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June 5, 2018

The best portable chargers for quickly juicing your devices

by John_A

We’ve all suffered the sudden, all-encompassing horror of a dead phone. The accusing looks and hushed criticism of family and friends. That blank screen on the commute home that leaves you at the mercy of your chatty fellow traveler. The sudden loss of Google Maps as you turn into an unfamiliar neighborhood. The sinking feeling as you realize your phone alarm didn’t go off because you forgot to plug it in last night. Why, oh, why must our smartphones die?

We feel your pain and that is why we’ve been checking out some of the best portable chargers on the market. Until there is a real breakthrough in battery technology, a portable charger might be the best solution. We have something here for you, whatever your needs may be, from a bucketload of power for a camping trip to a pocket-friendly solution for your daily commute. These are 21 of the best portable chargers that money can buy. If you’re looking for charging cables, be sure to check out our picks for the best lightning cables and USB Type-C cables.

Anker PowerCore II 20,000

Simon Hill / Digital Trends

  • Capacity: 20,000mAh
  • Outputs: 2 ports (18W and 12W)
  • Weight: 369g (13oz)
  • Price: $54
  • Time to fully charge: Around 5 hours

We’re big fans of Anker’s understated and practical designs. The PowerCore II packs in a huge 20,000mAh capacity without being ridiculously big, though it is something you’ll want to sling in a bag rather than your pocket. It features two USB outputs. PowerIQ 2.0 can put out up to 18W, which breaks down to 3A at 5V, 2A at 9V, and 1.5A at 12V. PowerIQ 1.0 can put out 12W up to 2.4A at 5V. Regardless of your device, you should be able to get decent charging speeds from this portable battery. The only thing it lacks is a USB-C port.

Compared to previous Anker offerings, there are a couple of new features here. The power button is now round and it houses a ring of white LEDs, which are designed show you how much power remains. There’s also a textured surface on the outside, so it’s less likely to slip out of your hand or slide away from the back of your phone while you’re charging your device.

This battery’s robust capacity should also provide you with more than enough power to fully charge a Galaxy S9 four times, and it will charge an iPhone 8 more than six times. It’s also quick to charge, at just five hours, provided you have a decent wall charger (not included). All in all, this portable battery charger represents great value for the money.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

RAVPower HyperAir Wireless Portable Charger

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

  • Capacity: 10,400mAh
  • Outputs: 1 port and Qi wireless charging (2.4A and 10W)
  • Weight: 325g (11.4oz)
  • Price: $66
  • Time to fully charge: Around 5 to 6 hours

This won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve gotten used to your wireless charger at home and you don’t want to plug cables in anymore, then it might be the ideal accessory for you. This portable wireless charger has a capacity of 10,400mAh, which means it can charge up a Galaxy S9 twice or an iPhone 8 four times via the USB port with a cable. However, the top also has a soft touch circle where you can place any Qi compatible phone for wireless charging. It supports Apple’s fast wireless charging at 7.5W and Samsung’s fast wireless charging at 10W. You won’t get quite as much power out of it with wireless charging, but it’s a lot easier than plugging in and it means you don’t need to carry a cable at all.

We’re not blown away by the design — it resembles a rounded brick with the USB-A, MicroUSB for recharging the unit, and power button at one end. There’s the standard four LED display on top with the helipad-style, rubbery, enhanced grip circle in the middle. Land your phone there and it will start charging wirelessly at top speed straight away — we tested it with an iPhone 8 and a Galaxy S7 Edge and fast charging worked for both. There’s also a green LED on the side that comes to life to show you when wireless charging is working (though your phone already does that, so it seems superfluous to us).

If you’re after as much power as you can get in as small a form factor as possible, then this one is not for you. There are other portable chargers that offer more for less — including one from RAVPower further down our list. But if you want to wave goodbye to cables and enjoy that wireless charging convenience wherever you go then this could be the one.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Saber Romeo Power Bank

  • Capacity: 24,000mAh
  • Outputs: 4 ports (90W, 60W, 12.5W, and 5W)
  • Weight: 1kg (35.3oz)
  • Price: $300
  • Time to fully charge: Around 2 hours

Want something tough, powerful, and capable of charging all your devices on the go? The Romeo Saber Power Bank is unlike anything we’ve seen before. This squared tube is 10.5 inches long and 2.36 by 2.28 inches across. It comes in black, blue, or eye-catching red and it’s bursting with charging possibilities. Open one end and you will find a universal AC outlet capable of delivering up to 90W for a laptop. Open the other end and you have a USB-C port and two standard USB ports, as well as a round DC port for charging up the Saber itself.

The flaps at either end aren’t just for show, this is dust and water resistant. It’s also shockproof, so you shouldn’t have any issues if it gets tossed around in a bag or dropped. There’s a power button on the side with a standard four LED display to show off the remaining power, but it also supports Bluetooth so you can see precisely how much juice the Saber has left on your phone. You can even set it to notify you when power is getting low.

Despite the huge capacity, this is still TSA and FAA approved, so you can take it on a flight with you. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that you can charge it up in just two hours, though you’ll need to use the dedicated power supply provided. There is no doubt it’s expensive, but if you’re a frequent flyer or you like to go camping, it seems like a perfect way to ensure your devices never run out of power.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Flux Portable Charger

Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

  • Capacity: 4,000mAh
  • Output: 2 built-in cables (1A and 2.1A)
  • Weight: 92g (3.2oz)
  • Price: $26
  • Time to fully charge: 3 to 4 hours

This is one of the slimmest portable chargers we’ve ever come across. If you’re really looking for something pocket-sized, the Flux Charger is worth more than just a glance. It’s a mere 7.8-millimeters thick and measures 108 x 62.8 millimeters. It’s also incredibly light, but holds enough power to fully recharge your phone at least once, possibly twice. It’s finished with a durable black or white aluminum, and features two built-in cables, a Micro USB cable, and a MFi-certified Lightning cable. There’s also a Micro-USB port for charging, which comes with a short Micro USB to USB cable.

Tap the small button on the side, and the four tiny LEDs light up to show remaining power. It doesn’t support fast charging, though, and we found that it took a couple of hours to charge the large battery in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Fortunately, it should fully charge an iPhone in around an hour. The input for charging it is 1.5A, so it takes a while to fully charge, but it does support pass-through charging, so you can plug it into the wall and your phone at the same time. If you like the design, but you need more power then check out the 10,000mAh Flux Charger Plus for $52.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Flux

EasyAcc MegaCharge D20

Simon Hill / Digital Trends
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

  • Capacity: 20,000mAh
  • Outputs: 4 ports (3A each)
  • Weight: 370g (13oz)
  • Price: $50
  • Time to fully charge: Around 4 hours

This chunky battery pack in black plastic has a distinctive orange stripe around it. We’re not in love with the look, but it contains a whopping 20,000mAh of power and an unusual array of input and output ports. The green USB port supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0, and also Huawei’s fast charging standard, FCP. There are two black USB ports capable of up to 3A and there’s also a USB-C port that can deliver the same. Move round to the side and you’ll find a Micro USB port and another USB-C port for charging the battery up. Interestingly these inputs can be plugged in simultaneously to enable you to charge the battery up faster — bringing charging time down to around four hours, which is pretty impressive for this capacity.

You’ll find the standard four LED array on the top to show you remaining power in 25 percent chunks. There’s a power button on the side and you can double press it to fire up the LED flashlight, which is a handy extra that makes this a good choice for camping. EasyAcc includes a short, 24-inch USB to USB-C cable and a USB-to-Micro USB cable that’s the same length in the box. It does support pass-through charging, so you can plug it in to charge and plug your phone into it to charge at the same time.

We think you can expect at least four full charges for the majority of smartphones out there and probably more than that for phones with smaller batteries, like the iPhone 8. Weighing up the complete package we think this is good value for money and worth considering if you need a lot of power and want to be able recharge it in a hurry.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Tronsmart Presto Power Bank

  • Capacity: 10,000mAh
  • Outputs: 2 ports (3A/18W and 2.4A/15W)
  • Weight: 210g (7.4oz)
  • Price: $23
  • Time to fully charge: Around 4 hours

This compact portable charger is slim and light, but packs a big capacity of 10,000mAh. It has two USB ports for charging up your devices. The green one can put out 18W and supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard, as well as Huawei’s FCP, so it can juice up certain phones very quickly. You can expect two or three charges from this battery for most smartphones.

The design is an unobtrusive black and the outer shell is finished in soft-touch plastic, so it’s comfortable to handle. There’s a button on the side to turn it on, and you’ll find a typical four LED battery level indicator on the top. It can be charged up via the MicroUSB port and should juice up quickly, provided you use a decent cable and wall charger with it.

It comes with a USB-A to MicroUSB cable in the box and a travel pouch. Tronsmart also offers an 18-month warranty.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Belkin Pocket Power Charger

  • Capacity: 5,000mAh
  • Outputs: 1 port (2.4A)
  • Weight: 131g (4.6oz)
  • Price: $25-plus
  • Time to fully charge: Around 5 hours

Here’s a fairly small, lightweight option from Belkin that will charge up an iPhone around one-and-a-half times, and should provide at least one full charge for most other smartphones. There’s a single USB port that puts out up to 2.4A, and a MicroUSB port for charging it up that’s rated at 2A.

It’s durable, with a plastic casing that comes in your choice of pink, black, or silver. It’s small enough to slip into a pocket or handbag. There’s a power button on the side with four LEDs that light up green to show remaining power in 25 percent chunks. You get a 6-inch MicroUSB to USB cable in the box with it.

If you need more capacity, then Belkin does offer 10,000mAh ($40) and 15,000mAh ($50) models that sport two USB ports for charging. Belkin offers a special $2,500 Connected Equipment Warranty that guarantees a repair or replacement if your device is damaged by an electrical charge while properly connected to the charger.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Belkin


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