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The best charging phone cases: A buyer's guide
Phones can do more than ever before. They pack 5G technology, incredible cameras, lightning-fast charging, and more. Unfortunately, all of that power does a number on the battery life, and you wind up with a dead phone before you know it. If you’re a true power user, you might want to consider a new way to maximize your battery life. Here are the best charging phone cases you can buy, as well as some tips on choosing the right one.
What is a charging phone case?
Simply put, a charging phone case is a large battery that attaches to your phone and charges on the go with your device’s USB port. They typically offer decent protection, but maximizing battery life is the first priority. You can typically get charging phone cases in a number of capacities, but the larger you go, the larger the case tends to be and the more it costs.
Pros and cons
The biggest reason to go for a charging phone case is if you spend extended periods away from an outlet. You can’t exactly plug in and recharge on a hike, but these cases do the job for you. It serves as a case as well as a battery, so you’re really looking at an accessory that can do double duty.
One last pro for charging phone cases is that you don’t have to worry about charging cables. The cases tap right into your phone so you can save a tiny bit of pocket space. In most cases, they support wireless charging as well.
On the other hand, charging phone cases aren’t the lightest or slimmest around. After all, you’re adding a portable battery to your phone and that means adding weight and size. You won’t find too many top names, either — brands like Spigen and Ringke skip the charging cases in favor of traditional models. That means you’ll have to do some extra research before you make your choice.
Worst of all, a bad choice can actually harm your phone or its battery. You’re looking at potentially adding heat while charging, and it can damage the case or the battery packed away inside. You’ll also need to keep your phone and battery case out of the sun and very hot environments.
What to look for in a charging phone case?
Just like any phone case, there are a few key features to look for in a charging phone case. The choice is ultimately yours, but here are a few things that we search for here at Android Authority:
- Capacity — How much extra battery power do you really need? Cases can range from 1,000mAh up to about 15,000mAh, with larger cases costing more.
- Size — If you spring for those high-capacity cases, you’re probably looking at a big, bulky piece of protection too. Consider how much you can fit into your pocket comfortably.
- Protection — It’s a case, after all, so make sure it can stand up to your lifestyle without much effort. Some battery cases are more durable than others.
- Extra features — The important features are protection and charging, but what about some extras? Select charging cases allow you to recharge your device wirelessly while you juice the case, which is a nice touch. Some iPhone options also include a camera button for convenience.
- Extra ports — Your phone’s USB port is occupied, which isn’t always convenient. Some cases include extra ports so you can tap into USB-C headphones or USB OTG.
A note about third-party charging cases
All of the phone charging cases in this list are made by third-party suppliers, so you have to be careful when making a purchase. Here are a few things to consider while shopping:
- Check out the owner-submitted reviews. Are people saying good things? Do the reviews look real? It’s possible that the reviews are paid or fake if they’re poorly written.
- Take a close look at the product pictures! If the review images aren’t actually of a phone case, then you’re probably looking at a fake review.
- Get up to speed with your case’s return policy. some manufacturers are good about taking returns, but you may not have long to seek a replacement.
- We’re here to help! Android Authority has a lot of guides available, including those based on battery capacity and features.
The best charging phone case brands
Our first pick for charging phone cases is ZeroLemon, with its varying battery capacities and decent flagship support. Each of ZeroLemon’s cases supports Qi wireless charging as well as fast charging for the case. However, it’s limited to standard charging for your phone to ensure the health and longevity of your device.
You can use the series of four LED bulbs to check on the charging status, and the Samsung version of ZeroLemon’s case is Android Auto enabled and works with Samsung Dex as well. ZeroLemon offers a few different capacities, but be ready for the 10,000mAh Galaxy Note 20 Ultra version — it’s a bit of a brick.
On the Apple side, you can use both CarPlay and Lightning earbuds with the case no problem. The ZeroLemon phone charging case is thin enough to keep handy features like Apple Pay too. Check out all of the available options here:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max — 10,000mAh
- iPhone 13 /13 Pro — 5,000mAh
- iPhone SE — 5,000mAh
- iPhone 12 Pro Max — 5,000mAh | 10,000mAh
- iPhone 12 / 12 Pro — 5,000mAh
Another great charging phone case to consider is this one from Newdery. At first glance, the cases look almost identical to those of ZeroLemon, but there are only so many ways to pack a battery onto a phone. Newdery’s cases come with slightly smaller capacities, but that helps to keep their footprints pocket friendly. The company also offers both wireless-compatible and non-compatible models for newer iPhones, with the latter hitting a very low price point.
Whether you’re looking for an Android setup or a new iPhone case, the Newdery options don’t strip you of any handy features. They’re slim enough for wireless charging of the case and both types support Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, respectively. Also, just like the ZeroLemon cases, you’ll have to keep an eye on the LED strip to monitor your battery percentage. Here are the available Newdery cases:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max — 4,800mAh (Qi) | 4,800mAh (no Qi)
- iPhone 13 / 13 Pro — 4,800mAh (Qi) | 4,800mAh (no Qi)
- iPhone 13 Mini — 4,700mAh (Qi) | 4,700mAh (no Qi)
- iPhone 12 Pro Max — 4,800mAh
- iPhone 12 / 12 Pro — 4,800mAh
- iPhone 12 Mini — 4,700mAh
Our last pick for the best charging phone case brands is Alpatronix. This company’s products are very similar to the options above, with beefy capacities and wireless charging compatibility. However, the company stopped supporting Android phone models years ago, so you’ll only find options for Apple iPhones. Check out the latest cases below.
- iPhone 13 Pro Max — 6,500mAh
- iPhone 13 /13 Pro — 6,000mAh
- iPhone 13 Mini — 5,000mAh
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12/12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone SE
Charging cases vs power banks
If you’ve reached this point and you’re still not sold on a phone charging case, that’s completely understandable. It’s a niche accessory, and sometimes it’s just easier to pick up a power bank instead. After all, they serve similar purposes, and each has its own pros and cons.
Charging cases are convenient because you’re just carrying one device, even if it’s bulky and heavier. However, device support is limited and it’s even harder to track down a well-known brand for a brand-new device. Power banks, on the other hand, are extremely flexible and often pack plenty of extra ports and fast charging. Unless you’re out for a run with minimal gear, it’s pretty easy to keep a power bank stashed away. It certainly doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of big names in the power bank game, either.
Here are a few helpful links to some of our top power bank guides by capacity:
- The best 10,000mAh power banks you can buy
- 20,000mAh power banks — here are the best ones to buy
- 25000mAh to 50000mah power bank: Here are your best options
Frequently asked questions
Q: How fast does the charging case charge my phone?
A: Neither Newdery nor ZeroLemon cases support fast charging, though ZeroLemon says that it can recharge a Galaxy Note 20 from 15% to 100% in about an hour and a half.
Q: How do I charge my charging case?
A: The same way that you would charge a power bank or your device. Each charging case comes with a port on the bottom (either USB-C or Lightning) that you can plug into a standard outlet. Many modern battery cases also have wireless charging.
Q: Will using a charging case degrade my battery faster?
A: No, it should not have an impact on your battery. You can manually control your case’s charging, so it’s easy to turn off the feature if you’re worried about constant charging.
Q: How much protection does the case offer?
A: It depends on the case, but charging phone cases are not always as durable as something like an Otterbox. The charging case has to protect both your phone and a battery without adding too much bulk, while an Otterbox can just protect your phone from drops and the elements. If you’re worried about durability, get a rugged case and a power bank instead.