Best Power Banks for Smartphones and Essential Electronics: 2020 Buyer’s Guide
The best power banks can provide the type of juice you need to keep your smartphone charged when you’re on the go. But considering there are literally dozens of models to choose from these days, finding one that works, provides a powerful charge, and has enough juice to last for as long as you need can be a real challenge. Because of this, I decided to create a buyer’s guide, which includes all of the information you need to know to choose a power bank that has what it takes to keep your phone charged for as long as you need. I’ve also tested out several models, narrowing it down to six power banks that are packing serious power. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each model that landed on my list, their top features, and their rating.
Power Banks Comparison Chart
RAVPower AC Outlet Power Bank
This power bank by Ravpower features a thirty-watt PD port that delivers power to USB-C devices including iPhone 11 and higher. It can quickly power up a dead smartphone to fifty percent battery life in as little as half an hour, using its quick charge port. This power bank offers massive AC output. The AC output can reach up to eighty watts and can be used to fully charge compatible devices including Nintendo Switch, laptops, and more. The large internal battery comes in at 20000 mAh, providing enough power to keep your essential devices going for several days.
The bank’s compact design allows you to easily store it in your bookbag, purse, suitcase, or desk drawer. This model also offers efficient heat dissipation. The bank’s air vents are located on the bottom and provide advanced temperature control for a reliable performance.
- Highly portable
- USB-C port
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- Quick charge feature
This power bank is very versatile and will work with a wide range of devices including cameras, laptops, smartphones, and gaming platforms. The USB-A port will support high speed quick charging, while the USB-C port works with a wide variety of powerful, essential electronics. This highly portable model is perfect for home use, in the event of a blackout, travel, camping, and more.
RAVPower Power Bank USB Battery Pack
This model offers an impressive power capacity at 32000 mAh. The internal battery is able to power a phone, tablet, or other type of small device for up to a week, per charge. The bank comes with three ports, so you can charge up to three essential devices, simultaneously. For protection, this device comes with a built-in li-polymer battery that’s designed to prevent overcharging, discharges, and short circuiting. Additionally, the design of the power bank leaves plenty of space for airflow and heat dissipation, which will prevent it from running hot or overheating.
- Can power up a smartphone for one week, per charge
- Powerful internal battery
- Design allows for excellent heat dissipation
- Three ports
- Does not include a USB-C port
This model is very versatile and can be used with a wide range of devices, making it easy to keep all of your essential electronics charged around the clock. The battery will protect against discharges, overcharging, and short circuiting, a safety feature that you won’t commonly find on competing models. Easy to use, powerful, and featuring a sleek design that makes it highly portable, this device is a must-have for the hiker, camper, and avid traveler, but it’s also a great device to have on hand in the event of a blackout or another type of emergency.
POWERADD Pilot Pro3 Power Bank
This is a 30000 mAh power bank that can charge a smartphone ten times per charge. The bank comes with three USB ports and allows you to charge three devices simultaneously. This model uses smart technology and can automatically detect a device’s charging requirements, providing a maximum speed up to 2.4 a per USB port. Additionally, the power bank comes equipped with built in safeguards that will protect against excessive current, overcharging, and overheating. The built-in battery will support over five hundred cycle charges, which is pretty impressive for a model in this price range.
- Equipped with three USB ports
- Smart technology
- Low price
- Will not fast charge Galaxy phones
This portable, pocket-friendly power bank is easy to use, comes with three USB ports, so you can charge important devices such as smartphones and tablets. It offers the type of reliable performance you need when you’re charging on the go and comes equipped with some great built-in safety features that will protect your sensitive electronics from overcharging, discharges, and more.
Blavor Solar Power Bank
This model features an 10,000 mAh internal battery with solar power. This isn’t just a wireless power bank, it’s also a wireless charger and it’s compatible with a wide range of Samsung, iPhones, and Galaxy smartphones. The solar charging feature works as a backup solution when there’s no electrical outlet accessible. So, this device can be charged via the sun or a standard outlet. This model is able to charge a smartphone two to three times per charge, depending on the type of smartphone you have. This model is also equipped with a couple of USB-C ports, which means it can handle the most sensitive electronics, such as smartphones. The compact size of the power bank will allow you to store it in your pocket, backpack, or purse, making it highly portable. This model is perfect for a bugout bag, camping, hiking, emergency use, and in any other situation in which you’re out and about and don’t have access to your standard phone charger.
- Equipped with two USB-C ports
- Solar powered
- Very slow to charge when using solar power
This model is made out of premium ABS plastic, so it’s durable and designed to handle a fall without cracking. It comes equipped with two USB-C ports, and features solar backup power, so you’ll always have a fully charged power bank, wherever you go. It’s compatible with a wide range of smartphones and offers a quick charge feature that will allow you to fully charge your phone in no time. This device is powerful, compact, easy to use, and above all else, very reliable, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a power bank you can keep on hand in the event of an emergency.
Anker Power Bank
This model comes equipped with a 20000 mAh internal battery and can charge a smartphone five and a half times per charge. The device also features high-speed charging, offering eighteen watts of high-speed charging power for your smartphone. The single USB-C port will support large electronics, such as tablets. This model features a sleek matte black exterior, with a bright blue LED battery life indicator light. The device also comes with a trickle charging mode that is designed to provide optimal charging power to lower-powered devices such as Bluetooth speakers, earphones, and other low powered accessories.
- Trickle charge mode
- Comes with one USB-C port
- Slim design
- High-speed charging power
- Does not support Samsung phones
This power bank is compatible with a wide range of smartphones and tablets. The USB-C port makes this model more versatile and able to keep your essential electronics powered up. The slim design also makes this model highly portable, which is a huge plus if you’re looking for a model you can take camping or one you can store in a bug out bag.
T-CORE Power Bank
This is one of the smallest and lightest power banks currently on the market. In fact, the manufacturer claims that it’s half the size of a bank card, so it will easily fit in your pants pocket. This model features plenty of power, despite its smaller size, coming in at 20000 mAh. It features 2.0 quick charge technology that allows for a total output of 3A. This type of power can fully charge a smartphone in just half an hour. It comes with two USB ports and supports simultaneous charging, which is a huge plus for all buyers. According to the manufacturer, this model can also handle charging an iPhone 8 up to five times before the power bank requires a charge. Essentially, the number of times the bank is able to charge your phone before requiring a charge itself will depend on phone type.
- Two-year warranty
- Equipped with two USB ports
- Allows for simultaneous charging
- Can take two hours to fully charge more powerful smartphones
This model earned high marks for its CE and UL certifications ensuring that this device is safe for use. Additionally, this model comes with a twenty-four-month warranty, which is impressive considering many higher priced models don’t come with a warranty at all. This very small, lightweight, compact power bank offers a stellar performance, despite its smaller size. However, because of its smaller size and battery, this model may not meet the needs of some buyers who are in search of a power bank that’s able to handle powering larger devices, such as laptops. Overall, if you’re simply looking for a model that can handle keeping your smartphone powered around the clock, then hit that buy now button.
Power Banks Buyer’s Guide
Millions of people around the world use power banks to keep their smartphones charged, especially when it comes to long road trips, camping trips, or for use in the event of an emergency. However, despite how popular these devices are, not many people understand how they work, what features can indicate quality, and what benefits these devices have to offer. Before I delve into the must-have features to look for in a new power bank, I’ll go over what advantages you can expect and why you’ll never want to leave the house without one.
Benefits of Power Banks
- Every person has experienced the frustration that comes when their phone powers down due to a low battery. If you have a smartphone, then this may happen often, whether you’re stuck in traffic, you’re camping with friends, or you’ve been out all night. A dead phone can be a problem, especially in an emergency situation. A phone with no juice will cut you off from your family and friends, making it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to get a hold of you in the event of an emergency. That’s where a power bank comes in handy.
- But these portable power banks can be used for more than just powering up your phone. In fact, some can be used as backup power for charging a variety of devices including cameras, tablets, laptops, and more.
- Smartphones are one of those essential devices that you need on hand at all times to carry out daily activities and to stay connected with family, friends, and work. The biggest benefit of a power bank is its ability to provide stable power when you need it the most. Devices such as cameras, phones, laptops, and tablets need constant power to keep up with how often they’re used. If you don’t have access to electricity, your devices can easily run out of juice, which can be a nightmare if you’re working on the road, or away from the kids for a camping getaway. A power bank will save you from the stress that comes with looking for a place to charge your essential devices.
- These devices are very versatile. Versatility is one of the reasons people purchase a power bank in the first place. These devices come in a variety of designs and sizes, allowing you to choose a model that suits your needs. Depending on those needs, you can choose a model that comes equipped with a single USB port or multiple ports.
- These power banks are also available in a variety of capacities. If you only need one to charge a single-celled phone, then you can easily get away with purchasing a smaller 2,000 MAH model. However, if you need a power bank that can charge high-powered devices such as a laptop, then you can purchase a model that offers a 50,000 MAH power capacity. This type of power will allow you to charge your devices and the devices of friends and family.
- For most people, a phone is their link to safety in the event of an emergency. Many lives can be saved during an emergency, thanks to a phone.
- If you’re on vacation and navigating new cities, then you’ll probably rely on your phone’s GPS. As you probably know, GPS use can quickly drain a phone’s battery. With a power bank, you won’t have to worry about being stuck in a new state or country with a dead phone.
- Portable power banks are convenient and handy for on the go use.
- Having a power bank on hand will prevent the need to charge your phone and other smart devices at public stations, which can make you vulnerable to hackers.
- These power banks are surprisingly affordable. Even if you opt for a top of the line model, then you can still find one that’s reasonably priced.
- As you can see, there are many benefits that come with having a power bank on hand at all times. Now, let’s take a look at the important features to look for in your next power bank.
Having a power bank on hand at all times will give you much-needed peace of mind knowing that you won’t be stuck with a dying or dead phone in the event of an emergency. Fortunately, these devices are also very affordable, so you can keep your phone, laptop, tablet, camera, or other essential devices charged and ready to go when you’re traveling.
Of course, you’ll need to be careful and pay attention to how much power each model offers, and other important features such as output and input.
A model that charges using one amp can be used with a 1A output charger. This will allow the device to charge at the normal speed. If you’re charging a tablet, a power bank with a 1A output will take twice the time to charge it. This is because many tablets will require two amps to charge, which means that a more powerful power bank will be needed. When there are several outputs on a power bank, it’s very common to find a 1A, 2.1A, and 2.4A outputs together.
On the other hand, input refers to charging for the power bank itself. The speed of input charging is similar to that of output charging and will be dependent on the type of wall charger that’s used. Standard wall chargers that provide 2A output and will charge the power bank twice as fast as a model with only 1A.
Models that offer quick charging technology allow you to charge up to five hours of phone battery life in a matter of five to ten minutes. In fact, some models are so fast that you can get up to seventy percent of your phone’s battery life in under half an hour. This technology allows for a significantly faster input, which means you can get a rapid charge that’s even faster than the already impressively fast 2A.
What is iSmart Charging?
This technology is exclusive to RAVPower and it’s a type of integrated automatic charging. This charging technology analyzes and determines the optimal charging current for any type of connected device. If the device that’s plugged in requires 1.8A charging power, then the iSmart feature will change the flow in order to achieve the device’s ideal charge. The newest iSmart release iSmart 2.0 will also correct any type of irregular charging behavior, offering ten improved protections and safeguards. It will balance the current output when it’s charging several devices, simultaneously. For people who want a power bank that can provide the best charge, this type of tailored charging will be essential.
USB Type C
USB type C is still relatively new. It features a reversible head, with a smaller size stand compared to older type A USBs. Of course, type A is still the most commonly found port on most power banks, however, you can find some models that will support type C. When using type C, a power bank with 20100 MAH will take approximately four hours to charge. Charging using the standard 1A charger can take up to thirty hours. The type C compatible power banks can also power the latest MacBooks just as fast as the original thirty-watt chargers, so you can enjoy mobile charging wherever you are. Additionally, if you’re charging a Switch, then you’ll need a power bank that comes with a USB type C charging port.
Carrying this type of small powerful device can raise some safety concerns. Even some airlines will limit flying with a power bank that exceeds battery limits. Fortunately, any type of power bank that’s worth the purchase will come with the bare minimum of safety precautions that will safeguard the buyer’s devices. These protections will prevent malfunctions and serious safety risks.
Some of the mandatory protections can include protection against short circuiting, overcharging, and other protections depending on the size of the power bank’s battery. These extras can include surge voltage, high temperature, over-current, safe reset mechanism, EMF protections, reverse connection, surge current, and more.
Power banks that come with built-in AC pins will require the user to connect to a socket to recharge, which will save the user from having to bring along a wall charger and cable.
In addition to other important safety features, some models will also feature durable outer protections in the form of rugged hard shells, thicker casing, and one cast casing. If a power bank is used daily, then this extra level of protection is essential.
Power Bank Batteries
Power banks are more than just a simple battery. In fact, they’re equipped with sophisticated electronic circuitry. Essentially, a power bank is a battery into which power passes through from a main powered USB charger. This power is stored, then passed on to a device that’s plugged into one of the power bank’s ports. Two main technologies are used for most power banks: lithium polymer and lithium ion. Lithium ion offers a higher power density and doesn’t cause what’s known as a memory effect. Memory effect will make it difficult to charge devices over time.
Lithium polymer batteries are more flexible and durable compared to lithium-ion, especially when it comes to the shape and size of their build. They also tend to last much longer. These batteries have a low profile, are lightweight, and have a lower chance of experiencing electrolyte leakage.
When you’re shopping for a power bank, always look for the MAH rating. The higher the rating, the more charge the device can hold. You should also take a look at how fast it can output charge, if you’re relying on the power bank to charge a bigger device such as a laptop.
Battery capacity should be another primary consideration. Consider how long you’ll be on the go and how many devices you need to charge using the power bank. You should also consider how power-hungry each of those devices are, since a camera or laptop will require more power to recharge compared to a tablet or phone.
You’ll also want to ensure that the model you purchase is compatible with the devices that you want to charge. If you want to charge more than one device at a time, then check out how many charging points come with the power bank.
Pass Through Charging
Pass through charging will allow the user to charge devices that are connected to the battery, while the power bank’s battery is being charged. If your backup battery and the device you want to charge are both very low on juice, then this feature is very useful to have.
This feature has become very popular. It allows the user to power up any compatible device, without the need for a cable. To charge, simply rest the device on top of the power bank. QI is the standard wireless charging technology used and it’s compatible with Samsung and Apple phones.
The more power a power bank offers, the higher the price tag. You can purchase a basic model, one that you can use to charge your smartphone only, for around $20-$30. More powerful devices, ones that are capable of charging laptops and a Nintendo Switch will have a price tag that ranges from $79 to $120.
Don’t expect much of a warranty, or a warranty at all, from low-priced models. However, if you’re planning on investing in a higher-priced model, one that’s loaded with power and top of the line features, then look for at least a ninety-day warranty. This will allow you to test out the device and return it if it doesn’t perform up to standard or if it’s defective.
More Power Bank Tips
- Being out and about and stuck with a phone battery that’s rapidly dying is never fun. If you want to ensure your phone is always powered up, then investing in a top of the line power bank is a great idea.
- Of course, not every power bank is created equal. Some models are able to charge a phone once or twice, while more powerful models can charge several devices at the same time, multiple times. Some are much heavier and bigger, while others will feature a compact design. In addition to the different sizes and capacities, the type of battery can also differ in power banks. Do your research before you purchase a power bank. The information you should look for will include battery type, the number of ports the device has, how fast it can charge a device, and how long the bank itself takes to charge. You’ll also want to know how many devices it can handle charging at once and how many times it can charge one of your devices before it must be recharged.
- If you want your power bank to work as best as possible, make sure you use it often. If you leave it sitting for too long this can negatively impact its ability to charge at full capacity. If you don’t need to use it, then charge and discharge it at least once a month to help maintain the battery.
- Like other types of electronics, a power bank will work at its best in neutral or normal temperatures. If you try to use it in boiling hot or freezing temperatures, then you may end up damaging the device. For the best results and to avoid damage, always use the power bank in a well-ventilated area, between the temperatures of forty to ninety degrees. Anything colder or hotter and you’ll run the risk of damaging the device.
- When it comes to properly storing the device, try to store it in a cool dry place.
- Before you buy, make sure the power bank is compatible with your phone or other devices. Different laptops, phones, tablets, and other types of electronic devices will have different charging requirements. In most cases, a phone will need a 1A current input to charge. 2.1A is often needed for larger devices, such as a laptop. Most power banks will come with a couple of ports that you can use to charge everything, however, not all models will come with this second port. Additionally, keep a look out for models that feature adaptive charging technology, such as iSmart 2.0, which I mentioned earlier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 10000 mAh Power Bank Enough?
This will depend on what you want to use your power bank to charge. This level of power will work fine if you want to charge one phone, but if you want to charge multiple phones, or other types of devices such as a tablet or laptop, then you’ll need more power.
How Do I Choose a Good Power Bank?
If you’re shopping for a power bank for your phone, then start by checking the charger specs and battery size of your phone. You’ll find this information on the battery and located on the charger. The power bank you purchase should have the same size battery as the device you want to charge.
Should I Charge my Power Bank Before First Use?
Yes. Most manufacturers will recommend charging a new power bank before use. The internal circuits in the power bank will cut out any excess charge, however, it’s always wise to get the power bank’s battery into a known state before you begin using it.
How many hours Should I Charge My New Power Bank?
In most cases, a power bank will only need to be charged for one to two hours. You should avoid leaving your power bank charging for longer than necessary. Always follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions and read the user’s manual carefully, before using the power bank for the first time.
Can We Use Power Bank Daily?
On average, a power bank can last around three years. Most models can withstand daily use, although lower quality models may overheat. It will ultimately depend on the overall quality and power of the power bank.
Can I Use My Phone While Charging on the Power Bank?
No. You should avoid using your phone when it’s plugged into a power bank. Despite the fact that a power bank isn’t plugged into a plug point at the time, it can still cause issues if you use your phone while it’s charging.
The best power banks come equipped with enough battery power to charge your essential devices, whether it’s a phone, laptop, camera, or tablet. The type of power you need will heavily depend on how many devices you want to charge and the types of devices themselves. There’s no doubt that a power bank is a very handy device to have around, and one that can help to get you through an emergency situation, once your phone or other essential devices lose their juice. The models I’ve included here and this buyer’s guide, can help to point you in the right direction, so you can find the right model, one that offers the type of power you need and a device that won’t hit your wallet too hard.