The best power bank
A dead smartphone battery can put a serious damper on your day. Thankfully, power banks can help you avoid such frustration. The advent of the portable power bank gives you the chance to charge your smartphone, laptop, or other electronics on the go, even when you don't have access to an outlet.
If you want to find the best power bank for your needs, just follow our handy buying guide, and read the reviews featured here for our top picks. You're sure to love our top choice, the Anker PowerCore+ 2680 PD. It's from one of the most popular names in electronic peripherals, and for good reason.
Considerations when choosing power banks
Capacity refers to the amount of power that can be held by a power bank in order to disseminate it to another device. Power bank capacity is measured in milli ampere-hours, or mAh. If you want a power bank with a higher capacity, look for a higher mAh number. Charging a larger device, like a laptop computer, requires more mAh than charging a smaller device, like a smartphone.
Some power banks utilize a lithium-ion battery, while others use a lithium-ion polymer battery. If you want to get the better of the two, you will have to spend a little extra to get a lithium-ion polymer battery. They last longer than the alternative, which is why they cost a little bit more.
Additional USB cable
Consider purchasing an additional USB cable for your power bank. Although most come with one cable, it's always convenient to have a second cable as a backup or for charging from multiple ports on your power bank. Some multi-port power banks come with additional USB cables, but not all of them.
Standalone vs. complementary power bank
While most power banks are standalone units, some come as peripherals with other items. For example, it's possible to get a backpack that has a built-in powerbank for convenient on-the-go charging. If you think you want that type of two-in-one functionality, opt for a complementary power bank.
Some power banks have multiple ports that allow for the charging of more than one device at the same time. Keep in mind that this will deplete your power bank's reserve quicker than charging from a single port.
As mentioned, most power banks will come with a USB cable you can use to charge your devices. Make sure you always have your USB cable handy when you take your power bank on the go.
"Smart charge" is a feature on some power banks that allows the bank to determine the correct voltage needed to charge a connected device. It helps the device charge as quickly as its internals will allow. This helps speed up the charging process while conserving energy within your power bank.
"Quick charge" is another convenient feature that comes with some power banks. When used with Android smartphones, it allows a power bank to charge up to 80% of the phone's battery in only 30 minutes. This feature is not yet available for Apple-based smartphones, though it may be available in the future.
Most power banks cost between $10 and $100. There should be a model for people in almost any budget range.
Q. How long does it take to charge a power bank?
A. Most power banks require between eight and 12 hours to charge fully. If you don't let your power bank reach its full charge, it won't work as efficiently when you want it to charge your smartphone battery.
Q. Is there a difference between charging my power bank with USB 2.0 or USB 3.0?
A. Yes. Because USB 3.0 transfers more power, you can charge faster using a USB 3.0 port and cable than you could with a USB 2.0 port and cable. However, either would work -- the difference lies in charging time.
Power banks we recommend
Best of the best: Anker PowerCore+ 2680 PD
Our take: Great for charging multiple items at once.
What we like: Three charging ports and fast charging make this power bank a winner.
What we dislike: Expensive and heavy.
Best bang for your buck: ZMI 2-Way Fast Charging Portable Charger
Our take: Light and thin, high capacity, and inexpensive. Almost perfect.
What we like: Can quickly charge a wide variety of items multiple times.
What we dislike: Only one charging port, which is limiting.
Choice 3: Poweradd Pilot Pro3 30000mAh Power Bank
Our take: Quick charge for a small unit.
What we like: A sturdy power bank with generous power.
What we dislike: Somewhat heavy.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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