Mobile phones keep getting more powerful and slimmer, which has put a huge strain on battery life. Many of us are left longing for the good old days of our Nokia 3310s as we daily see our battery indicators slip into the red. However, there is a solution in the form of portable power banks (or portable battery packs or portable phone chargers – a standard name for them doesn’t seem to have been agreed yet).
These handy power sources can keep you on the go all day, but choosing the right on for you can be a complicated matter, so we’ve put together a buying guide as well a list of the best available models at different price points.
What To Look For
Not all power banks are created equal. Some will charge your phone once, others can be much more chunky and heavy duty, with the capacity to charge your phone up to ten times. The thing to look out for is the mAH rating – the higher this is, the more recharges you will get. Also look out for energy efficiency. Usually, this is about 60-70%, so anything boasting to be above this is doing a pretty good job. To put this in context an iPhone 6 has a battery capacity of 1,810mA – so a 10,000 mAH rating will do about 4 charges.
You will want to check that they support whatever device it is that you want to charge, but also look out for Quick Charge 3.0 or USB Type-C support which will mean you can charge up your device in super quick time (so long as your device is also compatible).
Look out for the input rating of the charger. Typically the higher the number of amps the better. Also, the device should list an output rating in amps, which is a guide to how quickly the power bank will charge your device. Again the higher, the better.
Pay attention to design but also to weight as constantly lugging around a brick in your bag or inside pocket can get a bit frustrating.
Best Under £100
Braven BRV-BankThere might be cheaper and higher power batteries on this list, but the none of them can take a battering like the Braven BRV-Bank and live to tell the tale. It is water resistant and meets military drop-test standard 810G, which means it will easily shrug off being dropped from your pocket.
It has a capacity of 6,000mAh, so will comfortably charge up a standard phone twice. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to charge, has both a 2.4A and a 1A outputs, weighs in at 277g and is 12 cm long.
It also has some neat features such as a phone app that lets you see your remaining power, “bear mode”, which sounds an alarm and strobes the device when you move your phone and an S.O.S. function. If you are going full on Bear Grylls, then this has to be your solution.
It’s now reduced to only £93 at Amazon.
Best under £50
However, it really comes into its own with its futureproofing. It has both USB and USB Type-C charging. You may only just be starting to hear about USB Type-C, but a compatible device is likely to be coming your way soon, along with the faster charging speed it brings. It also comes with Anker’s PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies which really help to speed up the charging process on any phone.
It can be charged to full itself in 8 hours and has an LED wheel on the side, so at a glance you know how much juice you have left.
The higher capacity of this power bank means that it does come in a bit on the heavier (454g) and larger side (18.4 x 6.2 x 2.4 cm). It also doesn’t have any Quick Charge support.
It’s now £45.99 at Amazon.
Zendure A5Zendure has made a no-fuss portable and durable charger, that is pleasing to the eye, tough and charges quickly (it has an output of 2.1A). For us, it has a perfect trade off between high capacity (16750mAH) and portability (12.7 x 7.4 x 2.4 cm; 322 g).
Zen+ technology means it will detect your device’s charging speed and adjust to the optimal power output. It also has “Charge Through Technology” which allows you to charge the A8 while it charges your phone – excellent for when you want to leave in a hurry but need all the power you can get for the journey ahead.
It’s now £47.95 at Amazon
Best under £30
iSMART technology allows it to tailor its voltage and current to the device at hand, and it can be charged up itself in 10-11 hours.
It also has a sleek design and is still quite portable at 12.7 x 7.4 x 2.4 cm and 322g.
You can get it now for £28.99 at Amazon.
Tronsmart PrestoQuick Charge and USB Type-C compatibility makes the Presto a speed demon, but it still maintains its affordable price tag. It’s also really thin (15.8 x 5.5 x 1.9 cm) and comes in at 299g.
It has just under half the capacity of the RavPowerAce 22000 but if you have a Quick Charge enabled phone and are looking for a stylish, portable charger to use on a daily basis then the Presto is for you.
Available now at Amazon for the discounted price of £20.99.
Best under £20
Anker Powecore MiniThe Anker Powercore Mini is no doubt the most portable in our list. Despite being lipstick-sized and only 80g it manages to pack in 3,200mAH, which will essentially double the life of your phone and allow you to stay on the go all day. Despite costing just over a tenner, Anker have included their PowerIQ tech for quick charging (though only up to 1amp) and it will only take 3-4 hours for it to be fully charged and ready to go.
Now available for only £10.99 at Amazon.
Jackery Bar6,000mAH and 2.1 Amp output are pretty rare in a power bank of this size and price. It’s ideal to chuck in your pocket too at 9.7 x 4.6 x 2.3 cm and just 154g and we love the design and range of colours.
Currently, it’s on offer for £11.99 at Amazon.