Thu. Oct 28th, 2021
Best portable chargers & power banks 2021


Power Banks Ravpower Zendure Aukey MophieSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Best
portable chargers & power banks
Android Central
2021

Nothing can turn your great Android phone from state-of-the-art to overpriced paperweight faster than a dead battery. The best portable chargers and power banks can help recharge your tech when life plays keep-away with your power outlets. Portable chargers used to be big, bulky, and slow, but USB-C power banks and Power Delivery charging standards have made things much faster — fast enough to charge laptops, even — and have allowed power banks to get slimmer and better than ever. There are plenty of options in every shape or size, but our favorite is the versatile Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless. Still, there are plenty of other choices that rank among the best portable battery packs. Here are our top recommendations that you can buy today.

Best overall: Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless

Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless

Source: Anker

While most portable chargers only let you recharge your devices with wired charging, wireless portable chargers are finally becoming somewhat mainstream. There were several hurdles that early models had to overcome — finicky placement, inconsistent speeds, and the higher energy loss that inherently comes with wireless charging — but we’ve finally reached the point where wireless power banks are dependable, widely compatible, and consistent.

While most wireless power banks only charge at 5W, the Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless will charge Samsung smartphones at 10W, iPhones at 7.5W, and all other Qi-enabled phones at 5W, even smaller devices like Galaxy Buds Live or AirPods Pro. When you need faster speeds, you can use the USB-C port for 18W Power Delivery charging to refill your phone more quickly.

Flexibility is paramount in an accessory that will outlive your phone, and being able to use a power bank even when you forget the cable at home is liberating. While this isn’t the thinnest power bank around, the usefulness of wireless charging coils and the sturdy design of the PowerCore III Wireless is worth the added thickness — and price.

Anker loves to slip in little details to help elevate the experience with its products, including a nicely fitting travel pouch, a high-quality USB-C-to-C cable, and a curious little clip that can extend out from one side. This kickstand allows you to slot your phone into it and keep watching while charging via USB-C or USB-A. (If you want to use the kickstand while wirelessly charging your phone, keep reading, we’ll cover one later.)

Pros:

  • 10W wireless charging
  • 18W Power Delivery charging
  • Solid build quality and design

Cons:

  • Only two ports
  • Expensive for a 10K

Best overall


Anker Powercore Iii 10k Wireless Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless

Look, ma, no wires!

This adaptable bank allows you to top off your phone on the go, even if you forget your cables at home.

Best on a budget: Aukey Slimline PD Power Bank (10,000mAh)

Aukey USB-C Power Bank

Source: Aukey

Aukey makes some of the best phone accessories on the market, and its Omnia chargers hold multiple spots on our best 100W Power Delivery chargers and best GaN chargers because its gear tends to last a long time and be priced more competitively. This holds true for its portable chargers, too, with the Aukey Slimline offering the best blend of power and portability for the price of pizza night with the fam.

Roughly the size of a Note 20 Ultra, this 10,000mAh power bank can charge up to three devices at once while still being slim enough to slip in your pocket next to your phone. You can choose from either USB-C Power Delivery or Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, meaning whether your phone is brand new or a few generations old, the Slimline will charge them all with ease.

Unlike the Anker, Aukey doesn’t provide you with a travel pouch, but it does still come with a C-to-C cable for quickly recharging this portable charger — it can also charge via microUSB if you’ve still also go those hanging around. Considering you’re probably going to use a C-to-C cable to charge your phone, you can use that same one to charge the bank when you get home at night. 10,000mAh should recharge most phones 2-3 times.

Pros:

  • Great flat size with three ports
  • More affordable than Anker
  • 18W PD & QC 3.0 charging

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a travel pouch
  • Only comes with C-to-A cable

Best on a budget


10000mAh USB-C charger

Aukey Slimline PD Power Bank (10,000mAh)

Good size at an even better price.

This phone-sized portable charger should fit in your pocket and your budget with room to spare.

Best compact: Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)

Zendure Supermini S20 Otterbox Cable

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

If you want a power bank that won’t stick out of your pockets awkwardly — especially if all the jeans they make for your body type have tiny, tiny pockets — then turn your gaze to Zendure’s smallest portable charger aptly named the SuperMini. This 10,000mAh bank offers the same 18W speeds and ports as the Anker PowerCore III and the Aukey Basix Slim, but it packs it into a footprint that’s smaller than a credit card and light enough to not tug at your jeans when carrying it in your pocket all day.

For a small, rugged power bank, you’d expect this to come in boring colors like black and white. Instead, you have six color options with the Supermini, though you might have to search around a little more for the newer Minty Green and Misty Rose. I’m partial to the Blue Horizon, which is bold, beautiful, and easy to spot amongst the clutter that is my standing desk, but the Sunrise Red is also super-cute.

If there’s any downside to this pint-sized power bank, it’s that the ports are at opposite ends, which makes things awkward if you’re charging two devices at once while walking around — such as in the airport rushing to catch a flight. For a bank this small, you’ll likely only need to charge one device at a time, but it’s worth mentioning.

Pros:

  • Smaller than a credit card
  • 18W PD charging
  • Great color options
  • Low-power mode for accessory charging

Cons:

  • Ports are on opposite sides
  • Both ports share the 18W total output
  • Expensive for a 10K

Best compact


Zendure SuperMini

Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)

I’m not tiny! I’m travel size for your convenience.

With such a small profile and bold look, the Zendure SuperMini is a discerning power bank that’s ready for a night out.

Best 25,000+ mAh option: Anker PowerCore Elite III 25600 87W Bundle

Anker PowerCore III Elite 87w Bundle

Source: Anker

When looking for power banks, Anker will invariably come up on the first page of every search. Anker is one of the most trusted brands in the space, offering durable, dependable, and long-lasting power banks that will stand the test of time. It may not be at the forefront of every bleeding-edge feature or trend, but it refines each of its products and present them in a premium package. Such is the case with the PowerCore Elite III, which gives you the ability to power a laptop and three phones at once thanks to two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports.

The claim to fame for this power bank is that it supports 87W Power Delivery charging. If 87W sounds like a weird number to you, it’s the highest speed many MacBooks charge at, meaning if you’re trying to keep your Mac alive while you’re rendering some 4K video in some cafe, the Anker PowerCore III Elite will actually charge your Mac instead of struggling to keep it alive.

Both USB-C ports are capable of 87W, but that speed is only attainable when it’s the only thing plugged in. When 2-4 devices are plugged in, the maximum output is 78W. That would still give you 45W for the laptop, 18W for the USB-C-connected phone, and 12W for the two USB-A devices to share, which is pretty impressive.

This bank has a slightly higher capacity than our best overall, the RAVPower PD Pioneer Series, but it has almost three times the price tag, too. However, Anker offsets some of that price by throwing in a PowerPort III 65W wall charger and Powerline cable that’ll recharge the Elite III in just over two hours.

Pros:

  • Comes with wall charger
  • Powerful enough for MacBooks
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Recharges in two hours

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • You only get 87W when one port is used

Best 25,000+ mAh option


Anker PowerCore III Elite 87W Bundle

Anker PowerCore Elite III 25600 87W Bundle

Keep power-hungry laptops alive with Anker.

Jumpstart your Power Delivery ecosystem with this bundle, which is just powerful enough even for Macs.

Best for iPhone: RAVPower 10000mAh Compact Power Bank with 20W

RAVPower 10,000mAh Power Bank

Source: RAVPower

The iPhone 12 series debuted with a new 20W wired charging speed allowing you to top off your phone quicker. While accessory makers have been quick to churn out wall chargers with the new spec, power banks always take a little longer. Luckily, you don’t have to wait to get top speed at a low price, thanks to RAVPower.

This 10,000mAh portable charger is light enough to slip into your purse or backpack and forget about it until you need it. Even if it runs down a little living in your bag, it’ll still have enough capacity to recharge your phone completely and then some. You have 20W Power Delivery charging for iPhone users and standard 18W Power Delivery USB-C or 18W iSmart USB-A charging so that if your family is cross-platform, everyone is still covered.

Like the RAVPower PD Pioneer Series that sits at the top of this list, its 10,000mAh version is lightweight and very competitively priced for its capacity. It provides excellent power and portability while keeping up build quality and durability.

Pros:

  • Supports 20W charging for iPhones
  • Compact, lightweight profile
  • Comes with pouch and cable

Cons:

  • Only two ports
  • 20W is shared between ports

Best for iPhone


RAVPower PD Pioneer 10000mAh Power Bank

RAVPower 10000mAh Compact Power Bank with 20W

Get the latest speeds for the latest iPhones.

With 20W Power Delivery charging, this small portable charger ensures that you don’t have to stay plugged in for too long.

Sustainable focus: Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD (100Whr)

Goal Zero SHERPA 100PD

Source: Michael Fisher / MrMobile

Suppose you need as big a battery as you can get to keep your phones, headphones, and laptop alive across international flights and 20-hour days. Goal Zero is the one to beat. The Sherpa 100 PD Qi is just under the FAA limit to bring on a plane. The PD input/output is 60W, meaning it’ll charge a MacBook at a decent speed, and it’s even got a Qi pad on top for your phone.

Goal Zero is a brand you might not have heard of before — it tends to deal with solar and portable power solutions — but because it’s geared towards outdoor tech, you can rest assured this is a battery pack that will not leave you hanging. The company has been focusing on sustainability in the last two years, recycling more and more batteries from older products and sourcing more recycled materials.

Goal Zero has had a couple of generations of the Sherpa power bank, so be careful. The Sherpa 100 PD is about half the size — and two-thirds the price — of the Sherpa 100 AC, and while the AC model supports charging two 60W laptops at once, it’s not worth it when the PD is more portable and just as powerful.

Also, if you’re big into camping and remote trips, Goal Zero sells high-quality solar panels to recharge the Sherpa with.

Pros:

  • 60W charging for laptops
  • 2 USB-A ports & Qi pad on top
  • 0-100 indicator readout
  • Can be used with solar panels

Cons:

  • Extra expensive
  • USB-A ports are only 3.4A

Sustainable focus


Goal Zero SHERPA 100PD

Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD (100Whr)

Made for the outdoors, better for the world.

This is a high-capacity power bank ready for adventure, and it’s made by a company trying its best to go green.

Best for gaming: Aukey Basix Pro (20,000mAh)

Aukey Basix Pro

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

Aukey’s Basix line of chargers has not one but two wireless models on it, and I’m particularly fond of the 20,000mAh version because it’s slightly more sturdy and features a LED display where you can see exactly how much of a charge is left. Don’t get me wrong, those four little indicator dots are just fine for smaller power banks, but it’s so refreshing to be able to tell if my power bank is at 75% or 52% when that means the difference between having 15,000mAh worth of charge or 10,000mAh out of 20,000mAh.

You may notice that the Basix Pro has a lot in common with the Anker PowerCore III Wireless — same wired and wireless charging speeds, same number of ports — but the Aukey has double the capacity in almost the same size power bank. Aukey’s kickstand also has a leg up because you can simultaneously use the wireless charger and kickstand.

Where Aukey loses points is that while you have a small symbol marking the middle of the charging coil, there’s not as much of a guide for phone placement as on the Anker, nor is there the non-slip ring to help keep your phone in place. When your phone slipping half an inch, can shut down the wireless charging, anything to keep the phone in place is heavily appreciated.

Pros:

  • 10W wireless charging
  • Built-in kickstand
  • Phone-sized 20,000mAh bank
  • 0-100 power indicator

Cons:

  • Only two ports
  • Kickstand could be sturdier

0

Best for gaming


Aukey USB-C 20K Wireless Portable Charger Stand

Aukey Basix Pro (20,000mAh)

Charge up while you keep playing.

This power bank will keep your phone alive even as it props up your phone with its kickstand.

Best power station: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

Jackery Explorer 300

Source: Jackery

Power banks come in some pretty large sizes, but at some point, it’s better to transition to the boxier form factor of a power station. These ultra-high-capacity portable chargers are designed to power appliances on camping trips or keep your gear alive during a hurricane, and they have a wide array of port types and power levels to choose from. Power stations can run you hundreds or thousands depending on what capacity you go with, but I prefer the balance of capacity and price that comes around the 200-300Whr range.

If you’ve played in the rugged power space for any amount of time, you’re bound to be familiar with Jackery and its eponymous Explorer Series. Of their many power station sizes, I like the 300 best because it’s got Power Delivery input and output, and it’s the sweet spot between too expensive for the masses and too small to power anything other than laptops. Jackery goes for the traditional toolbox style where all the ports go on the front, and a big honking handle up top is easy to grab and carry from car to campsite.

You can use the two AC plugs to charge non-Power Delivery electronics or run a camp fridge, but don’t expect it to power beefier appliances. It’ll power some CPAP/BIPAP machine models, but not all, so check your model’s rating if this is something you rely on and need a backup should the power fail in your region again. If you want a power station in case of extended power outages after hurricanes, ice storms, or floods, Jackery makes solar panels, but they cost a pretty penny.

Pros:

  • Has AC and car outlets
  • 60W Power Delivery
  • Solar ready
  • Jackery is high quality

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Ports are clustered

Best power station


Jackery Explorer 300

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 300

Go big or go home.

Jackery’s power stations deliver the best experience for outdoors people and severe weather kits.

Why size matters for the best portable chargers

You can find portable chargers in a variety of sizes, but for the majority of you reading this, you’re going to want either a compact 10,000mAh or a slightly beefier 20,000mAh portable charger. I’m partial to the former, such as the strikingly colored Zendure SuperMini, which I can throw into my pocket before a long day out at a theme park.

The best power bank is the one you remember to bring with you, and smaller, lighter banks are easier to carry around. 10,000mAh also gives you enough power to recharge a phone twice before it needs a recharge, but if you need to keep a whole family’s worth of phones alive during a long day or a long weekend — or if you’re only going to own a single power bank rather than a couple in different sizes — get the Anker PowerCore Elite III.

Anker’s high-capacity bank is just over a pound in weight so that it won’t weigh down a backpack or purse too much during long grueling days of travel or adventure. The 87W Power Delivery output means you can recharge laptops, and the bank can fully recharge in three hours, so you aren’t tethered to a wall long when you’re topping it back up.

Why battery packs are harder to find in stock right now

Currently, the world is dealing with a shipping crisis that is crippling many industries and making it hard for manufacturers, vendors, and retailers to keep a wide array of products in stock. Given that power banks have restraints that prevent them from being shipped via air in bulk, they’re especially impacted by the backlog in most American ports. This means that as hard as it is to find the best power banks right now, it’s likely to only get worse until a solution can be found or the backlog is finally tackled.

Those looking for a new power bank right now can do two things. Firstly, if you already have a working power bank, you shouldn’t replace it until it breaks. Once it breaks, please use an electronics recycling program or e-waste reclamation program to ensure that as much material from the broken bank can be recovered and recycled into other electronics (or disposed of properly).

Second, if you need a new power bank, be prepared to be patient. Don’t wait until the last second to buy that power bank for your business trip or your Thanksgiving pilgrimage over the river and through the woods. Allow time for shipping delays and don’t expect many deals this holiday shopping season due to lower-than-normal supply.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.

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