Featured Product: Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 | $19 | Amazon
Any smartphone can struggle under stress, even those that promise a full day’s uptime or more. Whether it’s from heavy GPS usage, spending hours snapping photos, or pounding the 5G signal by streaming movies and downloading games, a near-empty battery before bedtime can be a real problem.
Thankfully, portable battery packs or power banks are compact and reasonably affordable, giving you a cache of extra juice that you can stash into a pocket, bag, or in your car. They’re a travel necessity, but can even come in handy when you’re not so far from home. Here are some of today’s top power banks, including some with wireless charging capabilities and others designed for laptops and other high-powered gadgets.
Best Overall: Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 Power Bank
If you’re looking for something that delivers solid capacity at an affordable price, then Anker’s PowerCore Slim 10,000 power bank is one of your best bets. It’s not much larger than a smartphone, so it’s easy to tuck into a pocket or bag, yet it packs two to three total charges within (depending on phone capacity).
Anker’s power bank is consistently well priced and has great customer reviews, so while there’s a lot of competition on the market, this one is a safe bet for anyone who wants a stellar all-around power bank for recharging a phone.
Best for Switch: RAVPower 26,800mAh Portable Charger
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A little battery pack like that might be fine for a smartphone, but there are better options for charging iPads, the Nintendo Switch, and certain laptops. RAVPower’s 26,800mAh 30W USB-C PD charger is a great pick. It stores a ton of power and charges at that 30W rate, which is enough for a MacBook Air, or for charging a Switch while playing it. It’s perfect for phones, too, but there’s so much more you can do with a beefy brick like this.
Best for Laptops: MAXOAK 100W Travel Laptop Power Bank
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Need something even MORE powerful? Well, if you’re trying to charge a more powerful laptop on the go, such as MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13, then you’ll need something like MAXOAK’s 100W Travel Laptop Power Bank.
At 99Wh/26,756mAh, it thankfully meets TSA criteria, which means you can bring it on a plane in your carry-on bag—higher-capacity options aren’t as lucky. This beefy bank can give you a couple of laptop charges when you’re working on the go, or you can plug in multiple devices at once to charge all of your portable electronics.
Best for Outdoors: Blavor 10,000mAh Solar Power Bank
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If you’re looking for a power bank that’s built for a long hike, camping, or any other extensive outdoor activities, then this is the one. Blavor’s 10,000mAh power bank holds a solid amount of juice, but even better than that is the ability to charge it via solar power. It even has wireless charging, too.
The solar panels can power up the bank while strapped to a backpack or when hanging at the campsite, plus it has dual flashlights in case you need a bit of brightness. You can charge it through a wall outlet too, but the solar edge, water resistance, and lights make this incredibly handy for outdoor adventuring.
Best Wireless: Aukey 10,000mAh Basix Pro
You don’t even need to carry a charging cable for this unique power brick. Aukey’s 10,000 Basix Pro wireless portable charger is built for high-end phones that have wireless charging capabilities, letting you simply lay your phone on top of the power bank to start charging.
Sure, you can plug in a cable like normal, but wireless charging is an added convenience for those of you with compatible phones. On top of that, the charger has its own kickstand, so if you’re going to watch videos on your phone, simply prop up the charger, stick your phone on the pop-out shelf, and enjoy the show as your phone charges all the while.
Quentyn Kennemer reviewed the Aukey Basix Pro for The Inventory and was impressed by its versatility, even if it’s not the longest-lasting brick around:
“I think Aukey has something sweet on its hands here. This is a well-balanced power bank with the ultimate versatility thanks to the Qi wireless charging contacts and kickstand, and even with three devices attached, it barely produces heat. You’ll wish for something bigger than its 10,000mAh capacity if you’re looking to cover more than a couple of devices at a time, but it’s worth grabbing one if you just need a convenient everyday carry.”
Best for Apple Users: Satechi Quatro Wireless Power Bank
If you’re someone who wields an iPhone, Apple Watch, and wirelessly-chargeable AirPods and want a power bank that can handle all three of them without pesky cords, the Satechi Quatro Wireless Power Bank is your best bet.
It’s a modestly-powered 10,000mAh battery brick, but the Apple Watch-compatible inset on the surface lets you charge the smartwatch alongside another wirelessly-chargeable device, whether it’s an iPhone, AirPods, or another phone or compatible device. It has USB-C and USB-A ports for wired devices, too.
All that said, it’s very expensive at $100, but could be worth the investment for Apple users who are out and about often and demand a lot from their devices. Gizmodo’s Andrew Liszewski summed up the experience in his review:
“Whereas Anker’s $20 solution features just a single USB-C and USB-A port, Satechi’s Quatro includes both of those plus a wireless charging pad that works with any Qi-compatible device, and a magnetic Apple Watch charger because, for whatever reason, the Apple Watch doesn’t play by all the Qi standard’s rules. From my testing the Quatro can charge up to four devices at one time, including a laptop—very, very slowly—so you’ll need to be strategic about which approach you’ll use to charge your various devices: wired vs. wireless.”
Best iPhone 12 Power Bank: Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K
The unseen MagSafe anchor in the new iPhone 12 line unearths some neat tricks, including faster wireless charging via Apple’s official MagSafe Charger and also snap-on accessories. Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic 5K finds the middle ground between those two things: a snap-on power bank that wirelessly charges your iPhone.
Unfortunately, since it’s not an official Apple product, the charging speed is limited to just 5W (instead of 15W). Also, it’s a fairly bulky pack compared to the iPhone itself, so it’s not ideal for pocket charging. It’s also pretty limited in capacity at just 5,000mAh. Still, there’s no easier way to juice up an iPhone 12 when on the go.
“If you are using one of Apple’s latest and greatest iPhones, for $40 the PowerCore Magnetic 5K is a no-brainer accessory,” writes Gizmodo’s Andrew Liszewski.
This story was originally published by Andrew Hayward in November 2020 and updated with new information on 05/05/2021.