How to choose a powerbank that won't gather dust in your closet

By: Expert | 08.10.2020, 22:45
How to choose a powerbank that won't gather dust in your closet

Prudent man without powerbank nowadays will not go out of the house, although a couple of them lie at home. It's time to admit: external battery has become for us a consumable, because they are lost, broken, are given to a friend "to wear" (and returned no more often than a borrowed pen or lighter, that is almost never). Besides, it is a universal gift for pals, colleagues, and classmates: everyone needs energy, always.

With all the apparent monotony of the range (well, what, they say, can surprise an external battery?) Today we see different and interesting powerbanks on the market. Here to you and bright colors, and wireless charging, and all kinds of form factors. And in terms of storage capacity there is a wide range - though for phone "for a little", though for laptop "up to throat". We have selected for you the optimal list of models for all occasions, and we will do our best to keep it up to date.

Contents:

Best Power Banks:

What to look for when choosing a portable battery

External Battery Capacity

This is a key metric for any powerbank. It is measured in milliamps multiplied by an hour (mAh or just mAh). In simple terms, it is the amount of energy that the charger itself is capable of storing. Note: to accumulate - but not to transfer. For when transferring from the battery to the smartphone some of the energy will go to all sorts of parasitic things, some will be lost and turned into heat, etc. Remember, it's always about 30 - 40% of the energy declared on the powerbank's label will go to waste. So if, for example, you bought an external battery for 10000 mAh, and you need 2500 mAh to fully charge your smartphone, it does not mean that you will be able to fully charge it 4 times. God willing, if 3 comes out (conventionally the loss would be 25%, and that's an overly optimistic prediction).

But in general, if you need the Powerbank only for "pants support" phone, those same 10000 mAh will be enough for your eyes. If you are planning to charge more than one smartphone on a regular basis, or, moreover, a laptop, go for 20000-30000 mAh.

And here we should not forget that the larger the capacity of your external battery, the greater its size and weight. Everyone is looking for their own compromise.

Output current

Powerbank capacity is not the only key parameter, output current is also important. If the capacity determines how many gadgets can charge such an external battery, the output current is how fast these gadgets will be charged. Of course, the higher the value of this parameter, the faster the charging process will be.

By the way, from high school physics course remember that in parallel circuits currents add up. Therefore if to the Powerbank multiple devices are simultaneously connected, the current between them is distributed and each device receives a current less than the total nominal one written in the instruction of the charger. Consequently it will take longer to charge these devices than if we connect one device at a time.

Usually each port is written with the maximum current it can deliver. And if this current is less than the supply current your gadget needs - the charging process will be quite slow. And if the output current on the power bank is more than your gadget requires - no problem, smartphones have a protection system and a controller that limits the charging current. So there will be neither overheating, nor short circuit. Conclusion: any power bank can charge any gadget, if only connectors would fit (or adapters all sorted out). With portable battery, which has a higher output current, you will charge your gadgets faster, but this model will cost a little more. Yes, we almost forgot, there are power banks on the market with fast charging function. In the specifications, the manufacturer usually indicates the supported standards: Quick Charge 3.0 (QC 3.0), Huawei SuperCharge, Power Delivery (PD) and others.

How does a powerbank connect?

First of all, the portable battery itself needs to be recharged sooner or later. To do this, it will necessarily have one input connector (more often - microUSB). Cable for charging the powerbank is included.

But here is what needs special attention - the number of output ports (Fortunately, you are not a complete teapot, and with the input, hopefully, not confused). When you have more than 1 port it's a good thing - you can charge multiple gadgets at the same time. Just make sure that the connectors of these ports (be it USV or the more modern USB Type-C) fit your smartphone's power cable. Yes, by the way, output cables are rarely sold with powerbanks - it is assumed that you'll use a native cord from the phone. If something does not match - you'll need to buy an adapter. Although, there are particularly good deals even with adapters, such as Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 3.

Again, the more output ports the better, but the more expensive the battery will be. 

Some powerbank models (as well as some smartphone models) support wireless charging technology. If both are met - you can do without a cable at all.

which external battery to choose

How long does it take to charge a powerbank?

In addition to the current output of portable batteries has another important parameter - the input current. It depends on it, how fast the battery itself will be charged from the network. This rate is usually much lower than the rate at which the powerbank charges the phone. Modern external chargers are able to fully charge in 30 minutes, and, for example, for 5 minutes to accumulate as much energy as will be enough to charge the average smartphone.

Just understand the marking correctly. It happens that marketers present the facts beautifully and write on the packaging powerbank 5 minutes charge. This promise needs a disclaimer. This means that the powerbank will not charge to the throat in 5 minutes. And it certainly will not charge your phone in 5 minutes. To understand it this way: in 5 minutes this battery will accumulate enough charge to recharge your smartphone. Another useful feature - end-to-end charging, when the powermobile itself is connected to the network and can still charge other devices.

Example of powerbank with high capacity but fast charging - ZMI 10 QB820.

The speed at which the Powerbank charges your gadgets is in no way related to the rate at which it charges from the mains (remember the input and output currents).

Which Powerbank should I get?

A portable battery can have a plastic case, or it can have a metal case. The first one costs less, while the second one weighs more. But the second is more reliable, especially it is important in case of fall. If you often drop your device, choose a model with shock protection. And better yet - also with protection from dust and moisture.

Some models have a solar panel on the body, and then partially recharge your external battery just from the sun during the day. It is both environmentally friendly and economical. There could also be a nice display or charge indicator on the case - to make it easier for you to navigate between "more" and "already". As at Xiaomi, that at Samsung usually use four LEDs.

So, friends, let's wrap up the theory and move on to specific examples.

Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 3 (PLM12ZM)

We indicate the model number in brackets for a reason. Xiaomi has several versions of the Mi Power Bank 3 with a capacity of 10,000 mAh, and only this one has a USB Type-C connector that can work for both input and output. As a result, we get support for two popular standards Quick Charge 3.0 (over USB) and Power Delivery (USB-C). Both can get up to 18W, with up to 5V / 3A when connecting two devices at the same time. One more port, this time Micro USB, is needed for charging the poverbank. Moreover, the user does not need to carry two cables - the kit comes with an adapter Micro USB to USB Type-C. Design as simple as possible, Xiaomi uses aluminum housing from the first generation of mobile batteries, modern models have simply become a little thinner.

Samsung 10000 mAh 25W

Smartphone manufacturers often develop their own fast charging technology, and this should be considered when choosing a portable battery. Samsung has decided to make it easy for users and has released a proprietary accessory in the form of a metal bar that supports Power Delivery 3 and Super Fast Charge. When charged via USB Type-C, the powerbank delivers up to 25 watts of power - just what you need for the manufacturer's flagships. The maximum values are achieved provided that only this port is busy. The second USB output in turn allows charging devices in the standard Quick Charge 2.0 (up to 18W). The battery capacity is 10,000 mAh and the current charge level is displayed with a simple LED indicator.

Xiaomi Redmi Fast Charge Power Bank

Not long ago, Xiaomi launched the Redmi series of inexpensive power banks for those who need cheap and cordial. The 20,000mAh Redmi Fast Charge Power Bank supports fast charging and allows you to connect two devices simultaneously. But not all at once. From the model specifications, we know that Quick Charge only works when using one USB port. If you use both, the maximum output current is 3.6 A at 5 V. Micro USB and USB-C connectors work only for input. One of the drawbacks is the large weight (420 grams is not bad even taking into account the capacity). Plus, judging by user reviews, the white plastic case collects scratches like a magnet and quickly loses its marketable appearance. However, a black version is already starting to appear in stores.

Xiaomi Mi Wireless Power Bank Essential 10000 mAh

Before us is a medium-capacity model with its own chip - wireless charging standard Qi (up to 10 watts). The external battery will allow you to keep your phone awake for several days. And two devices can be charged simultaneously: one through the USB output and the other wirelessly by placing it on the lightning pad. The case is made of plastic, there are white and black variants. Xiaomi does not betray tradition, four white LEDs are responsible for the charge indication. Another blue indicator is activated during the Qi-charging. The USB Type-C port is used exclusively for charging the powerbank, with a suitable adapter it takes about 4 hours.

Anker PowerCore II 6700

The Powerbank combines a compact size and enough capacity to fully charge a smartphone (with some exceptions). The battery measures 96.5x43.2x22.9 mm and can be carried everywhere without noticing the weight of 130 grams. It's given 6,700 mAh for everything, and there's a ring with six LEDs to display the current charge. The only pity is that the Anker PowerCore II is unaware of the existence of fast charging technology. There is only a PowerIQ port with standard 5V/2A output parameters, as well as a Micro USB input jack. For some, this will be a serious argument against the purchase. But if you just need a small battery to recharge your smartphone in emergency situations - why not.

realme 10 000mAh Dart Charge 30W

The novelty of realme will also be of interest to users of smartphones Oppo and OnePlus, because branded fast chargers based on the same technology. Only the name changes - Dart Charge, VOOC or Warp Charge. In this case, we are talking about the standard version with output power of 30 watts, although for the models of previous seasons it may be limited to twenty watts. For convenience we will leave the explanatory table from the manufacturer's website:

Powerbank has two ports: full-size USB-A and symmetrical USB-C. Quick Charge realme works on either of them, also compatibility with Quick Charge and Power Delivery is declared. The capacity is equal to 10 000 mAh, the body has a texture under the carbon fiber. The model is available in bright yellow color with black writing realme, or in a quieter black version with a yellow logo.

Canyon TPBP10W

Powerbank is focused on users of Apple technics, the Lightning-port for charging by means of a cable from the complete set of iPhone and iPad hints at it. You have to get rid of extra wires by all means, but just in case Canyon TPBP10W has left the second Micro USB input jack. There is one single USB-output with quite usual 5V/2A for charging other gadgets. Without Power Delivery, the iPhone 12 Pro Max cannot be recharged quickly, but the Canyon battery is more than enough for other small sized phones.

ZMI 10 QB820

As boring as ZMI 10 is on the outside, it's just as interesting on the inside. Let's start at least with the USB Type-C port, which provides up to 40W of charging power. The Powerbank can act as a power supply for laptops with Power Delivery support. Moreover, with a double-click on the power button, QB820 turns into a USB hub and allows you to connect external devices (thumb drives, mice, keyboards) to your computer. Six 18650 cells with a total capacity of 20,000 mAh are hidden under the metal case.

ZMI 10 also has two USB-ports with Quick Charge 3.0 support. QC3.0 (or Power Delivery) will only be available on USB-C output if two or three devices are being charged simultaneously. For the other two, the voltage is set to 5V. The manufacturer didn't forget about a separate mode for low-current gadgets.

70mai Jump Starter

And this device for car enthusiasts is both a starter and a 11100 mAh powerbank. That is, it will revive not only your phone, but also the car with a dead battery. Is able to withstand up to 600A peak load, which will start the car even in freezing temperatures, even with a dead battery. The nominal capacity of this charger is sufficient for up to 40 such starts of a 3-litre petrol engine. As well as enough to fully charge a discharged smartphone. Features USB and USB Type-C output, as well as a bright flashlight with SOS and strobe light modes. And all this splendor beautifully packaged in a gray pouch.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800

And finally, another "adult powerbank" with 26 800 mAh. This is the maximum capacity, which allows you to carry a battery in the plane without any restrictions. Anker PowerCore+ has three USB outputs, one of which supports Quick Charge 3.0 technology. The other two provide up to 3A, and if several ports are used, the total output current can reach 6A. From this we can conclude that the model is designed primarily for charging mobile gadgets. To connect to a laptop requires a faster standard Power Delivery, as in the aforementioned ZMI 10.

The battery is encased in a metal case with dimensions of 180x80x24 mm. It weighs a lot - 580 grams, but it has to be charged less often (by the way, through the Micro USB port).

For those who want to know more:

  • Rating of refrigerators for life: both hearty and humble
  • Best washing machines from those that cost a penny
  • Best robot vacuum cleaners
  • 10 dispensers for liquid soap: decent, cute and hygienic
  • 10 best-selling gadgets on AliExpress
  • Battle with the harvest: choosing a dryer for fruit and vegetables