The best power banks for phones, laptops and tablets

Nobody likes it when their device’s battery runs out. Whether you’re talking on your smartphone, working on your laptop or killing time on your tablet, a dead battery immediately stops the fun. Even further, it’s bad for long-term battery health to run it down to 20% or lower regularly.

A portable power bank can keep your electronics alive and preserve their battery health over time. Thanks to powerful charging protocols such as USB-C Power Delivery, they can pump up to an impressive 100 watts over a single cable.

With that said, they’re not all alike. Those with low outputs in the 18 to 30-watt range are meant for small devices, while larger models that can provide 45 watts and up are great for many laptops. With the increasing number of laptops that support USB-C charging, it’s easier than ever to go for a long time without ever plugging into the wall.

Important USB-C Power Bank features

Reliability

A quick internet search yields countless power banks available. Many of them have nearly unintelligible names, often just jumbles of letters that make no sense. Avoid those brands.

Instead, stick to relatively well-known brands. Some examples of quality power bank manufacturers include Anker, RAVPower, Jackery, Omni and Belkin, among others.

Capacity

The most recent crop of power banks generally holds at least one full smartphone battery’s worth of juice, at minimum. Most of them top out at just under 100 watt-hours, enough to completely refill most laptop batteries at least once.

Supported charging protocols

USB PD may be the most interesting charging development in the last few years. The ability to charge relatively powerful devices such as full-size laptops opens up many opportunities for travelers, remote workers and anyone who likes to work outdoors. Pay special attention to the maximum Power Delivery wattage each power bank can accommodate to ensure it’s enough to drive your laptop and charge it at full speed.

All-new Apple devices also use the versatile standard, so iPhone users should be looking for it to get the best charging speeds. Keep in mind that depending on if you’re using Apple’s iconic smartphone, you’ll still need a USB to Lightning cable for the next couple of generations.

Many power banks also support a standard called Qualcomm Quick Charge. The latest version, QC 4.0, charges up to 20% faster than its predecessor while staying as much as 10 degrees cooler. That’s not just a convenience feature, either. Lower temperatures mean less stress on the power bank’s battery cells and, therefore, a longer, healthier lifespan.

While there are some other, more specialized charging protocols that other smartphone manufacturers use, there are few power banks that support them.

Status indicators

Nearly all power banks have a visual indicator that shows the percentage of capacity remaining. Some have a row of LED lights representing 25% capacity each. More premium models tell you the exact percentage left. Still, others go the extra mile and include an LED display that lays out which ports are being used, how much current they’re taking up, how hot the battery is and what charging protocols it’s using. For one of those, though, you’ll have to make a decent investment.

USB hub functionality

Some power banks also function as USB hubs when plugged into a computer. It’s still a rare feature, but it’s worth it when you can find it. Many compact laptops are lacking in USB ports these days, and the USB-C port is lost when you need to use Power Delivery charging.

Portable power bank prices

Prices increase as capacity, output and charging protocol support get better. At the low end, you’re looking at around $20 for a compact model that can recharge nearly any phone at least once. At the other end of the spectrum, a 97-watt-hour battery pack with 100-watt Power Deliver and an LED status display will cost you at least $150 and probably more.

Best portable power banks

Best power bank for laptops

Baseus Power Bank

Baseus Power Bank

Its 65-watt output can power many of today’s best laptops, and the roughly 72-watt-hour capacity is relatively large but doesn’t make the unit too heavy. It also recharges at 60 watts, faster than much of the competition, and sports one USB-C and two USB-A outputs.

Sold by Amazon

Best power bank for smartphones

Belkin 10K

Belkin 10K

It’s thin, light and able to refuel most smartphones completely at least twice. It also doesn’t take very long to refill once empty. Plus, it comes from one of the world’s most respected manufacturers of electronics accessories.

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Best high-capacity power bank

Krisdonia NJF-5X

Krisdonia NJF-5X

It can store 185 watt-hours, nearly double that of the most common high-capacity models. The only drawback aside from its weight is that it’s not allowed on commercial airplanes.

Sold by Amazon

Best portable power station

Jackery Explorer 300

Jackery Explorer 300

If you’re headed to the woods for several days and need power for nearly any device, this nearly 300-watt-hour power bank can help. It sports two AC outlets, three USB ports and a DC electric socket like what’s found in cars. It’s also compatible with solar panels if you want to make it a consistent long-term power source.

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Other great power banks

Omni 20+

Omni 20+

It’s one of the fanciest around due to its informative LED screen that displays current, remaining charge, temperature and the active charging protocol.

Sold by Amazon

Baseus 100W

Baseus 100W

Some laptops need more juice than others. If yours is among them, this power bank should still suffice, as it can deliver up to 100 watts over USB-C to supported devices.

Sold by Amazon

Mophie Powerstation Mini

Mophie Powerstation Mini

This slim, attractive and affordable choice is perfect for keeping your phone topped off no matter how far you are from an outlet.

Sold by Amazon

Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless

Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless

It’s made by one of the most well-known players in charging accessories and is one of the few with both Quick Charge and wireless charging functionality.

Sold by Amazon

Anker PowerCore+ Hybrid

Anker PowerCore+ Hybrid

It’s one of the rare models with the fabled USB hub support, which is a huge boon to owners of MacBooks or anything else with limited USB ports.

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Anker PowerHouse 100

Anker PowerHouse 100

This one’s interesting because it has a three-prong AC outlet with a dust cover in addition to one Type-C and two Type-A ports. There’s also a built-in flashlight to make connecting tiny plugs easy at night.

Sold by Amazon

Anker PowerCore Fusion 10K

Anker PowerCore Fusion 10K

This novel device can charge two devices as well as its internal 10,000-milliamp-hour battery all at the same time. It’s perfect for keeping a combination of a phone, and a tablet charged up on the go.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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