Buying Guide for Portable Chargers
Why buy a portable charger?
Like solar phone chargers, portable chargers allow you to charge your device anywhere, whether you’re roughing it for an epic weekend of camping or simply working at the job site. Unlike conventional USB chargers or wireless charging pads, portable chargers feature a compact design that doesn’t require a wall outlet to work. Simply charge it up before heading out the door, and you have a reliable power source to charge your phone throughout the day.
What should you look for in a portable charger?
- Power Capacity: Consider what devices you have with you and what size charger you prefer. If you have a device that requires a large amount of power, such as a laptop, you’ll need a power bank that has the capacity to match your device.
- Size: Smaller power banks are easier to carry around with you, making them great for traveling and hiking. However, the smaller the charger, the less battery power it’ll be able to provide for your phone.
- Connectivity: Consider the ports available on your power bank, and make sure that you have the right charging cables for your device. Also take note of the portable charger’s charging standard to see if it supports Qualcomm Quick Charge (QC), Power Delivery (PD), or other convenient fast charging standards.
What features should my portable charger come with?
Ultimately, the features your portable charger should come with will depend on how you’ll use the device. If you’ll be taking your charger with you while hiking or camping, look for a model that sports a durable, water-resistant design and integrated LED light. If your charger will be used for less rugged means, finding a model that sports a battery life indicator and pass-through charging will afford you a convenient means of keeping tabs on the charger’s battery level. Keep in mind that some portable chargers don’t come with any cables, so these can also be a nice touch when deciding which device to buy.
Our Picks for the Best Portable Chargers
Pros: Featuring Anker’s popular PowerIQ technology, this portable charger is great for pairing with modern smartphones that allow for the latest fast charging standards. In addition to providing blazing-fast charging speeds, this product also stands out for its slim, durable design and trickle-charging functionality, which protects your devices from becoming over-charged after achieving a full battery.
Cons: This charger only has a single USB-A output, so it can only be used to charge a single device at once.
Bottom Line: If you tend to charge up a single device at a time, the Anker 313 Power Bank might just be your best bet. Plenty of similarly-priced portable chargers will let you down in terms of durability, but this one’s a reliable option that’s designed to work for years.
Pros: Seeking the best bang for your buck? These portable chargers from Miady provide just enough juice to fully charge most modern smartphone batteries but feature a price tag that will usually get you only a single charger. Despite this product’s affordable price, it comes with some nifty features, such as the ability to charge multiple devices at once with a single charger. Factor in their respectable battery capacity and unique color options, and you can see why this is a popular product.
Cons: These chargers will top your device off considerably slower than premium products. While 5V-2.4A charging is nothing to balk at, it’s a far cry from modern quick charge standards.
Bottom Line: These portable chargers are far from the best of the bunch, but it would be hard to argue that this isn’t the best portable charger value on the market. While their individual capacities might be a little shy of 10,000 mAh, these chargers form a formidable duo when used in tandem.
Pros: This rugged portable charger combines a durable, IPX5 waterproof design with a single solar panel that can be used to gradually charge your phone’s battery while trekking in direct sunlight. Its 10,000-mAh performs admirably for the price, and it comes with some unique features, like a bright dual LED flashlight and an attachable compass. This portable charger can also be used without a USB cable, thanks to its Qi wireless charging capabilities, giving you even more options to get your devices charged.
Cons: This charger only uses a single, compact solar panel, so its solar charging speed is understandably slow. That being said, strap it to your backpack if you’ll be hiking in the hot sun all day long, as it can make quite an impact on your phone’s battery level.
Bottom Line: If you’re shopping for a portable charger that can take some use and abuse, this one is your best bet. However, it’s slightly more expensive than less rugged power banks with comparable battery capacities.
Pros: This high-capacity portable charger offers a better battery life than similarly priced products and 2.1A+1A charging for quickly topping off two devices at one time. It stands out for its accurate battery life indicator and durable build quality, a step up when compared to portable chargers from other lesser-known brands. This product also offers multiple color offerings and comes with a Micro USB cable for charging it up using a standard USB adapter.
Cons: Since this device has a much higher battery capacity than your average portable charger, it takes quite a long time to fully charge using its somewhat antiquated Micro USB input.
Bottom Line: Those seeking a high-capacity portable charger will find a lot to love here. Although this charger would benefit from a more modern input port (such as a fast charge USB-C), most people will choose to charge this device overnight anyways. Thus, it’s a convenient option for most people.
Pros: Featuring a sleek, compact design that makes it easy to use your iPhone even while you’re charging it, this portable charger is a breath of fresh air in terms of its design. Unlike most portable chargers, it offers pass-through charging, which allows you to charge your iPhone and the charger simultaneously. You won’t have to bring a charging cord to connect your phone to the charger because of its built-in lightning plug, so it’s super convenient, and you won’t get cords tangled up. While it’s a bit pricier than other models, its modern features and included USB-C cable make it a fair value for Apple users in need of a great charger for on-the-go use.
Cons: This charger is limited both in terms of compatibility and capacity. As such, don’t buy it if you have Android devices or desire a huge battery capacity.
Bottom Line: While Android users will find little value here, this portable charger’s streamlined design and unique features are bound to appeal to iPhone users that can look past its somewhat limited battery capacity.
Pros: Anker is known for the reliability of its portable chargers, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Not only does it include PowerIQ technology to charge your devices as fast as they can possibly be charged under most circumstances, but its array of nifty safety features (including surge protection and short circuit prevention) is more than enough to give users peace of mind. Seeing as how many people will be using this with smartphones that represent thousand-dollar investments, we’d say that’s enough to warrant it a spot on this list.
Cons: Unlike this charger’s slim cousin, the 313 Power Bank, this one will feel a little bulky for most people. As such, it might be a bit difficult to carry it in your pocket or find a place for it in your overnight bag.
Bottom Line: Anker is one of the fastest-growing brands for portable chargers, so it’s unsurprising when they deliver an absolute gem like this product. While its unique shape and extra bulk won’t appeal to everyone, its safety features and charging speed still make it a formidable device regardless of what you put it up against.
We all wish our favorite devices’ batteries would last forever, but wishful thinking won’t keep your iPhone charged. Thankfully, the above portable chargers can all be purchased for an affordable price and are more than up to the task.