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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Best Portable Chargers to Buy in 2023

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If you're on the go, the last thing you want to discover is that your phone doesn't have as much juice to make it through the day as you do. Phones are like another limb to most people these days. You use it to stay connected, get directions, and take photos, but if it's dead, you're lost—sometimes literally. Though, just as you grab a cup of coffee to give yourself enough energy to make it through a grueling day, your phone can get the top off it needs from a portable charger.

Even the best smartphones and tablets benefit from having a portable power bank handy. Very few modern phones sacrifice their svelte design in favor of packing in a larger battery, and that makes it harder for them to offer battery life that can hold up over long hours of scrolling or playing mobile games. A great portable charger makes up for the lack of internal power, sometimes even giving you multiple, full charges of your phone's battery. Even better, many power banks support fast charging or offer enough juice to keep up with more demanding devices, like tablets, the Nintendo Switch or the Steam Deck. There are even a few options that are beefy enough to juice up a gaming laptop.

With the insane amount of portable charger choices out there, we've made your search a bit easier by weeding through them to bring you the best. Our options cover every budget and need. So, if you're ready to leave battery concerns behind, check out our top picks for power banks and find one that'll give you the extra charge you need when you've got a long day ahead of you and no power outlets in sight – and click here to find them in the UK.

TL;DR – These are the Best Portable Chargers:

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000

Best Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000Anker PowerCore Essential 20000

The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 meets just about everyone's needs from a portable charger and then some. This power source packs a beefy 20,000mAh battery inside that can easily recharge most phones a few times over, and it can even recharge many tablets. Plus, the relatively compact design makes it easy to toss in your bag to ensure you're never without power again.

It’s not just about the number of times a device can be recharged, but also how fast it can recharge them. The Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 supports 20W PD fast charging out of its USB-C port, and it can hit 18W charging speeds out of its USB-A port with PowerIQ 2.0. This means that you can also charge two devices at one time. And, even your low-power electronics like wireless headphones and speakers are safe to plug in and charge up.

Anker 523 PowerCore Slim

Best Budget Portable Charger

Anker 523 PowerCore SlimAnker 523 PowerCore Slim

Anker has been known for making some of the best portable chargers on the market for years, and that includes their budget-friendly options too. Their 523 PowerCore Slim comes in just under $40, but it packs all the juice you need for your smartphone or tablet with a 10,000mAh battery. You should be able to get a full charge or two on your phone with it. And, if you’re worried about the portable charger running low on power, you can quickly check how much is left by pressing the LED button on the chassis.

With the Anker 523 PowerCore Slim, you get 20W charging speeds with a USB-C PD connection, so your devices can enjoy a speedy fillup. Using that same connection, you're even able to charge the power bank to full in just four and half hours. There is also a 12W USB port to charge another device at the same time. And, thanks to its compact design, you should have an easy time finding room for it in your backpack or purse.

Xiaomi 10000mAh Redmi Power Bank

Best Ultra Cheap Portable Charger

Xiaomi 10000mAh Redmi Power BankXiaomi 10000mAh Redmi Power Bank

Now, Xioami’s 10,000mAh Redmi Power Bank may not offer brand name recognition or be the highest-powered option, but if you just need a bit of extra battery life available on the go, it can supply it at a low price. For just $15, this option offers up 10,000mAh of juice and supports a total output of 2.6A at 5.1V for about 13W of power. That’s delivered by the power bank’s two USB-A ports, which means you can charge multiple devices at one time. Just be aware that this isn't the fastest portable charger out there.

The Xiaomi 10000mAh Redmi Power Bank offers a couple of options for how to recharge its own battery. Both a USB-C port for power input as well as a micro USB port, in case you’ve got the legacy cable are on hand, are available for a simple juice up. And, all of this comes packed into a unit that weighs just 254 grams.

Mophie PowerStation

Best Portable Charger with Quickcharge

Mophie PowerStationMophie PowerStation

When you’re short on time and are looking for the quickest possible charge out of a power bank, you can’t go wrong with the Mophie PowerStation. This battery ekes out 20W of fast-charging power through a USB-C PD output, delivering about a 50 percent charge to your phone in under 30 minutes. And if you choose to use the two USB-A ports to juice up headphones and other devices simultaneously with your phone, you’ll get a 15W combined output.

The Mophie Powerstation features a 10,000mAh battery, so there’s about two full phone charges worth of juice in it. And when the battery itself needs charging, you’ll know thanks to handy integrated LEDs. The power bank also remains relatively compact and lightweight, so you can just toss it in your bag, while the $50 price tag is easy to digest.

Anker 737 PowerCore 24K

Best Portable Laptop Charger

Anker 737 PowerCore 24KAnker 737 PowerCore 24K

A laptop isn’t easy to keep topped up with any old battery bank, heck, most don’t even have enough juice or output power to handle it. However, the Anker 737 PowerCore 24K is up to the challenge. This battery bank not only has 24,000mAh of energy stored inside, but it can output at a max of 140W to keep many an Ultrabook or Macbook juiced up even while they’re running. On top of that, it has the extra capacity to feed power to two additional devices, one over its USB-A port at an 18W max, while the additional USB-C port shares 122W of powerful charging with the laptop plugged into the other USB-C.

You’d think the Anker 737 PowerCore 24K’s massive battery means it needs some serious time to recharge, but it manages to do it under an hour. And, if you're worried about all this power causing the portable charger to overheat, there is included technology that monitors the temperature, ensuring things stay safe. To round out this highly-capable battery bank is a handy digital display showing valuable info, including the total input and output power, the estimated time to recharge, and the battery health.

Omni Ultimate+ 120v

Best Portable Charger With AC Power

Omni Ultimate+ 120vOmni Ultimate+ 120v

If you need a serious portable charger to juice up your laptop or other power-hungry devices, you can’t go wrong with the Omni Ultimate+ 120v. Anything plugged into this portable battery's AC port can feed on up to 120W of power, which is more than enough to recharge the MacBook Pro or even some gaming laptops. It far outpaces any of the other AC plug-equipped batteries we've seen that usually top out at an 80W max. Beyond the AC port, there's also an adjustable DC port that outputs 100W for another laptop, a USB-C port for 60W power delivery, and even a few more charging options. Most of your devices, including cameras and drones, can be charged using this power bank.

The Omni Ultimate+ 120v comes with 38,400mAh on hand, so it will get you through a full day without ever having to touch a wall plug. It even has a removable battery, so when one is depleted, you can replace it. Plus, pass-through charging allows you to top up your devices and the power bank at the same time. And amazingly, Omni manages to keep all this power in a rugged, relatively compact design, so it's a perfect travel companion whether you're taking it on a plane or toting it along on a camping trip.

Anker PowerCore Fusion 5K

Best Compact Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Fusion 5KAnker PowerCore Fusion 5K

Power banks are relatively clunky, especially when you consider you’ll need to tote a block around with you if you want to recharge the battery itself. However, the Anker PowerCore Fusion 5K includes a foldable plug to juice up your device and battery anywhere you find a wall outlet. And it does that while maintaining a tiny, lightweight form factor, so you can easily slide the power bank into your bag or pocket.

Of course, you bought the Anker PowerCore Fusion 5K to charge up your devices on the go, and it offers a somewhat modest 5,000 mAh battery—enough to fill up your smartphone about one time. Charging is done via a USB-C port for ample compatibility, though you only get one port. It even utilizes Anker’s Power IQ 3.0 technology, delivering safe, high-speed charging to your devices.

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

Best MagSafe Portable Charger

Apple MagSafe Battery PackApple MagSafe Battery Pack

Wireless charging is cool at home, but you know where it’s even cooler? On the go. Plugging in your phone with a cable isn’t the end of the world at home, but you don’t want to have your phone, a battery pack, and a tangle of cable jammed into your pocket when you’re out and about. The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack is a solution for this on for the best iPhones.

Now this pack doesn’t have the biggest charge with only a 1,460mAh battery, but it’ll snap onto the back of your iPhone magnetically to help keep it topped up without needing any wires in the mix. And don't worry, that magnet won't interfere with your credit cards or key fobs. It really is a bit handy when you’re on the go, but it can continue to be useful when you get wherever you’re going. By plugging the MagSafe Battery Pack into a 20W charger over a Lightning cable, you can simultaneously recharge the pack and your iPhone at the same time, even giving the iPhone the full 15W charging speed that MagSafe enables.

Marval Power GuliKit Battery Master

Best Nintendo Switch Power Bank

Marval Power GuliKit Battery MasterMarval Power GuliKit Battery Master

A power bank is an essential Nintendo Switch accessory, as it’s a simple and effective way to extend your Switch’s less-than-stellar battery life. The Marval Power GuliKit Battery Master is our favorite because rather than a typical battery bank, this one actually straps to the rear of your Switch or OLED Switch. It adds some weight and bulk to your device, but you’ll still have an enjoyable playing experience while charging.

The 10,000mAh battery should extend your gaming time by about 10 hours, and the 15W power delivery means your Switch will be topped up in no time. There’s a built-in USB-C cable, while a USB-A and USB-C port makes it possible to juice up a phone or other device without unplugging your Switch. Short circuit and overvoltage protection on the Marval Power GuliKit Battery Mastern also ensure your devices charge safely.

Where to Get the Best Portable Chargers in the UK

Anker PowerCore IIBest Portable ChargerAnker PowerCore II £54.99Aukey Basix MiniBest Budget Portable ChargerAukey Basix Mini £19.99USB C Power BankAukeyUSB C Power Bank £23.99Apollo TravellerELECJET Apollo Traveller £64.99Mophie PowerStation PDBest Portable Charger with QuickchargeMophie PowerStation PD £37.99Omni 20+Best Portable Charger With AC PowerOmni 20+ £124.99Anker PowerCore LiteBest Slim Portable ChargerAnker PowerCore Lite £19.99

What to Look for in a Portable Charger

When shopping for a power bank the most important spec you should look out for is capacity. This figure is always followed closely by a mAh unit, which stands for milliamp-hour. Given that most ultra-thin flagship phones have a 3,000mAh battery inside of them already, you're going to want to find a portable charger with at least that much capacity, so you can double the battery life of your handset—unless of course, you're looking for an extremely portable battery.

As you may have noticed most portable chargers these days come in a 10,000mAh capacity or higher, and this is pretty much the standard. Portable batteries of this size should give you three times or more charge while you're on the go.

After considering the capacity of your charger, you're going to want to think about charging speeds and the ports that deliver those speeds. Not all chargers are created equal, with some offering much higher charging capabilities with increased voltages and amperages. Some chargers may use standards like Power Delivery (PD) to connect with your device and send the maximum energy possible. So, you'll want to compare what output capabilities the charger has with the charging speeds your phone or other electronics supports. Also, check which ports offer those speeds, as you may find some offer much higher charging than others.

Doing this, you can find chargers that support the quick charging of your phone or even find chargers that will be capable of delivering enough power to keep even your laptop running for some extra time. You'll also want to consider this same aspect but for the charger itself. After all, it has a battery that needs recharging, too. If you have a 20,000mAh battery, but it only supports 5W input, it's going to take a long time to fill it back up.

Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam.

Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.

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