Whether we like it or not, we’ve all come to rely on our cell phones. Whether you use it for calling and texting, for accessing your favorite social media apps, for listening to music or podcasts, or for navigation, you undoubtedly feel the pain when you accidentally leave home without it. Or when it runs out of juice.
And if it’s even possible, you’ll find that you rely on your cell phone more than ever when traveling. Long bus rides, flights, and road trips can be pretty miserable without the entertainment stored on your phone. And you’ll have a rough time booking hotels and flights or picking the best restaurants without the travel apps on your phone. You’ll also likely rely on it for taking photos and videos of your favorite moments during your trip.
Instead of being the victim of a powerless cell phone, invest in a portable charger to ensure you’ll always have your trusty phone charged and ready when you need it. Here’s a list of our favorite power banks that will suit any type of traveler!
What to Consider When Purchasing a Power Bank
How Much Power Does it Hold?
The storage capacity of a power bank is the most important thing to consider before making a purchase. The larger the capacity, the more devices you’ll be able to charge before your battery runs out of juice. Capacity is measured in milliampere-hours which are abbreviated as ‘mAh’.
A 10,000 mAh power bank can completely recharge an iPhone X two to three times or an iPhone 8 three to four times. The size of power bank to purchase should depend on the type of phone that you have and how many gadgets you’ll need to charge.
Note: Some countries are now restricting the size of batteries that were allowed to be taken on airplanes. For example, in Thailand external batteries must be kept in your carry-on luggage (not allowed in checked bags) and batteries over 32,000 mAh are not allowed on the plane at all.
For this reason you probably shouldn’t purchase a portable charger over 32,000 and you should double-check to see if there are any restrictions before you head to the airport to make sure you don’t accidentally get your battery confiscated.
Power Bank Size and Weight
Generally the more power a battery can hold, the larger and heavier you can expect it to be. Battery technology is constantly improving so you’ll find that newer models offer a better power-to-weight ratio.
And if you’re willing to spend a little more on your power bank you can shave off a few ounces. It may not sound like a lot, but it will make a big difference if you’re going to be hiking with it.
How Many Devices it can Charge Simultaneously
Most portable chargers offer 1-3 USB ports for charging your electronics. If you only plan to use your power bank to charge your phone, you won’t need more than 1 USB port. But if you have multiple devices (i.e. Kindle, iPad, camera battery) then you’ll probably want at least 2 charging ports.
Also, some portable chargers now have a USB-C port in addition to the standard USB port. USB-C ports can deliver more power and can even be used to charge newer (post-2016) Macbooks.
Power Bank Output
Most new cell phones offer some type of quick charge capability which allows them to be recharged in less than an hour. However, in order to take advantage of these faster charging times you’ll need a portable charger that delivers a high amperage (abbreviated to either “amp” or simply the letter ‘A’).
Older portable chargers only delivered a measly 1A. But most new chargers offer 2-3A. We would recommend avoiding any portable chargers that don’t offer an output of at least 2.4A.
How Long Does the Power Bank Take to Recharge
The downside of a large power bank is that they typically take a long time to recharge. It will take about 6 hours to fully recharge a 10,000 mAh power bank and 9-12 hours to recharge a 26,800 mAh power bank.
Some brands, including Anker, have developed a technology that allows you to recharge your power banks much faster by using dual USB-Micro inputs or a USB-C input. Make sure you take note of the charging time before you make your final power bank purchasing decision.
The Best Power Banks and Portable Chargers for World Travelers
Best Power Bank for the Light Traveler
If you’re planning on traveling light, you probably don’t want to have a heavy, brick-sized portable charger. When it comes to a lightweight and compact charger the Anker PowerCore II 10,000 mAh is the best option on the market. It weighs just 6.9 ounces (less than the average weight of an adult Syrian hamster) and is just slightly larger than a deck of playing cards.
Despite its small size you’ll still be able to charge your phone 2-3 times with this convenient charger. It also utilizes Anker’s PowerIQ technology to provide rapid charging for your device at up to 3 amps. And you can fully recharge this power bank in just 4 hours.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Weight: 6.9 oz
Size: 3.8″ x 2.4″ x 0.9″
Best Portable Charger for the Power Hungry Traveler
If you think you’ll have situations where you’ll be without power for 2-3 days and you have a lot of gadgets that require charging (camera batteries, cell phone, portable speakers, etc) then you’re going to need to go big on a power bank.
The flagship of portable chargers is the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 Power Delivery Charger. It has a USB-C port that can deliver an impressive 27 watts of power, meaning that you can fully charge this battery in just over 4 hours (other batteries this size typically take 9-12 hours to fully charge). The same USB port can deliver 30 watts of power if needed so it can even charge your Macbook!
With a capacity of 26,800 mAh, this power bank can charge an iPhone X six times or an iPhone 8 nine times. It has 2 USB outputs that each deliver 3 amps of power and, as previously mentioned, a USB-C output that delivers up to 30 watts.
If you want to buy the best power bank on the market, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that can beat the Anker PowerCore+ 26800.
Capacity: 26,800 mAh
Weight: 21 ounces (1.3 lbs)
Size: 6.54″ x 3.15″ x 0.91″
Best Power Bank for the Frugal Traveler
If you’re looking for the most charge for the least amount of money then you’ll want to consider the AUKEY 20000 mAh Power Bank.
It can be charged with a Lightning cable which means if you’re an iPhone user you won’t need to carry an additional USB-micro cable to charge your power bank. The Aukey 20,000 mAh can charge 2 devices simultaneously with each USB output providing 2.4A of power. And it has enough juice to fully charge your iPhone X five times or an iPhone 8 seven times.
Capacity: 20,000 mAh
Weight: 13.7 oz
Size: 5.9″ x 3.3″ x 0.8″
Best Portable Charger for the Forgetful Traveler
The biggest issue we have with our own portable chargers is we often forget to plug them in at night or our hotel room doesn’t have enough outlets to charge all of our devices at once. With the RAVPower 2-in-1 Wall Charger and 10000mAh Power Bank you won’t have this problem.
You simply use it as your wall charger to charge up your electronic devices and it charges itself at the same time. No need for a bunch of outlets!
It has 2 USB ports each with a max output of 2.4A. It can be fully recharged in about 6 hours.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Weight: 10.2 oz
Size: 6″ x 3.1″ x 1.2″
Best Power Bank for the Rugged Traveler
The Dark Energy Poseidon Portable Charger is every bit as bad-ass as the name would imply. It’s waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and incredibly durable.
The Dark Energy Poseidon has a waterproof rating of IP68 which means that it can be fully submerged in 6 feet of water for up to 45 minutes! It can also withstand 1,000 pounds of pressure, making it basically ‘crushproof’ and has received a military grade durability rating of MIL-810G. That basically means you can drop it A LOT and it still works.
In one of their tests the Dark Energy team even shoots the Poseidon with a shotgun and it still manages to hold a charge.
Toss it in your bag before heading to the beach or prior to leaping out of an airplane, it’s damn near impossible to wreck this beast.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Weight: 11.2 oz
Size: 6″ x 3.5″ x 0.81″
Best Portable Charger for the Stylish Traveler
If you’re a fashion-first kind of traveler or if black gadgets simply don’t appeal to you then have a look at the Poweradd Pilot 4GS Plus. It has a brushed aluminum case that is both scratch and fingerprint resistant so it will withstand a normal amount of wear and tear. And it’s available in silver, red, or rose gold so you can recharge in style.
But don’t worry, you won’t be sacrificing much in terms of capability. This classy power bank still has a capacity of 20,000 mAh and 2 charging ports boasting 3A of output each. Plus you can charge it with either a USB-micro cable or your iPhone’s Lightning cable.
Capacity: 20,000 mAh
Weight: 16.5 oz
Size: 6.85″ x 3.23″ x 0.62″
Best Power Bank for the Humorous Traveler
If making a hilarious statement is more important to you than functionality, then you’ll want to invest in this amazingly adorable cat power bank. With a capacity of only 5,200 mAh you’ll be hard-pressed to even get 2 full phone charges but who cares when you get to carry this cutie around in your bag?
It boasts a single USB output and no additional special features other than being hilarious and a little creepy.
Capacity: 5,200 mAh
Size: 3.15″ x 3.15″ x 0.98″