How to pick the best power bank for your needs

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When you rely on multiple power-hungry gadgets, it makes sense to carry a power bank. But which one should you choose? Take a tour with us through the world of batteries and allow us to point out the highlights.

  • What does mAh mean? This stands for milliampere hour, a unit that measures electrical charge in relation to time.
  • What capacity does my power bank need to be? Under 5,000 mAh will suffice for smartphone top-ups; over 20,000 mAh is recommended for laptops.
  • Is there a power bank with an AC outlet? Yes, many. Keep scrolling to see our favorite options.
backup battery - How to pick the best power bank for your needs

Which power bank is right for you?

Portable power storage has come a long way over the past five years. Instead of holding enough for one or two charges, the most generous power banks can now keep all your devices going for days.

If you like to stay connected, it makes sense to acquire some kind of backup battery. But with so many options now available, the choice can be bewildering. To help you make sense of the options, we have put together this helpful guide.

Which power bank is right for me?

The answer to this question lies in the center of a Venn diagram. The sweet spot is a power bank that is sufficiently portable, yet generous enough in terms of capacity.

backup battery - How to pick the best power bank for your needs

Some batteries are tougher than others

You will also need something with the right ports for your devices, and durable enough for regular use.

How many mAh should you look for?

This entirely depends on your charging needs.

Pocket-sized power banks tend to hold between 3,000 mAh and 5,000 mAh. As most smartphones hold 2,500–3,000 mAh with a full battery, these small power banks will keep you going through the day.

backup battery - How to pick the best power bank for your needs

Think about capacity

If you need to stay powered through a weekend away, look for something with at least 10,000 mAh. Such power banks can also charge tablets, your GoPro, and other devices. If you plan to be away for longer, or you have power-hungry devices such as a laptop, aim for 20,000 mAh and up.

Which power banks are compatible with my devices?

Virtually all power banks offer USB-A charging, and some now provide USB-C ports. While smartphones and other USB devices work with any USB port, the charging process is slower with USB-A than with USB-C.

backup battery - How to pick the best power bank for your needs

Most power banks support USB-A

That said, you may need a USB-C to USB-A adapter to charge older devices. In addition, you will need a power bank with a USB-C or AC outlet to power a laptop.

If you own a Qi-compatible device, you might also consider purchasing a power bank with wireless charging.

How long will my power bank last?

This varies between power banks, but most will start to lose capacity after six months of daily use. If you use your power bank more infrequently, it should last upwards of 18 months without any deterioration.

backup battery - How to pick the best power bank for your needs

Your power bank should last for some time

Even when your backup battery starts to wear down, the process will be gradual. Consequently, you should get at least three years of useful service.

If you plan to take your power bank on the road, it’s also worth thinking about ruggedness. While some batteries are fearful of any moisture or impact, others will happily rough it.

The best power banks in 2019

Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the best power banks currently available.

Moshi Porto Q 5K Stylish Portable Battery

Along with being slim and stylish, the Moshi Porto Q offers wireless charging. The battery has a capacity of 5,000 mAh, while the non-slip surface ensures your phone won’t fall.

Price: $84.95 USD

Tesla Powerbank Compact Portable Power Bank

Ever fancied owning a Tesla? Well now you can. The Powerbank might not have self-driving abilities, but it does have built-in charging cables and a capacity of 3,350 mAh.

Price: $45 USD

BioLite Charge 10 Portable Power Bank

For emergency power in the great outdoors, pack the BioLite Charge 10. This backup battery measures fewer than four inches long, but it stores 2,600 mAh inside a IPX6 waterproof housing.

Price: $24.95 USD

Anker PowerCore 20100 Power Bank

With 21,000 mAh squeezed into 6.6 by 2.4 inches, the Anker PowerCore offers a great compromise between capacity and portability. It also uses intelligent charging to speed up the process.

Price: $49.99 USD

EcoFlow River412 Portable Charging Companion

At 11 pounds, the River412 is much heavier than most power banks. However, this remarkable device has a capacity of 114,000 mAh—enough to keep all your devices powered for a whole week.

Price: $599.95 USD

Survivor Backup Battery by Griffin Technology

As the name suggests, the Survivor by Griffin is a real trooper. Tested to Military Standard 810G, this battery can take all sorts of abuse. It is also compact, with a 10,050 mAh capacity and a built-in flashlight.

Price: $59.99 USD

Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC Portable Power Bank

If you have camera batteries to charge and other devices that need AC power, the Goal Zero Sherpa is your friend. This tough power bank has a 100 W AC output, along with USB-PD, USB-C and USB-A ports.

Price: $299.95 USD

Zendure X6 Versatile USB-C Power Bank

Perfect for carrying in a backpack, the Zendure X6 offers an impressive 20,100 mAh capacity and 45 W USB-PD output. With a total of five ports, it’s useful for charging multiple devices on the go.

Price: $119.95 USD

Best power bank

Do you own a power bank? What has been your experience? Leave your sentence review in the comments!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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