Charges fast; can charge 3 devices at once in an amazingly short time. Larger devices such as tablets and laptops charge equally as well as phones.
It's expensive, but if you need a serious charger, you may not mind the investment.
A lightweight, thin design that includes 2 charging cables. Charges phones fast; some owners report 100% charge in less than an hour.
Not enough power to charge larger devices. Only 2 ports.
Fantastic price, very portable, and has a decent battery (3,000 mAh).
It has only one USB port, and it charges devices slowly.
Massive battery (15,000 mAh) and even an LCD flashlight for a nice price.
Only 2 USB ports, and the unit does take quite some time to charge the internal battery.
Has a 6,000 mAh battery that is capable of charging most devices within 2 hours. Owners brag that it's small but durable. Has LED light.
Only 1 charging port. On/off button is sensitive and easy to turn on by accident, causing battery drain.
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More and more mobile devices have a large need for power. Portable chargers are a great way to keep a number of different devices powered anytime, anywhere, whenever the battery starts to run low. Best of all, most chargers are small enough to carry around in a bag or pocket right along with your other devices.
Portable chargers come in many shapes and sizes, which usually can influence how much power they offer. Larger, heavier chargers are good for multiple devices as long as they have more than one USB port. For the most portability, however, it's helpful to choose something small and lightweight. These are perfect for keeping a single device charged throughout the day or during long periods of time.
To keep your devices charged wherever you go, check out our handy guide on the best portable chargers. You will learn about some of the important things you need to consider before buying one.
You can trust our product advice and shopping guides because we never accept “free” manufacturer samples. At BestReviews, we buy our test products off of store shelves and online, just as you would. We put them through their paces in our test lab, then donate them to charity when we’re through evaluating them.
Our mission is to provide consumers with an honest, unbiased look at what they can get for their money.
If you’d like to learn more about portable chargers and how to select one, please continue reading this shopping guide.
When it comes to the number of charges a unit can provide with one full battery, every manufacturer seems to have its own measuring stick. For example, RAVPower claims that one battery cycle of its Power Bank model can charge an iPhone 12 times over. And although it's one of the priciest options we recommend, the RAVPower should be able to recharge your phone 500 times over during its lifetime.
At this point, you may be wondering what a portable charger is, how it works, and why you might want one.
A portable charger is an accessory that quickly charges your devices without being plugged into a wall. You fill it up with power which you can then use anywhere to charge your device.
There are portable chargers that use your car’s battery and solar power, but this guide focuses primarily on the kind you charge in an outlet overnight and then take with you to power a mobile device.
People buy portable chargers for a number of reasons. You may appreciate having one if you:
If you spend time outdoors, a product with a flashlight could be perfect. Just keep in mind that using it will drain the charger's battery.
The vast majority of chargers are designed for smartphone and tablet charging. However, some portable chargers are equipped to charge laptops as well.
Before buying a portable charger, ask yourself what it is you need it to do. Otherwise, you may end up buying a charger that doesn’t suit your needs… or one that sits in a drawer most of the time. For example, a person who needs a charger for an overnight camping trip would probably do better with something that can charge two devices at once and includes an LED flashlight.
With the exception of single port chargers, usually about the size of a lipstick tube, the average charger looks like a small brick. Dimensions vary between brands, but most conform to a 2”x4” size with a thickness of ½” to ¾”. They’re designed to easily fit in a pocket or suitcase. Bulk is generally not an issue with a portable charger.
Each charger has its own aesthetic appeal, which you can judge for yourself. Some are shiny and metallic; some are plastic; some have a rubber housing.
While most chargers may look about the same, they definitely don’t share the same weight, as different chargers use different components.
The lightest option we saw was 0.3 ounces.
The heaviest of the bunch came in at 16.1-ounce. But most of the extra wait was due to non-charging accessories.
You can have the charger plugged in while it’s recharging something; i.e. charge both devices — charger and phone/tablet — together. Just keep an eye on any overheating.
Every portable charger has a battery that must be charged. If you don’t charge your charger’s battery, it’s of little use to you.
Because every battery is designed differently, they all require a different amount of time to reach 100%. Most take somewhere between four and six hours.
Regardless of which product you buy, a portable charger will juice up your smartphone or tablet much faster than a standard USB cord plugged into an outlet or computer.
Why do portable chargers work so fast? Simply put, a charger’s goal is to send as much power as possible to whatever device it’s connected to. As a result, you end up getting about twice the amount of power from a portable charger as you would from an outlet.
This is a smart and effective way to cut down on charging times for phones and tablets that seem to take forever to refill. Would you like your phone fully charged in a matter of 20 minutes or so? Yes, please.
The average heavy-duty charger includes at least two USB ports so you can charge two devices at the same time. Most budget chargers will come with at least two ports.
For those who need to charge multiple items at once, look for one with even more. Only the slimmest and most portable chargers come with just one port.
The compact Anker Astro is perfect for consumers who only need to charge their devices on-the-go occasionally. While it only takes 3 to 4 hours to charge (significantly less than others we reviewed) it can add up to 6 hours of talk time to an iPhone and a whole charge to a Galaxy S6. Plus, having an 18-month warranty means you can trust this charger to last, despite its small size and single USB port.
Portable chargers aren’t usually big on accessories. Some come with a built-in LED flashlight with a range up to 15 feet. If you’re a camper, this could prove to be handy.
Some other brands also include this accessory with varying degrees of light, range, and brightness.
But if you’re considering a portable charger with a flashlight, bear in mind that the flashlight draws from the same power as your device. The longer you use the flashlight, the less reserve power you have.
Things charge at different speeds. So, if charging two devices, expect one to finish quicker.
Will your portable charger last forever? In a word, no.
While chargers do an incredible job of keeping your personal tech at full battery, keep in mind that you’re essentially buying a large battery when you buy a portable charger. And all batteries have an expiration date.
The difference between a portable charger and a standard battery is that the battery’s “lifespan” and subsequent expiration is more or less set in stone based on size and usage. A charger’s lifespan has no set time and date. Used moderately, a charger could last you two to five years. Used daily, it’s more likely to last one or two years.
Now is a great time to snag a portable charger, as prices have reduced significantly. A year or two ago, you’d be paying $150 for one the best models. Today, you can buy a high-end model for about $100.
On a budget? Look for one that's under $20. It's the best bet for your cash if you’re a person who attends a lot of conventions or takes frequent work trips. It’s a simple, inexpensive device that can go with you anywhere.
Q: Can I use a charger underwater?
A: No! Unless you specifically look for an underwater charger, none of these are meant to be submerged.
Q: How do I know it’s fully charged?
A: Every device comes with an external meter that informs you of its power level. That way, you can visually see when the battery is at 100% and when it’s time for a recharge.
Q: How long does it take to charge?
A: Every device is different, but the average amount of time it takes to go from 0% to 100% is about six hours.
Q: What kind of battery is inside?
A: Every manufacturer has a different design and model, but the most common design is the li-polymer battery. These batteries have thousands of power cells which store energy for a period of time but eventually dissipate when not being used.
Q: How long will it stay charged if I don’t use it?
A: This is usually determined by the size of the battery and the amount of cells within it. Generally speaking, a portable charger will lose all power within a year of not being used.
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