Tech

19 Best Portable Battery Chargers (2024): For Phones, iPads, Laptops, and Apple Watch


There are a few things worth thinking about when you buy a portable charger.

Capacity: The capacity of a power bank is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh), but this can be a bit misleading because the amount of power you use depends on cable you use, the device you’re charging, and the charging method (Qi wireless charging is less efficient). You will never get maximum capacity. We try to provide an estimate of what you will get in terms of cost for the equipment.

Charging speed and standards: The charging speed of devices like smartphones is measured in watts (W), but most power banks list voltage (V) and amperage (A). Luckily, you can calculate the wattage yourself simply by multiplying the voltage and amperage. Unfortunately, achieving that maximum speed also depends on your device, the standards it supports, and the charging cable you use. Many smartphones, incl Apple iPhones, supports power supply standards, which means you can use higher wattage power banks to recharge your device without any problem. Some phones, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S series, support an additional PD protocol called PPS (Programmable Power Supply) up to 45 W. Many phones also support the Quick Charge (QC) standard. Exclusive to Qualcomm. There are also other proprietary fast charging standards, but you generally won’t find power banks that support them unless they come from the smartphone manufacturer.

Pass: If you want to charge your power bank and use it to charge another device at the same time, that device will need pass-through support. The Nimble, GoalZero, Biolite, Mophie, Zendure and Sharge portable chargers listed all support pass-through charging. Anker has discontinued support for pass-through in some of its products because it found that differences between the wall charger’s output and the device charger’s input could cause the power bank to turn on and off quickly and drain shorten its lifespan. Monoprice also does not support forwarding fees. We recommend caution when using the pass-through feature as it may also cause the portable charger to heat up.

Tourism: Traveling with a power bank is safe, but there are two restrictions to keep in mind when boarding a flight: You must have a portable charger in your carry-on baggage (cannot be checked in), and it cannot exceed 100 Wh (watt-hour). If your power bank has a capacity greater than 27,000 mAh, you should check with the airline. Below is not a problem.

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