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If you still leave home without a small power bank or portable charger — you’re packing your everyday carry wrong.
There is no move more cringe-inducing than stretching your whole body across the bar, phone on three-percent battery in hand, and saying to the bartender, “Excuse me, can you plug this in behind you?” In the very best case scenario, the bartender does have a charger and keeps your phone in phone-purgatory behind the bar and you have to get their attention every time you want to check your emails. Worst case, they direct you to the cash-operated phone charging station in the corner.
You need a small power bank. And not just for dead phones.
The best portable chargers and power banks can boost a wide range of electronics including your laptop or tablet. They come in handy you’re out of range of a wall outlet, if you’re camping in the great outdoors maybe, or if you’re working remotely from a library or cafe. They’re also great for road trips or plane rides, where you may not be able to plug in to charge your devices.
What Are The Best Small Power Banks?
Capacity: First and foremost, make sure the portable charger you use has the capacity to fully charge your device in one go. So take into consideration what devices you’re going to need the charger for, and for how long you’re going to be away from an outlet and will need it. Check the power bank for mAh (milliamp hours), and compare it to what you really need, whether that’s a small 3,000 mAh battery (great for phones), or a robust 20,000 mAh model (powerful enough for laptops).
Size: The idea behind the portable charger is that it should be, you know, portable. So don’t forget to think about the size and weight of the power bank when shopping around. Are you carrying a bag or do you want something to slip in your back pocket?
Compatibility: Keeping in mind what kind of device you need to charge, and how many devices you’ll want to charge at once, which will make a difference when shopping. All of our chargers work with both iPhones and Androids, though be sure to note the type of cable you’ll need to connect to your device.
Keep in mind the power bank itself will need to be charged up after it juices your devices. The best power banks can dispense enough charge to power up a phone 2-3 times, or fully charge a laptop once. After that, they will need to be plugged in to re-charge, a cycle that could take a few hours.
1. BEST OVERALL: Anker PowerCore Fusion 10000
If you only need something to quickly power up your phone while you’re out and about or in an emergency,we like Anker’s PowerCore Fusion.
The 5,000mAh battery can fully recharge an iPhone 12 Pro once, and its ultra-fast USB-C power can charge it from 0 to 50% in about 30 minutes. The PowerCore Fusion also has a USB-A port, so you can charge two devices at the same time.
We like Anker’s PowerCore Fusion because it has a power plug built into it, so you don’t have to carry around a separate power adapter to charge its battery. You can also use this model to charge your devices while it’s connected.
It may not have the highest battery capacity, but the PowerCore Fusion’s convenience more than makes up for that.
2. ULTRA PORTABLE: Mophie Power Boost Mini
At four inches long Mophie’s Power Boost Mini is the smallest battery pack we’re recommending, and a great pick if size is your main concern.
The Power Boost Mini has a capacity of 2,600mAh, so you should expect it to extend the life of a typical smartphone by three or four hours. This is a battery pack to keep in your pocket during a night out, not an international flight.
The Power Boost Mini has a single USB-A port, so you can plug in a phone or tablet, and a MicroUSB port for charging. Four LEDs on the side of the battery pack indicate how much juice it has left, so you can know when to charge it.
It may not have as much power as the other battery packs we’re recommending, but its small size makes it the best choice if you don’t want to feel weighed down by your tech.
3. Nimble Champ Portable Charger
Nimble’s Champ Portable Charger is the smallest battery pack we’ve ever tried, but doesn’t skimp on any features.
The 10,000mAh battery can fully charge an iPhone 12 Pro, and has two USB ports, so you can top up two gadgets at once. The battery supports Quick Charge 4.0 technology, which it says can charge devices up to three times faster than normal.
We’re recommending Nimble’s Champ because of its performance, but it’s also the most eco-friendly pick in our guide. The power bank’s case is made out of 72.5% post-consumer plastic, and its packaging is completely plastic free.
If you want a fast-charging battery pack you can feel good about getting, Nimble’s Champ is the clear choice.
4. HIGHEST CAPACITY: AUKEY 20000mAh USB-C Power Bank
AUEKY’s USB-C Power Bank is the most fully-featured small battery pack we recommend, and is basically the Swiss Army Knife of on-the-go charging.
At 6.26-inches long it’s the largest battery pack we’re recommending, but it’s still small enough to fit comfortably in the front pocket of a backpack, or inside a purse. It has a 20,000mAh capacity, which AUKEY says can fully recharge an iPhone XS over five times. It has a USB-A port and a USB-C PD (power delivery) port, which can output up to 18W (Watts) of power.
The USB-C PD port allows you to fast charge an iPhone or Android Phone, or extend the battery life of a larger gadget like the Nintendo Switch. You can use both ports to charge two devices simultaneously.
Besides being a traditional battery pack AUKEY’s USB-C Power Bank is also a portable wireless charger. You can set your device on top of the battery to use it as a charging pad, or prop the battery up using its built-in kickstand to use it as a wireless charging stand. It can output up to 10W of power as a wireless charging pad, which means it can charge an iPhone or Android phone at full speed. You can use this battery pack’s wireless charging feature while your phone is in a case, but it will slow the charging speed down.
I’ve tested this power bank for myself, and all of these features work very well. It’s rare to find a single charging gadget that supports wireless charging, fast charging, and multi-device charging, but AUKEY’s USB-C Power Bank manages to nail all three with no obvious downsides. It may be a little bigger than the other battery packs on this list, but its features more than make up for it.