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Our phones were designed to come with us everywhere at all times. We’re constantly staring at them, while keeping one eye on the battery level, and there’s a good chance you’ve got a backup plan in place for when it gets into the red and you’re far from home – either a small power bank in your pack, or plugging it into a laptop’s USB port.
But if a laptop’s battery gets low when you’re on the go, a portable phone power bank isn’t going to get the job done. Even if you have your AC charging cable with you, there isn’t always a wall outlet around – and often when there is, it may be in high demand, such as when you’re waiting for your delayed flight at a crowded airport, or working from a busy cafe.
That’s where a portable laptop power bank comes in. The best portable laptop batteries can boost your MacBook or PC quickly, and charge your phone as well — often at the same time.
What Kind of Battery Do I Need to Charge a Laptop?
If you’re looking the best portable laptop charger, there are a few things you’ll need to know.
Battery Capacity and Power: Battery power is measured in milliamp hours: 25600mAh to 34800mAh lets you charge up a laptop fully about twice (or a smartphone around 10 times) whereas 35000mAh and higher is plenty to refill your laptop multiple times. The smaller a device, the more charges you’re going to get out of it.
A battery on the larger side can charge up way more than just a laptop too. Some have space for more than 10 devices to plug in, and can be used for other appliances around the house like lights, TVs, CPAP machines, even a 150W fridge or 1000W microwave.
Charging: These batteries generally charge up with an AC wall adapter, but some have alternate capabilities like solar power. Other bonus features can include Qi technology, which allows you to charge up a device by simply dropping it on top of the battery unit.
Swappable battery packs can be a life-saver too. So if you know you’ll be on-the-go for long stretches of time, getting a battery with an extra pre-charged pack loaded up can never hurt to have.
Water-Resistance: If you’ll be in an environment where water (or sand and dust) could be a problem, consider a battery pack with a higher IP rating, at IP65 or above. That means your unit is protected from light splashes. Some battery packs are also fully submergible, tightly-sealed, and waterproof. They make it easy to power up even when you’re camping or traveling.
Durability: The same goes for a setting where your battery pack might be roughed up and take a beating – a battery with a tough outer shell can protect the contents inside from common minor dings and drops.
Features: Most batteries feature some type of easy-to-read display. A simple status meter can tell you how much juice remains in the main unit, while others have full OLED screens to let you see the current levels of every connected device.
A flashlight is another common add-on too, and can be an extremely helpful perk when trying to sift through your stuff in an unfamiliar place at night, or to flag down roadside help.
Safety: Finally, safety should be part of any battery you get. Protection from overheating and overcharging (both the battery and the devices connected to it) is important, and thankfully, most units have some type of security measures pre-installed.
We’ve selected four of the best portable laptop chargers, each with different charging strengths and varying methods of providing sufficient power to your devices, whether you’re working while traveling, or going way off the grid.
1. RAVPower 30000mAh Portable Charger
The amount of power provided by this battery is a hefty 30000mAh, while still remaining portable (though on the bulkier side of the bunch at 2.2 pounds).
There’s a built-in, three-pronged AC outlet with a max output of 100W, and the unit can be turned off to conserve power. It’s also strong enough to handle 110V electronic appliances all around your home – even a mini-fridge.
With a USB-C and two USB ports, connected devices fill up fast, and the unit can handle charging multiple devices at once with no issues. The LED indicator is minimal, but does the job of telling you how much juice is left, and a heat dissipation fan keeps things cool when the temperature reaches 122º, with protection from short-circuiting and over-currents.
It’s all housed in a solid shell, making a powerful and portable product even more reliable.
2. mophie Powerstation
Mophie’s portable battery pack offers 22000mAh of juice and has a distinct and stylish comfortable fabric covering on the outer shell that guards against getting it scratched up.
The smart AC port provides 100W of power to devices that would normally need a wall charge, while GFCI protection shuts down the unit when it senses a current imbalance. There’s also a USB-A as well as a USB-C port to let you charge up to three total devices simultaneously.
It’s especially great for MacBooks, but also to have on hand for recharging cameras and drone batteries too.
3. ADDTOP Portable Solar Power Bank
With 25000mAh, this solar-powered battery can recharge a MacBook Pro about three times, and fully charge phones in just over an hour.
It’s got ports for USB-A, USB-C, as well as microUSB, and can handle charging multiple devices at once. As far as durability, this was built for the outdoors: it’s waterproof, shockproof and dust-proof, and well-protected under its quadruple-folding solar flaps with a 1A current.
It also easily hangs off your pack, a great way to let it absorb the sun during the day while outside. When night falls, a bright flashlight is built-in to see your way through the dark, with an SOS and strobe mode to signal others if you need help.
4. HALO Bolt Portable Phone Laptop Charger
For those who want to play it really, really safe by always having a ton of backup power on-hand, consider the HALO Bolt with 58830 mWh – enough to jump-start a car or even a boat (seriously). And jumper cables are included too, along with a car adapter, wall plug, and carrying pouch.
Despite its massive amount of power, it’s still surprisingly portable, at 2.81 pounds. The unit features two USB outlets as well as an AC port, so three devices can be charged up at once effortlessly.
This also includes a bright LED floodlight too, and is an invaluable addition to any emergency kit for your car or home.