The best portable chargers of 2018

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

We’ve all suffered the sudden, all-encompassing horror of a dead phone. The accusing looks and hushed criticism of 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 your phone in last night. Why, oh, why must our smartphones die?

We feel your pain and that is why we’ve been checking out some of the best portable chargers on the market. Until there is a real breakthrough in battery technology, a portable charger might be the best solution. We have something here for you, whatever your needs may be, from a bucketload of power for a camping trip to a pocket-friendly solution for your daily commute. These are 20 of the best portable chargers that money can buy.

Omnicharge Omni 20

Omnicharge Omni 20
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
  • Capacity: 20,400mAh
  • Outputs: 4 ports (100W, 70W, 3A, QC 3.0)
  • Weight: 630g (1.4lb)
  • Price: $250
  • Time to fully charge: Around 3 hours

If you’re craving the versatility to charge any device in the room, but you still want something reasonably portable, then the Omni 20 is set to become the new object of your desire. This unassuming square with sloping corners packs a multitude of speedy charging options. While Omnicharge may have literally cut corners on the exterior, you’ll find everything you could need inside.

There’s a proper AC outlet, just like a wall outlet, capable of putting out 100W to power a laptop or other large devices — you could even plug a TV into it. There’s also a DC outlet that can put out 70W and two USB ports — the first is rated at 5V/3A and the second supports the Quick Charge 3.0 standard, so whatever smartphone you own it should be able to charge at top speed from this power bank.

Next to the power button you’ll find a wee OLED screen that shows the remaining power as an amount and as a percentage. It also displays how much power is currently coming in, how much power is going out, how much time before it runs out of juice, and the temperature. On the other side of the screen there’s a rocker to turn on the USB ports and the AC outlet. The DC port can act as an output, but it’s also the best way to charge the Omni 20 and if you use the adapter and cable provided it can charge up fully in just 3 hours — not bad for a 20,400mAh capacity device. You can also use a laptop adapter to charge it, which is handy for travelers who don’t want to pack any superfluous extras. Incidentally, the Omni 20 is FAA approved for air travel.

This is a seriously versatile device that will charge up just about anything. You can also dig into the settings using the OLED and fine tune your charging preferences, turn the fan off, turn the screen off, and tweak various other bits and pieces. It does also support pass-through charging, so you can recharge it and charge up connected devices at the same time. There are a few different versions of the Omni 20, so make sure you get the right one for you. You can pick the Omni 20 that switches a USB-C for the AC outlet for $200 and there’s a Pro version at $300 that includes extra charging cables and tips. Our Omni 20 also had plug attachments for the power adapter enabling us to use it in the U.S., the E.U., and the U.K. According to some descriptions it was going to support Qi wireless charging as well, but this feature was cut.

Originally backed on Indiegogo, it’s not hard to see why people would want a feature-packed portable charger like the Omni 20 in their bag. It’s on the expensive side and quite large for the capacity offered, but as a one-stop charging solution for every device you own it’s hard to match.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Omnicharge

Cygnett ChargeUp Pro

Cygnett ChargeUp Pro
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
  • Capacity: 20,000mAh
  • Outputs: 3 ports (18W, 10.5W, 45W)
  • Weight: 450g (15.87oz)
  • Price: $130
  • Time to fully charge: 5 to 6 hours

Cygnett has revamped its power bank range and this understated offering packs plenty of power. It also boasts a USB-C port with Power Delivery support, which means it can output up to 45W — enough to charge a laptop. You’ll also find two USB-A ports — one only goes up to 10.5W, but the other supports Quick Charge 3.0 for up to 18W. You can charge up multiple devices at once, and the Cygnett ChargeUp Pro offers a maximum total output of 63W. However, there’s no support for pass-through charging, so you can’t connect other devices when you’re using the USB-C port to charge the bank itself up.

It has a soft-touch finish in teal or black with rounded corners and glossy black plastic at the business end where the power button and ports are. When you turn it on, four blue LEDs on the top give you an idea of theremaining power. There’s a very short USB-C-to-USB-A cable included in the box, but that’s all you get with it. We’re a bit disappointed with the charging speeds of this unit. The maximum input via the USB-C port is 30W and you’ll need a decent fast charger to get top speeds, but even then it’s going to take the best part of six hours to charge fully. On the other hand, the generous 20,000mAh capacity will fully recharge a USB-C laptop at least once, a tablet a couple of times, and a phone several times.

It is on the expensive side for the capacity offered, but it seems to work well. It’s a solid option if you want something to sling in your backpack that will keep your laptop and phone charged up throughout the day, as long as you don’t mind charging it overnight. You can also get this portable charger with a 10,000mAh capacity for $70 or a 6,000mAh capacity for $50.

Buy one now from:

Cygnett

Anker PowerCore II 20,000

best portable chargers Anker PowerCore II
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
  • Capacity: 20,000mAh
  • Outputs: 2 ports (18W and 12W)
  • Weight: 369g (13oz)
  • Price: $60
  • Time to fully charge: Around 5 hours

We’re big fans of Anker’s understated and practical designs. The PowerCore II packs in a huge 20,000mAh capacity without being ridiculously big, though it is something you’ll want to sling in a bag rather than your pocket. It features two USB outputs. PowerIQ 2.0 can put out up to 18W, which breaks down to 3A at 5V, 2A at 9V, and 1.5A at 12V. PowerIQ 1.0 can put out 12W up to 2.4A at 5V. Regardless of your device, you should be able to get decent charging speeds from this portable battery. The only thing it lacks is a USB-C port.

Compared to previous Anker offerings, there are a couple of new features here. The power button is now round and it houses a ring of white LEDs, which are designed show you how much power remains. There’s also a textured surface on the outside, so it’s less likely to slip out of your hand or slide away from the back of your phone while you’re charging your device.

This battery’s robust capacity should also provide you with more than enough power to fully charge a Galaxy S9 four times, and it will charge an iPhone 8 more than six times. It’s also quick to charge, at just five hours, provided you have a decent wall charger (not included). All in all, this portable battery charger represents great value for the money.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

RAVPower HyperAir Wireless Portable Charger

RAVPower HyperAir Wireless Portable Charger
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
  • Capacity: 10,400mAh
  • Outputs: 1 port and Qi wireless charging (2.4A and 10W)
  • Weight: 325g (11.4oz)
  • Price: $50
  • Time to fully charge: Around 5 to 6 hours

This won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve gotten used to your wireless charger at home and you don’t want to plug cables in anymore, then it might be the ideal accessory for you. This portable wireless charger has a capacity of 10,400mAh, which means it can charge up a Galaxy S9 twice or an iPhone 8 four times via the USB port with a cable. However, the top also has a soft touch circle where you can place any Qi-compatible phone for wireless charging. It supports Apple’s fast wireless charging at 7.5W and Samsung’s fast wireless charging at 10W. You won’t get quite as much power out of it with wireless charging, but it’s a lot easier than plugging in and it means you don’t need to carry a cable at all.

We’re not blown away by the design — it resembles a rounded brick with the USB-A, Micro USB for recharging the unit, and power button at one end. There’s the standard four LED display on top with the helipad-style, rubbery, enhanced grip circle in the middle. Land your phone there and it will start charging wirelessly at top speed straight away — we tested it with an iPhone 8 and a Galaxy S7 Edge and fast charging worked for both. There’s also a green LED on the side that comes to life to show you when wireless charging is working (though your phone already does that, so it seems superfluous to us).

If you’re after as much power as you can get in as small a form factor as possible, then this one is not for you. There are other portable chargers that offer more for less — including one from RAVPower further down our list. But if you want to wave goodbye to cables and enjoy that wireless charging convenience wherever you go then this could be the one.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Flux Portable Charger

Flux Portable Battery Charger
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
  • Capacity: 4,000mAh
  • Output: 2 built-in cables (1A and 2.1A)
  • Weight: 92g (3.2oz)
  • Price: $26
  • 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. If you like the design, but you need more power, then check out the 10,000mAh Flux Charger Plus for $52.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Flux

EasyAcc MegaCharge D20

EasyAcc MegaCharge D20
Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
  • Capacity: 20,000mAh
  • Outputs: 4 ports (3A each)
  • Weight: 370g (13oz)
  • Price: $50
  • Time to fully charge: Around 4 hours

This chunky battery pack in black plastic has a distinctive orange stripe around it. We’re not in love with the look, but it contains a whopping 20,000mAh of power and an unusual array of input and output ports. The green USB port supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0, and also Huawei’s fast-charging standard, FCP. There are two black USB ports capable of up to 3A and there’s also a USB-C port that can deliver the same. Move round to the side and you’ll find a Micro USB port and another USB-C port for charging the battery up. Interestingly these inputs can be plugged in simultaneously to enable you to charge the battery up faster — bringing charging time down to around four hours, which is pretty impressive for this capacity.

You’ll find the standard four LED array on the top to show you remaining power in 25 percent chunks. There’s a power button on the side and you can double press it to fire up the LED flashlight, which is a handy extra that makes this a good choice for camping. EasyAcc includes a short, 24-inch USB-to-USB-C cable and a USB-to-Micro USB cable that’s the same length in the box. It does support pass-through charging, so you can plug it in to charge and plug your phone into it to charge at the same time.

We think you can expect at least four full charges for the majority of smartphones out there and probably more than that for phones with smaller batteries, like the iPhone 8. Weighing up the complete package we think this is good value for money and worth considering if you need a lot of power and want to be able recharge it in a hurry.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

QDOS AirBank

  • Capacity: 5,000mAh
  • Outputs: 1 port and Qi wireless charging (2.4A and 5W)
  • Weight: 180g (6.34oz)
  • Price: $45
  • Time to fully charge: Around 2 to 3 hours

We’ve been seeing more and more portable battery packs that double up as Qi wireless charging pads, but this effort from QDOS has a special addition that helps keep your phone in the sweet spot, and it’s suction pads. The capacity is only 5,000mAh, so you can expect at least one full charge for your smartphone, maybe one and a half or even two, depending on your phone’s battery capacity. It’s a slow wireless charger, offering 5W, but there is also a USB port that can put out 2.4A.

The size is pretty convenient and it has a soft-touch finish, though we did notice that it picks up lint and dust very easily, and you’ll find both on the suction cups in particular if you sling it in a bag. We have noticed with some other portable chargers like this that the phone can slide off a little too easily and the wireless charging doesn’t work as well, or sometimes at all, if the devices aren’t properly aligned. The suction cups do a solid job of keeping your phone in place. We tested it with an iPhone X and found we could even turn it upside down and the iPhone stayed securely attached.

You get a short USB to Micro USB cable in the box with it, and there’s a Micro USB port to recharge the battery. The other side is home to the power button with four white LEDs to show remaining power and two blue ones that indicate whether it’s charging anything via cable or wirelessly. We’re a little disappointed by the lack of fast wireless charging and it’s fairly expensive, but the suction pads are a clever touch that works well.

Buy one now from:

QDOS

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