Three best portable chargers

Steph Coelho

Some portable chargers also have a flashlight function that’s useful in case of emergency, but remember that using the flashlight will use stored power.

Most people usually have some kind of battery-operated technology at their fingertips, but there aren't always outlets within easy reach. Whether you're trying to stay connected on a camping trip or can't find an empty plug in a crowded airport terminal, a portable charger will provide you with the juice to revive your electronic device. Charge your portable charger like you would your phone and, depending on its capacity, it will provide you with at least enough power to top up your phone's battery. The following is a brief guide to finding the right portable charger for your needs.

Considerations when choosing portable chargers

Who can benefit from this electronic accessory?

People who can benefit from investing in a portable charger include frequent travelers, people who are always on their phones or laptops, lovers of the outdoors who want to phone access at all times, people in emergency situations where recharging via an outlet is impossible, and people who own old devices with quick-draining batteries.

What devices do you need to charge?

What do you carry around most often that seems to run out of battery? Laptops and smartphones require different amounts of juice to recharge. If you've got a slew of power-hungry electronics in your backpack or briefcase, you'll need a high-capacity charger.

How long will you be away from a traditional power source?

If you're heading out for an extended camping trip or have a phone with a quick-draining battery, you should consider a portable charger that can store a lot of power.

Portable charger features

Capacity: The capacity of a portable charger is listed in milliamperes per hour (mAh). A larger number means the device is capable of storing more battery life. Greater capacity allows for more charges of a single device or the ability to charge bigger electronics, such as a laptop.

Size and weight: Most portable chargers are small enough to stuff into a purse or backpack, and some units are compact enough to slip into a pocket. Choose a charger that you find comfortable to carry around.

Charging time: There are two charging times to consider: the time it takes to charge the portable charger itself and the time it takes to charge your electronic devices with the charger. Charging times for the units themselves vary somewhat, but most portable chargers restore the battery life of other devices quickly.

Ports: Some portable chargers have two or more USB ports so you can charge multiple electronics at once.

Battery indicator: Most portable chargers have an indicator that displays how much power is left in the device. When charging your device, the indicator lets you know when it's fully charged and ready to use.

Pass-through charging: If you need to charge your portable charger and your devices at the same time, you'll need a unit that's capable of pass-through charging. Not all chargers are equipped with this ability, however, but it's a nice feature that will most definitely come in handy at some point.


Q. How long will it take my portable charger to charge?

A. It could take several hours for a portable charger to fully charge. Most units have a battery indicator to let you know when the unit is ready to use.

Q. Can I charge my charger and device at the same time?

A. It depends on the product. Some portable chargers are capable of pass-through charging, so you can use a single outlet to juice up your charger and whatever device is connected to it.  

Q. I'll need to charge my phone multiple times while I'm traveling. What capacity should I look for in a portable charger?

A. A portable charger with 10,000 mAh should provide multiple full charges for your smartphone.

Portable chargers we recommend

Best of the best: Anker PowerCore+ Premium Portable Charger 

Our take: A reliable, high-capacity device from a company that's well known in the industry.

What we like: Rapid charging with enough juice to power more than one device. Features ports for up to three devices.

What we dislike: Expensive, but worth it for those who regularly need to charge devices on the go.

Best bang for your buck: Anker 3rd Gen PowerCore+ Mini Portable Charge

Our take: An ultra-compact device with enough capacity to charge your phone when you're away from an outlet.

What we like: Small and lightweight enough to fit in the pocket of your jeans or a purse.

What we dislike: Single port and a little slower to charge than other devices.

Choice 3: RAVPower Portable Charger 

Our take: A well-priced mid-range unit with plenty of power to charge your phone multiple times.

What we like: Slim profile and fast-charging make this device well worth it.

What we dislike: Not suitable for powering up larger electronics.

Steph Coelho 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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