Best power banks: portable chargers for phones and devices over days
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With the amount of wizardry packed into our modern-day tech, power hungry devices are becoming more and more indispensable to our adventure planning and execution.
Balancing weight and portability, as well as the battery space to charge our devices, the latest power banks on the market are vastly superior than the ones that were available even a few years ago. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best out there that cater for a range of situations.
Most power banks are highly affordable these days, and a lot of them do a great job, but one word of warning would be to realise that there are literally tens of thousands of models by unknown manufacturers out there on Amazon especially.
Although many of these do an alright job, if you want the best performance, we’d really recommend going for a well-trusted brand like Anker, Lenovo or Belkin, to name just three.
Best portable chargers at a glance
- Best for everyday use: Groov-e Portable Charger
- Best for innovation: Unibank Charger
- Best for remote workers: Lenovo Go USB-C Laptop Power Bank
- Best for size: Omars Power Bank
- Best value for money: INIU Power Bank
- Best for capacity: Anker PowerCore 20100 Power Bank
- Best for green energy: Kilponen Solar Power Bank
What should you look for in a power bank?
It’s also worth having a think about how you’re going to use your power banks and what kind of charging you’re wanting to do, as well as what devices are going to need the most juice.
Most mobile phones will do at least one or two cycles on a standard power bank, and if you start heading into the realms of 20,000 to 50,000 mAh, you’re looking at being able to keep a laptop charged too.
If you’re looking for one of these high capacity devices, pay attention to compatibility, as some on the market don’t charge Macbooks or Apple products, and some are even so powerful that they’re not allowed on commercial aircraft. As with anything tech related, it pays to be across the detail to ensure you’re buying the right product for your devices.
Here are a selection of some of the best portable power banks on the market at the moment.
Get kitted out for your camping and backpacking adventures
The Groov-e portable charger is great value for money, fits into a standard jeans or trouser pocket and only weighs around 195g.
It’s a simple setup, providing two USB inputs to charge a couple of devices, with an output of 10,000 mAh and an auto safety cut-off to prevent overheating or your batteries getting too hot.
Although it probably won’t deal with hugely prolonged periods of use, if you’re going camping for a couple of days, this is a great solution that is easy to pack and carry around with you.
If you’re looking for something a little different, this is an excellent invention and perhaps ranks up there as the best on the list in terms of getting you out of tricky situations on expeditions.
It’s a pull & power device, which means you generate your own power to charge your devices, and the innovative attachments can help you out in all manner of circumstances, too.
There’s a torch, a wireless speaker and even a laser distance measurement device all available to purchase separately.
We particularly like the fact that with just 90 seconds of pulling the cord, you should have enough battery to charge a phone a few percentage points to provide 25 minutes of talk time. In some situations, this could be a life-saver
We really liked the Lenovo Go USB-C Laptop power bank because not only is it a highly capable and high capacity power bank, it has enough juice for the majority of laptops (including Macbooks), so it’s a great option if you’re out in the wild and you’re looking to edit video, photos or send a few last minute emails.
We also really liked the fact that when plugged in, it can charge itself back up again in only 3 hours.
Another affordable option that scores highly on the portability stakes too, as the device manages to pack three different USB options and three charge cycles into about the size of a credit card.
It may not come from a well-known name, but for the money, this is a simple, no-nonsense option that fits into the smallest of bags and can help you out in a pinch.
For the money, we think the INIU Power Bank is one of the best value portable chargers out there at the moment.
Not only is it affordable, we think it’d be an excellent choice for multi-day adventures as its speedy charging lasts a number of different cycles - some reviewers on Amazon have even said they’ve been able to get 4 or 5 phone charges out of it.
It’s not the smallest, or indeed the lightest, but it does have the ability to quickly charge a number of different devices and for a shade over £20, there’s not much to go wrong really.
In terms of the amount of charges you can get out of one cycle, this Anker offering is hard to beat.
It claims to be able to charge your mobile phone as many as eight times before running out of juice, which is among the best performing here and would certainly keep you going in the most remote of locations.
High powered charging is also delivered quickly - it’s a speedy as well as a lightweight option - at only 350g we wouldn’t hesitate to pop this in a going away bag.
With solar power banks, for what you miss in terms of speed and capacity, you make up for in always having an available power source, and solar power banks have certainly come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years.
This is a good value for money option and is worth thinking about if you are spending long periods of time outdoors - you could even strap this to the top of a bag or rucksack to make the most of the sun on long hikes.
It’s also small enough that it’ll fit into a pocket easily, too.