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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.
November 23, 2021
iPhone 11 Pro Max Headphone Port Charging Port

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.

Don’t forget to also check out our guides for all the phone accessories you can get, as well as even more charging accessory options.

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

anker powercore slim

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 20W. 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.

Zendure Supermini 18W PD 10,000mAh power bank

zendure 10000mah power bank

Living up to its name, the Zendure Supermini 18W PD 10000 is only about the height and width of a credit card. However, it is a bit thicker to hold the full 10,000mAh battery. Zendure’s Supermini power bank also packs just one USB-C outlet for your charging needs, though the 18W PD 3.0 speed should be enough for most users on the go. If you’re looking for a touch of color, the Supermini comes in blue, red, black, and even silver.

Mid-range capacity power banks

Crave Plus Pro portable charger

crave plus pro power bank

Crave’s Plus Pro portable charger is a three-port option equipped with Fast Charge IC 3.0. Two ports are USB-A, and the third option is a USB-C port with Power Delivery for up to 45W of charging. Once your Crave Plus Pro runs out of charge, use the USB-C input port to get back to full speed in a hurry. At just about $100, the Crave Plus Pro isn’t the cheapest option around, but three ports are a huge plus when it comes to charging.

Omnicharge Omni 20+

Omnicharge Omni 20 power bank

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

anker powercore 3

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.

Krisdonia 50000mAh laptop power bank

Krisdonia 50000mah power bank

As the name implies, the Krisdonia 50000mAh Laptop Power Bank is perfect for charging your laptops (as well as smartphones, tablets, and other devices) while away from a plug. It sports DC input and output options, as well as two USB-A ports and a USB-C option. If you don’t have your trusty laptop charger around, the Krisdonia comes with a set of 28 unique adapters to fit just about any model on the market. Something to remember though is that this power bank is far too large to take on an airplane.

Portable chargers with wireless charging

Samsung 2-in-1 power bank with a wireless charger

Samsung Wireless Charger Portable Battery

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

otterbox wireless power bank

The Otterbox Qi wireless power bank also comes with a 15,000mAh 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.