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!
Anker PowerCore+ mini: Recharges Your Phone 14 Times
Even though it is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the PowerCore+ holds an impressive amount of juice– enough to power 14 consecutive hours of heavy phone usage. Critics also liked this charger’s intuitive LED indicators, its surprisingly slim frame and its handy carrying pouch.
- Huge capacity. This tiny power bank’s 14 hour talk time rating is impressive for such a small device.
- Small size. Weighing in at just 3 ounces and measuring 3.7 × 0.9 × 0.9 inches, this product packs a lot of power into a tiny package.
- Comes with accessories. In addition to the Anker PowerCore+ mini, you also get an USB cable and a carrying pouch.
- Quick charge compatible. Anker’s patented PowerIQ technology delivers the maximum amount of current to your device.
- Built to last. PowerCore+’s high quality internal battery won’t burn out after just a few uses, which is why Anker has backed it up with an 18 month guarantee.
- No guesswork needed. The LED lights tell you exactly how much juice you have left.
- Compatible with 100s of devices. The mini universal port works with a wide range of electronic appliances.
- The super short USB cord that comes with the PowerCore+ is useful in some situations, but a longer cord would have added more value overall.
RAVPower RP-PB19: Rapid Charge Compatible
If you’re looking for raw charging power, the RP-PB19 from RAVPower is the obvious choice. It’s capable of storing 16,750 milliamps of electricity– that’s enough juice to recharge a smartphone 5 times. Also, the rate at which it can charge a phone is impressive as well. The RP-PB19 works very well with “rapid charge” compatible devices.
- The most powerful power bank out there. With the RAVPower RP-PB19 you get 4.5 amps of charging power.
- Lightning fast charging. RAVPower’s iSmart tech feeds voltage into your device exactly as fast as it can handle it.
- Gigantic capacity. With this charger you get a whopping 16,750 milliamps of power storage, which is enough to recharge the newest iPhone 5 times in a row.
- Surge safe. If a sudden power surge sends an electrical spike into the RP-PB19, the auto cut-off will kick in and save the internal circuits from damage.
- Stylish good looks. Some power banks are ugly and bulky, but this one is slim, black and attractive.
- LED power display. The LED lights allow you to instantly see how much power you have left to use.
- Good for emergencies. This unit’s built-in flashlight will allow you to see around in the dark if the power goes out.
- Gaps between the panels leave this device especially vulnerable to drink spills, rain and other liquid hazards.
Anker PowerCore 20100: Charges 2 Phones Simultaneously
This power bank’s standout feature is its rugged design. Many portable chargers crack or fall apart over time, but the PowerCore is built to absorb impacts and survive accidents. Another thing that’s great about the PowerCore is its humongous capacity. Most chargers are good for only a few 0-to-100 percent charges, but the PowerCore can recharge a modern smartphone 7 times.
- Charges an iPhone 7 times. This gigantic capacity charger provides more juice than most other power banks.
- Anker quality. Anker has a reputation for building great products, which is why they offer an 18 month warranty on their charging devices.
- Short recharge time. If you use a 2 amp power source, this device will reach 100 percent capacity if you leave it plugged in overnight.
- Dual charging. This gadget’s two built in USB ports allow you to recharge 2 devices simultaneously.
- No smudges or fingerprints. This charger’s matte finish keeps it looking clean even after heavy usage.
- Durability. Some power packs are surprisingly fragile, but this one is tough enough to take a licking and keep on ticking.
- Holds a charge well. Even if you don’t use this device for days or even weeks, you can still rely on it to recharge your phone in a pinch if you need a quick boost.
- Anker’s PowerIQ and VoltageBoost rapid charge technologies are not compatible with Qualcomm Quickcharge enabled phones.