Unleash Your Gadgets' Superpowers: Choosing the Perfect Portable Battery Pack

Unleash Your Gadgets’ Superpowers Choosing the Perfect Portable Battery Pack


Portable battery packs, also known as power banks, have become essential accessories for anyone on the go. These devices excel at one primary function: charging your gadgets when you can’t access an electrical outlet. Whether you need to charge a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or all of them simultaneously, the size and features of the Portable battery pack you require will largely depend on your specific devices. With a plethora of options available on the market, we conducted thorough testing to identify the best portable power banks currently available.

What to Consider When Choosing a Portable Battery Pack:

  1. Battery Type:
    • Lithium-ion batteries are the standard for power banks and portable devices. They offer a high capacity-to-size ratio and have seen significant improvements in energy density over the years. Importantly, they do not suffer from the memory effect that used to degrade battery life with partial charges.
    • Concerns about lithium-ion batteries catching fire have led to safety mechanisms in power banks that limit voltage and pressure. While users should still avoid exposing batteries to excessive heat, drops, or freezing temperatures, modern battery packs are generally considered safe for air travel. The TSA permits external batteries rated at 100Wh or less in carry-on luggage but not in checked bags.
  2. Capacity:
    • Battery capacity is typically measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). Smaller power banks, with around 5,000mAh capacity, can recharge a smartphone to 50-75% of its capacity. Larger power banks, exceeding 25,000mAh, are capable of charging laptops, tablets, or providing multiple phone charges.
    • As capacity increases, so does the size, weight, and price of the power bank. It’s essential to note that the actual device charge may be less than the power bank’s capacity due to energy loss through factors like heat dissipation and voltage conversion. Typically, power banks have an efficiency rate of around 60%.
  3. Ports:
    • Power banks should have at least one USB-C port, as this is becoming the standard for modern devices. Some also include USB-A ports, which are useful for smaller devices but are slower than USB-C ports.
    • The power bank’s ports may vary in power transfer rates, with some supporting fast charging for specific devices. It’s crucial to choose the right cable, with higher-capacity cables needed for more substantial devices to ensure efficient power transfer.
  4. Design:
    • Most power banks have a square, brick-like design, but aesthetics can vary with different finishes and details. While design doesn’t affect performance, it’s a consideration for something you’ll use regularly.
    • Some power banks come with extra features like MagSafe compatibility, built-in wall plugs, or kickstands. Most have indicator lights to display the remaining battery charge, with larger banks often featuring LED displays showing the exact percentage.

Our Testing Process of Portable battery packs:

Before conducting hands-on testing, we conducted extensive research by considering brands recommended by Engadget reviewers and staff and checking customer ratings on platforms like Amazon and Best Buy. We acquired 14 battery packs, spanning various capacities and features.

Testing Devices:

We charged each device individually from fully depleted to 100% or until the power bank was depleted. Charging cables provided with the power banks or appropriate USB-C to Lightning cables for iPhones were used. For lower-capacity power banks without included cables, a 60W-rated USB-C to USB-C cable was used.

Results and Conclusion:

After rigorous testing, we identified the top-performing portable chargers based on their charging capabilities, ease of use, and overall design. These power banks cater to various needs, from compact, low-capacity options to high-capacity models capable of charging laptops and multiple devices simultaneously. Whether you’re traveling, working remotely, or simply on the move, there’s a portable battery pack to suit your requirements.

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