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Top 13 Best Powerbanks of 2022

Daniel Hessel

Does the battery often run out on your phone? If so, a powerbank could be the perfect accessory for you. But which powerbank is best? We put the most popular models through a tough test.

16 Best Powerbanks of 2022

How we did the test

Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.

In this test, we performed calculations and tests on a range of powerbanks. To be able to judge them fairly, we used a battery of 1800 mAh, which corresponds to an average mobile battery, albeit in the slightly smaller class. It's about what you'd find in an iPhone SE from 2020, although many Android phones can be up to 3,000 or 4,000 mAh.

In the test, we used a standard 2 amp Lightning cable.

We tested each powerbank individually and then, through the data obtained, we assessed and compared the different models. Below you can read about the various measurements and what tests we did, as well as a brief explanation of what the results mean.

  • Volts – How much current is flowing through the device.
  • A (Amperes) – How many amperes the powerbank can transfer.
  • Operating time – How long the powerbank can be used before it runs out of battery and needs to be charged.
  • Charges – How many charges can be made to an 1800mAh battery.
  • Charging – How long it takes to charge the powerbank up to 100%.
  • Power – Shows how much current is flowing through the device with the charging cable used during the test.
  • Ports – How many ports the device has and what type, which is important for you to be able to use it with all your devices.
  • Weight – The weight of the powerbank, which is crucial in terms of its portability.
  • Dimensions – The powerbank's dimensions, which also have a major impact on its portability.

1. Mophie Powerstation XL Wireless - BEST CHOICE

Fast and with plenty of functions

Volts: 4.89 A: 1.53 Operating time: 3.92 Charges: 2.90 Charging: 6 hrs 10 min Power: 7.56 Watts Ports: 2 x USB ports, 1 x USB-C, Wireless Weight: 241 g Dimensions: 128 x 69 x 20 mm

Mophie Powerstation XL 10000mAh

Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL is fairly light for a powerbank that offers wireless charging. It weighs just 221 grams, which is not impressive in general but is impressive in terms of wirelessness, which otherwise tends to increase the weight.

The outside is covered in fabric. This gives a quality impression and good grip. Yet it also increases the risk of getting dirty easily.

The power button is concealed on the side. However, the four LEDs clearly show the current battery level.

Fast charging is a really good feature of the Powerstation Wireless XL. It allows you to charge half of the battery in as little as half an hour. However, it takes five hours to fully charge – that’s on a par with the competition.

Efficient charging

The range of ports is acceptable. We find The Mophie Powerstation XL is top of the range when it comes to powerbanks, and comes equipped with most things you could want. You not only have two USB ports and a USB-C port, but you also get wireless charging, which comes in very handy when you’ve forgotten the charging cable.

With an operating time of 3 hours and 55 minutes, and able to charge your mobile in 2 hours and 50 minutes, you’ll get what you need from this powerbank.

In terms of weight, at 241 g, this device is pretty heavy, but as it gives you all the benefits such as wireless charging, that weight is only to be expected.

The finish is matt and rubberised, which makes it very easy to grip. However, it also gets dirty easily as stuff gets stuck in the rubber and is tricky to remove.

The Mophie is the most expensive of all the powerbanks we looked at in this test. In terms of price it’s a lot more than the cheapest models and a fair way above the average. But it does offer more modern features. Wireless charging isn’t yet common and it also charges quickly via cable. If you want to spend extra money on wireless charging, we don’t think it’s too expensive. All in all, the Mophie does a fantastic job. a USB-C and a USB-A, and while that may not seem like much, it’s completely acceptable for a power bank with wireless charging.

This powerbank may be called XL, but you won't get a lot of charges out of it. However, it charges devices quickly, so ultimately it’s comparable to similarly priced competitors.

Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL is suitable if you want a wireless powerbank with fast charging.

Wireless chargingfast charging of phone batteries
High pricelong charging time for the powerbank itself

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2. Anker Powercore III Sense 10,000 MAh Wireless - BEST PREMIUM CHOICE

Voltage: 5.11 A: 1.74 Operating time: 3 hrs 30 mins. Charges: 2.83 Charging time: 5 hrs 30 mins. Power: 8.99 watts Ports: 1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C Weight: 209 g Dimensions: 150 x 70 x 15 mm

Anker PowerCore III Sense 10000mAh

If you’re looking for a powerbank that provides wireless charging and efficient operation for a good price, then the Ankers Powercore III Sense might be ideal for you.

In terms of design, the Powercore III Sense does very well. It’s a solid powerbank with the front covered in durable fabric. Despite the fabric, it’s easy to clean and doesn’t stain readily. Unfortunately, the back of the Powercore III Sense is made of ordinary plastic, but you don’t often look at the back.

Efficient battery

This powerbank has many pluses. For example, you get 2.83 charges from a 1800 MAh battery on a single charge. We measure the operating time to 3.3 hours, which makes this powerbank one of the best in that respect. The fact that you also have access to wireless charging is another plus.

Although the wireless charging function is good to have, however, charging via the mains is still the most efficient option. You can also charge three separate devices simultaneously via the wireless charging, which is really impressive. With a cable you have 18 W capacity, while with wireless charging you have 10 W.

The Powercore III Sense weighs in at 209 grams. So it’s not too heavy to carry around in your bag or pocket. All in all, Anker have produced a very nice powerbank, with plenty of functions, with the PowerCore III Sense.

Affordablefast chargingfast charging of powerbankwireless charging of 3 devices simultaneously
Plastic back

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Anker PowerCore III Sense 10000mAh Power Bank (Fabric Black)


Powerbank Anker ANKPB-A1248G11 Black 10000 mAh


Powerbank Anker ANKPB-A1248G11 Black 10000 mAh


3. Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL

Wireless powerbank with fast charging

Voltage: 4.98 A: 1.50 Operating time: 3.5 hrs Charges: 5.30 Charging time: 5 h Power: 7.90 Watt Ports: 1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C Weight: 221 grams Dimensions: 160 x 70 x 20 mm Other: Wireless charging

Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL with PD 10000mAh

Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL is fairly light for a powerbank that offers wireless charging. It weighs just 221 grams, which is not impressive in general but is impressive in terms of wirelessness, which otherwise tends to increase the weight.

The outside is covered in fabric. This gives a quality impression and good grip. Yet it also increases the risk of getting dirty easily.

The power button is concealed on the side. However, the four LEDs clearly show the current battery level.

Fast charging is a really good feature of the Powerstation Wireless XL. It allows you to charge half of the battery in as little as half an hour. However, it takes five hours to fully charge – that’s on a par with the competition.

Efficient charging

The range of ports is acceptable. We find a USB-C and a USB-A, and while that may not seem like much, it’s completely acceptable for a power bank with wireless charging.

This powerbank may be called XL, but you won't get a lot of charges out of it. However, it charges devices quickly, so ultimately it’s comparable to similarly priced competitors.

Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL is suitable if you want a wireless powerbank with fast charging.

Very convenient fast chargingwireless at a good price
Attracts dirtrather slow to fully charge

4. Anker PowerCore Metro Essential 20000 PD

Power bank for caravan holidays or short power cuts

Voltage: 5.05 A: 1.20 Operating time: 4.39 hrs Charges: 5.12 Charging time: 6 h Power: 6.01 Watt Ports: 1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, micro-USB Weight: 342 grams Dimensions: 160 x 70 x 20 mm

Anker PowerCore III Sense 20000mAh

Anker Powercore Metro Essential 20000 PD is a power bank with good build quality and a well-designed exterior. You won’t be embarrassed to bring it out. The upper side is covered with fabric, which adds to the overall well-built feel.


This is a fairly large power bank. It’s quite heavy too. But it’s also powerful, an impressive 20,000 milliamperes, so a slightly higher weight and size are only to be expected. Just be mindful of the fact that, due to its weight, this is not the power bank you simply slip into the pocket of your joggers.

It also has too few ports in parity to its size. There’s only one USB-A and one USB-C. That feels a bit stingy.

Multiple charges

With its 20,000 mAh, we find that you can charge your mobile phone just over five times, which is really good. There’s also the option of fast charging for phones that are compatible, which speeds up the charging process.

Anker Powercore Metro Essential 20000 PD is essentially an affordable power bank. It’s suitable for keeping at home in the event of a short power cut, or for taking along on a caravan holiday.

Multiple chargesfast chargingdurable
Relatively heavytoo few ports

5. Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 3 Ultra Compact 10,000 mAh

Compact power bank that’s ideal if you have lots of different devices

Voltage: 5.11 A: 1.74 Operating time: 3:40 hrs Charges: 2.80 Charging time: 6 h Power: 8.99 Watt Ports: 1 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, micro-USB Weight: 200 grams Dimensions: 90 x 65 x 20 mm

Xiaomi Power Bank 3 Ultra Compact 10000mAh

The Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 3 Ultra Compact is a power bank with high build quality and good gripability. Its grooved exterior means that it’s not likely to slip out of your hand.

For such a small power bank, it’s quite heavy – a surprising 200 grams. Not much compared to other devices, but still more than you might expect. Since the main USP of this portable power bank is its compact size, it would be nice if it was also light as a feather.

Multiple output ports

However, it does offer plenty of output ports. They include double USB-As, which is excellent if you have several of these devices. It also has a USB-C port and a micro-USB. This power bank is therefore versatile if you have a lot of devices, or if several members of your family want to share a single portable charger.

Takes time to fully charge

With 2.80 charges and 3:40 operating hours, this is a perfectly acceptable power bank in terms of capacity. Not the best, but completely okay. The charging time of six hours, on the other hand, seems excessive.

The 10000 mAh Mi Power Bank 3 Ultra Compact is a great value power bank in terms of how many output ports you get. While it may not be the fastest or lightest on the market, it’s a compact model that works well with multiple devices.

Compactmany and varied output ports
Relatively heavylong charging time

6. Anchor Powercore Metro Slim

Voltage: 4.94 A: 1.23 Operating time: 5.50 hrs Charges: 2.91 Charging time: 6 hrs 10 mins Power: 5.38 watts Ports: 1USB port and 1 USB-C 1 Micro-USB Weight: 245 grams Dimensions: 150 x 70 x 20 mm

Anker PowerCore Metro Slim 10000mAh

The Ankers Powercore Metro Slim is one of the larger and heavier powerbanks in our test, but it does have a well-thought-out exterior and capacity for almost three full charges when fully charged.

The Powercore Metro Slim feels nice and solid. It has a front covered with durable textile, which means it resists scratches and grease stains pretty well. However, the back is plastic and easily gets dirty. In terms of design, the Powercore is quite attractive.

You will find the on/off button on the front, with four LEDs that show the approximate current battery level.

Three devices simultaneously

There are a good variety of ports, with USB-C, USB-A and micro-USB all included. This means you can charge up to three devices simultaneously.

When it comes to battery capacity, the Powercore Metro Slim is very impressive, and you get a lot of power out of this 10000 mAh battery. However, it’s also one of the slower powerbanks when it comes to charging your mobile phone.

At 245 grams this powerbank is also one of the heaviest in the test.

With a decent price and a lot of battery for the money, the Anker Powercore Metro Slim is a powerbank that not only looks good but also delivers. However, you have to bear in mind that it’s a bit slower when it comes to charging, and also a few grams heavier.

Decent pricelots of charges for the moneydoesn’t easily show dirt
A bit bigger and heaviersomewhat slow charging

7. Anchor Powercore 3 10K Wireless

Voltage: 5.15 A: 1.65 Operating time: 3 hrs 55 mins. Charges: 2.79 Charging time: 5 hrs 30 mins Power: 8.34 watts Ports: 2 USB ports and 1 Type-C port. Weight: 210 g Dimensions: 135 x 70 x 18 mm

Anker 533 Wireless Power Bank

Weighing only 210 grams and offering a lot of good functions, Ankers Powercore 3 10K is a decent powerbank for a decent price.

In terms of appearance, the Powercore 3 10K is quite attractive. However, it has a matte finish which easily shows grease stains and the like, so you’ll need to clean it now and then.

There are two USB-A ports and one USB-C, which is the same as its better competitors. This means you can charge up to three devices simultaneously. It also supports wireless charging.

Very lightweight

At 210 grams this is one of the lightest powerbanks in our test. In terms of charging, things aren’t so good, however. You can fully charge your mobile 2.79 times, which is one of the lower amounts in our test. On the other hand, the price is quite low, so that offsets the charging issue a little.

The operating time is 3.55 hours, which means it charges your phone quite quickly. And it doesn’t take long to fully charge the powerbank either.

At a good price, with fast charging and support for wireless charging, the Powercore 3 10K is a decent powerbank. The finish leaves a bit to be desired, as do the number of charges. But overall, this powerbank is reasonable value for money.

Wireless chargingfast charginglightweight
Shows greasy stains easilytoo few charges

8. Sandberg Outdoor Solar Powerbank

Voltage: 5.05 A: 1.19 Operating time: 4.93 Charges: 2.85 Charging time: 6 hrs Power: 6.01 watts Ports: 1 USB port, 1 Type C port,1 Micro USB, Wireless Weight: 240 grams Dimensions: 140 x 73 x 20 mm

Sandberg Outdoor Solar Powerbank 16000mAh

Sandberg’s Outdoor Solar Powerbank, sometimes sold under the name Sandberg Active, is one of the more robust powerbanks we’ve encountered. It looks quite different, but it’s not at all clumsy in design. In addition to traditional charging, it also has support for solar cell charging.

You can thus leave it in the sun to build up the charge a bit. With its robust design, and a loop on the outside, it’s ideal to take on a camping holiday or hiking trip. You can hang it on the outside of your backpack and then it will partially charge itself in the sun.

For people on the go

The Sandberg Outdoor Solar Powerbank, is a solar cell powerbank with 10,000 watts of power. It is both functional and quite efficient. It offers 2.85 charges, which is fine without being top of the range. And the solar cell charging means you can get a little more out of it when you’re outdoors. So even if output power and charge aren’t the best, the Active climbs up a number of places because of the solar charging.

All the same, it should be made clear that the solar cells don’t really provide you with all the charge you need. If the battery is left in a sunny place for several hours, it will charge up a bit, but you’d need to live in the tropics for it to fully charge.

The Sandberg Outdoor Solar Powerbank is ideal for people who are out on the go and need a slightly tougher design and can benefit from the solar cells.

Solar cellsrobust construction
Slightly slow to charge

9. Mophie Powerstation go rugged flashlight

Innovative powerbank, built as a flashlight

Voltage: 5.09 A: 1.59 Operating time: 3.40 hrs Charges: 5.30 Charging time: 5:30 h Output: 8.24 Watt

Mophie 401107705 Flashlight Black Hand Led

Mophie Powerstation Go Rugged Flashlight is a powerbank with a built-in flashlight. The entire construction is shaped like a traditional torch, in matte plastic that resembles a rubberised surface, but which is normal hard plastic when touched. This permeates the entire impression. It is a large, heavy and plastic torch made of smooth material.


The advantage of having a flashlight and powerbank in one, however, speaks for itself. Especially for people who live in the countryside or go camping a lot. If the Go Rugged Flashlight had been a little lighter in terms of weight, it would have been more appropriate.

The Go Rugged Flashlight has two different modes. It also has a socket for charging gadgets via USB-C, one for USB-A, and a socket for jump leads.

OK torch

The torch light is okay. It provides good illumination for a few metres. There is also a red mode and a flashing red mode.

As a pure powerbank, it has a fairly quick charge. We absolutely approve of a charging time of three hours and 40 minutes .

The Go Rugged Flashlight has a number of functional features and is quite affordable. If it had been a little lighter and less plasticky, we would have seen a broader target group for it, such as people who spend a lot of time in the forest. Currently, it's best for homeowners out in the countryside who often experience power outages.

Jump leadsgood lightingquite fast

10. Sandberg Urban Solar Powerbank

Voltage: 5.09 A: 1.20 Operating time: 4.97 Charges: 2.83 Charging time: 6 hrs Power: 6.04 watts Ports: 1 x USB port, 1 x type C port, 1 Micro USB, Wireless Weight: 240 grams Dimensions: 158 x 95 x 10 mm

Sandberg 420-54

Sandberg's Urban Solar Powerbank is a solar-powered powerbank which you can recharge even when there are no wall sockets available. Just by leaving it to lie in the sun, you will boost the charge. Though of course you can still charge it via a wall socket.

Of course, you don’t get infinite current from the solar cells either. The solar element should really be seen more as a function to top up the battery's capacity on sunny days. Because fully charging using the solar cells takes far too long.

Quite clumsy

In terms of design, the Sandberg Urban Solar Powerbank unfortunately feels quite clumsy. It has a relatively flat design, but is also rather wide. It’s not easy to fit in your pocket and it also gets dirty quite easily.

But the Sandberg Urban Solar Powerbank shines when it comes to providing enough energy to charge your mobile. Sure, it takes a whole day to get enough energy to charge a regular mobile battery, which can feel like a long time, but it gets on with that itself, and you can just leave it out in the sun during your camping holiday.

Fully charged, it gives 2.83 charges, which isn’t all that impressive but nor it is particularly poor. The Sandberg Urban Solar Powerbank is quite an interesting idea but it falls somewhere between its more rugged siblings and those that fit in better in urban environments.

Solar energy
Clumpy designexpensive

11. Mophie Powerstation Go Rugged with Aircompressor

Powerbank for car users

Voltage: 5 A: 1.74 Operating time: 3:30 hrs Charges: 2.83 Charging time: 5:30 h Output: 8.99 Watt Sockets 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, jumper cables Weight: 1102 grams Dimensions: 240 x 120 x 50 mm

Mophie 401107704 Go Rugged With Air Compressor Blk

Mophie Powerstation Go Rugged with Aircompressor is an interesting powerbank with many functions. It can charge your mobile devices, but also inflate tyres and start your car battery.

The construction quality is okay, but not more than that. The plastic is perceived as cheap and, even though the name has rugged in it, the plastic is thin and glossy.

This is also one of the largest and heaviest powerbanks we have tested. It weighs just over 1.1 kg, so you won't be putting it in your backpack and taking it with you on your hike. On the other hand, it is suitable as a complement to your car during longer journeys.

It has a central display where you can choose between different modes. For example, you can see the charge and other devices that are of interest when you want to use it for one of the other functions.

As a pure powerbank, it works excellently. It has incredibly good capacity and you can easily get 4–5 full charges depending on your mobile phone. It takes some time to charge the internal battery. You almost need to charge it overnight if you want to make sure that it has enough time to fully charge. But then you’ll have plenty of power for your adventures.

You can also use it to adjust tyre pressure and inflate tyres. And you can use it to start a vehicle if its battery has run down. However, we have not been able to test these functions, but note that the jumper cables are very short, which can cause problems if you try to connect it to a car battery.

Mophie Powerstation Go Rugged with Aircompressor is suitable for those who want a powerbank for long car journeys.

Versatile powerbankplenty of charge
Heavy & largeplastic construction quality

12. Mophie Powerstation 1000

Better than its sibling

Voltage: 5.09 A: 1.71 Operating time: 3.40 hrs Charges: 2.83 Charging time: 5 hrs 30 mins Power: 8.70 watts Ports: 1 USB-A port, 1 Type C port, Weight: 240 grams Dimensions: 140 x 70 x 15 mm

Mophie Powerstation 10000mAh

The Mophie Powerstation is very similar to the XL version, but with a lower price and no support for wireless charging. In terms of appearance and capacity, however, it is identical to the XL.

The Powerstation feels nice in your hand and has an easy-care exterior with textile on both front and back. The Powerstation weighs 20 grams more than the XL, which is odd because XL sounds like it should weigh more and it also has the extra wireless charging function. Then again, 20 grams is barely noticeable.

Better than its big brother

In terms of operation, this Powerstation is better than its siblings, both in terms of charging time for the powerbank itself and when it comes to how fast it charges your devices. 8.70 watts of power gives you a pretty fast charge. A charge takes about 30 minutes less than with the XL.

One disadvantage of the Mophie Powerstation is that it only has two ports, a USB-A and a USB-C. This means you’re limited in how many devices it can charge at the same time – and many of the competitors have three ports. The Mophie Powerstation 1000 feels like a slightly better choice than its XL sibling, unless you need wireless charging.

Faster than the XLlot of powerdecent powerbank charging time
A tiny bit heavier than the wireless versiononly 2 ports

13. Anker Powercore

The smallest powerbank with the fastest charge

Volts: 5.15 A: 1.62 Operating time: 3.55 hrs Charges: 2.79 Charging: 5 h 30 min Power: 8.34 Watts Ports: 1 x USB port for charging 1 x Micro-USB for charging Weight: 180 g Dimensions: 92 x 60 x 22 mm

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh

If you’re looking for a powerbank that’s small but charges quickly, the 10,000 mAh Anker Powercore could be the ideal choice. With an operating time of 3 hours and 33 minutes and offering 2.79 charges per unit, it’s without a doubt the fastest in our test. These great results can be attributed to its QI 3.0 function. Though of course that also means your other equipment needs to be able to support the QI technology.

With a weight of only 180 g, which is among the lightest you can find in this class, and a length of only 9.2 centimetres, it’s both lightweight and easy to fit into your bag or pocket and carry around.

Unfortunately, for charging the powerbank, you only get one USB port and one Micro-USB. In other words, you’re limited to charging one device at a time.

With a powerbank charging time of just 5 hours and 30 minutes, this is also one of the fastest when it comes to charging itself, which makes it a solid competitor.

Anker's black design works very well, although it’s sensitive to stuff like greasy fingerprints, for example, which can make it look shabby pretty quickly.

Fast charging of devicessmalllight weight
Gets dirty easilyfew portsexpensive

All about powerbanks

Every time a survey is carried out about what us consumers want in a mobile phone, "better battery life" is almost always the top answer.

And that’s not so surprising. Today's phones run through their charge in about a day – sometimes less if you use it a lot and sometimes more if you turn on power save mode. Many of us still remember old school mobile phones where standby time was measured in weeks rather than hours, but on the other hand those phones were largely used to just to make calls or send texts. A modern phone has more in common with a fully-featured computer in terms of what it can handle and has replaced everything from compact cameras to music players, and film viewers to web browsers. More functions, more capable hardware and, above all, much larger screens simply use more power.

If you know your phone has a problem lasting a whole day, or if you just want to avoid the stress of running out of battery, a powerbank can be a great investment. They are basically an extra battery that can be used to charge your phone when you don’t have access to a normal phone charger.

Powerbanks come in a range of different sizes. Just like the battery in today's phones, capacity is measured in milliampere hours – mAh. A normal phone today has a battery of between about 2,000 and 4,000 mAh, and powerbanks usually start at just over 2,000 mAh and go all the way up to 20,000 or even 30,000 mAh.

Smaller capacity means a smaller battery inside the powerbank, and thus a smaller size overall. Smaller batteries generally take less time to charge. At the same time, of course, you want to be able to both fully charge an almost discharged phone and for it to be fairly quick even if you're using the phone at the same time. So powerbanks with a slightly larger capacity are often better.

At the same time, powerbank mathematics isn’t entirely straightforward. Say you have a phone with a 2,000 mAh battery, that doesn’t mean that an equally large powerbank can fully charge the phone once. Depending on how the powerbank's electronics are structured, the current loss can vary. You simply always ‘waste’ some current during charging. If the phone is being used at the same time, it constantly draws power, which also affects the amount of charge.

In our test, we looked at powerbanks with a capacity of around 10,000 mAh. These are still relatively small and flexible devices, yet they also have the capacity to fully charge a phone at least once, and often twice. It’s also in this class of powerbank that extra functions start to appear, such as fast charging, the ability to charge two devices at the same time or even wireless charging.

Everything you need to know about powerbanks

What is a powerbank?

A powerbank is a battery backup designed to store energy for charging mobile phones, laptops,etc. Inside a powerbank there’s usually one (or more) small lithium batteries that store the energy.

How do you charge a powerbank? How long does it take?

Charging a powerbank takes different lengths of time depending on how much energy the lithium batteries can hold. You charge the powerbank via a standard USB port such as USB-C, micro USB or USB-A.

Charging time also depends on how much current the powerbank can accept, and how powerful the charger for the battery pack is. So there are quite a few factors at work. In the test above, you see the differences in charging time with a standard mobile charger and powerbanks of approximately 10,000 mAh

How big a powerbank do I need?

How big a powerbank you need depends on what you want to charge. For example, if you have a powerbank of 10,000 mAh, that’s going to be enough for about 2-4 charges of a mobile phone or one charge for an iPad. If you need more than that, you can even buy powerbanks with a capacity of 20,000 mAh or more.

There are also smaller capacity powerbanks, usually from around 2,500 mAh up to about 5,500 mAh. These are generally cheaper and smaller in size. But while they’re able to charge a phone, they may not give it a full charge, and so are used mainly as an emergency charger or to top up the battery a bit.

What ports do powerbanks have?

Generally, there are three types of port found on powerbanks. All three won’t be on all powerbanks, but at least two of them will be.

USB-A: An ordinary USB connector. Simply plug in your normal charging cable and charge up your phone. • Micro USB: A small semi-oval connector of the kind that slightly older mobile phones are charged with. Used almost exclusively to charge your powerbank. • USB-C: A newer sort of USB connector that will eventually replace all other types. An oval shape that can be plugged in any direction and still work. It’s usually via this sort of connector that you get a slightly stronger charging current. In many cases, the connector can be used both to charge your phone and to charge the powerbank itself.

There are also some powerbanks that have built-in cables. The most common is a Lightning connector, i.e. one that you charge an iPhone with. There are also variants with USB-C or micro USB, or several cables built into one. This solution is convenient because it means you don’t have to remember to bring a separate cable. At the same time, such cables are usually quite short and if the cable breaks you can’t use the powerbank.

What is fast charging?

Waiting for a device to charge is kind of boring, so we want it to happen as quickly as possible. To do that without damaging your equipment, a lot of fast charging techniques have been developed.

Many manufacturers have their own fast-charge solution, which often requires you to use their devices throughout. However, there are a couple of more universal solutions.

Qualcomm Quickcharge in versions 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 is a variant that’s quite common on powerbanks. Qualcomm provides a faster charge of your device, but does require your phone or tablet to support the technology. In practice, this means you must remember whether or not your system chip (the chip with the processor, RAM, graphics and so on) in your phone is manufactured by Qualcomm. If you have a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip in your phone, then it’s almost certain to support one of the Quickcharge technologies (the later the version, the faster the charge).

Fortunately, in Europe, Qualcomm is pretty widespread. With the exception of iPhones, Huawei's phones and Samsung's flagship models, Snapdragon chips are actually found in most phones sold here. But if you’re unsure, check the manufacturer's website for your particular model.

USB Power Delivery or USB-PD is a slightly more general standard that almost all phones, tablets and even laptops with USB-C can support. This is also becoming more common on powerbanks and will probably become fairly standard over time.

USB-PD works via a USB-C connector and even though it’s not very complicated, we may as well start from the basics.

USB-C is both the connector and the standard for how it’s designed. However, there are a plethora of techniques that can use this type of connector, from USB 2.0 up to USB 4.0, Thunderbolt and so on. This means it’s quite complicated when it comes to data transfer speeds, which devices are capable of running an external monitor and so on.

The USB-C contact standard, on the other hand, is essentially designed to handle significantly greater power than previous micro USB and the like, and this is where Power Delivery comes in. The transmitter (the powerbank, in this case) and the receiver (the mobile phone), "talk" to each other and can decide how much the receiver can accept.

This means the device can be charged with anything between 5 and 20 volts and with outputs of up to 60 watts (100 watts with a special cable). Everything from the 0.5 A that USB 2.0 can handle up to 5 A is supported.

To put it simply: In the past (USB 2.0), all mobile batteries received the same portion of food (5 V, 0.5 A) no matter what. It could be bypassed with Quickcharge and similar manufacturer-specific technologies, but in practice that was what phones got. With USB-PD, each phone can get exactly the right amount of food they need and can handle, i.e. more energy in less time.

How do solar cells and crank charging work?

Crank charging and solar cell charging are of interest to many people. And crank charging is quite easy to understand. You crank up a small motor inside the powerbank, which in turn generates energy and charges the power bank without having any external access to electricity. It takes a couple of minutes of cranking to get a few percent of battery power, but it can save your day. So the principle is exactly the same as for radios with a crank function, but here you’re charging your phone.

Solar cell charging is a more efficient way and around 10 hours of sun can fully charge a powerbank of about 8,000 mAh. Of course that depends on both the weather and the solar cell. So it’s always faster and more reliable to charge via the wall outlet when you can.

Is a powerbank already charged when I buy it?

They usually have a little charge in them but are rarely fully charged. A powerbank releases energy over time, so the battery level when you buy it will be linked to when it was manufactured and how long it’s been in stock.

You may be lucky and get about half capacity right out of the box but, on the other hand, you might get a lot less.

What are the rules for powerbanks on planes?

You can fly with a maximum of 100 WH (watt hours). You can calculate what this corresponds to for your own powerbank. Calculate it as follows: mAh (milliamperehour) x V (voltage)/1000.

This may not mean much to you and it can be tricky to keep work out, especially since a powerbank's capacity is calculated in milliampere hours rather than watt hours.

In general, however, you’re fine with powerbanks up to approximately 25-26,000 mAh, but any that exceed 30,000 mAh are often too powerful to be allowed on flights.

Do any powerbanks offer wireless charging?

QI is a version of wireless charging which is becoming more common. Most QI is aimed at mobile phones, as laptops and the like have batteries too big for it to be worth using QI. What you should also keep in mind if you’re interested in QI is that you have to know your mobile specs, as for example, QI can’t go through metal, so if you have metal on the back of your phone it won’t work.

Can I charge a computer with a powerbank? What do I need?

In theory, you can charge a computer with a powerbank, but what you should remember is that the computer's battery is much larger than a regular battery for mobile phones and so requires more power, so if you want one to charge your PC, you need to invest in a larger and much more powerful powerbank.

It’s also important that the powerbank is able to deliver more current than a normal mobile phone needs. Here the output power is measured in watts (W) and you need roughly at least 20-30 watts out for many computers to even get a hint of a charge.

So if you need to charge a computer via a powerbank, be sure to buy one specifically designed for doing that. They’re bigger and heavier, but as a bonus you can also charge your phone with them.

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