Best Portable Laptop Chargers

Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for Best portable laptop chargers

If you’re a frequent flyer, you may know the nightmare of trying to find an open electrical outlet in a busy airport. Inevitably, a feeling of panic that your electronics are going to run out of battery life in the middle of the flight soon follows.

Unless you have a portable laptop charger, that is!

A portable laptop charger is a storage battery you can use to charge multiple mobile devices when you’re away from home. With a portable laptop charger in tow, you’ll always have plenty of power on hand for laptops, portable gaming systems, and smartphones.

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You can use your portable charger to top off the battery any time — even if you’re not running low. This technique ensures you have a full battery available, which comes in handy if you suddenly run into a situation where you cannot recharge.

Terms to know

As you shop for a portable laptop charger, understanding some of the jargon associated with the product can help you understand which features you want.

Indicator light: Thanks to the indicator light on a portable laptop charger, you instantly know its current power capacity. While it’s plugged into an outlet, you’ll also know how close it is to completing its recharge. Notably, some cheaper portable laptop chargers do not have an indicator light, leaving you to guess how much power is stored in the unit.

Multiple ports: Some portable laptop chargers have only one USB port, permitting you to charge only one device at a time. For added convenience, you may want to find a portable laptop charger with two or three ports. The most versatile units have USB-A and USB-C ports, making it easier to charge different types of devices. 

Output amperage: Portable laptop chargers deliver power at a certain number of amps, such as 1, 1.5, 2.1, 2.4, or more. Some even use different output amperage ratings on different USB ports. A 2.1-amp port will deliver the charge faster than a 1-amp port. If you’re trying to use the device while you’re charging it, a 2.1-amp port is a minimum must-have.

Output watts: This measurement shows how quickly the charger can power up a device. To charge at the fastest speed possible, laptops typically require 60 to 70 watts. If your portable charger has less than 60 output watts, the laptop will charge at a slower speed.

Storage capacity: The capacity of the battery is often denoted in milli-amp hours, or mAh. For a portable laptop charger, you’ll want a minimum capacity of 10,000 mAh. You may find portable chargers that have storage capacities of 25,000 mAh or even 50,000 mAh. With a portable charger of a larger capacity, you can charge your devices more than once before needing to replenish the charger.

Other features

The terms above represent some important features you may desire in a portable laptop charger. There are other features to consider as well, one of the most important of which is size. Most people prefer a smaller portable laptop charger. Because you’ll likely be carrying the charger with you, you wouldn’t want it to weigh too much or have trouble fitting in your briefcase or backpack.

The typical portable laptop charger is rectangular in shape, weighs two pounds or less, and measures about one inch in thickness. However, there are models are available in non-traditional shapes and sizes. Some are as light as half of a pound and as thin as half of an inch.

Finally, we suggest that you may want to look for a charger that accepts a three-prong power cord. The ground prong on the power cord allows you to charge the battery brick safely. Having a three-prong plug also delivers a faster recharge than you’d get via USB.

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Did you know?
FAA regulations require you to have special permission to travel with an external charger that has more than 100 watt hours of storage capacity.

Portable laptop charger prices

As a general rule, a portable laptop charger with a higher storage capacity carries a higher price tag. Extremely thin and/or lightweight chargers also command a premium.

However, laptop chargers are not expensive pieces of hardware. Units with between 10,000 and 20,000 mAh typically cost $10 to $35. Chargers with 20,000 mAh or more typically cost $35 to $75.

You could also purchase a laptop charger with a far greater capacity. These units run from $200 to $300 and are usually heavy and not very portable. They are designed primarily with emergency situations and camping scenarios in mind.

When to use your portable laptop charger

The applications for a portable laptop charger are numerous. Here are some situations in which the charger might come in handy.

During long commutes

If you spend time on a train or in a car on the way to work, consider using this time to charge your devices. Many portable laptop chargers can accommodate multiple devices at once.

In public places

Coffee shops, airports, and coworking spaces are great places to charge your devices … if you can find an open outlet. Having a portable laptop charger with you provides peace of mind when you can’t sit near an outlet.

During conferences

When you’re moving from room to room to listen to speakers at a conference, you may not be able to sit next to an outlet. That’s okay; just plug into the charger and take notes on your laptop.

In weather emergencies

During a storm, you could lose power at your home or business for several hours. Having a fully powered laptop charger on hand means you can keep your smartphone or laptop charged during the blackout. This allows you to stay up-to-date on the latest weather information and remain in contact with others.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for specific features, we considered a few additional products that might serve you nicely. A low-cost charger that delivers at least 10,000 mAh is the Aibocn Power Bank. It has a built-in flashlight and charging indicator lights, which aren’t commonly seen in similarly priced units. 

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Some portable laptop charger designs have LED lights that indicate the amount of charge the battery pack currently has.


Q. Do some portable laptop chargers recharge themselves faster than others?

A. Yes. The manufacturer should give you an estimate as to how much time it needs to fully charge itself. The majority of chargers work faster if plugged directly into an outlet rather than through a USB wall adapter. Even the fastest portable laptop chargers take four to six hours to recharge; some take as long as 12 to 14 hours.

Q. Why doesn’t my portable laptop charger seem to hold enough power to reach its maximum?

A. Even though the charger lists a maximum capacity in mAh, that number isn’t quite accurate. No charger can reach 100% of its stated capacity. The heat generated during charging and the voltage conversion process reduces the capacity of the unit. On average, you can expect a portable laptop charger to reach 80% to 90% of its capacity. However, some units only reach about two-thirds of the stated capacity.

Q. Can I charge my laptop at the same time I’m charging the battery unit?

A. You can do this if your portable laptop charger has a pass-through charging feature. This allows you to plug your laptop into the charger while the charger is plugged into a wall outlet. You may want to do this if available outlets are scarce. Or, if you don’t have your normal laptop charging cord with you, you can just plug it into the charger while it’s plugged into the outlet.

Q. Can I charge other devices with a portable laptop charger?

A. As long as you have the right cords and ports, yes. A portable laptop charger is larger than other types of chargers, which may be inconvenient to carry in some situations. Because of this, people who only want to charge their smartphones are likely to prefer a smaller charger. But a laptop charger would also work; it has a large capacity, making it versatile enough to charge almost any device.

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