8 of the Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks for All Your On-the-go Adventures
Technology is an important part of any adventure, whether you're using your phone's GPS to find your way to the beach, an iPad to keep your kiddo entertained on a cross-country road trip, or your laptop to send work emails from a long train ride. You can rely on electronics to make traveling easier and safer, so it's important to keep them well-charged at all times. A proper portable power bank, which is essentially a portable battery or charging station, can help you do just that. If you're looking to keep your favorite devices charged wherever you go, we've rounded up the best power banks for all your away-from-electricity endeavours.
- Editor's Pick: INIU Portable Charger
- Runner-Up: Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000
- Best Wireless: Anker PowerCore 10K Wireless
- Best for Apple Users: Mophie Powerstation Plus XL
- Best Socket Design: NOVOO AC Outlet Power Bank
- Best for Gamers: Belkin Boost Up Charge Power Bank 5K + Stand Play Series
- Most Versatile: Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC Portable Power Bank
- Best Heavy-duty: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
Editor's Pick: INIU Portable Charger
To buy: amazon.com, $15 (originally $20)
Output Ports: One USB-C, two USB-A
Weight: 7 ounces
I rely on my INIU Portable Charger whenever I travel or go out at night. Its slim and sleek design allows me to slip it into my shoulder bag, while still leaving room for my other essentials, like my wallet and keys. It's also smaller than my iPhone 11 Pro Max. For reference, my phone measures 6.22 inches x 3.06 inches x 0.32 inches, whereas this power bank measures 5.2 inches x 2.7 inches x 0.5 inches. I'm able to tuck it into my back pockets when I don't feel like carrying a bag, though it does stick out a bit (just as my iPhone does), but it's never fallen out.
The charger's slimness is impressive considering its 10,000mAh battery capacity. I can get a little over two full-phone charges with this power bank before I have to recharge the battery. It also has a convenient amount of ports that allow me to charge multiple devices at once, with two USB-A output ports and one USB-C port that works for both input and output.
I've dropped this portable charger multiple times, in both my apartment and outside on the New York City streets, and it has yet to break or show signs of damage in its performance. And while this power bank definitely earns some major points in the durability category, it also has a lot to show for in terms of its aesthetic appeal: It relies on a light-up, blue paw print to convey how much charge the power bank has left.
Runner-Up: Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000
To buy: amazon.com, $30
Output Ports: Two USB-A
Weight: 6.7 ounces
With its dimensions measuring 2.8 inches x 2.8inches x 1.2 inches, the Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000's compact design helps it stand out from other power banks. It also has appeal in terms of versatility since it can serve as either a power bank or a wall charger (thanks to its inclusion of an AC adapter), depending on the given situation. That means you won't have to worry about packing a charging block and a portable charger — you'll only need this bad boy.
And when you do have the ability to use the power bank as a wall charger, you won't have to worry about draining the battery power you'll use on the go, because the battery charges when plugged into a wall socket and allows for pass-through charging. That being said, the AC plug isn't the only way the power bank can charge — you can also charge it via the micro-USB port and the included micro USB cable.
As for the output ports, it has two USB-A ports, so it does lack some appeal for anyone who is committed to finding a power bank with a USB-C charging option.
Best Wireless: Anker PowerCore 10K Wireless
To buy: amazon.com, $30 (originally $36)
Output ports: Two USB-A, Qi wireless charging pad
Weight: 7.4 ounces
A wireless power bank is a great option for anyone looking to avoid toting around cables. The Anker PowerCore 10K Wireless can charge any Qi-compatible device, whether it be an Android or Apple product. All you need to do is press the power button on the side of the power bank and rest your phone on top of the block for the charging process to begin. Its rubber design offers enough friction to gently grip your phone and prevent it from slipping off the charging pad — and if you ever had your phone fall off a slippery surface or edge after vibrating, you know how important this can be.
The power bank has a 10,000mAh battery capacity. It allows for pass-through charging, so you can plug the power bank in to charge and, while charging itself, it can also charge your other devices. Aside from the Qi wireless charging pad, it has two USB-A ports so you can charge via a cable if you would like, too.
Best for Apple Users: Mophie Powerstation Plus XL
To buy: amazon.com, $65 (originally $100)
Output ports: Built-in Lightning cable, one USB-A
Weight: 9.1 ounces
Most power banks with the appropriate output ports work great with Apple products, but the Mophie Powerstation Plus XL with a built-in lightning cable adds an extra layer of convenience for Apple users. With this power bank, you'll never find yourself in the annoying predicament of having remembered to pack your power bank, but having forgotten your cable at home.
In addition to the built-in lightning connector, there's also a USB-A port, so you can charge two devices at once. It has a battery capacity of 10,000mAh and can be charged via a lightning cable or wirelessly via a Qi wireless charger. Please note, the Qi wireless charging option is input-only, and cannot be used to charge other devices.
Best Socket Design: NOVOO AC Outlet Power Bank
To buy: amazon.com, $100
Output ports: One AC outlet, one USB-A, one USB-C
Weight: 1.67 pounds
The NOVOO AC Outlet Power Bank single three-prong, AC outlet provides you with a lot of versatility in a space-conscious package. So long as you have the proper charging block, you can give a boost in power to a wide range of items including, but not limited to, your iPhone, Android, headphones, tablet, laptop, camera, Nintendo Switch, or speaker. Owning this power bank is essentially like owning a to-go wall socket, just with limited power.
Aside from the AC outlet, there's also a USB-A and USB-C port, so you aren't limited to charging only one device at a time. With its cylindrical shape and 1.67-pound weight, this option is a tad bulkier than other portable power banks on this list.
Best for Gamers: Belkin Boost Up Charge Power Bank 5K + Stand Play Series
To buy: amazon.com, $35
Output ports: One USB-A, one USB-C
Weight: 7.7 ounces
If you have a long train ride ahead or are looking to keep your kiddo entertained amid a long road trip, you may want to play video games or stream movies from your phone to help pass the time. That's when you'll want to rely on the Belkin Boost Up Charge Power Bank 5K + Stand Play Series. Besides being built to boost your phone with up to 17 more hours of battery life while streaming or gaming, this power bank also incorporates a stand into its design, so you can easily keep your phone propped up, either vertically or horizontally.
This portable charger includes one USB-A and one USB-C output port, allowing you to charge two devices simultaneously. That means you can charge your streaming and gaming device along with other equipment you may need to stay properly entertained, like a controller or headset.
Most Versatile: Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC Portable Power Bank
To buy: amazon.com, $300
Output ports: Two USB-A, two USB-C, one AC outlet, one Qi wireless charging pad
Weight: 2 pounds
There's a lot of things going on in the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC Portable Power Bank, but it's a lot of great and useful things. The design gives you a wide range of charging options, combining all the types of output ports we've seen so far on this list — two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, one 110V AC outlet, and one Qi wireless charging pad. The power bank also comes with four cables — a Lightning cable (for Apple products), a micro USB cable, a USB-C cable, and a USB-C to USB-C cable. With the wide range of ports and cables readily available, you'll have easy and quick access to every charging style, which is great in times where you can't afford to be picky.
The versatility and power housed in this charger is reflected in its $300 price tag. It's not the kind of investment you'd be looking to make for a power bank to bring on a day trip to the lake or a night away from home, but it's a great option for road trips and similar activities. But unlike the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 mentioned next on this list, which is also great for road trips and camping, this power bank maintains a small enough footprint to still fit in your backpack. It also weighs just 2 pounds, which is 20 pounds lighter than the Jackery model. The Goal Zero model is great for trips where you'll mostly be in your car and making some indoor stops along the way, or even on shorter glamping trips, whereas the Jackery model is better for the more rugged outdoors or longer off-the-grid adventures.
Best Heavy-duty: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000
To buy: amazon.com, $999 (originally $1,099)
Output ports: Three AC, two USB-A, and two USB-C
Weight: 22 pounds
If you're someone who loves to go camping or on long road trips, or partake in any other type of activity where electricity can be hard to come by for a significant period of time, you're going to need a device that packs in a lot more power, like the Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000. It's bigger than the other power banks on this list, which shows in both its 1000W output power supply and 22-pound weight. However, 22 pounds is not as heavy as other heavy-duty power banks, and it still fits into the category of portable power. You'll also notice the power jump in this power bank from the others reflected in its $1,000 price tag.
You can plug your phone and laptop into this power bank, but it also has the capacity to support appliances like a toaster or mini fridge, or any other device that functions under 1000W. This makes it a handy choice to have ready in case of a power outage.
The power bank offers three AC outlets, two USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports. There's also a clear display that makes it incredibly easy to see what's going on with the power bank, such as the input and output watts, as well as the remaining battery life percentage. When it comes time to recharge, you have the option to use the power station's wall outlet, solar panel, or car outlet.
What to Consider When Choosing a Power Bank
Input and Output Ports
A power bank is essentially a rechargeable battery with ports that you can use to charge other electronic devices. Thus, it will usually have an input port that's used to charge the battery itself, and then one or more output ports that will allow you to charge other devices. Common output ports you will find on power banks are USB-A and USB-C, but some even have AC outlets (like those you would find on the wall of your home) or can serve as a wireless Qi charging pad.
Before you buy a power bank, you should take a look at your most-used devices and the types of chargers you use for them. Make sure their connector types are compatible with the ports on the power bank you are looking to buy. Also, it's important to note that some devices can be charged with multiple port types, but it just depends on the cable you use. For instance, I own an iPhone 11 Pro Max and AirPods, and I can charge both devices using either my USB-A to Lightning cable or USB-C to Lightning cable charger. I always forget to charge my AirPods, and I'm constantly using my phone, so these are the devices I usually find myself needing to charge when I'm out and about. That's why the INIU Portable Charger is the best match for me. It has one USB-C and two USB-A ports, so I can charge both my AirPods and iPhone simultaneously, regardless if I packed one USB-A and one USB-C style charger or two USB-A style chargers. It's important to pick a portable charger with the output ports that best meets your needs and habits.
Since power banks are essentially batteries, size has a tendency to correlate to power. Most chargers on this list will need to be carried in a backpack or bag of some sort, rather than in a jacket or front pants pocket (though it depends on the depth of your pockets, and some may be able to be comfortably tucked into back pants pockets). As a tradeoff for not being universally pocket-friendly, you'll be able to charge your phone fully multiple times or charge more than one device at the same time. Mini portable chargers are better for a few hours of battery boost, rather than for complete charges or fueling multiple devices on a long trip.
When looking to buy a power bank, one of the most important specs to look at in the product description is mAh, which stands for milliampere-hour and is a unit used to measure electric power. This spec essentially corresponds to how much power is packed inside the battery and how much power you can use before needing to recharge your power bank. The higher the mAh of a portable charger, the longer and more times it can power up your devices.
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