October 12, 2020
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
Portable Chargers and Power Banks
Nothing can turn your Android phone from state-of-the-art to overpriced paperweight faster than a dead battery, but the best portable chargers and power banks can help recharge your tech when life plays keep-away with your power outlets. Portable chargers used to be big, bulky, and slow, but USB-C charging and Power Delivery charging have made things much faster — fast enough to charge laptops, even — and has allowed power banks to get slimmer and better than ever. There are plenty of options in every shape or size, but our favorite is the Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux, which is tiny but mighty.
Best Overall: Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux
Anker’s power banks have been some of the most popular in recent years. Plus, its 10,000mAh PowerCore PD Redux is just about the perfect battery pack for recharging a single phone during a long day at a theme park, or as a backup battery you can stow away in a small bag. This is especially true as the Reux fixed the original PowerCore 10000 PD’s inconsistencies with trickle-charging smaller devices.
The USB-C port on this compact power bank, about the size of a granola bar, supports 18W PD charging, which should recharge most modern Android phones and iPhones at a good, swift speed. With a PD wall charger, you can recharge the PowerCore in about three hours, which isn’t too shabby for a 10,000mAh bank.
The Redux is an upgrade in every way except for one. The 18W output is shared between the two ports on this model, while on the original, you could charge at 28W output with both ports at their respective top speeds. It’s a small loss to get more consistent charging for headphones and other small accessories, but if you charge two devices consistently, you might want to keep scrolling for something else.
- Compact and powerful
- More consistent trickle charging
- Comes with C-to-C cable and travel bag
- USB-A port is only 12W
- Both ports share 18W total output
Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux
Pocket PD for on-the-go recharges.
This USB-C bank is easily pocketable, allowing you to quickly top off your dying phone with 18W Power Delivery charging.
Best Phone-sized: Aukey 10,000mAh Battery Pack
Aukey’s pack is bigger than Anker’s on paper, but I’ve greatly preferred phone-shaped power banks. With these types of banks, you can easily tell where it will and won’t fit; if your phone fits there, this battery pack will fit there. This philosophy is especially helpful when you’re charging with the bank and your phone in a single pocket together, as two flat, narrow slabs fit better in a pocket together than one flat slab and one stout pillar.
This bank sports two USB-A ports to the Anker’s one and one of those two ports is a QC 3.0 port, which is great news for Samsung owners and those with older phones that may need a power bank to get through the day. The second USB-A port is a more standard 5V 2.4A, while the USB-C port is 18W Power Delivery.
- Great flat size with three ports
- More affordable than Anker
- 18W PD & QC 3.0 charging
- Doesn’t come with a travel pouch
- Only comes with C-to-A cable
Aukey 10,000mAh Battery Pack
Great size and greater utility at the right price.
Anywhere your phone can fit, this power bank can fit, so you have no excuse not to carry it with you on long days.
Value Pick: Xcentz USB-C Power Bank 5,000mAh PD
While massive battery packs that can recharge anything and everything have their place — and we’ll get to them shortly — the best power bank is the one you have on you. That’s why I’m always going to be a fan of these pocket-sized pucks of power that are light enough to throw in your purse on date night or just shove in a side pocket on your way out the door.
Xcentz only has one port on its miniature body — about the size of two lipstick tubes — but that USB-C port offers 18W Power Delivery output for charging your phone at likely top speed. The USB-C input is only 12W, but it still won’t take too long to recharge because it’s only 5,000mAh. That smaller capacity helps keep the size and weight down, and for most folks, 5,000mAh is really all you need to keep your phone alive a few hours longer on the road.
- Positively pocket-sized
- Bright color options
- 18W output
- Only one port
- Smaller capacity
- Only 12W input
Xcentz USB-C Power Bank 5,000mAh PD
Never be caught without power!
You never know when you’ll need a top-off, but this candy-bar-sized bank is light enough to carry every day.
Best High-Capacity: Anker PowerCore+ 26,800mAh PD 45W
If you need to recharge a whole family’s worth of phones, or maybe you just need to keep your phone alive for a week in the wilderness, then you need yourself a high-capacity battery pack. The PowerCore+ is a perfect bundle for those who need to build up their Power Delivery collection at home and on the go.
This power bank can charge — and recharge — at 45W, which is not only more than enough for phones and tablets: this can also charge most laptops at a decent speed and Chromebooks at top speed. This bundle also comes with a robust C-to-C cable and a 60W wall charger, so that you can be sure you’ll recharge the bank at full speed, too.
This pack is just under the 100Wh limit the FAA has on lithium-ion battery packs, but it is above the 20,000mAh limit some east Asia airlines are starting to move to. If you fly domestic, you’re fine, but internationally you might want to check your specific airline’s limits.
- Comes with a cable and wall charger
- Can recharge your phone a half dozen times
- High build quality
- Very expensive
- Bigger and heavier
Anker PowerCore+ 26,800mAh PD 45W Charger Bundle
Build your charging kit with this big bundle.
This bank can last for days of recharging phones before needing a recharge and comes with a 60W wall charger and cable.
Best for Galaxy: Samsung Super Fast 25W Portable Wireless Charger (10,000mAh)
If you own a Samsung phone and want to charge it as fast as possible while out on a day that just refuses to end, then Samsung’s latest portable charger is the one for you. While Samsung makes a version of its bank without wireless charging, I highly recommend splurging for this one instead.
Not only is this one of the only portable chargers that’s compatible with Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watches, but it’s one of the few power banks that supports Samsung’s 25W Fast Charge. For a Galaxy S20 series, Note 10 series, or Note 20 series, that means this is the fastest way to get your Galaxy from dangerously low back over 50% in a matter of minutes.
Another benefit of this bank is that when you’re home, you can plug it in and turn this portable charger into a wireless charging pad. It’s much easier to keep a power bank topped off when you just leave it plugged in as a spare Qi pad at home, isn’t it?
- Wired or wireless charging
- Compatible with Galaxy Buds and Watches
- Doubles as a Qi pad at home
- Bulkier than other 10,000 batteries
- Expensive for its capacity
Best for Galaxy
Samsung Super Fast 25W Portable Wireless Charger (10,000mAh)
The fastest charge for Samsung phones, wired or wireless.
At home, this bank doubles as a wireless charger, and when traveling, it can charge your phone via 10W Qi or 25W wired charging.
Best for Laptops: Aukey 26,800mAh 60W PD Portable Charger
Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central
If you prefer to have one portable charger you can use for both your laptop and your phone, you’ll need something that outputs at 45W or more. Thankfully, this power bank from Aukey can charge your laptop just as quickly as a standard Macbook, and for most laptops, it can fast-charge your laptop and your phone at the same time. The marketing materials on this portable charger say 60W, but if you look into the charging profiles supported, it can provide 65W to laptops through the USB-C In/Out port.
Our very own Andrew Martonik reviewed this bank and afterward made it his go-to portable charger. He takes it with him to launch events and weekend getaways to keep his laptop alive through long hours of editing and multiple phones alive after hours and hours of photography and testing. You can charge three devices at once — two via Power Delivery and the third via Qualcomm QuickCharge — making it perfect for power-users on the go.
The labeling on the USB-C ports could be better — you’ll have to remember that the In/Out USB-C port is the high-powered one while the Out only USB-C port is limited to 18W — but I’m just happy to see more portable chargers with multiple USB-C ports. If you’ve completely made the switch to USB-C Power Delivery charging, the USB-A port may seem superfluous, but it’s a nice fallback if you have older peripherals that can’t use PD.
- High speed and capacity
- Dual USB-C ports
- Good size for travel
- Only one USB-A port
- Labeling is faint
Best for Laptops
AUKEY 26,800mAh 60W PD Portable Charger
Charge Macbooks, Chromebooks, and phones at top speed.
This exceptional portable charger can charge a laptop at a good speed without breaking the bank or skimping on extra ports.
Best Rugged: Zendure 45W A6PD 20,100mAh
Need a battery pack that will charge your laptop at a good speed, won’t die halfway through a long day of video editing, and is sturdy enough to withstand the chaotic black hole commonly known as your gear bag? Zendure is here for you with the A6PD.
This model is on the slimmer side for a 20,000mAh battery pack, sports a rugged aluminum housing, and there are three ports on the side: one USB-C port for 45W Power Delivery input/output, one USB-A QuickCharge 3.0 port, and one Micro-USB port for input charging only. This will charge most Chromebooks at top speed, some MacBooks at a decent rate, and of course, it will charge your phone several times over.
- 45W charging
- Durable aluminum housing
- Good balance of capacity and size
- Only one USB-A port
Zendure A6PD 20,100mAh PD Power Bank
A rugged, reliable, and powerful battery pack.
Hard on your gear? This rugged bank is big enough to charge all your daily devices, including laptops and Chromebooks.
Upgrade Pick: Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD Qi
Source: Michael Fisher / MrMobile
If you need as big a battery as you can get to keep your phones, headphones, and laptop alive across international flights and 20-hour days, Goal Zero is the one to beat. The Sherpa 100 PD Qi is just under the FAA limit to bring on a plane, the PD input/output is 60W, meaning it’ll charge a MacBook at a decent speed, and it’s even got a Qi pad on top for your phone.
Goal Zero is a brand you might not have heard of before — it tends to deal in solar and portable power solutions — but because it’s geared towards outdoor tech, you can rest assured this is a battery pack that will not leave you hanging. The Sherpa 100 PD is about half the size (and half the price) of the Sherpa 100 AC, so make sure you grab the new PD model!
- 60W charging for laptops
- 2 USB-A ports & Qi pad on top
- 0-100 indicator readout
- Extra expensive
- USB-A ports are only 3.4A
Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD Qi
Great for power users and professionals.
This is a bit much for casual users, but for editors and gamers constantly burning through their laptop battery, it’s perfect.
Modular Marvel: OtterBox OtterSpot (5,000mAh)
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
OtterBox may be better known for its heavy-duty cases, but it also makes some capable chargers, including the brand-new OtterSpot modular charging system. The base OtterSpot Wireless Charging System consists of a 36W wall charger, a Wireless Charging Base, and one OtterSpot Wireless Charging Battery.
You can stack up to three 5,000mAh OtterSpots on the Wireless Charging Base at a time, allowing all of them to charge via pogo pins while your phone charges via 10W Qi pad on top of the stack. Then, when you need them, you can grab and go with the OtterSpot battery packs and use them to charge your phone via Qi or USB-C.
The round shape stands out among a sea of rectangular battery packs, but because it bears the OtterBox name, it’s got a pretty hefty price tag attached to it. It works well enough to justify that price — especially if you live in a household that swaps battery packs often between busy parents and phone-addicted kids — but it’s definitely an investment.
- Modular stacking system
- Wide, anti-slip Qi pad is easy to use
- Also sports USB-C charging
- Small individual capacity
- Only comes with one OtterSpot
Grab-and-go wireless charging solution.
This system works astonishingly well for a modular Qi charging system, with pocket-friendly 5,000mAh packs and a pogo-pin base.
Best Tiny Charger: Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
If you want a power bank that won’t stick out of your pockets awkwardly — especially if all the jeans they make for your body type have tiny, tiny pockets — then turn your gaze to Zendure’s smallest portable charger, aptly named the SuperMini. This 10,000mAh bank offers the same speeds and ports as the Anker PowerCore Redux, but it packs it into a footprint that’s smaller than a credit card and light enough to not tug at your jeans carrying it in your pocket all day.
For a small, rugged power bank, you’d only expect this to come in boring colors like black and white. With the Supermini, you have six color options, though you might have to search around a little more for the newest shades like Minty Green and Misty Rose. I’m partial to the Blue Horizon, bold, beautiful, and easy to spot amongst the clutter that is my standing desk.
If there’s any downside to this pint-sized power bank, it’s that the ports are at opposite ends, which makes things awkward if you’re charging two devices at once while walking around — such as in the airport rushing to catch a flight or trying to keep your phone alive during a long day of lines at a theme park. For a bank this small, you’ll likely only need to charge one device at a time, but it’s worth mentioning.
- Smaller than a credit card
- Lots of color options
- Low-power mode for accessory charging
- Ports are on opposite sides
- Both ports share 18W total output
Best Tiny Charger
Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)
Small, vibrant, and ready for date night.
No matter how small your purse or pockets are, this power bank should be able to fit inside and recharge your phone 2-3 times.
There are great banks to be had in every capacity level, but I find 10,000mAh to be the sweet spot where it can charge phones from empty to full 2-4 times, but it’s still light enough to easily carry in your jeans pocket or a light purse. The Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux will fit in smaller pockets while still charging at a good speed and a good capacity, which provides the best of all worlds.
The Anker wins out over the Aukey 10,000mAh bank for a few reasons despite the Aukey having more ports: Anker’s banks perform more consistently over time, and its smaller, lighter weight design makes it easier to carry around in a jeans pocket, even in women’s jeans that are too shallow for phablet-sized battery packs. It still has a USB-A port for devices that aren’t USB-C, but it isn’t bogged down with old micro-USB inputs like so many power banks on the market still are.
If you need a larger battery pack that is capable of charging multiple phones — or a laptop, thanks to Power Delivery charging — but you’re not willing to spend the big bucks that Goal Zero and Anker demand, the Zendure A6PD still charges at a respectable 45W. It comes in a nice size, and even has a spare USB-A port for charging two phones at once.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.
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