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The best portable chargers and power banks: A buyer's guide
Most modern 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 will be using your phone for gaming, navigation, or taking many pictures, it’s essential to be prepared. The best solution to ensure 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. Ideally, the best portable charger should 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 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. Some may even be larger than your backpack! 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? 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. And some have actual AC outlets, which is pretty convenient.
- Is the brand trustworthy? A reputable brand is more likely to last through countless charging cycles. We highly recommend Anker and Ravpower, but many other great brands exist.
- 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?
Things to look for when buying a third-party portable battery charger
Some of the best portable battery chargers are by unknown 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. I do not want to see a 5-star review of a foot massager when buying 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. We also have a guide for finding the right charger for your needs.
The best portable chargers for most users
Anker 733 Power Bank
You don’t have to pick between a great charger and a great power bank, or spend double on getting both. The Anker 733 Power Bank takes care of all your charging needs. On the outside, it looks like a normal charger, and it works amazingly as one. It can juice up three devices at up to 65W, using a couple of USB-C ports and a USB-A port.
What makes it unique is that it comes with an integrated 10,000mAh battery. This means you can pull it off the wall and take it on the go, and it can continue charging your devices when it’s off the wall!
Zendure 10000mAh PD 45W Mini Power Bank
Zendure is mainly known for its huge, ultra-powered battery stations, but it also knows how to make a portable battery pack. In fact, it makes one of the most portable ones. The Zendure 10000mAh PD 45W Mini Power Bank is pretty small at 4.51 x 2.91 x 0.98 inches, yet it houses a healthy 10,000mAh battery.
Not only that, but this version features 45W charging speeds, and it can recharge itself in about an hour. It features two USB-A ports and a single USB-C port. The $76.99 MSRP is a bit high, but this is a quality product.
Anker 521 Power Bank
If you want true portability, it’s tough to beat the Anker 521. It is much like the option listed above, but in a much smaller package. It also reduces the number of ports to a couple of USB-C ports. And the tiny size also means only a 5,000mAh battery fits in there.
Otherwise, it’s a pretty awesome little power bank. And it can actually charge pretty fast at up to 45W. You can also charge the internal battery while also charging devices, when plugged into the wall. And if you care for looks, it’s available in various fun colors. It’s definitely one of the best portable chargers if you want something more pocketable, and with dual purpose.
The best portable chargers for more demanding users
Anker Prime 27,650mAh Power Bank
If you liked the Anker 733 and 521, wait until you see this one. The Anker Prime 27,650mAh Power Bank takes things to a whole other level with great looks, a solid build, and a much larger 27,650mAh battery. Not only that, but it can also charge devices at up to 250W speeds.
The unit comes with three ports: a couple are USB-C ports, and the other one is a USB-A port. It’s a pricey unit, but it’s definitely among the industry’s best.
Omnicharge Omni 20 Plus
If you’re looking for a genuinely all-in-one portable battery, look no further than this 20,000mAh portable battery. It’s named the Omnicharge Omni 20 Plus. In addition to the two regular USB ports, it features a USB-C port for input and output. The USB-C port delivers up to 60W of output and 45W of input thanks to Power Delivery.
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 Plus delivers up to 10W wireless charging output. The Omni 20+ is expensive, but it’s a great option to cover all your charging needs.
Anker 325 Power Bank
The Anker 325 Power Bank isn’t the best portable battery in the block, but it’s not meant to be. It’s affordable and has a nice 20,000mAh battery capacity. It also has plenty of ports, including a couple of USB-A ports and another two USB-C ports.
The downside is that it can charge devices at 15W max. It also recharges pretty slowly, at 10W. Regardless, it’s a great option for those who don’t want to spend much on a simple portable battery pack.
The best battery packs for charging laptops, tablets, and more
Powkey 42,000mAh Power Bank
If you want actual outlets and a larger battery size, it’s hard to beat the Powkey 42,000mAh Power Bank. It has a massive battery, and can charge at blazing 200W speeds. Aside from a couple of AC outlets, there’s also a 12V DC port, 15V DC input, and four USB-A ports.
The Omni Ultimate can keep all your devices juiced up while looking great. The design is a bit more interesting than the other high-capacity option, and it still packs a punch.
You get a 38,400mAh battery, and you even get an AC port that can handle 120W charging. Even its USB-C ports can charge at 60W, enough to charge many tablets and laptops. Want more? It has a removable battery, which means you can hot-swap batteries to continue charging while on the go! It’s not cheap, though.
Anker 548 Power Bank
If you don’t mind carrying a larger unit, and really want some serious charging power, the Anker 548 Power Bank is pretty hard to beat. It costs $169.99, but offers a whopping 60,000mAh battery. It also comes with two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and a connection to plug it into solar panels. The fastest port can charge at up to 60W.
Likely the coolest feature is the integrated light, which you can use in case of power outages, or during camping trips.
The best portable batteries with wireless charging
Samsung Super Fast 25W Portable Wireless Charger
Samsung’s Super Fast 10,000mAh charger is unique because it has a wireless charging pad. 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, so you should have no issue using this with other phones.
mophie Powerstation Wireless XL with PD
The mophie Powerstation Wireless XL with PD also has a 10,000mAh capacity, and is one of the best portable chargers with Qi. It provides 18W wired charging and up to 5W charging with the built-in wireless charging pad. There is one USB-A port and a USB-C port.
It’s not the fastest, or the most versatile, but it is pretty affordable at $69.95. We also happen to like the more streamlined, minimalist design. It looks much less techy, and we believe it looks more elegant than Samsung’s.
Absolutely. Remember 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 in 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 can simultaneously charge the portable charger and a connected device.
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 know little 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.