Our favourite portable chargers and power banks rated and reviewed, plus an in-depth buyer’s guide
by Matt Jones
In recent years, the rise of portable battery chargers or power banks has meant that heading into the great outdoors no longer means going off-grid. And being able to keep your devices charged even when you’re miles from the mains has some undeniable benefits. After all, a functioning phone can be a lifesaver in an emergency. We’ve tested ten of the best portable power banks and solar chargers for backpacking in a range of sizes and capacities. So whether you’re after a small, lightweight pal or a rugged, heavy-duty Hero, there should be something for you. This group test also includes three solar-powered chargers. These offer an alternative solution to the perennial power problem for adventurers planning to spend multiple days in the wilderness.
What Makes The Best Portable Power Pack?
Firstly, think about how much power you’re likely to need and how long you might be away from a power source. This will dictate what size power bank you need in terms of battery capacity, which is usually measured in milliamp hours (mAh).
To help you out, note that it typically takes 2,500 to 3,500mAh to charge a modern smartphone (though many factors can affect power consumption). Charging a GPS unit or digital camera is likely to consume a similar amount of power, while charging a head torch, smartwatch or GoPro will consume much less. High-powered devices like tablets and laptops are the biggest drain on battery capacity.
Put simply, the larger the rated capacity (in mAh), the more juice the power bank can store – though the trade-off is increased size and weight. So if you’re only carrying a smartphone on a day walk and just want a back-up power source, look for a.sized battery charger. On the other hand, if you’re planning to spend multiple days in the wilderness carrying a number of different devices (like a GPS, phone, GoPro and digital camera), then you’re going to need one of the bigger power banks around (probably 20,000mAh).
To power multiple devices effectively you’ll also need a power bank that supports simultaneous charging, i.e. one that has at least two or more outlet ports. Many of the latest models also offer features such as quick charging through high-speed USB or USB-C connectivity, as well as in-built technologies to prevent over-charging and optimise charging efficiency.
Durable Power Banks
Also consider your environment. In damp, humid conditions or on expeditions you might need a waterproof and rugged power bank, which can cope with moisture or even complete immersion as well as bumps and knocks. If so, look for a product with a certified IP (International Protection) rating, which is usually expressed as two letters or numerals, e.g. IPX6 or IP67. This standard classifies the degree of protection provided against intrusion, dust, accidental contact and water.
“It typically takes 2,500 to 3,500mAh to charge a modern smartphone”
As well as being impact and water-resistant, power banks specifically designed for the great outdoors often have LED lights, so they can be used as torches. This can be a useful additional feature, as can power banks with integrated charging cables – so you don’t have to remember to bring separate cables with you.
Other devices have integrated or add-on solar panels, which offer the ability to top up the power using energy from the sun. Solar panels are becoming more efficient all the time, meaning that this is now a viable option for those planning to spend days or even weeks off-grid. Most solar panels trickle-charge a power bank over a period of several hours, but others can also be plugged directly into your device.
GP Batteries Charge AnyWay
Price: £29.99 Weight: 224g Capacity: 10,400mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 81 x 64 x 25 mm
One of the most innovative bits of outdoor kit we’ve seen recently, The Charge AnyWay from GP Batteries is a 2-in-1 battery charger and power bank. It comes with 4 x nifty RecyKo rechargeable AA batteries. These batteries can all be used separately from the power bank. That means that with the power bank and these batteries, you’ve got the versatility to charge your smartphone or battery-powered devices like a headtorch. It’s easy to use too, thanks to a dual color LED indicator that displays charging status. In-built safety protection offers security against overheating, overloading or short circuits.
Pros: Lightweight, versatile, easy to use and eco-friendly, since it uses rechargeable batteries rather than a lithium ion cell, and reduces your reliance on single-use AA batteries. Cons: Not the speediest. It takes about 6 hours to fully charge the supplied 4 x AA RecyKo AA batteries. It’s also not as quick as other portable chargers when used as a power bank due to the 1A USB output.
Biolite Charge 20
Price: £40 Weight: 166g Capacity: 5,200mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 108 x 44 x 20mm
The smallest power bank on test, the Biolite Charge 20 weighs under 200g and slides easily into a It has a 5,200mAh capacity – enough for about two smartphone charges. It is easy to operate. There’s just a single button that lights up a four-LED indicator telling you how much juice is left. There’s one micro-USB input and one 2.1A USB output, offering fairly swift charging. The stainless steel housing is sleek and durable, while a flip-top lid helps to protect the ports from dirt and moisture. The Charge 20 has an IPX6 rating, offering resistance to rain and spills. It is supplied with its own charging cable.
Pros: Lightweight, compact and durable. Just slip it into a and head out into the hills for peace of mind, knowing you can keep your phone alive throughout the day. Cons: Single outlet port and limited battery capacity means this little guy reaches his limits when it comes to charging bigger devices.
Goalzero Venture 70
Price: £136.95 Weight: 485g Capacity: 17,700mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 170 x 103 x 29mm
The Goal Zero Venture 70 is a seriously rugged, waterproof power bank with an IP67 rating. It has a fairly generous 17,700mAh capacity – enough to charge a smartphone five times (though the manufacturer quotes up to six charges). The two high-speed 2.4A USB outputs can charge two devices simultaneously.
The Venture 70 also has a Smart charge feature that can identify different devices. It then applies the fastest charging profile possible, without risk of overheating or overcharging. It also allows pass-through charging. That means you can safely charge devices from the power bank even when it’s plugged into the mains. We also liked the built-in 65-lumen LED torch, which has two brightness settings and three strobe modes, including SOS.
Pros: Packed with useful features and some sophisticated internal tech. The extremely rugged, waterproof housing with integrated cables makes the Venture 70 a very practical option for the great outdoors. Cons: It’s the heaviest power bank in this round-up, and also the most expensive. If you really want to get the best out of the product you’ll need to read the instruction manual. That explains how to initiate the Smart charge sequence whenever you plug in a device for the first time.
Price: £80 Weight: 392g Capacity: 20,100mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 168 x 85 x 28mm
Zendure’s A6PB cutting-edge power bank is equipped with USB-C and 3.0A USB outlet ports for Rapid charging of two devices simultaneously. It has a generous 20,100mAh capacity, enough to fully charge an iPhone X 5½ times. We found that real-world performance matched the manufacturer’s claims. It also offers pass-through charging. Auto-detection means that devices start to charge as soon as they are plugged in. Adaptive charging automatically adjusts the output to charge your device at optimum speed. The A6PD also has in-built protection against short circuits, power surges, overheating and overcharging. It comes with a protective cloth pouch and USB cable.
Pros: With the quickest charge times of any power bank in this round-up, the A6PD is ideal for those with the latest devices who need their juice fast. Cons: Although housed in an extremely rugged composite case, this power bank does not carry an IP rating and is not waterproof.
GP Batteries M-Series MP15MA
Price: £34.99 Weight: 347g Capacity: 15,000mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 140 x 75 x 24mm
With USB-C and twin 2.4A USB outputs, the GP Batteries M-series power bank supports the latest devices and offers speedy charging. You can charge up to three devices simultaneously. The 15,000mAh capacity gives a real-world performance of about four to five smartphone charges (though the manufacturer quotes six). It’s very simple and easy to use – a single button with four LED indicator lights and device auto-detection means you can just plug in and go. It is supplied with a 2-in-1 micro-USB and USB-C cable.
Pros: Striking a good balance between capacity, weight and size, this is a versatile all-rounder at a competitive price. For us, it’s the best value option in this test. The triple outlet ports are very useful, while USB-C input/output supports the latest devices and permits Rapid mains charging. Cons: Though the case features anti-slip rubber coated edges that may help to absorb minor impacts, the power bank does not carry an IP rating. Nor is it supplied with a protective pouch.
Outdoor Tech Kodiak Plus 2.0
Price: £59.99 Weight: 290g Capacity: 10,000mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 123 x 88 x 28mm
Thanks to its IPX7 rating, this power bank by Outdoor Tech can be submerged in 3ft of water for up to 30 minutes. That makes it well-suited to the most demanding conditions. It also has a built-in 100-lumen torch with three light settings – another useful feature for the great outdoors. The design is compact and relatively lightweight, while the 10,000mAh capacity gives you real-world performance of a little over three full smartphone charges. However, although there are two USB outlet ports, only one of these supports high-speed charging. The Kodiak Plus 2.0 does not have charge-through capability either.
Pros: Very rugged construction and simple operation. We also like the bright LED flashlight for use around camp. Cons: While the 2.4A USB output is speedy, the slower 1.0A port is sluggish compared to the multiple high-speed charging options of other power banks here.
Anker Powercore 20100
Price: £34.99 Weight: 353g Capacity: 20,100mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 173 x 67 x 26mm
This slim-line power bank has two 2.4A USB outputs for high-speed charging, augmented by Anker’s PowerIQ Smart charge and voltage boost technology. This identifies your device and adjusts voltage output accordingly, while also compensating for cable resistance. It’s all intended to deliver the fastest possible charging speed, even when charging two devices simultaneously.
Real world performance was very good. The large 20,100mAh capacity gives five to seven smartphone charges, depending on the model. The Powercore 20100 also has built-in protection from power surges and short circuits. It comes with a micro USB cable and a travel pouch.
Pros: Slim design, simple to use and good performance. High battery capacity and competitively priced too. Cons: We wish it had a USB-C port. The only other real drawback is that the plastic case is not IP-rated against impact or moisture, meaning it’s not as tough as some other power banks we tested. Basically, don’t drop it or let it get wet!
Ravpower Xtreme RP-PB41
Price: £36.99 Weight: 459g Capacity: 26,800mAh Dimensions (L x W x D): 178 x 85 x 27mm
This Ravpower Xtreme power bank boasts triple 2.4A USB ports so you can charge three devices simultaneously at high speed. An impressive array of built-in technology protects against overheating, overcharging, short circuits and power surges. It also automatically adjusts charge output and voltage for optimum charging speeds. It’s incredibly simple to use, with a single button that displays a four-LED power indicator to let you know how much juice you have left. Not that you’re likely to run out, given the whopping 26,800mAh battery capacity. That gives you nine full charges for the iPhone X, which is impressive. It is supplied with a micro-USB cable and a travel pouch.
Pros: Huge battery capacity, multiple outlets, high-speed charging, easy to use and very well-priced. Cons: Inevitably, this power bank is fairly heavy. We also wish it had a USB-C port – though the latest 26800mAh Ravpower model (the PB058) has added this feature. Our only other negative is that this power bank isn’t IP-rated, so it isn’t as tough as some.
WakaWaka Power With Solar Panel And Link
Price: Power £49.99, Solar panel and link £79.99 Weight: Power 165g, Solar panel and link 751g Capacity: Power 3,000mAh, Solar panel and link max 10W output Dimensions (L x W x D): Power 125 x 83 x 21mm, Solar panel (folded) 170 x 170 x 28mm
A compact and lightweight power bank with an integrated solar panel that can fully recharge its 3,000mAh internal battery in 12-18 hours of sunlight. The WakaWaka Power has a single 2.1A USB output and a micro-USB input (so you can charge it from the mains too). In addition, the Power has a 70-lumen LED torch with four brightness settings and SOS mode. The 3,000mAh capacity gives you about 200 hours of light or one full smartphone charge, and charging speed is fairly swift. The power bank has a swivelling base that enables you to place it at almost any angle. This is ideal for positioning it as a camp lantern or adjusting the solar panel to ensure it is in direct sunlight.
To boost the capability, you can also add a separate folding solar panel with a max 10W output. It connects to the Power via a link box. This also has a second USB port so you can charge another device simultaneously. Setup is simpler than it sounds, and the Power’s LED indicators tell you how much juice it has left as well as how effectively it is charging from the sun.
Pros: It has a useful LED light and enough juice to give your smartphone a full charge. When coupled with the separate solar panel and link, its capabilities are drastically increased for off-grid trips. The 10W panel has a bigger output than any other solar charger we tested. Cons: The Power is obviously limited by its small 3,000mAh capacity, though WakaWaka also sell 5,000 and 10,000mAh power banks that are compatible with the solar panel and link. However, the key drawbacks of the system are cost and weight. Though it has a big 10W output, the solar panel is heavy, while the total cost of the Power, solar panel and link is nearly £130. And like all solar-powered systems, you’re obviously reliant on several hours of sunshine to get optimum results. The panel itself delivers solid performance though.
Freeloader Sixer Plus Supercharger Solar Panel
Price: Sixer £69.99, Supercharger £49.99 (or buy together as the Off Grid Adventurer bundle for £110) Weight: Sixer 250g, Supercharger 311g Capacity: Sixer 6,000mAh, Supercharger max 5W output Dimensions (L x W x D): Sixer 134 x 83 x 30mm, Supercharger 275 x 180 x 15mm
Another compact and relatively lightweight power bank with an integrated solar panel that can fully recharge its 6,000mAh internal battery in 28 hours of sunlight. However, with the Supercharger solar panel attached, charge time is reduced to around 8 hours, or 6 hours if all the solar panels are in direct sunlight. The Freeloader Sixer has a 2.1A USB output as well as integrated micro-USB and lightning cables, enabling up to three devices to be charged simultaneously.
Pros: Easy to use thanks to the LCD screen’s clear icons that indicate remaining battery life and charging source. We liked the integrated charging cables too. The 5W Supercharger solar panel is impressively thin and light. It also comes with Velcro straps to attach it to a rucksack. The solar cells are efficient enough to charge even in overcast conditions. That makes the system a good option for off-grid adventurers – provided you’ll see some sun. Cons: The integrated support stand used to position the Sixer is flimsy and snapped on test. Though marketed as impact- and water-resistant, it does not carry an IP-rating. It does have a rubberised cover to help protect against damage, but this needs to be removed to use the integrated charging cables.
Powertraveller Extreme Solar – Best In Test
Price: £115 Weight: Extreme 280g, Solar panel 284g Capacity: Extreme 12,000mAh, Solar panel max 5W output Dimensions (L x W x D): Extreme 140 x 78 x 28mm, Solar panel (folded) 275 x 180 x 15mm
This combination battery and solar charger kit consists of two components. There’s a 12,000mAh capacity power bank and a separate folding solar panel of clamshell design that delivers a max output of 5W. The power bank has a 2.0A USB output as well as a USB-C port and, uniquely among the power banks in this test, a 12V DC outlet. This makes the Powertraveller a versatile option for charging multiple devices quickly, from SLR cameras and GPS devices to the latest smartphones. It’s housed in a tough, rugged, waterproof case with an IP65 rating, meaning it is dust-proof and waterproof (though not immersible). The power bank also supports pass-through charging and is supplied with an array of cables to fit various devices.
The solar panel is compact and lightweight. It unfolds to 210 degrees and will charge in low light conditions. A flashing LED light shows green for optimum charging, red for lower-quality conditions. Handily it also comes with a Velcro strap that enables you to attach the panel to a rucksack.
Pros: Very versatile thanks to multiple outlets, including USB-C and a 12V DC output. Decent battery capacity gives up to five full smartphone charges. This is also the toughest solar charger on test, making it our preferred option for multi-day wilderness trips. Cons: Few drawbacks other than the standard proviso that applies to all solar-powered products – you’re obviously reliant on several hours of decent sunshine to get good performance. However, even when used as a standard power bank the Powertraveller performs extremely well.
You’ve got the power! Well, at least you will if you make custom power banks chargers part of your event. GIve the crowd a burst of energy! View
How Do You Customize Power Banks?
The best way to get your power banks customized is by ordering them through a promotional products company. Depending on the device, the company will personalize them by laser engraving or screen printing your design.
What is a Power Bank?
A power bank is a rechargeable device that powers cell phones or tablets on-the-go. They’re usually.sized and connect to your mobile phone with a short USB cord. Once the power bank runs out of battery, you can charge it up and use it again!
How Do You Use a Power Bank?
Using a power bank is as simple as charging it up and plugging it into your phone! Each device has its own usage recommendations, but a good rule of thumb is to unplug the power bank as soon as it is fully charged.
What Are the Different Types of Chargers?
There are car chargers, power banks, wall power adapters, and more. Each of these chargers serves their own purpose, and which one you choose will depend on your lifestyle, device type, and how many devices you need to charge!
How is a Power Bank Made?
A power bank is made by attaching a lithium-ion battery to a circuit board and putting all the components inside a protective case. From there, the power bank is tested, inspected, and shipped to its rightful owner!
Black is the most popular color for power banks.
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The largest order placed last year was for 41,000 power banks.
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Pixy Mini Compact Power Bank
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WHAT GOOD IS A POWERBANK IF IT’S TOO INCONVENIENT TO BRING IT WITH YOU?
Weighing only 98g/3.45oz, you might not even feel it in your You never have to think twice again about which powerbank leaves home with you.
Fast charge your compatible iPhone and Android devices from 0-60% in just 30 minutes.
Fully charge most smartphone 1-1.5 times. You can also fully recharge Pixy Mini in just 1.5 hours so it is always ready for your next adventure!
PASS THROUGH CHARGING
Ability to charge Pixy Mini via it’s USB-C Input while also charging another device via it’s USB A output which in turns saves time if you only have a single wall port.
With the pass through charging feature, you are able to charge multiple Pixy Mini at a time.
Don’t take our word for it
Was shocked as I did not expect it to be so TINY! It is literally the size of two lipsticks. Charges my phone from 0 to 50% in about 25 minutes and that’s pretty impressive for a little guy. Just bought another for my wife. Great Job!
I love it! I have to tell a little story about it. A few weeks ago we had a hurricane and I wanted to record videos with my iPhone and brought a Pix Mini with me to be on the safe side. When taking out the iPhone, I lost the power bank in the storm on the beach (where the arrow is pointing).Two days later we looked for it and found it again! Despite the storm and the sand and the rain, it was perfectly intact and had lost none of its function. Excellent!
The only powerbank I carry now. Love the tiny size and weight, I have completely stopped using my old bulky powerbank already!
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How to Choose the Right Power Bank?
For a longer trip, you may want to choose a power bank with a higher mAh and wattage. Power banks with higher mAh can last for more charge cycles before needing a recharge themselves. This is especially helpful for trips that have a long travel time where you may not have guaranteed access to wall outlets to power your devices.
We recommend anywhere from 20,000 mAh to 30,000 mAh and 65W to 100W for trips with extended travel time. This level of charging capacity helps give you peace of mind during travel (which is already stressful as it is) and guarantees that you will not have to rely on wall sockets for your devices or for a recharge to your power bank.
For a shorter trip, you may not need as much mAh and wattage in your power bank. We recommend a range of 6000 mAh to 10,000 mAh and 20W to 45W for trips with a shorter travel time. These types of power banks hold plenty of energy to guarantee 1 or 2 full charges to your smartphone without needing to be recharged. That should be plenty of power to get you to your destination and within reach of a wall outlet.
Devices are particularly important during business trips. You may need your phone to link up with colleagues and your computer to get tasks done. For that reason, you may want to choose a power bank that has a high mAh to last multiple charging cycles, and that can power a variety of devices.
We once again recommend a 20,000 mAh to 30,000 mAh and 65W to 100W power bank for business trips. It may also be useful in these cases to have multiple power banks dedicated to each of your devices. Our Baseus Blade Laptop Power Bank has a charging capacity of 20,000 mAh and 100W, making it an excellent source of energy for your laptop while your phone is linked up to another portable charger.
When it comes to parties and small day trips, you will not need a portable charger with a huge charging capacity. We once again recommend a range of 6000 mAh to 10,000 mAh and 20W to 45W. Our Baseus Magnetic Foldable Power Bank, with a 10,000 mAh and 20W capacity, is particularly convenient for parties and other outings thanks to its ability to fold up and be used as a kickstand. Easily stored in your. it utilizes a magnetic connection to secure strongly to your device, providing a fast charge without interrupting your device usage.
All You Need to Know About Power Bank
Power banks allow you to charge your devices on the go. With a power bank in hand, you can juice up and continue to use your devices without worrying whether or not there will be outlets nearby to keep you going.
Power banks, also known as portable chargers, operate in a similar fashion to your bank account, hence their name. They act as a storage facility for energy. You can use the electrical energy stored within your power bank to charge your devices anytime and anywhere. This is largely thanks to a special type of circuit contained within the power bank itself that controls the flow of energy.
Before you head out on any excursion, whether it’s a business trip, a day out with friends, or any other instance where you may find yourself without ready access to outlets, charge up your power bank through an external power supply like a wall socket. The energy will be stored within the portable charger in a chemical form, ready to be passed into your device at any moment when it is connected to the charger via an output port.
A fast charging power bank is exactly what its name implies: a portable charger that can juice up your devices at a much faster rate than simple wall chargers. These power banks utilize a higher voltage and essentially increase the number of watts being pumped into your device to charge it up more quickly than average.
Wireless power banks are extremely convenient for those who hate traveling around with tons of wires. Rather than getting all tangled up in wires every time you need to charge your devices, simply rely on a wireless power bank. Though they do require a USB to charge themselves, these handy gadgets have the ability to charge your devices through contact alone, with no wired connection required. Battery cases that attach to the back of your phone are one common example of wireless power banks.
To understand the question, we first need to take a look at mAh. The unit mAh is also known as a milliamp hour, and it refers to the charging capacity of a power bank. It indicates how much energy can be transferred from your power bank to another device over time. And, of course, the higher the mAh of a power bank, the more energy it can provide.
Today’s average smartphone has a battery capacity of 2,800 mAh. With that number in mind, let’s break down the charging output you can expect from these common types of power banks:
- 6000 mAh: 2 full smartphone charges before power bank recharge required.
- 10,000 mAh: About 3.5 smartphone charges before a power bank recharge is required.
- 20,000 mAh: 7 full smartphone charges before power bank recharge is required.
- 30,000 mAh: Nearly 11 full smartphone charges before a power bank recharge is required.
The lifespan of a power bank may vary depending on various factors, such as quality, build, battery capacity, type of battery, and how the power bank is used. The average lifespan range for a power bank may be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 years or 300 to 1000 charge cycles. It’s important to remember that charge cycles are likely the most accurate representation of lifespan. This is because some may use a power bank more frequently than others, making years an inaccurate depiction of the lifespan that does not factor in usage.
To increase the lifespan of your power bank, remember to take good care of it. Here are a few useful tips to help you make the most out of your portable chargers:
- Do not use a power bank to charge your devices above 80%.
- Do not leave power banks in extremely hot or cold temperatures.
- Do not let your power bank reach 0%.
- Do not bring your power bank in contact with liquids of any kind.
With power banks and other types of batteries, the first thing you need to worry about in terms of wattage is the watt-hour. Watt-hours indicate how much energy you can get out of a battery and the rate at which that energy will be transmitted from the power bank to your device.
The second thing to worry about when it comes to wattage in your power bank is the overall energy capacity. Oftentimes, the wattage of a power bank refers to its maximum charging output. This may be higher or lower depending on how the power bank is being used. When used as a means of gaining energy from an external source, the maximum wattage output may be higher than when it is used as a power bank on its own. So, if you used a dual 45W power bank, you might expect the energy output to reach up to 45W when used as a charging station from an external source and up to 30W when used as a standalone power bank.
If you’re wondering how to charge your power bank, we’re here to help you there too. To juice up your portable charger, simply connect it to an external power source like a wall socket, just like you would with your devices. This will allow it to absorb and subsequently store electrical energy to then be transferred to your device of choice later on when needed.