Most smartphones should comfortably last a full day, if not longer, on a single charge. However, there are many processor-intensive tasks that can drain the battery really quickly. If you know you’re going to be using your phone for navigation or to take a lot of pictures, it’s important to be prepared. The best solution to ensure that you won’t have a dying battery while out and about is to pick up portable battery chargers or power banks.
What to look for when buying a portable power bank?
When it comes to picking the right battery pack, you want to look at a few things:
- How fast is it going to charge the phone? You can get a portable charger with a battery capacity of 50,000mAh or more. However, it’s not great if it takes all day to charge your phone. The best portable charger should ideally be able to take advantage of the device’s fast charging capabilities.
- How long does it take to charge the power bank? This is an important consideration that is often overlooked. A high-capacity charger can take a really long to fully charge up. There are a few options now that come with fast charging capabilities for the portable charger itself.
- What capacity do you need? More might be better, but you want a portable battery charger that is actually portable. If it’s big, heavy, and takes up half the space in your bag, maybe it isn’t the right option for you. You’ll have to figure out the right balance between battery capacity and size. That said, we don’t recommend going under 5,000mAh in most cases and think 10,000mAh is the sweet spot for portability.
- Does it have the right ports for your needs? Older or budget chargers often have less than great port options. There might just be USB type-A instead of USB-C, or there might not be fast charging as mentioned above. Figure out which ports you have on your devices and whether or not the charger that catches your eye fully supports your device. Some even have wireless charging pads built-in.
- Is the brand trustworthy? A reputable brand is more likely to last through countless charging cycles. We highly recommend Anker and Ravpower, but there are tons of other great brands.
- What size do you need? You will also have to consider the size. Do you want something that can easily slip inside a purse or backpack? Or do you want the most charging power encased in a big brick of a portable charger?
Further reading: Best USB C portable chargers
Things to look for when buying a third-party portable battery charger
The best portable battery chargers are by third-party accessory makers. It’s especially important to be careful with a charger, since a bad product could irreparably harm your device. With so many options out there, it’s impossible to know about each and every company. So before you buy an accessory from a brand you’re not familiar with, just be sure to check for the following:
- Look through owner-submitted reviews on sites like Amazon. What are people saying? Do these short reviews look legit? For example, it’s possible they are paid or sponsored submissions if they are super vague and poorly written.
- Look for oddities like if the product reviews aren’t actually for the product! This surprisingly happens a lot with 3rd party charging accessories from obscure brands. A 5-star review of a foot massager is not what I want to see when trying to buy a portable power bank.
- Familiarize yourself with the return policy of the product. While a lot of products have return periods, some might only have a replacement window, in which case a refund won’t be possible.
- We’re here to help! Android Authority has a lot of portable battery charger guides available, based on battery capacity and features. You’ll also find our top recommendations below.
Low-capacity portable chargers
Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 PD
Apart from being one of the smallest 10,000mAh portable batteries, the Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 PD also supports Power Delivery. That means the USB-C port can charge at up to 18W. Not to be outdone, the standard USB-A port’s maximum output is 12W. The PowerCore Slim 10,000 PD is only about the same size as your phone, yet it packs enough power to charge it twice.
Aukey 10,000mAh PD portable charger
Featuring a slim profile, the Aukey 10,000mAh PD portable charger supports 18W input and output through the USB-C port. The charger also features two regular USB ports, with one supporting Quick Charge 3.0. The other USB port outputs at 12W, while the micro-USB port supports up to a 10W input.
Mid-range capacity power banks
RAVPower 20,000mAh power bank
RAVPower’s 20,000mAh power bank features separate USB-A and USB-C inputs. The USB-C port works with speedy 60W Power Delivery to recharge your capable devices in a hurry. While there are only two total ports on the RAVPower 20,000mAh power bank, it recharges at speeds of 30W so you can get back to full capacity in just three hours. Unfortunately, the charging block is not included so you’ll have to look around for your best options.
Omnicharge Omni 20+
If you’re looking for a truly all-in-one portable battery, look no further than the Omnicharge Omni 20+. In addition to the two regular USB ports, it features a USB-C port for input and output. Thanks to Power Delivery, the USB-C port delivers up to 60W of output and 45W of input. In case you need even more power, the charger even features an AC outlet with 100W output. As if that wasn’t enough, the Omni 20+ delivers up to 10W of wireless charging output. The Omni 20+ is expensive, but it’s a great option to cover all your charging needs.
High-capacity battery packs
Anker Powercore III Elite
The Anker Powercore III Elite has a 25,600mAh capacity, and lets you charge up to four devices simultaneously with two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports. This 87W charger should be good enough to provide fast-charging for almost every smartphone, and it’ll quickly charge some tablets and laptops as well. Anker also includes a Powerport III Pod wall charger to ensure that it doesn’t take too long to charge the power bank itself.
Crave PowerPack PD
The Crave PowerPack offers a huge 50000mAh capacity that should be more than enough to fully charge your mobile devices numerous times and even charge a laptop more than once. The PowerPack PD comes with two USB-C ports — 18W and 60W to charge phones and laptops respectively. It also comes with two USB ports that feature Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 support.
Portable chargers with wireless charging
Samsung 2-in-1 power bank with a wireless charger
Samsung’s 10,000mAh charger is unique in that it includes a wireless charging pad right on top. It’s capable of fast charging a compatible Samsung phone all the way up to 7.5W in wireless mode and 25W when connected via a USB cable. The phone is Qi-compatible which means that you should have no issue using this with other phones as well.
Otterbox Qi wireless power bank
The Otterbox Qi wireless power bank also comes with a 10,000mAh capacity. It provides 18W charging via the USB-A and USB-C ports and up to 10W charging with the built-in wireless charging pad. Like Otterbox’s protective cases and covers, this power bank is also rugged, can survive a fall, and is also waterproof.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Can you bring your portable chargers on a plane?
A: Absolutely. Keep in mind, most regions will not allow you to place lithium batteries in your checked luggage (it’s a fire hazard). If you are going to bring a portable power bank with you on a trip, you’re going to want to bring it via your carry on or personal bag.
Q: Is it okay to leave a power bank in the car?
A: It’s generally a good idea to carry all your charging accessories with you when you leave a car. You should definitely not leave power banks and anything with batteries in the car, particularly in a place where it gets really hot.
Q: Can I leave my phone charging overnight with a power bank?
A: It’s not recommended to leave your phone charging overnight, and definitely a bad idea if your phone and power bank have fast charging capabilities.
Q: Can you charge a power bank and device plugged into it at the same time?
A: The feature you’re looking for is called pass-through charging. If the power bank supports this feature, you’ll be able to charge the portable charger and a connected device at the same time.