different battery capacities, therefore you need to choose a power bank accordingly. A smartphone obviously needs less power to be charged fully than a laptop. The total power capacity of a power bank is specified in mAh, which is milliampere hour. The higher the mAh of the power bank, the more charges it can give. But how much mAh do you need for each device?
For smartphones I’d recommend a power bank with at least 5000 mAh. A fully charged power bank with 5,000 mAh can give your average smartphone about 1.5 – 2 charges. A power bank with a lower capacity is also fully capable of charging your smartphone, but usually not more than once. The average smartphone battery needs 2000 to 3000 mAh to charge fully. If you have a larger screen than the average smartphone it’ll probably need 3,500+ mAh to charge fully.
If you want to be able to charge your smartphone 3 – 5 times or more, it’s best to get a 10,000mAh power bank.
For eReaders it’s recommended to get a powerbank with at least 6,000 mAh power capacity. This will be enough to give an eReader like your Amazon Kindle or Barnes & nobles Nook 1.5 charges and then some. If you want to be able to get two charges or more out of the power bank it’s best to get a 10,000mAh charger.
For tablets a power bank with a capacity of at least 8,000 mAh is recommend and ideally one above 10,000 mAh. A minimum output of 2A is also required. The reason for the minimum 2 ampere output is so that the tablet will be charged at regular speed. A power bank with an output lower than 2A takes very long to load up a tablet device fully.
If you want to ensure the power bank can give your tablet more than one charge, aim for a power bank with 20,000 mAh or more.
Two of our best recommended power banks for tablets are the RAVPower 22000mAh and the Aukey 20000mAh Portable Charger with Lightning and Micro-USB output.
Some power banks are capable of charging laptops due to separate ports for laptop cables. These ports consist of 16V – 20V with at least 2.5A output. They usually have a capacity of at least 25,000mAh, although 20,000mAh may be enough as well depending on your type of laptop and size.
A lot of laptop power banks are Lithium Polymer batteries instead of Lithium-ion. Lithium Polymer batteries are less likely to leak and cause damage within the device and are therefore more reliable than regular li-ion batteries. They’re usually also flatter, giving the power bank a tall but slim design. One minor downside to Lithium Polymer batteries is that they last shorter than regular lithium-ion batteries. On average lasting no more than 500 recharge cycles, compared to lithium-ion which can last up to 1000 recharge cycles.
One of the best power banks for laptop that we highly recommend is the Maxoak 50000mAh portable charger, which has a 20V laptop port, a 12V small laptop port, and an additional four USB ports for regular devices like tablets and smartphones.
A great laptop power bank for smaller sized laptops is the RAVPower 23000mAh Portable Charger with multi-voltage output.
As long as you’re power bank has over 500mAh, you’re probably good. Smartwatch batteries are so small that many power banks will do the job. However, some power banks are actually too strong for a device as small as a smartwatch. The Anker PowerCore 10000 for example was not able to charge a Fitbit and a Samsung Gear S3 during testing, whereas smaller capacity power banks like the RAVPower 6700 and the Poweradd Slim2 did so without trouble.
The best way to find out how much capacity you need to charge your miscellaneous device is to google how much battery capacity it has. Or in some cases you can just pull out the battery and see how many mAh’s it needs.
If your device has a 3000mAh battery, it’s best to get a power bank with at least 4000mAh. Some energy is always lost during charging so make sure you aim a bit higher than the exact amount.