Packs 20,000 mAh of power, enough to fully charge a 15-inch laptop. Outputs up to 60 W over USB-C and 100 W over AC/DC out. Offers Qi-compatible wireless charging. Sports 2 USB-A ports and a USB-C PD-compatible port plus AC out and DC in/out.
Quite expensive for a power bank. A little big and heavy.
Boasts 26,800 mAh capacity and 18 W max output. Offers Lightning port as well as USB and Micro-USB ports. Device is lightweight and compact; great to slip into a bag. Rubbery surface is conveniently grippy. Available in several colors. Charges multiple devices quickly.
Doesn’t charge certain devices as fast as other models.
The 25 W charging can bring a phone to full charge easily in under an hour. Allows Galaxy devices to charge up wirelessly at 7.5 W. Is capable of charging Samsung Buds and Watch as well. The 10,000 mAh ensures that the power bank can charge a device at least twice.
More suited towards the Galaxy line of products.
Provides 25,600 mAh of charging, which is more than enough to charge up a laptop. Offers fast charging capability for laptops or other battery-heavy devices. Packed with ports: 2 USB-C and 2 USB-A. Comes with a portable wall charger.
Not very durable.
The 10,000 mAh capacity can recharge most smartphones twice or a small tablet once. The 20 W USB-C output charges devices quickly. Includes 12 W USB-A port as well for compatible simultaneous charging. Barely larger than most flagship phones.
Not the biggest capacity. Doesn't come with Lightning cable.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you rely heavily on your mobile devices, you know that as a resource, power is right up there with food and water. It fuels your productivity, connects you with others, and provides mood-saving entertainment when you need it most. However, power isn’t always easy to find. Outlets can be difficult to claim in airports, cafes, and bus stations, and sometimes your vehicle doesn’t have the tech to replenish your batteries. Luckily, portable power banks all but eliminate these issues. Today, we’re focusing on those built around the ever-popular USB-C connector.
As the name implies, portable power banks allow you to charge up your tools on the road. While USB-C cables can transfer both energy and data very efficiently, in this case, we’re only talking about power. USB-C power banks store their energy in either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, and they often boast enough power to replenish phones and tablets several times. With a tough metal or plastic shell, power banks are built to be moved around and typically wear several output ports, so you can charge different devices.
The USB-C connector is extremely versatile, and its widespread popularity in the electronics world makes a USB-C power bank all the more practical. Obviously, a USB-C port is a given with these products, but additional connectivity expands the tool’s use.
One example? The Lighting connector. Yes, more and more Apple products are integrating USB-C connectors these days, but a dedicated Lightning port considerably improves a power bank’s functionality. Notably, it allows you to charge up iPhones and iPads without an adapter. We also recommend you look for other ports, such as Micro USB and Mini USB. You might purchase a gadget with Micro USB connectors some day, and you can never have too much connectivity.
Capacity: Battery capacity (the amount of energy a battery can hold) is measured in milliamperes (mA) or milliamp-hours (mAh). USB-C power banks typically range from 10,000 to 40,000 milliamp-hours and up. An average iPhone battery has a capacity of around 2,000, so a fully charged 10,000-milliamp-hour power bank could replenish it approximately five times. Keep your average use in mind when shopping, because when it comes to battery life, you often get what you pay for.
Material: Another factor is the battery material itself. Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries are both popular in the segment, and each has its pros and cons.
The other major factor is how quickly the power bank can charge your devices. This is determined by the speed of the ports themselves, and speed is commonly measured in volts (V) and amps (A). USB-C ports can support up to 5 volts/3 amps, which is quick enough to charge smartphones and other devices very quickly. Some power banks may feature 12-volt/1.5-amp ports for older devices as well, but with modern tech, you don’t really have to choose.
If you see the terms like “iM-Power” or “Quick Charge” when shopping, take notice. These smart ports are capable of automatically detecting the charging needs of connected devices, adjusting power outputs as necessary to prevent damage and speed up the process.
Finally, consider the physical size and weight of your chosen USB-C power bank. While power banks aren’t huge, they can be rather dense and carry more mass than you’d think based on their profile. They may not be big enough to strain your back on their own, but if you’re adding them to a mobile workstation, particularly if you often take it through airports, keep its physical dimensions in mind.
Do not plug USB-C cables into Apple Lightning ports. Though the connectors look similar and are both flippable, they are not compatible. Thankfully, there are myriad adapters available that allow the connectors to be used together safely.
The majority of USB-C power banks come with a USB-C connector, which can be used to charge other devices from the power bank or replenish the bank itself. As a backup, many have a separate Micro USB charging port as well. However, some equip built-in charging cables that fold into designated slots on the shell. As we all know, cables are easy to lose, so this feature can certainly save you stress down the road.
As we mentioned above, not all USB ports are created equal. Sitting near the top are Quick Charge, iM-Power, and iSmart ports, because they’re able to deliver power significantly more efficiently than standard versions. Each brand’s technology is slightly different, but the systems can all detect the proper amperage and voltage for a particular device and tailor their power outputs to match. Not only does this decrease the charging times overall, they also reduce the wear on the device’s batteries and extend their life. As an example, a Quick Charge 3.0 port can charge a compatible device up to 80% in just 35 minutes.
Inexpensive: USB-C power banks offer an incredible amount of freedom, and entry-level versions start at just $10 to $20. Battery capacity is on the lower end at this price point, generally between 10,000 and 15,000 milliamp-hours, but some include Quick Charge tech.
Mid-range: At $25 to $50, you’re getting the best bank for your buck. Very common here are 26,800-milliamp-hour batteries (just below Federal Aviation Administration limits), as are Quick Charge options, additional connectivity ports, and more reputable brands.
Expensive: Spend $50 to $75 and enjoy huge batteries with capacities exceeding 40,000 milliamp-hours. These are capable of charging phones, tablets, and even laptops multiple times, and they often support multi-device charging as well.
The Thunderbolt 3 port is yet another improvement to USB tech. It has the same physical design as the USB-C connector, but it allows for faster access to data. USB-C 3.2 ports can access data at 20 gigabits per second, but Thunderbolts can do it at 40.
A. The first USB-C 1.0 specification came out in 2014, and before long the connector was the industry standard, with a few notable exceptions. Today, nearly every new device you purchase features a USB-C port, allowing for rapid data transfer and charging through a single cable.
USB-C compatible products include the following:
For devices without a USB-C port, there are myriad adapters available to get your devices to talk to one another.
A. USB-C power banks are meant to last for several years and provide hundreds if not thousands of charges before the batteries degrade. While healthy, the batteries can hold a charge for months. All of this depends on how you treat the power bank, however.
A. Power banks are must-haves when traveling, because it isn’t always easy to find outlets on the road. What’s more, you may need an adapter to connect to outlets in other countries, which makes portable power a vital part of any travel kit.
Unfortunately, not all power banks comply with airport regulations, and we’d hate for you to get turned back at security for bringing the wrong device. As of this writing, TSA mandates that portable chargers can be packed in carry-on bags only; they are not allowed in checked luggage. The FAA also says that battery voltage must not exceed 12 volts (V), and battery ratings must not exceed 100 watt-hours (Wh). You’re also limited to two spare batteries or chargers in your bag.
Confused about the conversions? This website simplifies the whole process — all you have to do is plug in the values. If you want to know more, read on.
Let’s start with battery voltage. Battery voltage is a measurement of the interior lithium cells, not the device’s output voltage. Lithium cells have around 3.6 volts, so on that front, you’re well under the 12-volt limit for the overwhelming majority of USB-C power banks.
To calculate Wh, multiply battery voltage (V) by its ampere-hours (Ah). Ampere-hours are found by dividing the milliamp-hours (mAh) by 1,000. For example, if you have a 26,800 mAh (26.8 Ah) lithium battery power bank, the equation is as follows: 3.6 V X 26.8 Ah = 96.5 Wh.
In this case, you’re under 12 volts and 100 watt-hours, so you’re okay to pack the power bank in a carry-on bag. This is an extremely common result, because power banks for mobile devices are generally designed to be below TSA and FAA limits. For extra peace of mind, seek out power banks that say, “TSA approved.”