portable chargers & power banks
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
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.)
- 10W wireless charging
- 18W Power Delivery charging
- Solid build quality and design
- Only two ports
- Expensive for a 10K
Best on a budget: Aukey Slimline PD Power Bank (10,000mAh)
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.
- Great flat size with three ports
- More affordable than Anker
- 18W PD & QC 3.0 charging
- Doesn’t come with a travel pouch
- Only comes with C-to-A cable
Best compact: Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
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.
- Smaller than a credit card
- 18W PD charging
- Great color options
- Low-power mode for accessory charging
- Ports are on opposite sides
- Both ports share the 18W total output
- Expensive for a 10K
Best 25,000+ mAh option: Anker PowerCore Elite III 25600 87W Bundle
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.
- Comes with wall charger
- Powerful enough for MacBooks
- Long-lasting durability
- Recharges in two hours
- Very expensive
- You only get 87W when one port is used
Best for iPhone: RAVPower 10000mAh Compact Power Bank with 20W
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.
- Supports 20W charging for iPhones
- Compact, lightweight profile
- Comes with pouch and cable
- Only two ports
- 20W is shared between ports
Sustainable focus: Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD (100Whr)
Source: Michael Fisher / MrMobile
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.
- 60W charging for laptops
- 2 USB-A ports & Qi pad on top
- 0-100 indicator readout
- Can be used with solar panels
- Extra expensive
- USB-A ports are only 3.4A
Best for gaming: Aukey Basix Pro (20,000mAh)
Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central
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.
- 10W wireless charging
- Built-in kickstand
- Phone-sized 20,000mAh bank
- 0-100 power indicator
- Only two ports
- Kickstand could be sturdier
Best power station: Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
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.
- Has AC and car outlets
- 60W Power Delivery
- Solar ready
- Jackery is high quality
- Ports are clustered
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
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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