If you don't have a degree in small electronics, reading a list of specs on a portable charger can be like trying to read ancient Runes. Between the tech jargon and the marketing B.S. it can be hard to tell which is
really the best portable power bank. But in reality, there are only a few key factors to take into consideration: size, battery life, and compatibility. If you're looking to travel light, a mini portable charger might be all you need. But, to charge multiple devices at once (and to charge them more than one time over), you'll need a slightly larger charger that you can still carry with you.
When it comes to battery life, most power banks measure their battery in milliampere hours, or mAh. While some manufacturers will fudge how many charges a power bank can hold, there's an easy way to figure out
how many times a power bank can charge your device: Simply divide the number of milliampere hours a power bank holds by the number of milliampere hours your phone or device has. (For reference, an iPhone 8 has around 1,800 mAh.) That should tell you roughly how many times it could charge your device.
From there, your decision will come down to more practical elements: how much space you have to carry it; whether you want it to be waterproof; and any other functionality you might desire. But, to save you time, here's a list of the
best portable power banks to choose from, so that no matter where you go, you can stay connected.
Overall Best: A Powerful & Lightweight Option That Can Charge Your Phone Seven Times Over
Anker's PowerCore portable charger packs plenty of power in its small, 12.5 ounce size. Its lightweight and pocket-sized frame has 20,100 mAh of power and can charge an iPhone almost seven times, Galaxy S6 five times, or the iPad mini two times on a single charge . While it takes 10 hours to fully recharge (slightly longer than other devices on this list), for its size and price, this portable charger stands far and above other options. It's also compatible with any USB cord, and can charge multiple devices at once. One fan says, "I’ve previous tried a couple of cheaper, smaller chargers that were slow and typical gave out before my phone was fully charged. This one is an entirely different – and better – product." And, best of all, it comes with an 18-month warranty, so you can feel confident it will last you a while.
Runner Up: A Medium-Sized Portable Charger With A Built-In Lightning Cord
Jackery portable charger works almost twice as fast as a traditional phone charger, it takes second place to the Anker, because it only offers 6,000 mAh, or roughly enough battery to charge a cell phone three times. That being said, it's less expensive, a little less than half the weight of the overall best, and has a built-in lightning cable for iPhones and a universal micro USB cord that is compatible with almost all other smartphones. After extensive testing of the Jackery, manufacturers say it can charge the iPhone 8 up to 55 percent in just 30 minutes, whereas a traditional charging cord can charge just 28 percent in the same amount of time. If you're prioritizing portability first and foremost, this charger is a great mid-sized option that's compatible with all devices and comes with enough battery to use for a day spent out and about.
Best Mini: An Ultra-Portable Charger That You Can Bring Anywhere
No bigger than a tube of lipstick,
Anker's mini portable charger can be stored virtually anywhere — and yet, still has enough power to charge an iPhone more than once on a single battery. Able to fully recharge in just four hours, this mini portable charger is a fast-working option that won't break the bank. At just $17, it's the most affordable portable charger or power bank on this list, and comes in five colors: black, blue, pink, silver, and gold. While, no, this charger doesn't have as much power as either the best overall or runner up (it offers 3,350 mAh), it makes up for its battery life with a truly portable size that you can bring with you in any bag, anywhere you go.
Best For Outdoors: A Waterproof, Solar-Powered Charger That Comes With A Flashlight
BW Distributors portable charger is completely solar-powered, waterproof, and shockproof, making it a fantastic option if you plan on traveling anywhere outdoors. With an IPX7 waterproof rating, it can withstand up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes. And it also includes a built-in flashlight, making it super useful on your weeklong camping trip. From a battery perspective, it offers 16,000 mAh of storage (putting it squarely in the middle of our list), and can charge multiple devices at once. And, for the most eco-friendly charger, it has a monocrystalline solar panel that uses sunlight to power both the charger and your cell phone or device. Like previous devices, this BW power bank is also compatible with any USB; however, it takes a bit longer to charge up to full battery (12 to 24 hours).
The Best Battery Life: A Heavier, Pricier Option That Can Charge Your Phone 17 Times
You'll get the most battery with this power bank: The
MAXOAK can charge an iPhone up to 17 times on a single battery, and can charge up to four devices at once. That being said, for precisely this reason, it's a heavier option that clocks in at 8 inches tall and almost 3 pounds, and holds a stellar 50,000 mAh in battery storage. It easily recharges in six to eight hours and is built with sturdy construction and six security protections to ensure your device is charging safely. One thing to note? Some reviewers note that they've had mixed success bringing this in a carry-on bag through airport security. While not an issue every time, some airports won't let it through.
Also Great: A Bluetooth Speaker & Power Bank Hybrid That Can Play Your Music
For an innovative hybrid, the
Mpow bluetooth speaker and power bank is a multi-functional device, great not only for charging on the go, but for playing music while you charge. Slightly heavier in weight than other power banks at 2.14 pounds, it's not as portable as other chargers on this list. But its ability to play music, its accompanying audio cable and USB, and its easy to carry travel pouch more than make up for the size. It even has built-in 8-watt acoustic drivers for improved sound quality, and can play music for up to 22 hours. It also has adjustable bass mode for all PCs, tablets, smartphones, and Apple devices to customize your music, and the option to use it for hands-free calling. The speakers are IPX5 rated, making them both shockproof and waterproof (to a degree), meaning it can come with you to the beach this summer if you take care of it. With 4,400 mAh in battery storage, you can power your devices more than once over, even while listening to music. Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.