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The best portable chargers and power banks: A buyer's guide

A portable battery pack is a convenient way to keep powered even on the go.
By
June 5, 2022
samsung super fast power bank on table charging s21 and s20u
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Most smartphones should comfortably last a full day, if not longer, on a single charge. However, many processor-intensive tasks can drain the battery quickly. If you know you’re going to be using your phone for navigation or to take a lot of pictures, it’s essential 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.

Also: The best smartphone accessories you can buy


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 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 long to charge up fully. Plenty of options now 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 correct ports for your needs? Older or budget chargers often have less than great port options. There might 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 many 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: The best USB-C portable chargers

Things to look for when buying a third-party portable battery charger

Some of the best portable battery chargers are by third-party accessory makers. It’s imperative 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, they may be paid or sponsored submissions if they are 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 many 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 Solar 10,000

Anker PowerCore Solar

We don’t tend to trust power banks with solar panels much, but that’s because they usually come from odd brands and have horrid reviews. The Anker PowerCore Solar comes from a renowned brand and is doing pretty well in Amazon reviews. The company is also very clear about solar panel efficiency expectations, and it lets you know charging the power bank this way can take a long time.

Aside from the solar functionality, other specs are great. It comes with a 10,000mAh battery, an IP64 rating, an integrated flashlight, and more.

Mophie Powerstation PD XL

mophie powerstation pd xl on table with pixel 5 and pixel buds
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Mophie is a premium charging accessory brand in the industry, and the Mophie Powerstation PD XL is one of our favorite low-capacity portable chargers. It comes with a 10,050mAh cell and features 18W Power Delivery. It may be a bit heavy, but it’s built very well, doesn’t cost much, and offers both USB-A and USB-C ports.

Mid-range capacity power banks

Anker PowerCore Essential

Anker PowerCore Essential

Good power banks don’t need fancy features. This is a straightforward portable battery with plenty of juice (20,000mAh), 18W charging speeds, and a portable design. The design is minimalist, and you’ll even get an 18W charger for quickly juicing up your battery.

Omnicharge Omni 20+

Omni 20 Plus front
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

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. The charger even features an AC outlet with 100W output if you need even more power. 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 737 Power Bank

Anker 737 Power Bank - The best portable chargers

The Anker 737 Power Bank 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 65W charger should be good enough to provide fast charging for almost every smartphone, and it’ll also quickly charge some tablets and laptops. Anker also includes an Anker 515 (65W) wall charger to ensure it doesn’t take too long to charge the power bank itself.

Tecknet Portable Laptop Charger

Tecknet Portable Laptop Charger - The best portable chargers

Tecknet takes things to another level for those who need plenty of power and want to get the most juice out of it. It features a 42,000mAh battery and plenty of ports. You’ll get three USB-A ports, a USB-C capable of 45W Power Delivery, and even an AC outlet for charging any device. You’ll even get an included flashlight!

Portable chargers with wireless charging

Samsung Super Fast 25W Portable Wireless Charger

samsung super fast power bank in hand - The best portable chargers
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung’s Super Fast 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 unit is Qi-compatible which means that you should have no issue using this with other phones as well.

Otterbox Qi wireless power bank

otterbox folding wireless power bank on table - The best portable chargers
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

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 rugged, can survive a fall, and is also waterproof.

FAQs

Absolutely. Keep in mind that 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 will want to bring it via your carry-on or personal bag.

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.

It’s not recommended to leave your phone charging overnight, and a bad idea if your phone and power bank have fast charging capabilities.

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 simultaneously.

Solar power banks can work, but they are very inefficient and tend to charge very slowly when using sunlight to juice up. Furthermore, they tend to come from unknown brands we don’t know much about. This is why we only recommend one on this list.

Not really. Even the most potent power banks are limited to a certain degree. The best portable chargers can usually handle about 200W, which would be your most significant limitation. For example, most desktop PCs use far more than 200W. This means you shouldn’t be able to power said PC, even if you have a full battery charge and want to use the computer for a few seconds.