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The best portable battery chargers

We’ve all suffered the ignominy of a dead phone. The accusing looks and hushed criticism of shunned family and friends. That blank screen on the commute home that leaves you at the mercy of your chatty fellow traveler. The sudden loss of Google Maps as you turn into an unfamiliar neighborhood. The sinking feeling as you realize your phone alarm didn’t go off because you forgot to plug it in last night. Why oh why, must our smartphones die?

Related: Fifteen great wireless chargers to free yourself completely from cables

We feel your pain and that’s why we’ve been checking out some of the best external chargers on the market. Until there’s a real breakthrough in battery technology a portable charger might be the best solution. We’ve got something here for you whatever your needs may be, from a bucket load of power for a camping trip, to a pocket-friendly top-up for the daily commute. These are 30 of the best portable chargers that money can buy.

Best battery packs

Flux Portable Charger

Flux Portable Charger
  • Capacity – 4,000mAh
  • Output – 2 built-in cables (1A and 2.1A)
  • Weight – 88g (3.1oz)
  • Price – $30
  • Time to fully charge – 3 to 4 hours

This is one of the slimmest portable chargers we’ve ever come across. If you’re really looking for something pocket-sized, the Flux Charger is worth more than just a glance. It’s a mere 7.8-millimeters thick and measures 108 x 62.8 millimeters. It’s also incredibly light, but holds enough power to fully recharge your phone at least once, possibly twice. It’s finished with a durable black or white aluminum, and features two built-in cables, a Micro USB cable, and a MFi-certified Lightning cable. There’s also a Micro-USB port for charging, which comes with a short Micro USB to USB cable.

Tap the small button on the side, and the four tiny LEDs light up to show remaining power. It doesn’t support fast charging, though, and we found that it took a couple of hours to charge the large battery in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Fortunately, it should fully charge an iPhone in around an hour. The input for charging it is 1.5A, so it takes a while to fully charge, but it does support pass-through charging, so you can plug it into the wall and your phone at the same time.

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Amazon Flux

RAVPower Portable External Battery Charger

RAVPower Portable Battery Charger
  • Capacity – 20,100mAh
  • Outputs – 3 ports (Type-C 3A, QC 3.0 2.4A, and 2.4A)
  • Weight – 377g (13.3oz)
  • Price – $60
  • Time to fully charge – 4 to 5 hours

This versatile charger has three output ports. There are two USB ports, both rated at 2.4A, but one of them supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology. There’s also a USB Type-C port that can deliver up to 3A for your laptop, tablet, or phone. There’s a big power button up top with four blue LEDs to show remaining power.

Not only can it charge devices with QC 3.0 or USB Type-C, it can also be charged by either, which means it’s very fast to juice up. You get two tangle-free USB to Micro USB cables in the box, but, unfortunately, there’s no USB Type-C cable in there. It also comes with a soft, mesh bag sporting a drawstring closure.

It’s not the most portable device in the world, but it’s impressively compact and light for the capacity. This is a good solution for travelers with multiple gadgets. You can expect at least five full charges for an average smartphone, and it can even charge an iPad Air with change. If speed is important to you and you have devices that support Type-C or QC 3.0, then this is a must-have.

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BlitzWolf Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 Power Bank

BlitzWolf Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 Power Bank
  • Capacity – 10,400mAh
  • Outputs – 1 port (up to 2.4A)
  • Weight – 270g (9.52oz)
  • Price – $28
  • Time to fully charge – 2 to 3 hours

This power bank offers great quality and a good range of features at an attractive price. It’s a chunky, heavy, wee device that’s just under an inch thick, four inches long, and three inches across, so it will fit neatly in your pocket or bag. To make up the 10,400mAh rating it actually has four, 2,600mAh LG batteries inside.

It’s extremely simple to use. There’s a power button which brings the four blue LEDs to life, to give a rough indication of remaining power. You have a single USB output and a Micro USB input for charging it up. Both support Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology, which is fast. If you have a charger that supports it, then you can actually charge this power bank up to 60 percent in just 30 minutes.

The output is smart enough to determine what you’ve plugged in, so it can cover 5V/2A for universal devices, 5V/2.1A, 9V/1.8A, and 12V/1.35A (QC 2.0) for Android devices, and 5V/2.4A for Apple devices. You also get a Micro USB charging cable in the box. You can expect around three speedy, full charges for something like the Samsung Galaxy S6 from this power bank.

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ZeroLemon ToughJuice Rugged Portable Charger

ZeroLemon ToughJuice Rugged Portable Charger
  • Capacity – 30,000mAh
  • Outputs – 4 ports (2 x 2A and 2 x 1A)
  • Weight – 400g (14.1oz)
  • Price – $75+
  • Time to fully charge – 8 to 24 hours

If you want enough power to keep your gadgets going for a week in the wilderness, then this rugged power bank from ZeroLemon could be right up your street. It’s very big and heavy, but that’s the price you pay for a 30,000mAh capacity. It’s also designed to cope with the outdoors, so there’s a dual-layer plastic covering to absorb shock and port covers to keep dirt out, but it won’t cope with the wet.

It’s capable of charging up four devices simultaneously with a combined output of 6A divided into 2A/2A/1A/1A. You’ll be able to charge up an iPhone 6 or 6S around ten times, a Galaxy S6 about seven times, or an iPad Air a couple of times. There’s a round power button on the top with four LEDs built in to give you an idea about the remaining power.

You only get one Micro USB cable in the box, but there are actually two Micro USB ports to enable you to charge this up faster, which is a good thing, because it can take 24 hours to charge with a single charger. It’s not going to suit everyone, but for a family or a group of friends on a camping trip, this could be ideal.

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Braven BRV-BANK Rugged Portable Battery

  • Capacity – 6,000mAh
  • Outputs – 2 ports (2.4A and 1A)
  • Weight – 277g (9.8oz)
  • Price – $100
  • Time to fully charge – 4 to 5 hours

If you’re looking for a rugged solution you can take camping and to the beach without fear, then this is it. The BRV-BANK from Braven scores an IPX5 rating, which means it is water resistant, and it meets military drop test standard 810G, which means it can survive a fall unscathed. It also has a high-quality, 6,000mAh battery which comes close to delivering the stated power. You can expect at least two full charges for the majority of smartphones on the market.

It’s not just tough, though, it’s also smart. You can install the free BRV-BANK Remote Battery Monitor App and use it to connect via Bluetooth. It will give you an accurate readout of remaining power, allow you to remotely turn ports on and off, and activate “Bear Mode” which triggers an alarm and makes the flashlight strobe when you move your phone. You can also use the alarm to find the battery, or activate the convenient S.O.S. mode when in a pinch.

It also comes bundled with a rugged USB to microUSB cable, a lanyard strap, and a nifty USB flashlight attachment that emits 100 lumens. There’s a power button and a Bluetooth pairing button on the BRV-BANK, and a five LED display to indicate remaining power at-a-glance, without resorting to the app. It’s tough, reliable, and feels well-made. You can pick it up in black and blue, or grey and red.

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Amazon Best Buy

Ventev Powercell 6000+ Charger

Ventev Powercell 6000 1
  • Capacity – 6,000mAh
  • Outputs – 2 ports (2.1A and 1A)
  • Weight – 221g (7.8oz)
  • Price – $61+
  • Time to fully charge – 4 to 5 hours

This portable battery charger takes portability seriously by adding an AC adapter into the design. You can fold out the prongs and plug it directly into a wall socket to charge it up, or to charge your devices through it. There are two ports, standard 1A and a rapid charge 2.1A, and you can charge two devices simultaneously. All you’ll need to take along with it is your device and a USB to microUSB cable (there isn’t one in the box).

You’re looking at around two full charges for an average smartphone from the equipped, 6,000mAh-capacity battery. It’s a well-built charger, finished in matte grey with Ventev’s signature orange highlights. The power button on the front has an LED strip that gives you an idea of how much juice is left.

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Amazon B&H

LinearFlux Lithium Card Pro

Line 1
  • Capacity – 3,000mAh
  • Outputs – 2 ports (3A)
  • Weight – 107.5g (3.08oz)
  • Price – $70
  • Time to fully charge – 1.5 to 3 hours

This incredibly small, stylish portable charger is the second release from LinearFlux. It looks gorgeous, with angular black plastic, framing a metal panel in gold, silver, or titanium. It’s only 89 x 58 x 14 mm in size, which makes it seriously portable. It’s also very fast-charging, if your device supports it, offering up to 3A output. You can charge two devices at once and HyperFET circuitry inside automatically decides which device needs more current, with an overall limit of 3A. It comes with built-in cables, a full-sized USB can be pulled out one side to charge up the Lithium Card Pro, and on the other side you’ll find a pull-out microUSB or Lightning cable, depending on what you chose. There’s an extra USB output on the bottom, and a microUSB input with a small power button up top.

A thin strip beneath the central logo comes to life as a white light when the power is turned on. It flashes when charging is in progress, turns blue when it drops below 90 percent, and then red below 10 percent. The Lithium Card Pro can also serve as a syncing cable to backup data when plugged into a computer or laptop, and it will charge itself and your phone simultaneously. You can expect at least one full charge for your phone, and this will happily charge other devices, including the Apple Watch. You can also find the original, more basic Lithium Card for $40 on Amazon.

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Emtec Power Pouch

Emtec Power Pouch 2
  • Capacity – 6,000mAh
  • Outputs – 2 ports (2.1A and 1A)
  • Weight – 240g (8.46oz)
  • Price – $40
  • Time to fully charge – 4 to 5 hours

This pouch is a smart idea. It comes in Android or iOS flavors, with a built-in Lightning cable or a microUSB cable. The battery is sealed within a zipped pouch, and there’s a pocket in the front into which you can slide your phone alongside the main 2.1A charging cable. There’s also an elastic closure to keep it safe and secure. If you open the zip there’s a built-in USB cable for charging it up, rated at 2A. You’ll also find a backup USB port for charging another device at 1A. On the top corner of the device inside the pouch, there’s a standard four LED display and power button, so you can see the remaining juice. You should get close to two full charges for your phone from the Power Pouch.

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Mophie Powerstation Plus

  • Capacity –  6,000mAh
  • Output – 1 built-in cable and 1 port (2.1A)
  • Weight – 160g (5.65oz)
  • Price – $80
  • Time to fully charge – 3 to 4 hours

Here’s a stylish battery pack that’s packed with handy features. The 6,000mAh capacity will be enough to fully charge any smartphone at least once. There’s a built-in cable with a Micro USB connector, but Mophie also includes a Lightning connector that clips over the top for charging iOS devices. There’s also a second USB port for using your own cables and you can charge two devices at once.

Charging speeds go up to 2.1A, so there’s no QC support, but it will charge most devices pretty quickly. It does support pass-through charging, so if you plug it in to the wall and your phone, then it will charge your phone first, then start charging the battery pack. There’s a power button on the side and four white LEDs to show remaining battery life.

It’s quite a slim device, about the same profile as a smartphone, but a little thicker. The metallic finish comes in space gray, rose gold, or gold. It’s comparatively expensive for the capacity, but it’s well made and has plenty of features.

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UNU Ultrapak Tour

UNU Ultrapak Tour 2
  • Capacity – 10,000mAh
  • Output – 2 ports (2.1A and 1A)
  • Weight – 240g (8.5oz)
  • Price – $50
  • Time to fully charge 1 hour 30 minutes

The great thing about this external battery pack is how quickly it can be charged up. There’s a dedicated round port for recharging with the supplied wall charger and if you use it then you can have a fully charged battery pack in an hour and a half. The downside to that is that you need to take the dedicated charger with you if you want to recharge it, which obviously makes it less portable.

There’s an LED screen that shows you the remaining power as a percentage, and displays how many minutes it will take to recharge it. There are also two ports, so you can charge two devices simultaneously, one at a decent 2.1A speed and one at the slower 1A standard. It is quite large and chunky, but boasts enough juice to fully recharge a Nexus 7 twice, with change.

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