Portable Power Station vs. Power Bank: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to backup power, people often find themselves weighing their options between a portable power station and a power bank. But what’s the difference?
While they operate similarly, it’s easy to get them confused. But there are clear and distinct differences between them. When you need to power your devices or run a home appliance, it’s crucial to know the difference. That way, you can have the power you need — when you need it most.
This guide will explain the differences between portable power stations and power banks and which one you should choose.
What Is a Portable Power Station?
A portable power station (PPS) is essentially a rechargeable battery that lets you take electricity anywhere. It allows you to supply backup power to electrical devices, household appliances, and more, providing a great energy source for emergency power outages and off-grid travel.
Traditional generators typically have a built-in motor and require fossil fuel to generate power. However, PPS units store electricity in their onboard batteries to use whenever needed.
A PPS contains three main components: a battery, inverter, and a charge controller. The battery cells store the energy. Newer stations are equipped with lithium batteries, which are lightweight, more efficient, and safe to discharge to a lower voltage without damaging the battery.
The inverter converts the DC battery power to AC power, which most household appliances and electrical devices use. Lastly, the charge controller protects the battery so it doesn’t overcharge.
Other common features you may find in a power station include DC outputs, USB outputs, and built-in handles or wheels to increase portability.
EcoFlow DELTA Pro
The EcoFlow DELTA Pro is one of the new generation of portable power stations. For its compact size, this PPS packs a massive punch. Starting with a 3.6kWh capacity that you can expand up to 25kWh, it’s the most robust solution for camping, road trips, or home backup during power outages.
Even more impressively, you can add portable solar panels to make the DELTA Pro into a solar generator. That means more power, less reliance on the grid, and lower energy costs.
What Is a Power Bank?
A power bank is a charging device that stores electric energy to charge gadgets such as your smartphones, laptops, tablets, and more. It’s a reliable and affordable energy source that you can take on the go.
You’ll likely need to charge the unit using a wall outlet. Once the power bank has charged, you can connect your devices to the power bank using the appropriate cables.
Power banks are available in various capacities, typically ranging between 1000 to 50,000 mAh. There are many designs on the market that may suit your needs.
Differences Between Portable Power Station and Power Bank
While portable power stations and power banks perform similar functions, several critical differences exist.
First, the most noticeable difference between the two is the size and weight. Take, for example, the EcoFlow River 2 Portable Power Station. It is about the size of a boombox stereo and weighs just under 8 pounds.
Conversely, a power bank may weigh less than two pounds. It’s a more lightweight option if you want something to store in your backpack, but it will offer far less charge capacity.
The main difference between these two pieces of equipment is their output. A PPS stores more power and can handle even high-wattage appliances. For example, keeping with the EcoFlow River 2 PPS, the output capacity can handle devices up to 600W. This allows you to use devices such as your refrigerator, projector, 50-inch TV, blender, small Keurig, and more.
In contrast, power banks are typically for smaller devices like smartphones, laptops, or tablets. They usually feature USB inputs for charging digital devices.
A PPS will have a larger battery capacity than a power bank. The River 2 PPS sports up to 256Wh of capacity.
Meanwhile, a power bank has less capacity, usually ranging from 2000-10,000mAh. It seems like a high capacity until you convert it to Wh. A 10,000 mAh battery with a 3.6V voltage only delivers 36Wh.
PPS units like the EcoFlow River 2 also have solar charging capability, meaning you don’t need to plug it into an outlet to recharge. You can hook it up to a 110W EcoFlow solar panel or buy them together and access free, renewable energy.
There are many reasons to choose solar energy. It’s clean, renewable, and free once you purchase the right equipment. Solar panels generate energy off-grid, meaning you can take power on the road or use it as a home backup in the event of a blackout.
Power banks rely on grid electricity to recharge. It means higher recharging costs and less freedom from the grid.
Should I Purchase a Portable Power Station or a Power Bank?
Depending on your needs, you’ll need to determine whether a PPS or power bank is right for you. A power bank can offer a reliable energy source for your small personal electronics if you need a lightweight (and short-term) charging solution to carry in your backpack. However, the PPS is better suited for extended off-grid activities, RV living, and emergency power outages. Below, we’ll cover these scenarios more in-depth.
A power bank can be a solid solution for backup energy if you only need to recharge one or two devices. It’s easy to carry on the go, whether going to school, commuting to work, or flying on an airplane.
That said, a PPS also can charge your electronics — and more of them. Items like the River 2 can charge multiple devices simultaneously, while the DELTA Pro has as many as 15 outlets. Your whole family could charge their smartphones, laptops, and more. You just probably can’t take it carry-on on an airplane.
Outdoor off-grid usage is where PPS units shine, especially for RVers and adventurers looking to enjoy nature while using modern technologies. They can supply energy for all the necessary appliances in your tent, boat, RV, or other off-grid locations.
A PPS for camping allows you to generate energy for night lamps, electronics, coffee makers, a hot stove, and other appliances simultaneously. Add the right solar panels, and you can generate all the energy you need, no matter where you go.
When you find a campground or RV park, you’ll want to research whether you have access to internet connectivity, cell phone reception, and other necessities like potable water. RVs spend a lot of time on the road, and a PPS reduces the drain on your vehicle’s gasoline.
Using a car generator will only cause you to burn through your fuel quickly. But with a PPS and solar panel setup, you don’t need to worry about fuel efficiency and costs of powering your RV appliances and devices.
Power banks can be useful for in-home use, especially when using office devices such as your phone, tablet, or laptop without an outlet in sight. You can even use your electronics while charging.
However, a PPS offers a more reliable and robust solution better suited for appliances such as microwaves, electric grills, mini coolers, pressure cookers, and coffee makers. Larger capacity PPS units will run refrigerators, space heaters, and more.
Furthermore, you can use portable stations for home outdoor use, such as in your backyard or shed, especially if an outlet is unavailable.
Of course, a PPS will also provide you with more electricity and storage capacity for emergencies. Electrical outages can last a long time — the more capacity at your disposal, the better. A PPS operates even while charging your devices, ensuring you have smooth, uninterrupted power.
What to Look for in Portable Power Stations
If you’re considering a PPS, here’s what to look for to find the right one.
The capacity measured in Watt-hour (Wh) refers to how long your station will last. The PPS solutions from EcoFlow range from 288Wh to 3600 Wh. And with expandable battery capacity, you can supercharge your PPS up to 25kWh.
Specifications and Features
Of course, you want to ensure all the specifications and features align with your needs. For example, how big is the PPS, and how much does it weigh? Having a built-in handle or wheels gives greater portability. In general, the larger the output capacity, the bigger your station will be.
You can even purchase EcoFlow solar panels to turn your PPS into a solar generator. The compatibility with solar panels helps you achieve energy independence from the grid.
Choosing between a portable power station and a power bank will depend on your needs. A PPS is more effective, especially for outdoor camping, RV trips, or emergency backup for your home. A power bank is better for short-term, low-power output applications, such as charging your smartphone on the go. Now that you know the differences between portable power stations and power banks — and how they work — you can make an informed decision about which is right for you.
EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.
Fake capacity power banks exposed, or why you should buy genuine accessories
There’s one thing we can all agree on – power banks are pretty awesome. They store back-up charge in their own, internal battery and let us recharge our phones anytime, anywhere, even when we’re away from an outlet. But not all power banks are created equally. Some are small and light, designed to fit in the smallest of s; others are large and bulky, but hold much more charge. Then there are the power banks that blatantly lie about their capacity. Needless to say, you don’t want to own a power bank of the third kind.
These fake power banks can’t be found in your local BestBuy, that’s for sure. You won’t see them in reputable online stores either. But if you’ve ever searched for a power bank, you might have come across fakes on eBay, its Chinese alternatives, or other places where dodgy smartphone accessories can be found. Most of these are sold without branding, but fakes portraying themselves as genuine brand-name accessories do exist.
How to spot a fake power bank?
Well, using common sense should do the trick. Most power banks hold between 2,000 and 10,000 milliamp-hours (mAh) of charge – the higher the capacity, the larger the physical size of the accessory. The largest models on the market do reach capacities over 20,000mAh, but they’re a rare sight among average consumers due to their size, weight, and price.
Go to eBay, however, and you may come across power banks that supposedly pack 50,000 to 100,000 mAh of charge – an astonishingly large amount – but usually cost next to nothing. These are the fakes you should stay away from. Sure, they almost certainly will work as a power bank, but their actual capacity is guaranteed to be less than what the listing wants you to believe. In fact, if a power bank could really store 100,000 mAh of charge, it would be large enough to require a backpack to be carried around.
We’re not saying that every single power bank that offers lots of charge for little money is a fake. Indeed, there are some good value-for-money offerings, such as the 10,000mAh power bank from OnePlus costing 19, or the 20,000mAh one from Aukey priced at 25 on Amazon. But if a deal seems too good to be true, then it could really be a scam. Do your research before making a purchase.
How bad are those fake power banks anyway?
To answer this question, we spent some 10 on one of those suspicious no-name power banks. (So you don’t have to!) Our unit was supposedly capable of storing 20,000mAh of charge, which was quite a lot – about enough to provide an iPhone 6s with 10 full charges. However, the accessory could barely recharge an iPhone 6s twice before it ran completely out of juice. Clearly, the thing’s actual capacity was much less than the advertised 20,000mAh, so we cracked it open to see what was really going on under the hood.
Honestly, the internals of the accessory didn’t look as bad as we expected them to. Inside we found four lithium battery cells (type 18650, a popular standard) and a circuit board to control the charging process. The cells, however, looked fishy. The most alarming thing about them was the complete lack of labeling: neither their manufacturer, nor their voltage and capacity were stated. We could only assume that they were either old or of low quality, based on our experience with the accessory. In any case, four genuine, high-quality cells of this type should easily hold enough energy to recharge an iPhone 6s at least four times, but can never provide the advertised 20,000mAh capacity.
Conclusion: are fake capacity power banks worth it?
To summarize, fake capacity power banks are looking like a bad deal. The only good thing about them is that they cost very little money – between 10 and 20 in most cases, depending on the model. And yes, they seem to work. But as the saying goes, you do get what you pay for, and what you’re most likely going to get is a bunch of lies – a bank that can hold very little charge for its size, made with lithium cells of dubious quality. If you’re looking for a power bank, our advice is to go for one made by a brand name you can trust. Sure, it might cost a bit more than the fakes, but it is much more likely to give you the performance and features that its manufacturer is promising.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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
What’s the Best Capacity for a Power Bank?
So you notice that you use your phone a lot, and the truth is that you need your phone nearly all the time to complete either your professional or personal goals daily. Too many people think that we need to limit ourselves from phones, but the reality is that we rely on them to make life easier. Since the use of them rises, the battery life decreases, and at this point, you may want to consider getting a Power Bank to optimize better the way you function daily.
A Power bank is simply a device that holds energy, and it’s used to charge devices like your smartphone while on the go. You can learn more about power banks here.
Getting a power bank should be well thought out because the power bank you get should match your needs. Are you looking for a power bank to take to the office throughout the week and want to be known as the charging king at work? Or maybe you want a personal power bank that you only use.
Whatever the circumstance, getting the power bank that serves your needs will greatly impact you by serving you. One of the most vital things about a power bank is the capacity of the power bank. Do you want to spend money on a 20,000mAh power bank? Or perhaps just a 3,000mAh power bank?
What are the Best Lowest Capacity Power Banks?
Let’s think small first. Mini power banks were the beginning of portable chargers, and they’re what made the charging solution so popular as you take this charging device wherever you go. As mini power banks would be able to fit into your. and some in form factors that made it easier to place into your Of course, the equivalent exchange with mini power banks is the low power capacity they would have, with mini portable chargers having 3,000mAh to 5,000mAh power capacities.
Today, there are much fewer mini power banks on the market than there were a few years ago, and that’s because the portable devices that we use now have larger batteries and require more charging power than what mini power banks have to offer. That said, portable chargers with 3,000mAh or 5,000mAh capacities still have their place for charging certain devices, albeit a slim category.
We did pick out a few mini power banks to show what they feature and what charging is like for them. There are mainly two types of mini power banks you’ll find, though, and what would be standard ones that only make use of slower charging because they only use standard USB-A ports; on the other hand, you’ll find mini chargers that have slightly higher capacities and use fast charging.
PowerAdd 5,000mAh Mini Power Bank
This PowerAdd portable charger is a perfect example of a modern-day standard mini power bank done right. The charger has a 5,000mAh power capacity that can charge some phones to full power at least once; however, if we’re talking about modern smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra that has a 5,000mAh battery, you can get close to charging the phone. This close to full power charging will be common with most phones these days as many of them are using much larger batteries than a few years ago. As a result, you can’t expect to use this power bank for a few days, and it’s almost always going to require recharging after being used for a single day.
This power bank is simple on the charging side because it only has a single USB-A port with a 5V/2.4A (12W) charge rate, so this power bank does not use fast charging such as Quick Charge, and that can be another downside of mini power banks. Recharging from this power bank is done via a Micro-USB input port with a 5V/2.0A (10W) speed.
Of course, one of the main reasons to get a mini power bank is its size, and the size of this PowerAdd portable charger is tiny with a length of 4 inches and a thickness of 1.1 inches. It has a cylindrical shape that makes it easy to hold or to place into your
Mini power banks, in general, don’t use fast charging as they’re too small and meant to be a more budget type of power bank. This Xcentz power bank can fast charge most phones on the market because of its use of Power Delivery and Quick Charge, two of the most used fast charging technologies. You can even recharge this power bank at 18W via a PD wall charger.
The other great part is that this power bank comes with a USB-C to USB-C and a USB-C to USB-A cable included in the box. Most mini power banks use a Micro-USB input port for charging and include a Micro-USB cable; however, that tech is obsolete and slow charging, so we’re glad that this Xcentz power bank takes the more modern approach.
CHOETECH 10,000mAh Power Bank with Built-in USB-C and Lightning Cable
As we mentioned before, mid-range power banks are more reliable, and this CHOETECH portable charger has clear proof of that because it uses two built-in cables. The power bank has a USB-C and a Lightning built-in cable; these are the two most used cables for charging, with the USB-C cable being used for charging Android smartphones, and many other devices such as tablets, earbud cases that use USB-C ports to recharge from or basically any other portable device that can charge via the USB-C. The Lightning cable is for charging iPhones that are still using Apple’s Lightning port.
On top of always having ready-to-use cables with this power bank, both the cables use an 18W Power Delivery charging speed. So you can fast charge most Android smartphones, and you can fast charge iPhones that are also Power Delivery compatible; being able to fast charge with a power bank is great because you can stop relying on the power bank faster. Design-wise, once you’re done charging with the cables, they fit directly into the power bank and are fully concealed. The slim form factor of the power bank enables you to place it into your easily.
This CHOETECH power bank has a USB-C PD port that can only recharge the power bank.
The power capacity of Excitrus portable charger is 9,600mAh, and as we mentioned, most power banks with this capacity don’t feature such high PD charging. With a 45W Power Delivery port, you’re able to charge most USB-C chargeable laptops, and in our case, we were able to charge a Lenovo Flex 5 laptop with the power bank, as well as charge a Microsoft Surface Go tablet at its max charging speed. You may also use this power bank to charge a USB-C MacBook.
Along with the USB-C PD port, the power bank has two USB-A ports, with one featuring Quick Charge 3.0 and the other port has a standard 12W charging speed. The power bank can be recharged via the USB-C PD port, and included in the box is a USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cable that lets you start using the power bank right out of the box.
Design-wise, this portable charger is straightforward to take anywhere thanks to its low capacity, as it has a 4-inch length and only a 0.9-inch thickness. Instead of having LED power lights, the charger has an LCD screen that shows the remaining power capacity.
You may think that the wireless charging speed from a power bank is rather weak. Still, surprisingly, the wireless changing rate ranges from 10W for Samsung smartphones to 7.5W for iPhones and 5W for any other wireless charging compatible phones. Additionally, the Aukey power bank has an 18W Power Delivery port and a USB-A Quick Charge 3.0 port. The power bank also has two input ports that you can recharge from, with a Micro-USB port or a USB-C PD port.
In addition to the built-in cable, this UGREEN portable charger also has two ports, which basically lets you charge three devices simultaneously with the power bank if you want. It has an 18W USB-C Power Delivery port and a USB-A Quick Charge 3.0 port, so you’re getting fast charging no matter what port you’re using. So with mid-range power banks, you get to have built-in cables and fast charging ports, and it all comes into a small form factor that can fit point your as this UGREEN portable charger is nearly the same size as a mini power bank such as the Xcentz mini portable charger that we recommended.
What are the Best High Capacity Power Banks?
High-capacity power banks are the most useful types of portable chargers because they feature the best charging experience that portable chargers have to offer. High-capacity power banks are exactly what it sounds like. These chargers have 20,000mAh power capacities or higher; these higher capacities enable you to charge devices to full power multiple times before needing to recharge the power bank.
In addition to having a power capacity that you can use for days, high-capacity power banks also use some very powerful charging that lets you charge most USB-C laptops. Some use AC outlets; However, that gets into portable power station territory.
The trade-off with having more charging power and a larger-sized power bank is worth it in most cases because even a high-capacity power bank is not too large or heavy.
RAVPower 20,000mAh 18W Power Delivery Tri Output and Tri Input Power Bank
This RAVPower portable charger is a great example of why high-capacity power banks are one of the best to own. The charger has a 20,000mAh power capacity that can charge most phones to full power about two times or more. A high capacity such as this can also be useful for charging tablets to full power at least once.
The power bank also does a great job with its charging power because it has three output ports and input ports. There are two USB-A ports and one USB-C Power Delivery port; one of the USB-A ports features Quick Charge, while the other one has a standard 12W charging rate USB-C Power Delivery port has an 18W charging speed.
You also have three ways to recharge this power bank, with one being the USB-C PD port that is the fastest way to recharge the power bank. You also get the choice of using the Lightning or Micro-USB input port for recharging, but those are slower than the USB-C PD port. With all this charging power, you also get an LCD that shows that the remaining power capacity and if you’re using fast charging from the Quick Charge 3.0 port.
Instead, this JIGA power bank has three USB-A ports and three input ports. Each of the USB-A output ports has a 5V/2.0A (10W) charging speed. Recharging the power bank is impressive because you can use one of the three input ports for recharging; one of the input ports is a USB-C port, and the other two are a Micro-USB and Lightning input port.
Overall, this JIGA power bank is reliable for Android and iPhone smartphone users because of its various input ports to recharge the power bank.
On top of the PD port, if you’re charging from the Power Delivery port and the USB-A Quick Charge port at the same time, then the USB-C PD port lowers its power output to 65W. A 65W PD charge rate is still tons of power, and in our tests, we were still able to charge a Lenovo Flex 5 laptop at its max charging speed even when we were charging two devices simultaneously.
One of the main setbacks for a high-capacity power bank is recharging them, as you always want to make sure that you’re recharging it at its max speed. If you’re not, then it can take a long time to recharge the power bank; thankfully, this one recharges at 60W, but you have to provide your own PD wall charger to recharge it at 60W. This power bank does come with a USB-C to USB-C cable, though.
One of the PD ports has a 60W output, and the other one has an 18W output. The 60W port is more useful for charging laptops, and the 18W port is best for charging fast charging smartphones. This power bank also comes with a 45W PD wall charger and a USB-C to USB-C cable that you can use to recharge the power bank at its max speed.
You get tons of power with this Crave power bank, but it’s huge and heavy, you can still take it anywhere you want, but it’s definitely not going to fit into your
That said, plugging in another charger may not be necessary as this MAXOAK portable charger has two USB-A Quick Charge 3.0 ports and a single 45W USB-C Power Delivery port.
Included in the box is a USB-C to USB-C cable and a 30W PD wall charger that you can use to recharge teh power bank at its max charging speed.
It’s gonna depend on which one you get.
Small capacity Power Bank: Focus on sizes in the 3,000mAh to 5,000mAh range because these kinds of power banks are small, powerful, feature a good capacity of power, and are extremely portable to be taken nearly everywhere.
Medium capacity Power Bank: Capacities about 6,000mAh to 15,000mAh are good because they can provide sufficient power to charge your device a few times over. They may also have two ports or maybe more to charge more devices at the same. This is where specialized tech comes in to take advantage of technology like Quick Charge and Power Delivery.
Large Power Bank: Large power banks are in the 20,000mAh or larger range. These power banks can last on one charge for quite a long time, and the anxiety of your power bank running out of a charge is nearly nonexistent because of the absurd large capacity of the power bank. Power banks of this capacity are bigger, and because of that, they will most likely feature 2 or more charging ports and maybe even more than 1 port to recharge the power bank itself. These power banks can charge many devices at the same time and are great for sharing. They will feature the latest in charging tech because the size of the power bank will allow for more innovation.
Conclusion: Power bank capacity will ultimately depend on what you need.