Best power banks 2021: Reviews and buying advice

Anyone who uses a smartphone knows the importance of carrying a battery backup. But try searching for one on Amazon, let’s say, and you’re likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. In addition to the various charging specs, ports, and even cables that you need to consider, there are a ton of competing brands. How are you supposed to know which ones actually keep their promise?

We’ve done the field work for you, evaluating a wide range of power banks from different manufacturers, costing different prices and some offering unique features. Our tests are also extensive, and put the packages to real-world use (read about our testing process in detail below). Our selections below reflect a variety of needs. (You might also be interested in our overview of USB car chargers if you spend a lot of time in transit.)

Updated 09/17/2021 to include our review of the RAVPower Portable Power Station’s 252.7Wh Power Station, a compact off-grid power source that’s perfect for weekend getaways. Given its price of under $ 200 and better-than-average efficiency, it’s our new pick for best portable power station. Scroll to the bottom of this article for links to all of our power bank reviews.

Best overall power bank

Building on the success of the Powerstation Plus XL (our previous pick for the best overall power bank), the Mophie Powerstation XXL matches its predecessor in efficiency, achieving 92.51 percent of its declared maximum current, plus that it is stylish, portable and affordable. to $ 69.95. It is an obvious recommendation if you are looking for a reliable power source on the market. (Read our full Mophie Powerstation XXL review.)

Best budget power bank

The combo wall charger and portable power bank format make the Powercore Fusion 5000 extremely convenient. The bank itself can be recharged through any method: electrical outlet or MicroUSB port. You’re limited to two USB-A ports for charging the device, but that doesn’t diminish its excellent convenience-to-cost ratio. (Read our full review of the Anker Powercore Fusion 5000.)

Most portable power banks

Small enough to fit in a coat pocket or the side pocket of a backpack, the Tronsmart Presto is an obvious companion on the go. It’s a 10,000 mAh (37 Wh) pack, with two USB-A ports, one with QC3.0 for fast charging. (Read our full Tronsmart Presto PVT10 review.)

The best power bank for road warriors

If you spend a lot of time on the road and value device readiness, the Sherpa 100AC is a reliable, albeit expensive, companion. Yes, at $ 299.95, you are looking for a great investment. But that buys you two USB-C ports capable of fast charging speeds, two standard USB ports, a Qi wireless charging pad, a standard US 110V outlet, a full complement of cables, and a status display. nifty and buttons to control various functions. of the package. The package itself can be charged in just a couple of hours. (Read our full Sherpa 100AC portable power bank review.)

Best USB-C Power Bank with Power Delivery

With the kind of sleek yet rugged exterior you’d expect from the Otterbox, the Fast Charge 20,000mAh is both attractive and utilitarian. Its USB-C port with Power Delivery can be used to charge other devices or the package itself. Both it and the USB-A port have an output of 18W. The 92.55 percent efficiency of the pack is among the best USB-C battery packs we’ve tested. (Read our full Otterbox Fast Charge 20,000mAh review.)

Best Portable Power Station

There are times when a simple power bank is not enough; circumstances call for a station. Let’s say you’re spending the weekend off the grid. Or you want to be prepared for a future emergency. The RAVPower 252.7 Wh Power House Portable Power Station will get the job done. With a capacity close to 252.7Wh, a good port plugin, a built-in flashlight, and an included carrying case, this highly portable power station is an excellent travel companion for road trips. (Read our full review of the RAVPower 252.7Wh portable power station.)

How we test

Determining whether a power bank lives up to a company’s promise involves more than just plugging it into a phone and charging it. Testing of battery packs takes place over weeks, not days, and requires additional equipment to ensure batteries are performing as expected.

1. Upon receipt of each battery pack, it is fully charged, using indicator lights as a means of tracking the charge level.

As we use the DROK load tester to drain the power pack, we can test against a battery’s declared maximum current and verify that proper shutdown mechanisms are in place in case something goes wrong during a charging session. (like a device that is bypassed). the maximum amps).

Using the AVHzY USB Power Meter, we can monitor volts and amps, total power output, and the total amount of time to drain a battery from full to empty. The meter can create an Excel spreadsheet of the entire process for future reference.

3. Next, we recharge the battery, this time using the AVHzY to track it and graph the amount of time it takes to reach a full charge.

The AVHzY meter solves a deficiency we had with our previous method with the PortaPow. Previously, we had to use a GoPro camera to track each battery through its charge cycle, as the PortaPow monitor would continue to collect data after the battery was fully charged (slow charging is normal and unfortunately interferes with our tests).

If a battery was capable of charging via USB-C, we used it instead of Micro-USB.

4. The AVHzY also has a built-in function that checks a charging port for all of its supported charging standards. We can run that test and get an instant reading to confirm QC 3.0 compatibility, for example, without having to have compatible phones or devices on hand.

Power source and cables
All of our tests were done using the same wall adapter and, where possible, a USB-C or Micro-USB cable. This was done to eliminate any discrepancies with wall adapters and cable performance.

What to look for in a portable power bank

Without sophisticated test equipment, you never really know if you are getting what you paid for with a battery pack. Vendors, especially on Amazon listings, like to release a lot of terms and certifications.

Here are some tips to help you make a decision:

  • For those with a compatible device, make sure the battery is Quick Charge 2.0, 3.0 or PD certified. Depending on your smartphone, this can make a big difference in performance. However, if you own a QC 2.0 device, ask yourself if a QC 3.0 compliant package is worth paying more for.
  • Don’t 100 percent trust a company’s claims that one package can charge, say, a Galaxy S8 or iPhone X six times as much. Battery capacity and efficiency vary based on a number of factors. read this Macworld Report on USB-C Packages for more information on batteries and capacity.
  • Look at the battery’s specs and make sure your input isn’t limited to a trickle charge like 5V / 1A. The faster the entry, the faster the batteries will recharge and the faster you will be ready to hit the road.

All our power bank reviews

Click the links below to read the full reviews of all the products we tested for this overview. We will continue to review and update this article as we test more battery packs.

You may also be considering simply buying the AmazonBasic charger from Amazon, as a way to save money. In this case, please note: Amazon has voluntarily recalled several models due to possible overheating. Amazon has received 53 reports of affected models (B00LRK8EVO, B00LRK8HJ8, B00LRK8I7O, B00LRK8IV0, B00LRK8JDC, or B00ZQ4JQAA) becoming overheated and, in one case, causing chemical burns. You can find more information in the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as in the remember place.

Note: When you buy something after clicking the links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

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