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Power bank buying guide: How to find the best portable charger for your devices

Stay charged and connected by choosing the right power bank.

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Power banks come in a variety of shapes, sizes and specifications, but all are intended to charge your devices on the go. With such a wide range of products on the market, it might not be obvious which power bank is best suited for your needs.

Learn which features and specs to consider so you can choose the right power bank for your needs.

Power bank capacity

The first feature you should consider is the power bank’s capacity. The capacity will tell you what types of devices it can handle and how many times it can charge those devices.

Capacity is shown as a milliamp-hour (mAh) reading. The higher the mAh, the more charges you’ll get out of your power bank.

Here are some numbers to keep in mind.

  • 3,000 mAh. The average amount of power it takes to charge a smartphone.
  • 10,000 mAh. The ideal power bank size. Most models with this capacity will allow you three smartphone charges, while still fitting in your pocket.
  • 20,000 mAh. Tablets tend to charge fully at just under 10,000mAh. If you’re mainly purchasing a power bank for your tablet, aim for a 20,000 mAh power capacity.

Power banks tend to increase in size and weight as mAh figures increase. Many 10,000 mAh models are pocket-sized. For power banks of 20,000 mAh or over, you’ll have to compromise between size, convenience and extra power.

Additional power bank features to consider

Once you know what capacity you’ll require from your power bank, there are several additional specs to consider. To narrow down your search, keep an eye out for these features and decide how each will impact you.

Pass-through charging

This convenient feature allows you to charge your device and the power bank at the same time.

Number of ports

More ports will allow you to charge more devices at the same time, which is ideal for a family trip or the office.

Cables

While your power bank comes with a cable to recharge it, remember that you’ll also need cables for the device you wish to charge.

Port type

Most power banks offer the standard USB-A port, which works for many smartphones and tablets. Some power banks will have a USB-C port as well, which is more common on the latest devices.

Fast charge

The “fast charge” feature refills your device’s power in less time. But make sure that your device accepts a fast charge, otherwise, you’ll be paying for something you can’t use.

Design

Consider shape and weight when purchasing a power bank, and where you’d like to store it. For example, if you intend to carry it in your backpack or briefcase, make sure it’s small enough to fit.

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