Anker’s PowerIQ vs Quick Charge vs Power Delivery: What are the differences. Anker pd power bank

Anker’s PowerIQ vs Quick Charge vs Power Delivery: What are the differences?

Until someone at a secret lab somewhere comes up with a mobile energy miracle, charging our devices is going to be an everyday chore we can’t live without. Your smartphone, tablet, headphone, earbuds, Smart watch or laptop and lately your car comes with batteries in all forms and sizes that store power enough to take you at least one day. The idea is to charge your device as fast as possible to save on time spent waiting until full charge.

There are several fast-charging standards in the wild promising the fastest charging times possible for your devices. Some vendors have their own proprietary standards which they license to other smartphone vendors. For instance Oppo licenses its SuperVOOC flash charge Tech to sister companies OnePlus and Realme. USB Power Delivery is an Open standard mostly adapted by Apple and Google.

Here’s a list of Fast charging technologies;

  • Qualcomm Quick Charge
  • MediaTek Pump Express
  • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • Oppo SuperVOOC Flash Charge, are also known as Dash Charge or Warp Charge on OnePlus devices and Dart Charge on Realme devices
  • Huawei SuperCharge
  • Anker PowerIQ
  • USB Power Delivery

For this article, I am going to mostly dwell on three standards; Anker’s PowerIQ, Qualcomm’s Quick Charge and the USB-IF’s USB Power Delivery.

Anker PowerIQ

Chinese company Anker is arguably the most popular mobile charging brand today and for a good reason; its products are top-notch quality and support a wide range of devices. Anker has developed a proprietary charging technology it calls PowerIQ that’s supported in a myriad of its products; from power banks to wall chargers to car chargers. The latest PowerIQ version is 3.0 announced in 2019 which delivers up to 100W through USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to Lightning connector types.

PowerIQ intelligently detects your device and charging cable and supplies the appropriate Voltage/Current suitable for it. With variable voltage, PowerIQ will deliver the right voltage/current combo appropriate for your device. Anker bills its technology as “Universally-compatible high speed charging technology” because it can charge phones, tablets, laptops devices. Anker’s PowerIQ products support iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, Xiaomi, Tecno and virtually any product with Micro USB or USB-C charging ports.

If you’re looking for a good Anker Wall charger, then you can checkout the Anker 60W PowerIQ 3.0 GAN Dual-port Atom III wall charger at 28 on Amazon. It’s compatible with iPhone, Samsung devices and USB-C laptops. It has one IQ 3.0 USB-C port which you can use USB-C to Lightning cable to fast charge your iPhone and another IQ 2.0 USB-A for the normal USB-A to Micro-USB/USB-C port.

Anker has other products like Car chargers and power banks that support its PowerIQ Technology.

Qualcomm Quick Charge

Qualcomm, the chipset company that supplies most Android smartphone vendors has a charging standard of its own called Quick Charge or Q.C. The company licenses this technology who in-turn manufacture Quick Charger compliant charging products such as power banks, USB wall chargers, Car chargers, Plugs and so on. Today the Quick Charge standard has evolved from QC 1.0 to the latest QC 5.0 which supposedly delivers an astonishing charging speeds of up to 0-50% in just five minutes.

VoltageCurrentMax PowerInterface

Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 are still the most popular QC standards out there. They work through the USB-A interface while QC 4.0 and 5.0 are compatible with USB-PD and work through USB-C port. Some of the brands supported by QC standard include LG, Xiaomi, Nokia, Samsung, Redmi,/Xiaomi.

So which Quick Standard should you use? General rule of thumb is that both your device and charging accessory should match for the best results. If they don’t align, then your device will charge as fast as the weakest point. For instance if you have a QC 3.0 Wall charger, but your phone is compatible with QC 2.0, then your phone will charge at QC 2.0 speeds. If your phone doesn’t support any of the QC standard, then your phone will charge normally (5V/1A or 5V/2A). So check with your smartphone vendor first.

If you are on the lookout for QC chargers. then you can checkout the Anker Powerport Quick charge 3.0 39 Dual-USB wall charger for 25 on Amazon.

Another option is the Jascenic Quick Charge 3.0 adaptive wall charge at 12.99 on Amazon.

USB Power Delivery

Power Delivery (P.D) or sometimes referred to as USB PD is yet another charging technology defined by the USB Implementers Forum(USB-IF), a non-profit corporation founded by the group of companies that developed the Universal Serial Bus(USB) specification. You probably have come to know USB as a data port you use to transfer data between laptop and external hard drive. However, more people are increasing using the same port to charge their phones, headphones, power banks, tablets etc.

USB-PD standard is taking that a notch higher by treating the USB port as a first class power delivery interface delivering as much as power as 100W. The USB-PD standard specifies up to 2 A at 5 V (for a power consumption of up to 10 W), and optionally up to 3 A or 5 A at either 12 V (36 W or 60 W) or 20 V (60 W or 100 W).

Who should use PD?

If you have an iPhone and you want fast charging, then your best bet is USB-PD compatible devices. All you need is a USB-C to lightning cable and you’ll get at least 18W of power. This is a lot better than 5W offered by the stock charger that comes in the box.

If you also have laptops with USB-C port that offers Power Delivery, then you should get a PD charger. The latest Apple’s Macbooks do support Power Delivery upto 65W. Basically Power Delivery charger is the one charger to rule them all; you can use it to charge both your iPhone and MacBook depending on the number of ports it has.

If you’re on the look out for PD wall charger, then Aukey Swift 30W PD 3.0 wall charger is a great option for just 15.

Another option is the Anker Powerport 30W Duo wall charger. It comes with one PD port for fast charging PD-compatible devices and another USB-A port for normal devices.

What fast-charging standard should you go with?

This is a hard question to answer. Most smartphone vendors have their own proprietary technologies which is great. But if you lose the charging brick that came in the box for your phone, then you’ll be out of luck. That’s why an open standard is the best. USB PD is very promising and that’s why Apple devices — iPhone and Macbooks — work well with it. Google is also requiring Android OEMs not to break USB PD compatibility, so we shall see more Android phones with USB-C port support the standard.

So I generally would tend to prefer USB PD but your device of course has to support it. Otherwise, you would be stuck with either your smartphone vendors power brick or go with Anker’s PowerIQ which supports a wide range of products.

anker, poweriq, quick, charge, power

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD Review

Summary The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD offers the large capacity of a laptop power bank. But by limiting its output Anker is able to pass on cost savings. Ideal for anyone needing to charge handheld devices for long periods of time.

User Review

  • Fast charges iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, LG, and Motorola phones
  • Charges Switch while you play
  • Can be recharged by Nintendo Switch AC Adapter
  • Fits in most Switch carrying cases, but takes up most of the accessory
  • 15V power output better supports some devices
  • Trickle charge mode
  • Includes a USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Within FAA limits for lithium batteries and flights

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I purchased the product in this review.

Tech Specs:

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD specs

  • Ports: USB-C, USB-A
  • USB-C Output:
  • 18W USB-C Power Delivery 3.0 (5V/3A, 9V/2A, 15V/1.25A)
  • 18W PowerIQ 2.0 (Anker’s tech, but compatible with the standards below)
  • Quick Charge 3.0
  • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • Huawei FCP
  • Apple 2.4A

Included In Box:

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD box and contents

  • Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD
  • USB-C to USB-C 2.0 cable, 3 feet
  • Travel pouch

Good For:

  • Commute
  • Travel
  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Nintendo Switch (handheld)
  • iPad Pro (pre-2018)

Estimated Number of Charges:

  • iPhone 6/7/8/SE: 7 charges
  • iPhone Plus/X/XR: 4 charges
  • iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S8/S9: 4 charges
  • Samsung Galaxy S10: 4 charges
  • Nintendo Switch (2017): 9 hours of play
  • Nintendo Switch (2019): 12 hours of play
  • Nintendo Switch Lite: 9.5 hours of play

First Impression

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD fills a niche of higher capacity for smaller devices. While a 30W/20,000mAh could do the same job limiting the output to 18W saves on production cost. Allowing Anker to offer this model for 20 less MSRP than its previous USB PD supporting 20,000mAh model.

The Essential has a large, round button on top. Used for checking capacity and activating trickle charge mode. Unlike some older models, there are only 4 LEDs on the button, not 8-10. Don’t expect the circle to fill when recharging, the LEDs cover less than half of the curve. The top also has a grip-friendly surface. But the bottom doesn’t, lessening the gripping surface’s effectiveness.

Compared To Similar Power Banks

are from Amazon Product Advertising API, last updated on 2023-06-25.

Device Testing

Check with your device’s manufacturer to verify which charging standards it supports.

USB Power Delivery Quick Charge 4 Phones

  • Apple iPhone 8/X/XR/XS/11/SE
  • Essential Phone
  • Google Pixel
  • LG ThinQ/V30
  • Razer
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S9/S10/S20
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8/9/10
  • Xiaomi Mi 8/9
  • ZTE Axon Pro 9/10

Using an iPhone 8 for testing we find USB PD phones will fast charge over the USB-C port. iPhones will need to use a USB-C to Lightning cable, not included. And Android phones will need a USB-C to USB-C cable, which is included.

For older and newer iPhones the USB-A port supports Apple 2.4A. An older, but still functional fast-charging standard. Older iPhones (4-7) can fast charge using USB-A. Newer iPhones will charge ~15 minutes faster using USB-C.

Quick Charge 3.0 Phones

  • HTC
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Nokia
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Sony
  • Xiaomi Mi 5/6
  • ZTE

Using a Moto G6 for testing we see Quick Charge will fast charge over the USB-A port. Anker uses their own PowerIQ 2.0 technology, which mimics Quick Charge. As such it is considered QC compatible and works with Samsung AFC technology.

The USB-C port is strictly USB PD, so no fast charging there for Quick Charge phones.

Nintendo Switch

Works well for all model Nintendo Switch in handheld/tabletop mode.

  • Nintendo Switch (original) – Charges near its max rate while playing and sleeping.
  • Nintendo Switch (2019 update) – Charges near its max rate while playing and sleeping.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite – Charges near its max rate while playing and sleeping.

It will not support the Switch’s dock, as it doesn’t offer the required output.

If you have an original model Switch (pre-August 2019) Anker’s product outperforms the rest. Their support of a 15V power profile instead of 12V allows for faster charging of the original Switch. Due to an underdraw issue of that model Switch.

Trickle Charge Mode

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD in trickle charge mode

Trickle charge mode is for low power devices. Such as a Fitbit or wireless earbuds. These small accessories draw little current (60mA). So much so a power bank thinks charging is complete, and shutdowns to save power. This means a low power draw device could get only minutes of charging.

Trickle charge mode corrects for this, by forcing the power bank to stay on for a couple of hours. Allowing small accessories time to charge.

For Anker’s power bank you double press the button to activate the mode. A green LED will turn on in place of one of the blue LEDs. After two hours the power bank will switch back to regular mode. Shutting down completely shortly afterward. Or you can double press the button again to exit from trickle charge mode. There’s no harm in allowing the power bank to stay in trickle charge mode for the full duration.

No Fast Charging With Two Devices

If you connect two devices to the power bank it will disable all fast charging tech.

Both ports only support 5V. Which removes fast charging options outside of Apple 2.4A standard. There is a 15W total output limit shared between the two USB ports.

When you connect a second device you’ll notice the charging resets on the first. This is the power bank stepping down to a lower output level. If you disconnect the second device you’ll want to unplug and replug the first. To make sure fast charging turns back on.

This limitation is typical of many power banks. A few can allow for one fast charging and one regular charging. Fewer still allow for dual fast charging, and those are always large and heavy. There is a limit to how much current can cross its circuits without extra hardware. Which adds size, weight, and cost.

Whether you should fast charge one device or regular charge two depends on battery levels and your immediate needs. The closer both devices are to 100%, the less impactful not fast charging becomes.

Summary

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD is a good value option for some, depending on your devices and needs. It works bests with smaller devices, from Bluetooth earbuds up to Nintendo Switch and small tablets. Its higher capacity offers up to twice the run time as a 10,000mAh model. Good if you’re charging several devices on a day trip. Or charging one device over several days.

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD ports

For phones, it fast charges all iPhones and most Androids. Notably Samsung, Google, LG, and Motorola models.

For the Nintendo Switch, it charges in handheld mode as fast as any other option. The original Switch charges faster with the Essential than its peers from AUKEY or RAVPower. But the power bank cannot power a docked Switch.

By limiting the output to 18W Anker saves on production costs, and passes that on to you. The Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD has the same capacity, but 30W output (and no PowerIQ 2.0). It costs 20 more MSRP as of this posting. If you need to charge a small laptop that extra 20 gets you that performance. But if you only have handheld devices the Essential gives you the same performance at a lower cost.

If you don’t need the extra capacity you’ll find a better value with an 18W/10,000mAh power bank. Such as the Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux. It offers the same output features. But in a small and cheaper package.

About Anker

Anker has U.S. based support (web, email, phone) and an 18-month warranty. And their own online community with forums. They are a beloved brand within many USB-C communities.

Bottom Line

Buy if you:

  • Need to fast charge iPhone, popular Androids, iPad Pro, or Nintendo Switch for long trips or over a weekend
  • Want to charge an original model Switch as fast as possible
  • Prefer the Anker brand and customer support

Don’t buy if you:

  • Need to also charge a laptop on the go
  • Only need to support a single device for a few hours

You’ll want a USB-C wall charger to quickly recharge this USB-C power bank. I recommend the Anker PowerPort III Nano. A small charger for your large power bank.

Be sure to check the Deals page to see if this or a similar charger is on sale.

Enjoyed this review? Sign up for the Switch Chargers newsletter and get updates on future reviews and Nintendo Switch related deals.

The Anker PowerCore Essential PD is a really versatile power bank

I’ve been a fan of the Anker PowerCore for a while now, specifically the 20100 version, which I use on a regular basis. When I bought it, I found that the multiple phone charges I could get from it made it really useful when I was away from power, especially if I was using GPS on my phone, or I needed to charge more than one device simultaneously. What I didn’t realise when I bought it was how useful it would be for powering a video camera like the Panasonic S1 and S1H. It can keep such a camera powered for hours at a time recording video, making it an extremely cost effective solution for a rig versus a full V-lock or Sony F series system.

Some of the advantages of the Anker PowerCore power banks include high voltage protection, current regulation, and temperature control.

It might not be sexy, but it’s very useful!

The latest PowerCore, the PowerCore Essential 20000 PD allows high speed charging, up to 18W on devices that support it. This is delivered by way of both the PowerIQ 2.0 port (USB-A) and PD via the USB-C port. Note that this is the total wattage available, so if you are charging two devices simultaneously my understanding is that you won’t get the fast charge ability.

With 20,000mAh at its disposal, the PowerCore Essential PD claims to be able to charge an iPhone XS 5.4 times, and a Samsung S10 4,8 times.

The device isn’t particularly light at 345.5G, but it is very neat to look at with a sort of brush textured finish on the top. It measures 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.8 inches making it on par in terms of footprint with a lot of smartphones, although clearly it is a lot thicker, as you’d expect. A single round power button resides at one end, and this has four tiny LEDs embedded in it to indicate the capacity that is left. These are stylishly done, but they aren’t as clear and easy to see as the bright row of lights on my PowerCore 20100. From certain angles you can’t see them. But despite this, it is at least an indication of the power left on it, which is essential if you are using it to power a camera with.

Input/output is simple. Just two ports. One USB-A and one USB-C for use with different types of device.

Connectivity is also incredibly simple, with just one USB-A port and one USB-C. The USB-C port doubles as a charger connection. If you charge the power bank from a USB-C power adaptor such as one from a MacBook Pro it can be charged back up in around 6.5hrs, while with a USB-A style charger it could take up to 10hrs. These might seem long times, but the amount of use you can get out of one charge makes it worthwhile.

The PowerCore Essential 20000 PD might not be the sexiest gadget around, but it is very neatly done, can be used for a wide variety of devices, including cameras, and gives that all important fast charge ability to the latest phones. At 53.99 it is a bargain if you look at the price of much lower powered batteries for cameras. The fact I can power the S1 effectively makes it worth the purchase alone. With more visual devices coming out that can be charged via USB-C, power banks like this are going to become a lot more useful.

The power button on the Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 PD. The power indication lights can be tricky to see from some angles.

Clearly the market is fairly crowded with power bank options. But Anker are a very dependable brand, and the performance I have had long term out of my existing PowerCore has been faultless. I can’t say the same for some other powerbanks I have tried in the past. So for this reason I can highly recommend giving the PowerCore Essential 20000 PD consideration if you are in need of such a power solution, particularly if you have purchased a camera like the S1 or S1H and need external power, or if you need a highly portable charging system for a camera like the BMPCC 4K or 6K.

The best power banks 2022

Choosing a power bank can be a minefield. There are cheap ones, pricey ones, and sometimes you’re paying simply for a name – but there’s a lot more to finding the perfect portable charger than looking at price alone.

Some other things you might consider include speed, both in charging your connected device and recharging the bank when it empties. Capacity is important, too: it needs to be high enough to get your through the day with juice to spare – even share – without weighing down your or bag.

Ports and connections matter, too. What are you charging? A phone, a laptop, a watch? The number and range of ports is important, and if you want to avoid carrying multiple cables then you could look for a version with built-in cables or wireless charging.

While we care about design, it’s actually much lower on our priority list than the things we mention above – unless, of course, we have need for a particularly rugged model or something that supports solar charging because we’re going to be away from mains power for an extended period. That’s not to say we won’t appreciate added extras such as an LCD screen and waterproofing – don’t you want the coolest and most convenient power bank you can get for your money?

These days, it’s even possible to rent power banks as and when you need them (check out ChargedUp). Mind blown. To ensure you get the very best power bank for your needs, whatever that looks like, read on for more detailed buying advice below our chart.

Best power bank reviews

Zendure SuperMini X3 – Best 10000mAh Power Bank

The Zendure SuperMini X3 certainly isn’t the cheapest 10000mAh power bank around, but it makes up for that in specs.

The headline is the 45W USB-C PD charging – for both input and output. That means you can re-charge the power bank itself in just an hour or so, but also that this is fast enough to meet the max charging speeds on most Apple and Samsung phones, and can even keep many laptops running.

The same port also supports the PPS standard at up to 33W speeds.

There are also two USB-A ports, one at 18W and another at 15W, and you can use all three ports simultaneously with 15W speeds from each.

Throw in the small LCD display to report battery life and the light and compact design (in a range of four colours, no less) and it’s easy to see why you might want to spend a little extra for the SuperMini X3.

Charmast 10,400mAh Power Bank – Best Value Power Bank with LCD

There was a time when power banks with LCD displays were rather expensive, but have now come down as the screens filter through to even affordable models like this.

The power bank also has three outputs, which will come in handy if you have multiple devices to charge. There are two full-size USBs, plus a USB-C PD port that can act as both input and output, and all three support 18W Quick Charge – although only one at a time.

On the side is an additional Quick Charge 2.0-compatible Micro-USB, which can also be used for charging the bank. It will charge in about 3.5 hours with a Quick Charge/PD adapter, but about 5.5 hours with a standard 10W charger.

The downside of the design is that it’s a bit bigger than many of the super-slim, similar-capacity models on the market. This Charmast is roughly the same width as a phone, but a little shorter and a fair bit chunkier. It weighs in at 228g, which you may decide is better suited to a bag than your

Charmast supplies a soft mesh carry case and a short USB-A to USB-C cable in the box, a nice touch.

Zendure SuperMini Go

  • Interesting camera-inspired design
  • Supports 15W wireless charging
  • Strong device support
  • Available only via IndieGoGo (for now)
  • LCD is a little dim and can be difficult to read

The Zendure SuperMini Go is something a little different: a power bank that tries very hard not to look like one.

anker, poweriq, quick, charge, power

Zendure’s design is inspired by classic cameras, which is if nothing else a fun way to incorporate the large ring required for wireless charging – which here sits right where a camera lens would be. Instead of a viewfinder, there’s a rear LCD display to show battery percentage – though be warned that this is quite dim and hard to read.

It’s available in silver and black finishes, along with our more out there ‘Sunset Cyan’ gradient.

The SuperMini Go isn’t all about looks though, and it has some solid specs to match. The total capacity is 10,000mAh, and in addition to 15W wireless charging (with a magnet to keep phones steady) there’s 20W USB-C charging and 22.5W USB-A charging.

Compatibility is impressive too – not only will this work with both iOS and Android devices, but the ‘X-Charge’ mode is capable of topping up lower power devices like wearables and headphones, which not all power banks support.

The SuperMini Go is available now for backers on IndieGoGo with discounted launch pricing from 44 (down from an official price of 69), but with Zendure’s track record it’s very likely this will be in stores including Amazon before long.

JIGA 30,000mAh Power Bank – Most Versatile Power Bank

JIGA is a new name to us in terms of power bank tech, but its 30,000mAh power bank is interesting for a number of reasons – and not least the huge capacity, which will be some comfort on trips away from mains power.

While it’s something of a throwback to power banks from a couple of years back, with its built-in LED flash (certainly useful for camping trips) and durable but plasticky design, it also takes us back to the days where you didn’t have to sacrifice ports for portability.

It’s surprisingly small for such a high-capacity bank, but it’s more bag- rather than.friendly.

The JIGA has USB-C, Micro-USB and Lightning inputs, allowing you to fill its battery using whatever cable you have to hand. It’s a shame that the USB-C port doesn’t also work as an output, but there are three full-size USB-A outputs, each rated at 10.5W.

This isn’t the Power Delivery speeds we’re becoming increasingly familiar with today, but it’s plenty fast for charging a phone (or multiple phones).

If all you need is a healthy stream of power to keep topped up a number of mobile devices, this JIGA power bank will be a very handy device to have around.

Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000 PD – Best 20,000mAh Power Bank

Hailing from Anker, a respected brand in the power bank market, this 20,000mAh portable charger represents very good value at this capacity.

The 345.5G Essential is a black plastic brick, though relatively compact for the amount of power it can hold. It has a textured top surface that improves grip in the hand, as well as the overall appearance.

We’re pleased to find support for Power Delivery, but do note that it’s only up to 18W, and therefore not likely to be sufficient to charge a USB-C laptop. Still, for quick-charging a phone or tablet, this is a useful device.

A full-size USB output that uses Anker’s PowerIQ smarter charging algorithm is joined by a USB-C port that is both input and output. On top is a power button with four integrated LEDs that reveal remaining capacity, and you can use this to enter a trickle-charging mode suitable for smartwatches and earbuds.

A USB-C to USB-C cable and soft mesh carry case are provided in the box, which is a nice touch.

Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless – Best Wireless Power Bank

The Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless is a Qi wireless charger with a special feature: you can use it as a portable power bank, too, which can be super handy.

anker, poweriq, quick, charge, power

You can use it at home or work plugged in, and carry it around with you for wired or wireless charging when you are away from a power socket. Because it’s wireless, there’s no need to carry a cable around with you.

As the name suggests, the PowerCore III 10K has a decent sized 10,000mAh battery, which should offer at least three charges from the power bank before it needs recharging itself.

The wireless charger is rated at 10W. Place your device on the centre of the circle. We didn’t find the placement too sensitive, as some wireless chargers can be. It’s not auto-start, though – as a power bank it requires you to push the button first.

You can also charge from the two USB-A ports at one end – at a total of 18W, so charging two or three (one wireless, two wired) devices will split that power output.

Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K – Best MagSafe Power Bank

This portable wireless charger is one of the best accessories you can get for your iPhone.

In essence, it’s a 5,000mAh palm-sized power bank that will charge your compatible iPhone simply by snapping it onto the back with MagSafe.

It works through some cases, charges over USB-C, comes in a range of colours and, even if you don’t have MagSafe, can be used to charge almost anything via cable.

A handy set of LEDs indicates how much charge the PowerCore has remaining.

Moshi IonGo 5K Duo – Best Design

It’s expensive, but you’ll pay out for the IonGo 5K Duo from Moshi if style is as important to you as is functionality.

Almost identical in design to the IonGo 5K before it, but here with both USB-C and Lightning cables built-in (hence the name Duo), the Moshi is an undeniably cool-looking power bank that comes tucked away inside a vegan-friendly soft leather case with a magnetic clasp and an anodised aluminium faceplate.

The additional cable means it’s now suited to Android as well as iPhone users, although as before this is Made For iPhone-certified.

This is a truly premium device with a colossal 10-year warranty going a long way to account for its higher asking price. It’s also possibly the dinkiest 5,000mAh power bank we’ve seen, suggesting there are some serious high-tech components inside.

At this capacity, expect a full charge for any Android phone, and potentially two for iPhone. Moshi claims the bank will also retain that power for up to 27 months when left unused.

Charging is up to 15W over USB-C and 12W over Lightning. Use Lightning and USB-C together and you’ll see slightly slower charging speeds, with a max total output of 3.4A (17W).

You can also use the USB-C cable for recharging the bank, again up to 15W. Better still, the Moshi supports passthrough charging, allowing you to charge both it and a connected device at once, but given that there’s no separate input here that’s going to work only with iPhone.

The Duo is currently out of stock at Amazon, but you can still pick up the iPhone model.

Chargeasap Flash Pro / Flash Pro Plus – Fastest Charging Power Bank

  • Unbeatable recharging speed
  • High-capacity (25,000mAh)
  • Range of outputs
  • 5-year lifespan
  • Expensive
  • Bulky and heavy
  • Attracts fingerprints
  • No charger or cable supplied

These graphene-composite power banks are able to charge cooler than ordinary lithium-polymer batteries, and thus can do significantly faster: you’ll get to 80% of these 25,000mAh batteries in just 45 minutes.

In addition to this there is a healthy smattering of ports, with three USB-Cs running at 100W, 60W and 20W, a 50W USB-A that supports Quick Charge 3.0 and SVOOC, plus wireless charging. You get a 15W MagSafe pad and a 5W Apple Watch charger in the Flash Pro Plus, and a 15W Qi charger in the Flash Pro.

Down sides include an expensive price tag, and a bulky, heavy design, but for sheer performance and functionality the Chargeasap banks are among the most capable we’ve ever tested.

FAQ

What capacity power bank do I need?

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking a 3,000mAh power bank will give your 3,000mAh battery smartphone a full charge, and that a 9,000mAh power bank will charge it three times. No portable charger runs at 100% efficiency. In truth, most average between 60- and 70%, with the best-performing models able to reach 80- or 90%. Wireless charging models may be less efficient still.

To work out what capacity bank you need, first check the spec of the device you want to charge to find out its battery capacity, then decide how many times you want to be able to charge it. For a rough estimate, calculate Connected device battery capacity x Number of recharges x 1.6 = Minimum power bank capacity you should look to buy.

As a rule of thumb, a 5,000mAh bank is a single-charge device, 10,000mAh hits the sweet spot between capacity and portability, and you want to look for closer to 20,000mAh for a laptop. We’ve got some of those high-capacity power banks here – just don’t try to stuff any of them in your !

How long does it take to recharge a power bank?

The time required to recharge a power bank will depend on its capacity, what you are using to recharge its battery and whether or not it’s empty.

For the fastest charging you should look to the new breed of power banks that support graphene technology and charge over a DC input (such as the Chargeasap Flash Pro – a 25,000mAh bank that can get to 80% in 45 mins and 100% in 70 mins), but these tend to be pricey.

For mainstream power banks, the fastest you’ll find is a USB-C inout/output that supports Power Delivery. This standard now goes up to a maximum of 240W, but in portable chargers you should expect to find an 18W port. Using such a port, the average 10,000mAh power bank might recharge in 2-3 hours from empty.

The cheapest models still tend to charge over Micro-USB, usually at around 10-12W. Avoid 5W power banks like the plague unless they are very low in capacity or you’re not in a rush.

What is passthrough charging?

Passthrough charging allows you to simultaneously charge devices connected to a power bank and the power bank itself. It’s a very handy solution if you are short on mains power outlets and need to get multiple devices charged up overnight, for example. However, not all power banks support it, so be sure to check the spec of your portable charger before you buy.

How do I know how much power is left in my power bank?

Assuming you know how much capacity it had when full, you can work out how much power remains either through a series of LEDs on the casing (usually activated by plugging in a device to charge or pressing a button on the side), or via the LCD if your power bank supports one. LCDs are preferrable, because they give a more accurate readout, particularly when it comes to higher-capacity power banks.

What are GaN power banks?

GaN is short for gallium nitride. It requires fewer components than traditional silicone chargers, which means power banks that use the technology can be less bulky and more efficient. If portability is your primary concern, then as well as considering the power bank’s capacity you should also look for one that uses GaN.

What charging speed should I look for in a power bank?

The first power banks on to the market ran at 5W, which is the same speed as the original iPhone chargers (aka slllllloooooowwwww). We wouldn’t recommend anything below 10W these days. This speed is known as ‘fast charging’, and it’s still rather common in cheaper models, but it’s not really the fast charging we’ve become accustomed to today. So many of the latest smartphones now support super-fast wired charging, and it seems crazy not to buy a portable charger that supports that top speed if possible.

The standard your phone uses to achieve its top charging speeds is important here. Some have proprietary technologies that work only with accessories manufactured and sold by that company. Some offer fast charging through Quick Charge or Power Delivery. Some support neither Quick Charge nor Power Delivery, but do support protocols such as PPS (Programmable Power Supply) or SCP (Super Charge Protocol). Make sure the portable charger you buy matches the fast charging standard supported by your phone.

The term Power Delivery does not in itself denote a performance rating. It could be capable of delivering anything between 18W and 240W. This is particularly important if you’re looking to charge a USB-C laptop – anything under 30W won’t cut it, many laptops will refuse to play ball below 45W or even 60W, and some larger laptops might require 90W. You will need to check the spec of your laptop to know what speed it requires.

At the other end of the scale, if you need to charge a low-power device such as a smartwatch or a pair of wireless earbuds, look out for a power bank that is certified for low-power devices. Many of those that are not will simply cut out when you try to charge these devices, because they aren’t able to detect a significant drain on the battery.

Power bank manufacturers rarely provide the speed of their outputs in watts. Instead you’ll see a rating in amps, which you multiply by the voltage rating (usually five) to get the rating in watts. So 2A x 5V = 10W.

What is Power Delivery?

USB-C and USB PD are often confused, but the important thing to remember is that USB-C is a reversible connection type, while USB PD is a power delivery specification, overseen by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) and often expressed simply as ‘PD’. With version 3.1 of the specification, Power Delivery is able to carry up to 240W of power plus data over USB-C (previously limited to 100W), but devices that support Power Delivery can range from 18W right up to 240W.

What is Quick Charge?

Quick Charge is a Qualcomm fast-charging protocol that runs on the Snapdragon processors we see inside many smartphones, hence it has become commonplace in the mobile market.

The latest version is Quick Charge 5, which operates at up to 100W and supports USB PD PPS. However, while they are often seen together, Quick Charge and Power Delivery are not the same thing.

Quick Charge 5 is a massive jump up from Quick Charge 4/4, more efficient and able to run cooler and safer, and Qualcomm says it can get a device to 50% in just 5 mins. It is backwards-compatible with earlier versions of the protocol, including 18W Quick Charge 2/3, which are still very common in power banks.

Which outputs should I look for in a power bank?

The type and number of outputs you will need on a power bank depends entirely on what device or devices you want to charge. Pretty much all power banks have a full-size USB output that you can use to plug in your own cable, but it’s not always going to be the fastest way to deliver a charge to your device. You’ll also find USB-C and Lightning outputs, magnetic wireless charging pads and AC outlets if you shop around. Some power banks even have built-in cables to stop you needing to carry around your own, though you will still need one handy to recharge the power bank itself.

Why is the maximum output of a power bank important?

Some power banks have multiple outputs for charging your connected devices, but few power banks are able to simultaneously support all of them at the top advertised speed. Watch out for those that have a lower maximum output than the sum of all ports together. Also be wary of those that have multiple outputs but a very low capacity – these aren’t really designed for plugging in multiple devices, only to be versatile.

What happens when my power bank is more powerful than my connected device?

There is no need to worry about plugging devices into ports that are capable of delivering more power than the device is able to accept, since USB devices will draw only the power they need. Many power banks include technology that is able to intelligently dole out this power among ports more appropriately, depending on what devices you are attempting to charge (often known as Power IQ or similar).

Can I take a power bank on a plane?

Yes, but it must be in your hand luggage, and if it is higher in capacity than 27,000mAh (100Wh) you will need to check with the airline before flying. Make sure you take it out your bag as you pass through security. If a power bank is damaged then it will not be allowed on the plane as it could become a safety hazard. You should also ensure the specifications are clearly printed on the side of its case, as is the norm.

We’ve put together a range of articles to help you choose the best charging tech for the mobile devices you carry everywhere. You’ll also like:

  • For charging away from home:Power banks for laptops | Travel adaptors
  • Best Wall Desktop Chargers:For phones tablets | For laptops
  • For convenience:Best wireless chargers
  • Best charging cables:Micro-USB | USB-C | Lightning

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