Eletiofe16 Best Portable Battery Chargers (2023): For Phones, iPads,...

16 Best Portable Battery Chargers (2023): For Phones, iPads, Laptops, and More

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High angle view of a person sitting in woods and charging smart phone with power bank

What to Consider

Shopping for Power Banks

Best Overall

Nimble Champ

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Best for Phones

Anker PowerCore Slim

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Best for Tablets

Einova Eggtronic Ultra Fast Power Bank (63W)

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Portable devices have a Murphy’s law–like ability to run out of power at the least convenient moment: as you step on the bus, right in the middle of an important meeting, or just as you get comfortable on the couch and press Play. However, if you keep a battery-powered portable charger handy, all those situations are a thing of the past.

There are hundreds of portable battery packs out there, and picking one can be confusing. To help, we’ve spent years working our way through all of them. This obsession started when I (Scott) lived off-grid in a vintage RV, powered primarily by solar panels. That experience taught me that the key to solar power is good batteries. I had a proper 12-volt battery bank in the bus, but since I was out and about much of the time, portable power was more flexible and let me take energy where I needed it rather than having to be beside a plug. Even if you’re not living in an off-grid solar setup, good power banks will come in handy. These are our favorites.

Updated April 2023: We added new options from Satechi, Einova, Anker, and Baseus.

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  • High angle view of a person sitting in woods and charging smart phone with power bank

    Photograph: mixetto/Getty Images

    What to Consider

    Shopping for Power Banks

    There are a few things worth thinking about when you’re shopping for a portable charger.

    Capacity: The capacity of a power bank is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh), but this can be a little misleading because the amount of power you get out depends on the cable you use, the device you are charging, and the charging method (Qi wireless charging is less efficient). You will never get the maximum capacity. We try to provide an estimate of what you’ll get in terms of charges for devices.

    Charging speeds and standards: The charging rate for devices like smartphones is measured in watts (W), but most power banks list the voltage (V) and the amperage (A). Thankfully, you can calculate the wattage yourself simply by multiplying the voltage and amperage. Unfortunately, getting that maximum rate also depends on your device, the standards it supports, and the charging cable you use. Many smartphones, including Apple’s iPhones, support the Power Delivery (PD) standard, meaning you can use higher-power power banks to recharge the device with no issues. A few phones, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S range, support a supplementary PD protocol called PPS (Programmable Power Standard) that goes up to 45 W. Many phones also support Qualcomm’s proprietary Quick Charge (QC) standard. There are also other proprietary fast-charging standards, but you won’t generally find power banks that support them unless they come from the smartphone manufacturer.

    Pass-through: If you want to charge your power bank and use it to charge another device simultaneously, it will need pass-through support. The Nimble, GoalZero, Elecjet, Biolite, Mophie, Zendure, and Shargeek portable chargers listed support for pass-through charging. Anker discontinued support for pass-through because it found that differences between the output of the wall charger and the input of the device charging can cause the power bank to cycle on and off rapidly and shorten its lifespan. We would advise caution when using pass-through, as it can also cause portable chargers to heat up.

    Travel: It’s safe to travel with a power bank, but there are two restrictions to keep in mind when you board a flight: You must have the portable charger in your carry-on luggage (it cannot be checked in), and it must not exceed 100 Wh (watt-hours). If your power bank has a larger capacity than 27,000 mAh, you should check with the airline. Below that should not be a problem.

  • Photograph: Nimble

    Best Overall

    Nimble Champ

    There really isn’t a best overall battery charger, because what’s best depends on what needs recharging. The best charger for your phone may be useless if you need to charge a laptop. That said, one brand of battery chargers rose to the top during my testing. Nimble’s Champ strikes the best balance between power when I need it, weight, and price. At 6.4 ounces, it’s one of the lightest on the market, and you’ll hardly notice it in your backpack. It’s smaller than a deck of cards and can charge two devices at once, one via USB-C and one via USB-A. I’ve been using this one for years and rarely leave home without it. The 10,000-mAh capacity has enough juice to charge an iPad, and it can keep my phone running for almost a week.

    The other reason I like Nimble best is because of its environmental efforts. Batteries are not environmentally benign. They use lithium and cobalt and other rare metals whose supply chains are environmentally and socially questionable at best. But Nimble’s use of bioplastics and plastic-free minimal packaging at least reduces the environmental impact where it can be reduced.

    One USB-A port and one USB-C. Can charge tablets and smartphones.

    ★ Alternative: The Juice 3 Portable Charger (£20) is an environmentally conscious alternative for folks in the UK, offering power banks in lots of colors made from 90 percent recycled plastic that come in 100 percent recycled packaging. The series is numbered based on roughly how many charges you can expect to get out of it for the average smartphone, so the Juice 3 holds three full charges.

  • Photograph: Anker

    Anker PowerCore Slim

    The Anker PowerCore Slim is tiny and lightweight, and it charges most phones very quickly. It can power up an iPhone three times, and the 10,000-mAh battery has no trouble topping off my Fire HD 8 tablet twice. This device should be able to charge as quickly as your phone can handle. I also use this to revive my camera batteries when I’m out and about. All of Anker’s chargers come with a nice pouch case as well, which is handy for storing cords.

    One USB-A port and one USB-C. Can charge most phones two to three times.

    ★ Alternative: This Nimble Champ Pro ($94) is the big sister to our top pick. It’s heavier than the plain Champ model—power isn’t free, there’s always a trade-off—but if you have several devices to keep charged, this will easily last you through a long weekend. The battery is double the capacity, clocking in at 20,000 mAh, and roughly double the size. You can charge two devices at the same time, or one while you’re recharging the battery pack itself.

  • Photograph: Einova

    Best for Tablets

    Einova Eggtronic Ultra Fast Power Bank (63W)

    WIRED reviews editor Julian Chokkattu has been enjoying his time toting around this 20,000-mAh charger. It’s slim, fits easily into the padded sleeve of most backpacks, and has enough capacity to recharge an 11-inch tablet twice from zero percent. It’s capable of dishing out 45 watts of power for fast charging via the USB-C port, and 18 watts from the middle USB-A port. In a pinch, you can use it to recharge a laptop (as long as it’s not a power-sucking machine like a MacBook Pro). It has a lovely fabric material on the exterior, and there’s an LED that shows how much juice is left in the tank.

    Two USB-A ports and one USB-C. Can charge most tablets two times.

    ★ Alternative: We’ve also tested the Anker equivalent, the PowerCore 20 ($50), which is cheaper, but it doesn’t dish out as much power, and it has a MicroUSB port instead of USB-C.

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