You are heading out on a trip for a week, and you aren’t sure when or where you will be able to plug into a wall to charge your smartphone. You rely on the phone for everything—communication, GPS, entertainment, and more. Without it, you won’t even be able to find your way around. How can you make sure that your phone will stay charged for your entire trip, even if you cannot plug into a wall outlet? The simple answer is to purchase a power bank. This portable external battery can feed your phone the juice it needs no matter where you are.
Thinking of buying a power bank, but not sure what to get? Below you can compare features and prices for highly rated models.
Still don’t know what you need in a power bank? Read on to learn all about power banks.
What is a Power Bank?
A power bank is simply an external battery which you can use to recharge your smartphone or tablet. This allows you to recharge your mobile device without using a wall outlet. Generally a power bank will have a very compact design so you can easily carry it with you wherever you go.
How Does a Power Bank Work?
A power bank has a very high capacity and can store a great deal of power—often enough to recharge a smartphone three or four times before needing to be recharged itself. Once the power bank does run out of juice, you plug it into the wall and recharge it, a process which usually takes several hours. Being as you can recharge a phone multiple times before you need to do this, you can typically go for many days before you need to recharge the power bank.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Power Bank
What types of devices will you charge?
Will you be charging a smartphone, a tablet, or both? This determines in part what capacity you need. Power banks may range anywhere from 2000mAh up to 12,000mAh. 2000mAh is sufficient for a smartphone, but you need more power to charge a tablet.
How many devices do you plan to charge simultaneously?
This determines how many USB ports you need (most power banks include at least two). But you also need to check the maximum output across all the ports. Is the combined output sufficient to allow you to use multiple USB ports simultaneously? Be particularly wary of this with power banks which include 3+ USB ports.
Does it come with cables?
Any power bank should include a cable to charge the battery, but most will not include cables to charge your devices.
Features and Add-Ons to Look For When Shopping for a Power Bank
If you are going to carry the power bank around everywhere, you want it to be small and lightweight enough to comfortably fit in a lot of places. Pay attention not just to the dimensions, but also the shape. You can find power banks which are cylindrical or rectangular. You will need to decide what size and shape makes sense for you.
Time to recharge a device
Check how long it takes for the power bank to recharge a smartphone or tablet. Obviously the faster your devices charge up, the better.
Time to recharge the power bank
How long does it take to recharge the power bank itself? Typically this will range anywhere from six to 12 hours. Twelve is a bit excessive, but how critical this is really is up to you. You will usually charge up the power bank overnight.
Traveling with the power bank will expose it to unavoidable wear and tear. You want to purchase a device which will hold up when it is jostled or dropped.
The best power banks include safety features such as over current protection (OCP), over voltage protection (OVP), and over discharge/charge protection. Some power banks also undergo rigorous heat tests to ensure they will perform safely in all conditions. You should of course avoid using your power bank in extreme conditions, but you can never be too safe.
There are some extra bells and whistles on some power banks. These may include an LED indicator light and possibly an LED flashlight. You will pay more for these, but they do add to the value.
Now you know all about power banks including what they are and why you need one for your smartphone or tablet. You know all the most important features for safety, convenience and performance, so you are ready to shop. Scroll back up to the top of the page to take a closer look at our comparison chart. There you can view features and pricing for all the best power banks!