We all have our moments when we wish our electronics never ran out of power, especially in emergencies. But luckily there are power banks nowadays! Knowing how to choose the most suitable power bank can be essential for your convenience and safety.
Power banks give our phones, tablets and other on-the-go devices extended battery life when needed. If you know exactly what to look for when choosing a good power bank, you will no longer have to worry if your phone suddenly fails. You then just grab your power bank and your phone is on ‘the oxygen’ again.
Best power bank for iPhone
Do you have a fairly recent iPhone? Then charging with a MagSafe power bank is highly recommended. Your phone remains usable while charging.
Best power bank for android / general
Best power bank for laptop
The perfect power bank
Before you actively go shopping for a new power bank, we will discuss the most important things that you should pay close attention to. You may think that power banks are all the same, while in reality they can differ considerably on important points.
The capacity of a power bank is expressed in mAh. This is the most important number, so pay close attention! This number describes the total amount of power that the power bank can hold when it is fully charged. For example, there are power banks of 2,000, 6,000 and 10,000 mAh, or even 30,000 mAh.
Depending on the gadgets you want to charge, you may need more or less capacity. For most smartphones, you only need a 10,000 mAh power bank, which you can sometimes even charge three or four times. Exactly how often you can charge your phone depends on the device you own.
10,000 mah power bank, 20,000 mah or more?
However, if you have larger gadgets, such as a Nintendo Switch or laptops with a USB-C connection to charge them, you should consider one with a capacity of at least 20,000 mAh.
The best way to find out what capacity to look for is to study the power of your battery in your gadget(s). An iPhone 11, for example, is equipped with a 3,110 mAh battery. As long as you choose a power bank of at least 3,110 mAh in such a case, you can fully charge your iPhone at least once. With a 10,000 mAh power bank you can fully charge an iPhone 3x before you are left with an empty battery. With 20,000 mAh you can charge your smartphone six times.
Capacity and charging
The actual capacity of most power banks is an important factor. The best power bank has a high capacity, but remember: you have to charge a power bank. If your power bank is connected to the socket, it is often not possible to connect another device. Charging an external battery with a capacity of 20,000 mAh is still possible, especially with power banks with quick charge technology.
If you are often on the road with a laptop, a 20,000 mAh power bank is usually sufficient. There are larger power banks, but in our opinion such a power bank is better suited for multiple devices. A socket can usually be found every day and a good power bank is often quickly charged. A power bank with capacity for 5 days of power for your weekend away is of little use to you, unless you really go into the wilderness.
A high capacity also often means a large format. In practice, a power bank with 10,000 mAh or 20,000 mAh is the most interesting in terms of price. A smaller capacity costs almost nothing less, while a larger size is often considerably more expensive.
Connections: USB-A, micro USB, USB-C or Apple Lightning
The number of USB ports that a power bank needs is personal. This affects the convenience of the device and how often you will use the power bank itself. Most people find that one port is sufficient, because they probably only want to charge one device at a time.
However, we recommend choosing a power bank that has at least two ports and supports simultaneous charging. Most power banks can charge two devices at the same time via the USB-C port. Even if you often travel with friends or family, you definitely want a power bank with a large number of ports, so that you can charge at least two devices at the same time.
Laptops often use USB-C and the best power banks are therefore equipped with a USB-C connection. Yet there are also many power banks with USB-A connections, simply because USB-A is still common. I can charge your laptop with a USB-A to USB-C cable.
We don’t see micro-USB that much anymore. These connections are often only used for charging the power bank itself. For this reason, micro USB on a cable is often connected to a USB-A connection on the other side.
With each power bank you can charge mobile devices. Still, it’s worth it if your power bank has the option of wireless charging. If you want to charge wirelessly, you sacrifice some efficiency, but the convenience of wirelessly charging your smartphone more than outweighs that in most cases.
Wireless charging is supported by a large number of compatible devices and by the best power banks.
The size and weight
Although this may not seem like a big deal at first, the size and weight of a power bank are something to consider. Because the last thing you want when you’re on the road is to carry a heavy power bank. Ideally, of course, you want a power bank that weighs less than an ounce and is comfortable to hold.
In almost all cases, the large capacity power banks will be quite a bit bulkier simply because of the size of the batteries they require for their power supply. In addition, if you go for a power bank with more than two ports, the size will also increase.
The lighter the power bank is, the more convenient it is to carry it with you. The compact size will ensure that you will take the power bank with you more often. Charging an e-reader on vacation, for example, is a job that does not require a high maximum power. Most e-readers also last a very long time with their battery. So for an e-reader, 5,000 mAh or 10,000 mAh is more than enough.
The maximum power – The charging speed
This is another very important function that will differ per power bank. The charging speed is not only determined by the speed at which the power bank charges itself, but also how fast it charges all your electronic devices. For this reason, a high-quality power bank has at least one or two ports that are equipped with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3, 5 or similar.
Quick Charge-QC 3.0
A Quick Charge port can fully charge your iPhone quite quickly and easily. In most cases, charging your smartphone to 100% takes no longer than an hour.
Always take into account the largest device you own to determine whether the charging speed of a power bank you are considering is okay. Some power banks give you the option to fully charge a MacBook in a few hours.
USB Power Delivery – USB PD
For use with a laptop, you need a power bank that supports USB Power Delivery. USB-PD as this function is abbreviated ensures that more power than normal can be requested via the standard USB connection. This way you can charge a laptop via USB a lot faster than before.
Optional features to consider
Aside from the primary features listed above that are worth considering, you might also want to think about the following possibilities.
An anti-slip coating
You only realize how valuable an anti-slip layer can be when you let your power bank slip out of your hands for the first time. An anti-slip layer is definitely recommended if you often hold the power bank in your hand. Otherwise, consider purchasing a suitable case in which you can transport it.
The supplied cables
It is sometimes difficult to find a power bank that comes with the right cable(s) right away, but if you do find it, you should consider this one. This way you can use the power bank directly from the box! Most power banks have all kinds of connections, but not the right cable. So you will have to buy it yourself or bring it from home. In such a case, it is useful to ensure that your power bank has the USB ports that match the connections of your cable.
Indication with LED lights
When you charge your gadgets, you will undoubtedly appreciate having LED indicator lights or even an LCD screen so that you can see how much battery power is left in the power bank. This way you know when it’s high time to charge the device, and you also have a clearer idea of how many charges you can still get from this power bank.
Although a power bank with solar cells has some advantages, a solar power bank is mainly a nice gimmick as far as we are concerned. Firstly, charging the power bank itself via the built-in solar cells can take considerably longer than charging via the wall socket. Especially if you want to charge in the cloudy weather conditions that we often see in the Netherlands. This can make it difficult to charge the power bank if you don’t have enough time in the sun.
Are you traveling in a sunny country? Then it is possible that your 10,000 mAh power bank is charged faster, as it can take days for such a 10,000 mAh power bank to be completely full. In addition, power banks with solar cells are often more expensive than traditional power banks, which can be an obstacle for some people to purchase one. Finally, a power bank with solar cells is often larger and heavier than a regular power bank with the same total capacity, which can be inconvenient to take with you during activities where you want to have as little luggage as possible.