The 10 Best External Battery Packs
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Chances are, you spend a lot of time on a phone, tablet, or handheld gaming console, so when you're on the go, an external battery pack can be a digital lifeline. These portable power banks can juice up all sorts of devices quickly, even when there are no outlets for your wall charger in sight. They range from affordable and compact to large and extremely powerful. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best external battery pack on Amazon.
IntelliArmor Scout This one is especially versatile; it has a 10,000-milliamp-hour capacity and sports built-in AC, Type-C, Lightning, and micro USB cables, so you're certain to have the plug you need for your device. There's also a version offered with integrated wireless charging. intelliarmor.com
TravelCard Charger If you're an iPhone user, you'll love the TravelCard Charger, which is barely bigger than a credit card but can substantially increase the amount of time you spend browsing the Internet during the day. Among its helpful features integrated Type-A and Lightning adapters, which fit conveniently in the unit itself, so you won't have to worry about carrying around extra cables. travelcardcharger.com
December 20, 2019:
There are quite a few excellent power banks on the market right now, and they come practically as small or as large as you need. The Miisso Slim, for example, is on the compact side, and while it doesn't have a huge amount of power stored away, it's definitely one of the most convenient models. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Krisdonia NJF-5X, which is one of the largest (and actually pretty high-capacity for its size) and comes with a huge selection of DC barrel plugs, so if your laptop doesn't support USB-C charging, the Krisdonia is a great choice.
You'll also notice that we have a few Anker power banks on the list. The Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux isn't huge, but it is very capable, while the Anker PowerCore+ PD is a bit bigger and is a good option for those using modern Ultrabooks that support USB Type-C Power Delivery. Then there's the Anker Powercore Fusion, which is a combination charger and power bank, and it costs as much as or less than either of those items would cost on their own.
The Jackery Bolt, meanwhile, is a decent competitor in its size class, while the Jackery Supercharge is another one that's great for laptops and 2-in-1s. In fact, this note was written using power from a Supercharger -- one that's been used very frequently for over a year -- so we can vouch for its reliability. If you're going for all-around convenience, the Aukey PB-Y25 is worth a shot due to its relative thinness and built-in wireless charger. The RavPower Portable goes to great lengths to pack in every last bit of storage that's allowed on commercial flights in the US, and the iMuto Taurus X6PD actually abandons that and ends up with a 30,000-mAh capacity. Technically speaking, that size of battery requires special permission to take on a plane, which you're not likely to get for that type of power bank, but it does depend on the airline. If you plan on flying, we'd suggest selecting one that's below the 100-watt-hour limit.
The Tech Savvy Mobile User
Don't let your access to all the info and communication to which you're accustomed be compromised by a dead battery.
It might be painful to admit it, but most of us are all but lost without our smartphone and various smart devices. With everything from airline ticketing to driving directions and up-to-the-minute stock market information just a click away, the modern person is firmly tethered to his or her devices.
And while reliance on a smartphone might involve the sacrifice of a bit of independence -- there's no reason to explore a city when you can be directed right to a destination, for example -- the convenience afforded by these multitasking devices is truly remarkable.
It's little surprise that so many members of the younger generations have chosen to give up on traditional landline phones and use their cellular phone as their primary means of communication. As the capabilities of and applications for smart devices continue to grow each and every day, it's hard to say how much further they will infiltrate into our lives in another decade hence.
What can be said with certainty now is that as convenient as a smart device has become, the other side of that equation is the extreme inconvenience we experience when our smartphone or tablet is not working properly. Woe to the traveler who neglected to print his or her ticket, much less even their itinerary or confirmation information, who has a dead smartphone and a flight to catch. And anyone who has ever been caught far afield in unfamiliar territory only to have their phone shut off, leaving them without maps or GPS capabilities, can describe their abandonment.
Whether you find yourself traveling for work or pleasure, or simply navigating your way through your own city to a new destination, chances are good that you be use your phone as an aid in the process. And whether you're placing calls to help you close a deal or just to catch up with friends or family, it's a safe bet you're doing so via cell phone. This is likewise true for checking news updates, sports stats, and email while you're away from home. In short, unless you're sitting at a computer, you're probably going to be counting on your mobile device for multiple tasks. Don't let your access to all the info and communication to which you're accustomed be compromised by a dead battery.
An External Battery Pack For Mobile Convenience
When considering the purchase of an external battery pack, instead of first looking at the various units available on the market, first take a look at the smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop computer that you actually use on a regular basis. While the circuitry inside a good external battery pack is complex and impressive, the choice of which unit is right for you need not be rocket science, but rather basic math.
Ask yourself how many devices at most you would need to charge in a given day, and consider their voltage requirements for proper charging.
Ask yourself how many devices at most you would need to charge in a given day, and consider their voltage requirements for proper charging. You can then conduct a process of elimination exercise, ruling out external battery packs that offer a surplus of power beyond your needs, thereby passing on units that cost more than you need to spend.
There are perfectly adequate external battery packs that cost a reasonable amount of money and are capable of quickly providing a full charge to any smartphone. If your issue is a battery often drained by the mid-afternoon, then one of these units should be more than suitable for your needs.
If, on the other hand, you frequently use your devices during travel and are often not in the proximity of convenient outlets, a pricier unit with the ability to recharge your device multiple times may be warranted. Just keep in mind that with this added power, so to speak, often comes more size and weight, which can be an issue during travel.
Using An External Battery Back For Emergency Preparedness
If power lines are down and you don't have access to a landline phone, your cell phone might be your only means of communication after a severe storm, a natural disaster, or even during periods of civil unrest or terror activity. And that can mean you are just one drained battery away from being totally cut off from communications with emergency responders, friends, and relatives, and from getting any news from the outside world.
First responders are well advised to keep an external battery pack on hand in their vehicles if not on their person.
In these situations, an external battery pack extends your lifeline of communications to those who might be able to help you, or to someone you might be able to help. It's a wise idea to make a modest investment in a decent external battery pack that you might hardly ever use; you'll be glad you kept it on hand and charged that one time you need to breathe life back into your phone and make a call for help, or to follow the news and see what's going on and when things are again safe.
First responders are well advised to keep an external battery pack on hand in their vehicles if not on their person. The communication afforded by a phone or a radio is critical in emergency situations, and many smartphone apps offer diagnostic and informational attributes that can be helpful in the field. The more reliable access an emergency responder has to information, the more effective he or she can be in helping to mitigate whatever situation has arisen.
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