Review: Anker 521 Magnetic Battery
The Anker 521 magnetic battery was one of the first power banks to support the new MagSafe feature of the iPhone. It enables you to magnetically attach the power bank to the back of your MagSafe compatible iPhone and charge it wirelessly on the go without cables.
Fittingly, Anker originally called this power bank a snap and go power bank but changed the naming convention. It’s now called a MagGo power bank.
Though the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a powerful battery, I rarely make it through an entire day on a single charge. Probably, because I do a lot of photo editing on my iPhone.
So when Apple announced MagSafe, I hoped that either Apple or someone else would release a power bank that I could attach magnetically and without cables to my iPhone. A few months later, Anker was one of the first to release such a magnetic and wireless power bank.
In this Anker 521 magnetic battery review, I’ll share my real-world experience using it.
Models of the Anker Magnetic Battery
Since Anker released the original PowerCore Magnetic 5K in 2021, they released three more models and changed their products’ naming convention.
- The original model I used for this review was called Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K. It’s now called Anker 521 Magnetic Battery.
- In Mid 2022, Anker released the successor of the Anker 521 MagGo: The Anker 621 magnetic battery. It’s slightly thinner than the original Anker 521 and offers the same capacity as the Anker 521.
- Another MagGo model is the Anker 622 Magnetic Battery. It also has a capacity of 5.000 mAh but comes with a stand attached to the power bank.
- Anker also released a 10.000 mAh version called Anker 633 Magnetic Battery. This version is slightly larger (and thicker) than the 5.000 mAh models.
To help you decide which Anker MagGo Magnetic battery model is suitable for you, here’s a capacity, size and weight comparison of the Anker magnetic batteries 521 vs 621 vs 622 vs 633. Measurements are in inches and pounds.
|Anker 521||5.000 mAh||3.66||2.44||0.63||0.29|
|Anker 621||5.000 mAh||4.12||2.62||0.44||0.31|
|Anker 622||5.000 mAh||4.13||2.62||0.521||0.31|
|Anker 633||10.000 mAh||4.21||2.62||0.71||0.48|
If you’re looking for a lightweight and small magnetic power bank with a capacity of 5.000 mAh, then go for the Anker (621) magnetic battery (the successor of the Anker 521). If you’re looking for more charges at the price of weight and size, then go for the Anker 633 magnetic power bank.
Please mind that this review is about the Anker 521 magnetic battery that was originally called Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K. I’ve added info about the other models for completeness.
Why I bought the Anker 521 magnetic battery
As mentioned above, I rarely make it through the day with a single charge on my iPhone.
As I’m a Minimalist, I always strive to get rid of things, especially things, that I need to carry and that would prevent me from traveling light.
Eliminating the cables for everyday charging was the reason I originally switched from my Anker 10.000 mAh slim power bank to the Apple Smart Battery Case for an everyday use power bank.
And that was also the reason why I bought the Anker 521 magnetic battery: To be able to charge my iPhone on the go without using cables. like this:
Features of the Anker 521 magnetic battery
Compatibility of the Anker magnetic batteries
As mentioned, I’ve used the Anker 521 magnetic battery with an iPhone 12 Pro Max, an iPhone 13 Pro Max and now use it with my new iPhone 14 Pro. Anker mentions in their specs, that their magnetic batteries works with all MagSafe compatible iPhones except for the iPhone Mini. From a photo I found on the Internet it looks like that the camera of the iPhone Mini is a little too big for the the Anker magnetic battery.
The Anker 521 magnetic power bank is MagSafe compatible and thus allows you to charge your iPhone wirelessly while it’s magnetically attached to the back of your iPhone. I used and use it with various iPhone Models in a MagSafe compatible iPhone case from moment.
I wondered how strong the magnets were and tried to shake the power bank off the iPhone’s back a few times. I failed. The magnets are pretty strong.
But as with all attachable MagSafe accessories, if you try to put the iPhone with the power bank attached into a tight. it may come off.
Capacity of 5000 mAh
The Anker 521, Anker 621 and Anker 622 magnetic power banks have a capacity of 5.000 mAh. Anker claims it would charge an iPhone 12 Pro Max from zero to roughly 75%.
So I did a real-world test for this review and wirelessly charged my iPhone 12 Pro Max for precisely one hour. I didn’t put the iPhone to flight mode or disabled any services I’d use during a typical day.
The iPhone’s 12 Pro Max battery went from 30% to 50% during the hour, and after an additional hour, the battery was at 70%.
After two hours of charging the iPhone’s battery by 40%, the power bank’s LEDs indicated that it still had around 25% of its charge.
So I guess you can charge an iPhone 12 Pro Max by around 60% in a real-world scenario if you charge it wirelessly.
If you use another iPhone model, you may get more than the estimated 50%-60% because the batteries of these models have a different capacities than the battery of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Out of curiosity, I also tried to charge an iPad Pro 11 2018. The Anker 521 magnetic power bank could charge it from 30% to 67% before it was empty.
Please note that the three different models I mentioned before supply different wireless charging power:
|Anker 521 5.000 mAh||5W|
|Anker 621 5.000 mAh||7.5W|
|Anker 622 5.000 mAh||7.5W|
|Anker 633 10.000 mAh||7.5W|
You may be able to squeeze a bit more out of the power bank if you attach a USBC to lightning cable to the power bank and charge your iPhone with a cable.
But that’s not what I was looking for, so I didn’t test it.
Two Way USB-C Charging
If you need to charge a non-MagSafe compatible device, you can attach it to the USB-C port of the Anker magnetic batteries that you use to charge the power bank itself. This way, the power bank will charge other devices as well.
According to my tests, using the magnetic charger and the cable on the Anke 521 magnetic battery, you can’t charge two devices at once. As soon as you attach a cable, the device on the cable takes precedence
Speaking of charging the power bank: To charge the Anker 521 and Anker 622 power banks, Anker recommends using a 12W power adapter, while for the Anker 633, you should use an 18W power adapter.
Anker 521 LED Indicators and their functions
All the Anker magnetic batteries have four LED status lights that indicate how much charge the power bank has left. One status light approximately equals a charge of 25%.
As I’ve outlined in the chapter about the power bank’s capacity, one of the status lights was still lit after charging my iPhone 12 Pro Max wirelessly by 40%.
Further, the power bank has a blue power light. It’ll start blinking if you charge the power bank itself. Once you turn on the power bank and charge your iPhone, it’s continuously lit.
One feature I liked is the on/off switch. To start charging the iPhone wirelessly, you need to press the button once to turn it on until the blue LED light turns on. That will prevent accidentally charging your iPhone.
Charge your Airpods wirelessly
Though this Anker wireless battery pack won’t magnetically stick to your AirPod case (or the other way round), you can charge your Apple Airpods wirelessly. Just place the power bank on a flat surface and put the AirPod case in the middle of the charging area.
The light of the AirPod case will briefly turn on to indicate that the case is now charging.
What’s in the box?
The package content of the Anker 521 magnetic battery corresponds to that of many other power banks. It contains:
The Anker magnetic batteries do not come with a power adapter. Personally, I don’t mind. I have an Anker 4 port desk charger with two USB-C ports that I can use to charge the power bank at home. To charge it on the go, I use a small Anker Nano Charger.
The Apple magsafe power bank vs. the Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5k
I added this chapter because Apple also released a MagSafe compliant power bank for the iPhone. When the Apple power bank details became public, people quickly pointed out that Apple’s battery pack only had 30% of the capacity compared to the Anker magnetic power banks.
Yes, the Apple battery pack has a capacity of 1560 mAh. But that’s just half of the story.
To compare the Anker magnetic power banks with the Apple power bank, you have to consider the current that’s used to store the power. If you multiply the mAh with the current and divide it by 1000, you get the watt-hours (Wh). And this is the only metric you should use to compare power banks.
The Anker wireless power bank uses a current of 3.7V, while Apple uses a current of 7.62V. So, this yields 18.5 Wh of the Anker MagSafe battery pack compared to 11.13 Wh of the Apple power bank. These two numbers are even in the fine print on the two power banks.
I don’t have the Apple battery pack, but if I ever get it, I’ll happily compare it to the Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K.
The Anker 521 magnetic battery is what I wanted. A portable and lightweight power bank for everyday use that allows me to charge my iPhone wirelessly on the go. I’d buy it again.
I won’t upgrade the Anker 521 model to one of the newer models because for traveling, I rely on the 26.800 mAh power bank from Anker, and you’ll find a Anker PowereCore 26.800 review in the blog.
Best Lightweight Backpacking Power Banks
Whether it’s for your phone, GPS tracker, camera, or headlamps, you are probably going to need some power during your backpacking trip. A backpacking power bank is simplest way to make sure your devices don’t die on you.
Luckily, power banks have gotten a lot lighter over the years and can get more than 1,600mAh of power per ounce. Some backpacking power banks are even durable and waterproof too.
Here’s the best power banks for backpacking. If you don’t know how much power you will need or what to look for then scroll down to read the complete guide.
- Best Overall:NiteCore NB10000 (10,000mAh, 5.3oz)
- Runner Up:Goal Zero Flip 24 (6,700mAh, 4.6oz).also available at REI
- Best for Ultra Light:NiteCore LC10 Charger (1oz 18650 battery)
Best Power Banks for Backpacking
Anker Power Banks
Choose If: You want a reputable brand with fantastic capacity-to-weight ratio
Anker is one of the best known brands for backpacking power banks (as well as other gear like portable solar panels). They have power banks in different capacities. All of them have a good weight-to-capacity ratio (or milliamps per ounce).
Another reason to choose Anker power banks is that they actually deliver close to their advertised efficiency. Whereas other power banks might only give 2/3 of their listed power, Anker gets up to 90% efficiency.
You can also expect advanced features like 2.4amp fast charging, durable design, and a good 18 month warranty. They are actually affordable too, so definitely worth buying instead of a knockoff brand.
Recommended Anker Power Banks for Backpacking:
Anker has dozens of different power banks. It’s actually confusing as heck trying to figure out the difference between them. For backpacking, these are their best options.
- PowerCore Compact 5000 (5,000mAh, 4.8oz): The mAh per ounce on this power bank is actually pretty low (just 1,040mAh per oz.). However, a lot of people like this one because of the 2A charging (in and out). Get it if you need to recharge fast.
- PowerCore 10000 (10,000mAh, 6.35oz): This has a very high mAh per ounce of 1,575. That makes it one of the lightest backpacking power banks available. Note it is NOT compatible with devices with an input below 50mA, such as some GPS devices.
- PowerCore 10000 PD (10,000mAh, 7.52oz): It is slightly heavier than the previous version, but has two outputs so you can charge two devices at once.
- PowerCore 20100 (20,100mAh, 12.6oz): Choose this power bank if you need to charge multiple devices at once quickly. It’s got 2 outlet ports at 2.4A each. It’s also got a great mAh per ounce ratio.
Choose If: You are an insane ultra-lightest and every ounce matters to you
This is very cool product. I love this as a solution for backpacking because it gives you so much flexibility at a very low weight. You really can’t get lighter than this for power.
It is basically an ultra-light charger for li-ion batteries. However, it works in both ways: Put a full battery cell in the charger and you can use it to charge micro-USB devices.
The charger itself only weighs 0.98oz. A single 3400mAh 18650 battery usually weighs around 1.8oz (using 18650 cells as a backpacking powerbank here.
- Both li-ion battery charger and power bank
- Charger weighs just 0.98oz
- Built-in emergency light: 6 lumens from 3400mAh battery with 3 brightness levels
- Insanely small and compact
NiteCore NB10000 Ultra-Slim (10,000mAh, 5.3oz)
Choose If: You are willing to pay a bit more for very lightweight power bank
Here’s a more standard type power bank from NiteCore. It’s the one I take with me on most backpacking trips and I’m really happy with it. As you’d expect from this brand, the power bank is insanely lightweight. It is 10,000mAh capacity but weights just 5.3oz, which breaks down to 1,887 mAh per ounce.
That’s lighter than any other power bank that I’ve found. The only drawback? It is the priciest option of all the backpacking power banks reviewed here.
Goal Zero Flip Power Banks
Choose If: You need a faster charging time and like the Goal Zero brand
Goal Zero is better known for their solar panels but they also make these portable power banks too. Their flip series are lightweight and have a good mAh to weight ratio. The weight isn’t as good as Anker but the power banks do charge faster. Currently, they have 6,700mAh and a 10,000mAh power banks available.
Goal Zero Venture 35
Choose If: Waterproof ness and durability matter to you more than weight
The Goal Zero Venture 35 power bank is 9,600mAh at 10.1oz. That is actually really heavy per mAh. But the power bank has some features which might make this worth it: An IP67 rating (it’s actually waterproof), a much more durable construction, fast charging with USB-C and multiple out ports. The charger also doubles as an emergency flashlight.
BioLite PD Power Banks
Choose If: You want to charge multiple devices quickly
While not as light as Anker, BioLite PD power banks have more features. They are much faster, have 3 out ports (2 are USB-A and one is USB-C). The battery life indicator button is reliable. Some people said they had issues trying to charge headphones with it though.
Charmast Power Bank
Choose If: You want a display screen which shows remaining battery
I don’t know much about this brand and am hesitant to trust them (though they do have a lot of great reviews). The reason it is worth considering is because it’s one of the few power banks with a digital display. The display is very useful when you are carefully rationing your power supply. It’s also got lots of other nice features like quick charging. I wish it had a USB-A port though.
What About Power Banks with Built-in Solar Panels?
I used to think these were awesome and practical. Then I actually tried one. Guess what? Turns out it is NOT a good idea to leave a power bank out in the blazing hot sun! The model I had worked for a while and then quickly died. I’ve heard the same from other users.
On top of that, most have no power display so there’s no way of knowing the charge level. You can easily over-charge the power bank, meaning it gets fried. But leave it out too little and it won’t have enough power for your needs.
If a reputable brand (instead of cheap Chinese generic brands) started making one of these, I might give it a try. Until then, I’ll keep my power bank and solar panel separate.
Power Bank Capacity and Backpacking
Power bank batteries have capacity measured in Milliamp hours, or mAh. This stands for how much power the battery can provide per hour.
For example, if your device requires 1000 Milliamps per hour, then a 3,000mAh battery will (in theory) keep it going for 3 hours.
Important: No power bank delivers its full capacity!
Because of efficiency issues, most power banks will only deliver 66-74% of the listed capacity. So, a 10,000mAh power bank may only really give you 6,666mAh. (1, 2)
Some better power banks are more efficient, like the Anker power banks that deliver around 80%-90% of their listed capacity. Take this into consideration when calculating your power needs.
What Capacity Power Bank Do I Need?
The amount of capacity you need for a backpacking trip ultimately depends on which devices you’ll bring and how often you use them.
To figure out how much power you need:
- Tally up the mAh/day amount for each gadget you are bringing.
- Multiply this number by the how many days your backpacking trip will be (or how long until a refuel).
- To play it safe, assume that the power bank will only deliver 66% of its advertised capacity.
- Divide the total mAh you need by 0.66.
Example: You need 3,000mAh of power to keep your phone charged for a 3-day backpacking trip.
3,000/0.66 = 4,545mAh
Other Things to Look At When Choosing a Backpacking Power Bank
Aside from capacity, you’ll also want to look at the weight of the power bank, you’ll want to look at:
- mAh per ounce
- Charging speed
- Number of outlet ports
- Brand quality
- Other features
mAh per Ounce
It’s pointless to get a lightweight power bank if it won’t meet your power requirements. So, when it comes to weight, you should really look at mAh per ounce. Aim for at least 1,400 mAh per ounce. If you need special features, then you might only get 1,000 mAh per ounce.
Look at both the input and output speeds of the power bank. Most will be 1A to 3A. Note that, if there are multiple out ports, the speed is usually divided between the ports. So two devices plugged into a 3A power bank would only charge at 1.5A each.
Faster isn’t always better with power banks though. You’ll lose efficiency at higher speeds, meaning your power bank will drain much faster. You probably don’t need to charge anything quickly while backpacking, so a slow outlet speed is fine.
For long thru-hikes, recharge time matters!
If it takes forever to refill your power bank, you will go crazy waiting in town. One backpacker even noted how he had to stay at hotels in order to refill his power bank, so it ended up being expensive too.
Note: How fast a power bank can charge also has a lot to do with the cables. So make sure you invest in some good quality cables and not the cheap Chinese knockoff ones.
Number of Outlet Ports
If you need to charge multiple devices at once, you’ll need more than one outlet. Just note that charging speed typically reduces when you plug in multiple devices.
I’ve learned my lesson about buying cheap knockoff brands of power banks. While some do work well (at first), they tend to lose their capacity quickly. I had one completely stop charging on me. Luckily it was on a camping trip and not a long backpacking trip.
Some other nice features which are worth paying extra for or even worth the extra weight are:
- Digital displays or power level indicators (LOVE this feature)
- Durable casing (will add extra weight though)
- Wireless charging
What About Solar Panels?
If you have very high power needs (such as if you are doing a lot of photography), even a 25,000mAH power bank probably won’t cut it. You’ll want a portable solar panel to keep charged.
Bear in mind that solar panels are often hyped up. They are cool, but require very sunny conditions to work well. They can also be heavy, bulky, and annoying to worry about. But, there are plenty of reliable solar panels which range from ultralight 5 watt solutions to higher wattages. See these best ultralight solar panels for backpacking.
About the author /
Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.
Review: Anker PowerCore 5000
Mini power banks are the categories within the power bank charging space that is receiving the most attention.
People want a portable charger that takes portability and power to its limits and it makes sense. It’s awesome to have a charger on the go and have the fast charging of a wall charger with it.
The PowerCore 5000 power bank is an example of the kind of innovation that Mini power banks are starting to unlock now.
Take a read on what makes the PowerCore 5000 so special with the highly portable Mini power bank space of portable chargers.
Other Types of 5,000mAh Power Banks:
The PowerCore 5000 is a Mini power bank that is opening new doors to the small-sized portable charger category. If you know about the PowerCoreMini or if you’ve read our post about What’s the Best Capacity for a Power Bank, then you know that Mini power banks hold a lot of capabilities when it comes to power capacity and charging speed.
The PowerCore builds upon what a power bank should have pertaining to its power. The Mini power bank brings a 5,000mAh capacity to the table.
With the 5,000mAh capacity, you no longer just get 1 charge for your smartphone, rather the PowerCore 5000 is capable of charging most smartphones 2 times or over.
Tablets aren’t competitive or really used with a power bank of this capacity, although it will charge a tablet like an iPad about 3/4 of the way through; And well, the power bank can charge a tablet quite quickly as well.
PowerCore 5000 Power BankPhone CapacityPowerCore 5000 Power Bank Left Over Capacity
The charging speed of this power bank takes portable mini chargers into faster rates by being able to have an Output charging speed at 5V/2.0A.
This means that smartphones that are beyond the 1.0 Amp current of charging can charge faster than 1 Amp and into the higher Amperage categories.
Thus, overall providing a faster-charging experience for all devices that are connected to the power bank. This is why we said that an iPad could charge relatively quick with the PowerCore 5000, because its Output is 2.0A, and the max current that an iPad can accept is 2.4A, so it’ll just default to charging at 2.0A charging speed.
Of course, the power bank has a simple One port Output and One port Input system.
The PowerCore 5000 is recharged through a Micro-USB Input port that is capable of recharging at 5V/2A; A charging speed that is faster than most Mini power banks and you can expect a full charge from the power bank in about 3-4 hours.
However, we did say “Capable” of recharging the power bank at 5V/2A, because it depends on what wall charger you use.
If you’re using a wall charger that has an Output of 5V/1A, then the power bank will recharge at that speed. This is why we recommend using a wall charger that has an Output of 5V/2.4A to ensure that you’re getting the fastest recharge speed to your power bank.
- Higher Power Capacity
- Faster Output Charging Speed
- Fast Input Charging Speed
Those are all the improvements that you’re getting with the PowerCore 5000. It’s a newer kind of Mini power bank that improves on the most fundamental things a power bank should be good at.
Similar Power Bank
Size and Weight:
The PowerCore 5000 follows the same distinct design that other Mini power banks follow. The power bank has a cylindrical shape with a length of 4 inches and a width of 1 inch.
So you’ll find that it can be carried in your hand very easily and is definitely prepared for on the go purposes.
However, as small as the power bank is, it’s still bigger than Anker’s premiere PowerCore Mini and other small power banks like the Tylt 3,200 power bank.
Although you can easily hold the PowerCore 5000 easily and put it into nearly any bag, the power bank is not so comfortable in a It’s much wider than most smaller and lower capacity power banks; although it can fit into a. it won’t be comfortable and will be a tight fit.
Other than the bigger size, the power bank does an all around a great job with its design. The Input and Output ports are on a single side and are clearly labeled.
There are 3 White LED light indicators that show the capacity of the power bank and when they’re on, the power bank looks even more aesthetic.
There’s a power button right next to the LED lights that can be pressed to check the capacity left on the power bank.
The power button is a rarely used, though. When you connect a device to the PowerCore 5000, the power bank automatically begins charging so there’s no need to press the power button.
When there isn’t a device connected to the PowerCore, it automatically turns off in about 5 seconds.
This kind of design should be standard with nearly every power bank because it makes a portable charger so minimalist with how you have to use it and makes the user more carefree and more concerned about using their charging device.
The body of the power bank is plastic with a smooth finish. You would think that the power bank is quite slippery by just looking at it but that’s not the case.
The PowerCore 5000 power bank holds a strong grip that won’t easily slip from your hand, and it’s a great design choice for a power bank that is meant to be held in the hands most of the time. For example, if you’re out playing Pokemon GO, then this power bank is ideal.
Few Parts make a Strong Build
The PowerCore 5000 is what a Mini power bank should be. With compactness comes a strong structure and that goes with the PowerCore 5000.
Although the power bank has a plastic body, it’s quite thick and the power bank is separated into just two pieces that are connected together.
With that said, the slit where the power bank is connected doesn’t even have a place where you can put your nails through.
The Output USB connectors hold onto a charging cable with great grip, which means that moving the power bank won’t make the cable fall out.
The power button is depressed into the power bank enough that it won’t fall out. We even did a press test with a few hundred presses and the power button still functioned the same way as it should.
The weight of the PowerCore 5000 isn’t really a concern. Weighing in at about 5 ounces, it’s heavier than most Mini power bank but it isn’t so heavy that it’ll cause substantial damage if it’s dropped, and it won’t tire you out by simply holding it.
The PowerCore 5000 has the standard safety tech features that prevent the power bank from heating up and causing damage to itself and to the device you’re charging.
There was never a moment that the PowerCore 5000 heated up, and we find that to be a very well built power bank.
Mini power banks tend to be the most reliable type of power banks because of their objective purpose; they’re able to provide an optimal user experience that nearly anyone can rely on.
This is because of their small size and the need for high innovation within a small device is what people expect from a Mini power bank, therefore that’s what companies produce.
The PowerCore 5000 fits into the Mini power bank category but takes the quality just a little further.
The power bank is perfect for taking nearly anywhere and a power capacity that can be relied on for few charges for a smartphone. A charging speed that is nearly as fast as a wall charger.
Put it all together and the PowerCore 5000 Mini power bank takes the small portable charging category to another level of reliability that other charging companies should follow.
A capacity of 5,000mAh, the PowerCore is able to charge some smartphones 2 times and maybe even more.
The charging speeds of the Output and Input are fast at 5V/2.0A, which is one Amp faster than most small power banks.
You can expect relatively the same charging speed that you get from a wall charger with this power bank. Although it’s not usually used to charge tablets, the PowerCore can charge an iPad to an alright capacity and quite fast as well, even though it’s not doing max charge to it.
Mini power banks follow a certain criterion and the PowerCore accomplishes to follow that criterion by being cylindrical and small so it’s very easy to carry around.
Putting it into any bag is no problem either. It feels great in the hands by providing a surface that doesn’t slip. With all the said, the power bank may be very small, but its thickness is its portable weakness. If you want to fit this power bank into your. it will be very uncomfortable.
The build of the power bank is outstanding with a hard plastic shell and charging components that provide a trustworthy user experience.
The PowerCore 5000 is a power bank that can be relied on for nearly every power bank need because it’s strong in nearly every category.
The nimble portability of the power bank and charging capabilities make this charger one of the most reliable power banks on the market.
Power banks with very high capacities and multiple charging ports are great, but the PowerCore 5000 gives people very high freedom with power and then some more.
Mini power banks do come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but the PowerCore 5000 takes the correct path of what a Mini power bank should be.
Just because a power bank has a higher capacity doesn’t mean that it should be much bigger.
That’s why the PowerCore 5000 is a step in the right direction because it increases its power capabilities such as capacity and charging speed while still providing a great portable experience.
Putting it into your may not be the best option, but for nearly any other portable means, the PowerCore 5000 wins.
The 6 best small power banks
Whether you’re away from home for travel, work, or play, the best small power banks can keep your go-to devices charged without taking up precious space. They come in a range of battery capacities and compact sizes (some are tiny enough to stash in your ), so you can find a model that best suits your needs.
Broadly speaking, a power bank’s size is related to its electrical capacity, which is measured in milliamp hour (mAh). In small models, power bank capacity can range from 5000mAh to over 25000mAh — the higher the mAh, the more times the power bank will be able to charge your device. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll get fewer charges for bigger electronics like laptops and more charges for simpler devices like smartphones. Of course, the power bank itself must first be charged before it can power your devices, and the larger the capacity, the longer this can take. Essentially, you’ll be looking at a charging time of 2.5 to 12 hours, depending on battery capacity. At minimum, you’ll want a power bank that can charge a smartphone completely, with extra battery to spare.
As far as portability, large-capacity power banks are about the size of a smartphone, but if that’s more room in your desk or bag than you’re willing to spare, you can opt for slim, lightweight styles that are small enough to stick in your Note, however, that compact power banks are best saved for quick boosts rather than multiple full charges for different devices, as the mAh will be lower.
In general, small power banks come with one or two USB output ports, so think about how many devices you want to charge. While most small power banks come with the micro-USB cable required for charging them before you head out, in most cases you’ll need to supply the wall plug, as well as your device’s charging cable.
After diving deep into power bank reviews and comparing sizes and specs, I’ve rounded up the best small power banks below, so you can charge your device in a pinch.
The overall best
Boasting an ultra-high 4.7-star overall rating after more than 67,000 Amazon reviews, Anker’s PowerCore 10000 power bank has a capacity of 10000mAh and one of the smallest footprints on this list — more compact than a deck of cards. According to the brand, it can supply an iPhone X with 2.4 charges, an iPhone 8 with 3.6 charges, and a Galaxy S9 with 2.2 charges. When the power bank itself needs to be charged up, you can get a full battery in about 4.7 hours. It has a single USB port for charging one device at a time and four small LED lights that display the percentage of power remaining. Included with the power bank are a micro-USB cable and a travel pouch, but you’ll need to supply your own cable if your device requires a different hookup. Weighing just 6.35 ounces, it offers the best combination of power, portability, and reviewer approval.
A reviewer wrote: “I have to say I am genuinely impressed with not only how well it worked but how FAST it charged my iPhone XR! I was not expecting it to charge so quickly, I had about maybe 10% or so left, plugged it in, and within about maybe 30-45mins. maybe an hour or so I had a completely full charge! And the power bank still had enough for I believe another 2 full charges to go.”
Also from Anker, the PowerCore 5000 has a cylindrical design that’s a bit bigger than a roll of breath mints, making it a highly portable power bank option. Designed with a single port, it can power up one device at a time, and according to the brand, the 5000mAh capacity can supply an iPhone X with 1.3 charges, an iPhone 8 with 1.8 charges, and a Galaxy S9 with 1.1 charges. The power level is indicated by three small LED lights, and a micro-USB cable and pouch are included. When the power bank runs out of battery, it’ll take approximately 2.5 hours to recharge it.
A reviewer wrote: “Use it for compact charging (purse or ). I own a larger Anker model which is also great but you can’t beat this for the compact dimensions. Highly recommend for easily carrying around.”
The best for charging 2 devices simultaneously
With a capacity of 20000mAh and two output ports, Anker’s PowerCore Essential 20K power bank can charge two devices simultaneously — and it’s earned a near-perfect 4.8-star overall rating after 48,000 reviews, making it a top pick for a multi-device power bank. There’s a micro-USB output port and a USB-C output port, and when used as a charging solution for a single device, it can provide an iPhone XS with five charges, an iPhone 11 with four charges, a Galaxy S10 with almost five charges, and an iPad mini 5 with 2.5 charges. The power bank itself recharges within about 10 hours, and the battery level can be checked by pressing a button. Though it weighs considerably more than some of the other power banks here, it’s about the size of a smartphone, and each unit is drop tested from 1 meter to ensure durability.
A reviewer wrote: “This is the third Anker portable charger I have purchased and again I am happy with this. I like the dual charging port feature, I can charge two phones or a phone and a tablet at the same time. The charging time is fast! And with the portable fully charged I can use this for days before recharging it again. I always take this with me whenever I go on trips- always good to have a reliable portable charger handy! Definitely recommend this.”
The best power bank with a digital display
With INIU’s portable power bank, checking your battery level is as simple as glancing at the numerical LED readout. Another powerful option, the 20000mAH capacity power bank can be used to fuel accessories and devices of all sizes, and it can supply a Galaxy S20 with 3.4 charges, an iPhone 13 with 4.3 charges, and an iPad mini 4 with 2.7 charges. It has two output ports plus a USB-C input/output port, which means you can charge up to three devices at once. Of course, with that kind of power capacity, you’re looking at a power bank that’s a bit bigger and heavier than other options featured on this list. That being said, there’s a built-in flashlight for even more convenience. This pick recharges itself via an included USB-C cable, with a charge time of about 12 hours, according to a reviewer.
A reviewer wrote: “We took this camping, and it held a charge for days. We were able to charge our phones several times. The percent power display was incredibly useful. Highly portable and TSA compliant.”
The most battery capacity
If you’re looking for the most charging power, Ekrist’s high-capacity power bank can hold 25800mAh, which the brand claims is enough to fully charge any smartphone four to eight times and an iPad Pro two to three times. While this number will vary between manufacturers and devices, one Galaxy 8 owner that reviewed the Ekrist claimed that 50% battery capacity remained after charging their device four times. The power bank has two USB output ports and one micro-USB input port, and it comes with a micro-USB cable. When it’s time to re-up the battery, it’ll take about eight to 10 hours to recharge the power bank.
A reviewer wrote: “I’ve owned this less than a month and it has quickly become a necessity in my daily life; fitting nicely into the side of my backpack. The value for what you’re getting is well worth it when compared with other models that are older, more expensive, and less mAh. Average battery cycle will give me multiple full phone charges and only needs a charge about once a week, give or take.”
The best solar power bank
If you’ll be away from a reliable power source or want a backup in case the electricity goes out at home, this is the best small solar power bank to help keep your devices charged. It has a capacity of 12000mAh, which can be charged up quickly via USB-cord (best for regular use), but you can also rely on the solar power function as a backup in a pinch or to top it off as needed. (Keep in mind, also, that smaller solar panels like the one found on this unit mean the power bank itself will charge more slowly in the sun, so you’re trading some power for the compact size.) The brand states that the power bank can charge five devices simultaneously, and it has four built-in cables: a USB cable, a micro-USB cable, a type-C cable, and a Lightning cable.
According to a reviewer, when fully juiced, the power bank can charge an iPhone SE three to four times, but the brand doesn’t give details on how many times it can charge any other phone or tablet models. Note, also, that there’s no mention of how long it takes to fully charge the power bank via wall outlet or solar power.
In addition to its functionality as a charger, the bank features an LED that works as a small flashlight.
A reviewer wrote: “This is a great little charger. It charges fairly quickly via USB cable and has the added benefit of solar charging when stuck in a rut. This feature makes it great for travel. Its a nice compact size and it comes with four handy cables already attached. I can hang it on my backpack while hiking and it’ll charge. I can leave it on my cars’ dashboard while driving and it’ll charge. When I’m sitting at home and I’m too lazy to plug it in to the wall, I just place it near a window and it charges. Solar charging isn’t very quick but its definitely a nice addition!”