The Best Power Banks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
If I have the choice between a device that uses conventional batteries or one that uses rechargeable batteries, I’ll always go with rechargeable. But that means I need to maintain that device, which is why a portable power bank comes with me on nearly every trip. Over the past month, I’ve tested a dozen of the top rated power banks, and from that initial pool, I’ve narrowed it down to the six best power banks.
It doesn’t matter if I’m spending time outdoors or traveling, I’ll need to recharge something, and will inevitably use a power bank. My picks for the best power banks have been used while in the outdoors as well as for everyday use and holiday travel. They’ve juiced up headlamps, GoPros, my iPhone, and even other power banks. After all that field testing, here are my findings and recommendations for the best power banks.
- Best Overall:Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 mAh
- Best Solar:BigBlue 28-Watt Solar Charger
- Best for Fishing:Anker Solar
- Best Small:Goal Zero Flip 12
- Best for Backpacking:Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000 mAh
- Best for iPhones:Anker Powercore Magnetic 5K
How I Tested the Power Banks
I tested the power banks in three ways: First, I timed how long it takes them to fully charge and how many times they fully charged my iPhone 11 Max. Then over a one-month period I carried these portable chargers during outdoor activities in several states, on long road trips, and a fishing trip in North Carolina. During that month I subjected them to heat, cold, and water to test their durability. Finally, I weighed and measured each power bank to provide you with accurate specs.
Here are the attributes I used to evaluate the power banks:
- As advertised (Do the chargers do what the manufacturer advertises?)
- Number of charges and charge time (How many times does it charge a phone? How long does it take to charge?)
- Use in the field (Is it practical to use while hunting, fishing, camping, hiking or backpacking?)
- Durability (Can it hold up to abuse?)
- Weight (Ounces are pounds, and pounds are pain.)
Best Overall: Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 mAh
- 10,000 mAh
- 3-hour charge time
- Charges an iPhone twice
- One USB port
- Micro USB and USB-C input
- Weight: 8.4 ounces
- Length: 6 inches
- Width: 2.75 inches
- Depth:.5 inch
If you’re looking for an all-around solution, consider the PowerCore 10,000 mAh. It’s a happy medium between a small charger like the Goal Zero Flip 12 and the PowerCore 20,000 mAh. If you are going out for the day or an overnight trip, it provides plenty of juice with two phone charges. It’s also light and small enough to not take up space in a pack or
The Anker PowerCore went through three key tests: a timed charge, testing how many times it would charge my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and using the power bank in the field. One of my favorite features of this power bank is how fast it charges. In a few hours, you can bring it from dead to fully juiced and ready to hit the field. It’s fast charging ability also makes it an excellent candidate to pair with a solar panel like the BigBlue 24 watt.
In my testing, the Anker PowerCore charged my phone twice. That’s two times with the phone on and in use. So, if you keep your phone off while it’s charging, you can expect the power bank to last longer—Anker rates it at two-and-a-quarter iPhone 12 charges. I most often use this charger when I’m going to be out all day and will need to charge my phone once, along with another device like a GoPro. It would also be ideal for a two-to.three day camping trip where you need to charge your phone twice.
The Anker PowerCore is slim and light enough that you can carry it in a for everyday carry. It’s also perfect for carrying in a daypack or sling bag. Mine has been with me hunting, fishing, and traveling—it’s yet to let me down.
Best Solar: BigBlue 28-Watt Solar Charger
- 25 Watt
- 3 USB ports
- Charges a phone in about 3 hours of full sun
- Charges a 10,000 mAh power bank in 6 hours
- Weight: 1 pound 9 ounces
- Length: 11.125 inches
- Width: 6 inches
- Depth: 1.375 inches
There are a lot of portable solar chargers on the market, and they range in price as much as they do in effectiveness. The BigBlue is the best solar power charger that actually works and it’s affordable. You have to manage your expectations when it comes to these small solar panels and while three hours to bring a phone to full charge seems like a lot, I think it’s pretty impressive.
Here’s the context of my testing. I tested this solar panel in the fall when the sun sits low in the sky. The first hour of the charge the panel received partial sun. I managed the position of the panel throughout the day to keep it aligned with the sun.
The first test was to see how long it took to charge a Goal Zero Flip 12, which is good for one full phone charge. That test took three hours, which is how long it takes to charge the Flip 12 when plugged into the wall. The next test was to see how long it takes to charge my pick for the best power bank, the PowerCore 10,000 mAh. After six hours in the sun the power bank was at full power.
When you’re in the field, you probably don’t have time to sit around for six hours waiting for a power bank to charge. But, that’s not the best way to use this charger. In my opinion, using the solar panel to maintain battery life rather than fully charge a device is the best use. For example, if you are glassing in the morning, you can roll out your solar charger and plug in a device. Let’s say you stay put for just an hour, that’s enough time to charge a phone 30 percent. By charging your devices a little at a time throughout your time in the field you can make your powerbank or batteries last much longer.
Best for Fishing: Anker Solar
- Water resistant
- Solar charging
- 20,000 mAh
- Two USB ports
- One USB-C port
- Needs to be charged overnight
- Charges a phone four times
- Weight: 1 pound
- Length: 6.875 inches
- Width: 3.625 inches
- Depth: 1.125 inches
- Takes a long time to fully charge
I used the Anker Solar on a few upland bird hunting trips and a trip chasing false albacore in North Carolina making this the best power bank for fishing. While chasing albies, we had one bad weather day with a lot of chop. If I wasn’t wearing a rain suit, I would have been drenched. The Anker Solar was subjected to the same salt spray and it handled it just fine. It also had plenty of power to keep my phone, and GoPros fully charged during the ten hours of fishing. After I got off the boat, I grabbed a quick dinner before heading out on kayaks for fishing dock lights at night. That few hours wasn’t enough time to get the Anker Solar back to even half charge, which is the main downside.
If you plan to use this charger for backpacking or hunting, the weight and bulk are something to consider. The Anker PowerCore 20,000 mAh is considerably lighter and smaller, but it lacks the solar charging and weather protection the Anker Solar offers. Personally, I’d rather take the PowerCore for those applications, and think the Solar shines for fishing applications.
One of the questions you probably have is: does the solar panel on this powerbank work? If you plan to use the solar panel to fully charge your power bank, you’ll be waiting a while. I tested the solar charging capabilities by placing the power bank in full sun for six hours and did not see a measurable difference in charge. However, I think if you keep this charger in the sun all day, the battery will last longer than if you didn’t have the solar panel. So, consider it more of a battery extender, rather than a charger like the BigBlue.
Best Small: Goal Zero Flip 12
- 3,350 mAh
- One USB port
- One full phone charge
- Three-hour charge time
- Weight: 2.6 ounces
- Length: 3.75 inches
- Width:.625 inch
- Depth:.625 inch
Why it Made the Cut
This power bank weighs nothing, has a small footprint, and has enough juice to completely charge your phone.
This Goal Zero small power bank won’t take up space in your pack and has enough juice to bring your phone from dead to fully charged. For overnight or day trips, it’s my top choice. I also like keeping this best small charger in my carry-on to keep my phone charged while traveling.
The biggest con is that its square shape makes it uncomfortable to carry in a front But, it’s at home in a cargo. fanny pack, or day pack. My favorite features of the Flip 12 are it charges quickly and it doesn’t need a charging cable—the USB is built in. I also think it’s a great companion to a solar panel like the BigBlue.
Best for Backpacking: Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000 mAh
- 20,000 mAh
- Up to five phone charges
- USB-C and Micro USB input
- Two USB output ports
- 11 hours to fully charge the power bank
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Length: 6.25 inches
- Width: 2.875 inches
- Depth:.5 inch
This is a power house for charging devices. Whether you’re on a short trip where you need to charge a bunch of devices or a long trip where you need to just keep a phone juiced, this is the best power bank. It weighs less than a pound and it’s easy to carry thanks to its slim profile and beveled corners.
The biggest con of the 20,000 mAh PowerCore is it takes a long time to fully charge. But, the negatives end there. The two USB ports allow you to simultaneously charge two devices. I used it to charge my phone and headlamp each night during a weekend outing. During a November fishing trip, I left the 20,000 mAh PowerCore outside in freezing temperatures. The power bank didn’t lose a bit of charge, which has been my experience with all my Anker power banks in cold weather. Granted, my cold weather in Virginia is different from Fairbanks, Alaska’s cold weather.
Best for iPhones: Anker Powercore Magnetic 5K
- Wireless charging
- USC-C output and input
- 5,000 mAh
- Charges in three hours
- Charges a phone once
- Magnetic charging works with iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Weight: 4.6 ounces
- Length: 3.625 inches
- Width: 2.437 inches
- Depth:.625 inch
The PowerCore Magnetic 5K is a great size for everyday carry. It’s super lightweight and charges a phone fast using a USB-C charger. But, don’t buy this charger unless you have an iPhone, preferably a 12 variant, and a compatible magnetic case. If you don’t have a compatible magnetic case, you’ll have to remove your case to use the magnetic feature and you’ll be disappointed in the strength of the magnet.
But, if you do invest in a magnetic case, it’s a great wireless charger for outdoors use. Other wireless chargers aren’t practical for outdoor use because they need to be laid flat to maintain contact with your phone. But, the magnetic power bank from Anker snaps to your phone and stays connected even in a cargo or your best backpack. You get the benefit of not needing to bring a charging cable and a continuous charge while you use your phone. I find this charger is ideal for all day sits, or days when I’m running OnX continuously.
How to Choose a Power Bank
Power banks are a lot like other outdoor gear, there’s a trade off between features and weight. You can get more capability, but you’ll pay for it in size and weight. You’ll have to decide how much capability you need and how much weight you’re willing to carry.
Here are more things you’ll need to consider when buying a power bank or solar charger.
What is a mAh and how much do I need?
A spec you’ll often see is mAh, which stands for milliamps hour. The mAh spec is a measurement of power over time, the higher the mAh the more power the battery contains. To fully charge a phone you’ll need 3,000 to 5,000 mAh.
A watt is a measurement of rate of energy transfer. So, when shopping for portable solar chargers keep in mind that the more wattage the more power the panel can provide. I’d recommend at least a 24-watt solar charger.
Are solar chargers practical?
If you’re in an area where you can provide a solar charger full sun, and leave it all day to charge a power bank or device, they are practical. But, you can’t expect a solar charger that fits in your to work well because you need surface area to effectively charge.
I found small solar panels to work best for maintaining battery life, rather than being used to fully charge a device. The main issue is that portable solar panels are small, and can only gather so much electricity. What they can do is lengthen your phone or power bank’s life. When you stop to glass or cook lunch, lay out your panel and let it charge the device for a few hours. Even if it’s a few percent increase in battery life, it’s free energy and a few percent here and there can add up over a week’s trip. If you get an extra 25 percent out of our powerbank I count that as a win.
Solar panels are also bulky and heavy. For example, the BigBlue weighs 1.5 pounds, and the 20,000 mAh PowerCore weighs less than a pound. You can pack two 20,000 mAh charges that would charge a phone ten times total and weigh the same as a BigBlue.
Waterproof power banks
Q: Which capacity of power bank is best?
A 10,000 mAh power bank is a good balance between charging ability (two phone charges) and size.
Q: Which brand power bank is best?
Anker makes the best power banks for everyday use. Goal Zero makes great power banks specific for the outdoors.
Q: How do I choose a good power bank?
First decide how much capacity you need and the physical size of the charger you’re willing to carry. Then you can look at the available options with your required specifications.
Q: What is the difference between a power bank and a portable charger?
They are synonyms and serve the same functions.
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Advertising does not influence our gear reviews and it never will. While we always FOCUS our coverage on standout products—because we want our readers to be aware of the latest and greatest gear—we also cover the flaws and quirks of any given product.
Final Thoughts on the Best Power Bank
The best power bank for you is going to be the one that best fits your specific needs. If you’re a whitetail hunter that just needs something for an all day sit, then the 10,000 mAh PowerCore is going to work well for you. If you spend all your time on a boat and need a power bank to keep your GoPros charged and not slow down if it gets wet, the Anker Solar is perfect. The key is deciding what features best fit how you’ll use your power bank and then choose the charger that best matches your requirements.
- Best Overall:Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 mAh
- Best Solar:BigBlue 28-Watt Solar Charger
- Best for Fishing:Anker Solar
- Best Mini:Goal Zero Flip 12
- Best for Backpacking:Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000 mAh
- Best for iPhones:Anker Powercore Magnetic 5K
Scott Einsmann is Outdoor Life’s gear editor. He oversees the gear team’s editors and writers who are subject matter experts in bows, knives, hunting, fishing, backpacking, and more. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and two bird dogs.
OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe review: Magception — charge this magnetic battery with MagSafe
Bottom line: OtterBox’s magnetic wireless power bank comes in 3000mAh or 5000mAh capacities, has two colors and has dual-sided magnets. It has a USB-C port to charge other devices at 5W and magnetic charging caps out at 7.5W.
- Comes in 3000mAh or 5000mAh capacities
- Has USB-C for charging other devices at 5W
- Magnetic wireless charging with 7.5W output
- Small and compact, dual-sided magnets
- Two colors to choose from
- – Plastic housing feels cheap
- – No stabilizing line below magnetic ring
- – Magnetic hold is not very strong
- – Doesn’t automatically charge upon attaching
You can always trust i.
Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.
When Apple introduced MagSafe with the iPhone 12 lineup, I was intrigued but unsure if it would be a huge deal for me. After all, the first accessories were just wallets and chargers, essentially. But as time passed, more MagSafe accessories came out, including PopSockets and even battery packs. Once these kinds of accessories made their debut, I became hooked — MagSafe is now something I simply cannot do without.
While Apple has its MagSafe Battery Pack, many other brands are coming out with their own versions. Brands like Anker, mophie, RAVPower, and others have magnetic battery packs; though they aren’t officially MagSafe-certified, they work well. OtterBox, a brand known for tough and durable cases, has been branching out into power products recently. The latest addition is the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe.
How does the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe stack up with all of the other options out there? Let’s find out.
OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe: Price and availability
While OtterBox products are usually found at multiple big-name retailers, the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe is only available directly from the OtterBox website. It comes in two capacities: 3000mAh or 5000mAh and both versions are available in either black or white. However, the white version is currently out of stock, but you can sign up for email notifications of when it’s back in stock. The 3000mAh version costs 50, while the 5000mAh version is 70.
OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe: One of the only dual-sided magnetic battery packs
OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe comes in two battery capacities: 3000mAh or 5000mAh. It also comes in two colors: black or white. For my testing unit, I got the black color in 5000mAh.
The OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe is made of a lightweight plastic material that serves as the housing for the battery. Since this is OtterBox, the plastic is supposed to be tough and durable, designed to survive accidental drops. The side that attaches to your phone has a magnetic circle with all of the regulatory information underneath it. The side that faces outward simply has the OtterBox logo towards the bottom. On the bottom edge, you’ll find four LED status indicator lights, a USB-C port, and a button to turn the battery pack on and off — this one does not automatically start charging once you attach it to your iPhone.
On my iPhone 13 Pro, the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe fits decently, leaving a bit of space at the bottom. I don’t have an iPhone 13 mini, so I can’t test it out myself, but there should not be an issue with that device. However, due to the large camera bump on the iPhone 13 Pros, the fit can vary depending on the case that you choose to use.
With the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe, you have 7.5W charging speeds via MagSafe, which is a little more than even Apple’s own MagSafe Battery Pack. However, since this is not an official MagSafe certified charger, you will not get 15W output, nor do you get the MagSafe charging animation on your best iPhone with iOS 15. Still, it’s faster than Apple’s and comes in larger capacities, so that’s a plus. And there is a USB-C port, so you can also use this to charge other non-MagSafe devices with the appropriate cable.
OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe: Magnetic hold is weak, no stabilizing line
One of the most significant issues with the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe is that there is no stabilizing line underneath the magnetic circle. Because of this, the battery pack itself is quite prone to sliding around, especially if you put it with your phone in a
While MagSafe launched with the iPhone 12 and only had a few supported accessories, there is no shortage of great MagSafe battery packs nowadays. One of my personal favorites is the Anker MagGo 622. This portable little power bank packs in 5000mAh of power and charges at 7.5W speeds. It also has a USB-C port to charge other devices, and it even doubles as a portable stand for your MagSafe iPhone. Plus, the price is pretty good at just 60 for a double-duty product.
Another preferred MagSafe battery pack I’ve been using is the Anker MagGo 633 Magnetic Wireless Charger. While this acts as a MagSafe stand and wireless charger first and foremost, the stand itself has a removable MagSafe battery pack. The detachable battery pack has a 5000mAh capacity, and since it charges up while it’s in the stand, it should always be topped off and ready to go with you. It even has a USB-C port to charge other devices, and it’s quite slim. Honestly, I never go to Disneyland without this in my bag. While the price is a little high at 120, it is basically a 4-in-1 product, which is well worth it.
Of course, we can’t forget about the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack. This is the official one from Apple, but it’s a smaller capacity and, oddly enough, only charges at 5W speeds. It’s also much more expensive at 99 for what many consider an inferior product than third-party offerings. But it does integrate with iOS 15 to tell you how much juice is left, which is nice, and the only MagSafe battery pack to have such a feature.
OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if.
- You want a dual-sided MagSafe power bank
- You want options when it comes to capacity and color
- You want something that charges faster than 5W
You shouldn’t buy this if.
- You want strong magnets
- You want a battery pack with more grip
- You don’t have an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 device
The OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe is a small and compact little battery pack, making it perfect for throwing into your bag or slipping into your And it attaches magnetically to your iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 device, which is convenient for wireless charging with 7.5W output speeds. Plus, OtterBox made it in two capacities, 3000mAh or 5000mAh, so you can pick the size that fits your needs best. It also comes in white or black, which is nice. OtterBox’s Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe is also unique in that it has dual-sided magnets, so you can even mount this battery pack onto a MagSafe stand or even charge it with another MagSafe charger or battery.
However, the number of issues with this magnetic battery pack, especially for the price, keep me from fully recommending it over competing products. It tends to move around a bit because of the hard plastic housing (it’s slippery) and no stabilizing line under the magnetic ring. It’s also a little thicker than other products, and honestly, the plastic makes it feel cheap. For the same price, you can find better magnetic battery packs out there.
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.
This MagSafe battery clone can triple your iPhone’s charge [Review]
Power banks in the new MyCharge Mag-Lock series use the magnets from Apple’s MagSafe system to attach to an iPhone. They come in 3000mAh, 6000mAh and 9000mAh capacities, with the largest able to triple the length of time a handset can go between charges. No power cable is needed and you can use your iPhone while it’s charging.
I put all three sizes of the power bank to the test. Read on to find out how they stood up.
MyCharge Mag-Lock review
These accessories are meant to be used in public and MyCharge it a lot of thought into their appearance. All of the three devices are available in the five iPhone 12 colors: graphite, Pacific blue, white, red and purple. Their finish has been designed to protect against scratching, stains, and fading colors.
Every edge and corner is rounded so these products fit with the look of an iPhone.
Traditional external batteries are useless if you don’t have a power cable with you. Mag-Lock power banks, on the other hand, use wireless charging. Just place your iPhone on the battery and power starts flowing.
The accessories include a raised coil for some separation between pack and phone, helping to dissipate heat better than typical flat battery packs.
As noted, these devices take advantage of the MagSafe system. This includes magnets built into the back of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series. The magnets attach to ones in MyCharge Mag-Lock power banks and line up the charging coils every time. And they hold the two devices together while you’re using your handset. The connection is solid — I had no problems with them slipping apart.
However, the Mag-Lock batteries do not offer the faster charging capabilities of MagSafe. They put out 5 watts, which is far less than the 15W of some MagSafe accessories. This means it can take about 3.5 hours to give an iPhone a complete charge.
MyCharge built in a audible “twing” when you connect or disconnect your iPhone. Or begin recharging any of these power banks.
The Mag-Lock series gets its power through a USB-C port on the bottom edge. A charging cable comes in the box for just this, or you can use the one for a Mac or iPad.
As a bonus, you can use the USB-C port to charge a device that doesn’t have MagSafe. And this works while an iPhone is also charging. I tested with my iPad Pro to be sure.
The smallest of the three Mag-Lock options is 4.0 inches by 2.6 in. by 0.4 in. It weighs 0.24 pounds. I found it entirely practical to clip this to the back of my iPhone and keep using the handset while it charges.
The two cling together tightly, and the combination isn’t too bulky. It’s not ideal — you’re only going to want to use the Mag-Lock when you need it, not all the time. But it adds hours of use.
This “baby bear” version stores 3000mAh. In my real-world test, it gave a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 a 53% charge. That’s enough to get you through the rest of an extra-long day after the built-in battery starts to run out.
Exactly how of a battery bump you’ll get depends on your device. The Pro Max models have significantly larger built-in batteries and so this power bank is relatively smaller. It’s still the same amount of power, though.
MyCharge Mag-Lock 6000mAh
The “mama bear” version of MyCharge’s new power banks is 4.0 inches by 2.6 in. by 0.7 in. It weighs 0.36 pounds.
In my testing, I found it possible to keep using my iPhone with this clipped to the back, but the combination is somewhat unwieldy. The battery is thick and a bit heavy.
But don’t lock yourself into the idea that the only way to use a Mag-Lock power bank is while holding it. You wouldn’t expect to do that with a standard 6000mAh battery. In this case, the real advantage of MagSafe is that you don’t have to worry about having a charging cable. Just put the iPhone onto the battery and you’re good to go.
Also, the battery can act as a stand with an 6.1-inch iPhone 13 or iPhone 12. Attach it to the back of your handset, put the combination in landscape mode and you’re ready to watch a movie. I’m not sure how well this will work with an iPhone Pro Max or mini, however.
Over multiple test runs, the 6000mAh version of the MyCharge Mag-Lock gave a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 a 120% charge. That’s enough to get you though a second day of use.
Again, you’ll see a smaller increase in battery percentage if you have an iPhone Pro Max but will get the same amount of power.
MyCharge Mag-Lock 9000mAh
And now we get to “poppa bear.” This largest version is 4.0 inches by 2.6 in. by 0.9 in. It weighs 0.49 pounds. You may have noticed a theme here: the only dimension in which the three accessories vary in is thickness. And weight, of course.
Part of MyCharge’s marketing for this series says, “the larger the Mag-Lock — the easier the hold.” True, it’s easier to hold the power bank because it’s almost an inch thick. But it also adds almost half a pound. To me, only in case of emergency should you should hold your iPhone with this version of the series attached. The rest of the time, put your handset down to charge like you would with any other hefty battery.
That said, the trick of using the battery pack as a stand works in both portrait and landscape mode with this jumbo-size accessory.
During my tests, the 9000mAh version of the MyCharge Mag-Lock gave a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 a 189% charge. (Which took multiple test runs, of course.) That’s enough to get through a long weekend of camping without access to a wall socket.
To repeat myself just in case, those who use an iPhone Pro Max will see a lower increase in battery level though they’re getting the same amount of power.
Having to carry around a cable to charge my iPhone with a power bank is an unnecessary irritant. And with MagSafe accessories like the MyCharge Mag-Lock series the cable becomes unnecessary.
The range in storage capacity for these external batteries means each is likely to appeal to different customer. The 3000mAh version can be used to give a quick boost while clipped to an iPhone. The 9000mAh one can keep your device going for days and days but you’ll probably only want to attach it overnight. The 6000mAh is a mix of the two — your iPhone is heavy but usable with it clipped on, and the power bank is capable of more than doubling the battery life.
You can pick up the 3000mAh battery pack for 49.99 on the myCharge website.
The “mama bear” 6000mAh version is 59.99 on the myCharge website.
And the “big daddy” 9000mAh one is 69.99 on the myCharge website.
Other companies make their own MagSafe batteries that clip to your iPhone. There’s the Mophie Snap Juice Pack Mini that holds 5000mAh. Don’t miss my review.
And there’s also the Sanho HyperJuice Magnetic Wireless Battery Pack (39.99). It has a 5000mAh capacity as well. I reviewed this one, too.
Or there is Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack. This has a few tricks, like iOS integration, but holds less power and costs 99.
MyCharge provided Cult of Mac with review units for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.