Smartphones are getting larger and more powerful, and smartphone batteries have increased in size, too, with some phones now exceeding 5,000mAh in capacity. Most of us consistently get a day's use out of our smartphone before it needs recharging. Heavier use pushes that down, and if you're having a particularly active day, you may need to plug your phone into a charger or park it on a wireless charging pad for a while.
But plugging your phone into a charging outlet isn't always possible, especially if you're on the move, or simply far away from any power sources. That's when a portable charger, portable battery, or power bank is a godsend. Simply plug your phone into your portable charger and top up your device without being tethered to one location. Whether you need a big, bulky charger with power for days or a slim power bank that can slip into your bag and give your phone a quick top-up, there's a charger for you. Here are the best portable chargers we've found.
Best for those needing a pocketable charge
- Can charge two devices at once
- Huge 10,000mAh battery
- Compact and light
- Ecological production materials and techniques
- Doesn't ship with a wall adapter
The Nimble Champ provides a 10,000 mAh battery for up to three days of power. An ultra-compact 6.4 ounces and 3 inches at its longest point, the Champ is one of the lightest and smallest battery chargers available. It can charge two devices at once via USB-C and USB-A to keep your iPhone or Android phone running for several days. It features 18W Power Delivery and QC 4.0, compatible with Apple and Android fast-charge protocols to charge up to 80% in 30 minutes. It includes a USB-A to USB-C cable but no wall adapter. The company emphasizes its ecological priorities by using certified recycled plastic for the product and biodegradable plastic-free packaging.
Best for anyone who wants to track power levels
- 20,000mAh, high capacity battery
- Pass through charging
- Built-in LED flashlight
- Heavy and bulky
This Imuto is a 20,000mAh, high capacity beast in a compact-sized package that supports pass through charging. The charger features two USB ports, wherein both detect your device intelligently to deliver a faster charge or charge two devices simultaneously. You get around six smartphone charges or 1.5 tablet charges. It is powered by high-quality lithium polymer batteries with multiple smart protection tech, to keep your devices safe from over-charging, over-voltage, over-current, and short-circuiting. The smart digital display shows the remaining power in digital format so you always know when the unit is fully charged and how much power remains. There's even a built-in LED flashlight for low-light locations. All this power gets a little heavy and bulky, but the benefits are worth it.
Best for business travelers who use more than one device
- Can charge the average phone five times
- Slim and compact
- Versatile with numerous inputs and outputs
- Heavier than it looks
- Doesn't support pass through charging
If want to make sure your smartphones and tablets don't run out of juice, this power bank from Charmast is up to the task. With a capacity of 26,800mAh, it can charge the average phone five times while also charging earlier MacBooks and iPads twice or three times over. It also requires only nine hours of charging time, so you can replenish it overnight. Even though it offers a high capacity, it's also slim and manageable, weighing only 15 ounces. It's a great all-around machine, and with four outputs (USB-C and 3 USB-A) and three inputs (Micro USB, USB-C, and Lightning), it provides plenty of versatility.
Best for travelers with multiple devices who need a powerful charger
- Digital display tracks battery levels
- Uses Quick Charge technology
- Three ports can be used simultaneously
- Bulky and heavy
- Stops charging if the digital display is switched off
Here's a 20,000mAh power bank that won't break your bank. It offers three USB ports (two USB-A, one USB-C), two of which use QC (Quick Charge) technology, which can recharge the latest iPhones from 0% to 60% in just over half an hour. It features 20,000mAh of juice, so it can help multiple devices before needing a refill itself. One of its most noteworthy features is the digital display, which tells you just how much of its own battery it has left. Also works with a variety of other devices beyond smartphones and tablets, including AirPods, Bluetooth headphones, and fitness trackers, while all three of its ports can be used simultaneously to recharge devices.
Best for the sunlit outdoors
- Extremely high capacity power bank
- Can recharge via its own solar panel
- Can charge two devices at once
- Rugged and waterproof
- Solar power charging is slow
If you're planning a trek across the Sahara desert anytime soon, Yelomin's Solar Power Bank may be the portable solar phone charger for you. At a stunning 20,000mAh, this high-capacity power bank can be recharged using a regular outlet, or you can simply point the built-in solar panel at the sky so the sun can do all the work. It comes with two standard USB-A ports that can be used to charge two devices simultaneously, although you'll see faster performance if you charge one device at a time. While its use of the sun is convenient if needed, it takes noticeably longer than usual for the charger itself to recharge using solar power. Still, it is a highly rugged, waterproof, and reliable portable charger, made of a mix of PC, silicone, and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), with an advertised lifecycle of more than 900 recharges. It also offers an LED-based flashlight, just in case you're without a torch.
Best as an iPhone accessory
- Compact, lightweight, and portable
- Features a built-in Lightning cable
- Can pinpoint the fastest charging speed per device
- Reports of slow charging
The Mophie Powerstation Plus is a highly compact, lightweight portable charger that packs a considerable amount of extra power for your device. At 6,000mAh, it provides a whole extra charge for most major smartphones and many tablets. The charger is particularly suited to iPhones because it comes with a built-in Lightning cable as well as a USB-A port. It charges at an output of 2.1A and maximum wattage of 18W and has an adaptive charging technology that can identify the fastest charging speed for your device. Mophie says the Powerstation Plus can recharge the average iPhone from 0% to 50% in around 30 minutes. It has a slimline aluminum finish and comes in four colors.
Best for frequent travelers with multiple devices
- Unit has four outputs
- Can charge several devices at once
- It has pass through charging
- LED screen tracks power percentage
- Less powerful than some competitors
- Indicator lights may be too bright for some
Consider the Infinacore Pandora P3 if you're looking to go truly wireless or want to accommodate a wide range of devices. There are three outputs — four if you count the wireless charger: A single USB-C port with PD, a QuickCharge USB 3.0 port, and a regular USB 2.0 port, and recharges at a maximum of 18W. The wireless charger tops out at 10W. It works with multiple devices, so you can charge several at once. It'll pass through power while recharging, so you can use it as a charging adapter while it's plugged into a wall socket. An LED screen on the device lists the charge percentage and a power button beneath. It feels solid and comes with a soft-touch coating that adds a lot of grip. While an 8,000mAh battery is a little small and 18W also is a little slow when flagships are pulling 25W or even 45W from their standard chargers these days, this small charger is the perfect accompaniment for shorter trips.
Best for those who need power in a sleek package
- Massive 20,000mAh battery
- Can charge two devices at once
- Supports pass-through charging
- Heavy and chunky
- Optimal performance requires a wall charger
Elecjet PowerPie Power Bank has a massive 20,000mAh battery, which should be enough to charge most phones three times over. It supports the USB-C Power Delivery 3.0 standard, so it can output up to 45W through the USB-C port. The Elecjet PowerPie can charge two devices at once and supports pass-through charging. It ships with a short USB-C to USB-C cable, but the supplied cable doesn't seem to support 45W charging, so you'll need a wall charger and USB-C to USB-C cable rated at 45W to get optimal performance. It's quite heavy and chunky and finished in a plain, soft-touch, matte black plastic that's comfortable to hold.
Best for those with multiple devices
- Four powerful charging options
- OLED screen displays various power readouts
- Versatile unit powers all types of devices
- Larger in physical size
- Relatively expensive
When you need to charge every device you own, but still want something reasonably portable, the Omni 20 does the trick. This unassuming square with sloping corners packs a multitude of speedy charging options. There's a proper AC outlet, just like a wall outlet, capable of putting out 100W to a laptop or other large device — even a TV. A DC outlet can put out 70W and two USB ports — rated at 5V/3A or Quick Charge 3.0 — so whatever smartphone you own it should charge at top speed. An OLED screen shows the remaining power, how much power is coming in or going out, how much time before it runs out of juice, and the temperature. A rocker turns 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 three hours — not bad for a 20,400mAh capacity device. 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 top.
The answer generally depends on how often you travel. If you're a frequent traveler (or heavy commuter) and tend to go for relatively long spells between visits to a normal charger, portable chargers definitely are worth it. While some of the heftier chargers can be fairly pricey, they're still a good purchase if you really need to be on your phone while away from a wall socket. At the same time, many portable chargers with smaller capacities are available for reasonable prices, so even infrequent voyagers may find they're worthwhile.
The answer to this question depends on how many devices you intend to power while you're away from a wall charger. If you're using a phone and a tablet, then a portable charger with 10,000mAh or more may be worthwhile. Some people need portable chargers that offer at least 100% of their smartphone's battery, while others need even more or less. It's best to find out the battery size of your device and choose accordingly. For some people, even a smaller portable charger that offers 2,000mAh (around 50% of the average flagship smartphone) is enough, while some people who travel extensively will need at least 5,000mAh, 10,000mAh, or even more.
Most good portable chargers should last for at least a few hundred charges before beginning to deteriorate. Longevity varies among devices, so it's best to do your research and check with a charger's manufacturer (or seller) before making a purchase.
You can bring your portable charger onto an airplane. However, remember that any portable chargers must be taken as carry-on luggage, and should not be checked in with your larger suitcases and stored in the hold of the plane. This holds for the vast majority of airlines operating today. If in doubt, call your airline's customer service number to confirm their policies beforehand.
You can buy portable chargers from pretty much the same outlets as smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Apple and Samsung's official websites stock a number of portable chargers, while you can also find plenty from online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.
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