6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone’s Uptime
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A battery pack or a power bank is the simplest way to ensure your phone or laptop never runs out of juice. Picking the right power bank is a bit more complicated though.

Depending on your needs, there are several options. Some offer the convenience of integrated cables, others will give you quick charging tech What's a Quick Charger? Here's Why You Need One Now What's a Quick Charger? Here's Why You Need One Now Smartphones take less time to charge up these days and it's all thanks to a new technology called Quick Charge. If you don't have it yet, you'll want it soon. Read More , and some can even power up laptops. Here are six of the best battery packs for different purposes.

A Few Numbers Before We Start

Not everyone needs a high capacity battery pack. Smartphones generally have about 3,500 mAh batteries, while tablets pack in around 11,000 mAh. The term “mAh” denotes milliampere-hours, and that’s the number you will see on power banks; a larger number means longer battery life.

It isn’t a direct translation of how much power the battery pack holds since some juice is lost while converting to direct current. It’s a bit like how your 1 TB drive only has 931 GB of actual storage space. But you can safely compare two power banks with their advertised mAh numbers.

Everyday Use with Integrated Cable: Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh

Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh Portable Charger - iPhone Battery Charger with Built-in Lightning Cable [Apple MFi certified] External Battery Pack Compact Power Bank, TWICE as FAST as Original iPhone Charger Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh Portable Charger - iPhone Battery Charger with Built-in Lightning Cable [Apple MFi certified] External Battery Pack Compact Power Bank, TWICE as FAST as Original iPhone Charger Jackery Bolt: Apple MFi certified, customized for iPhone Buy Now At Amazon $30.99

The power bank you use on a regular basis needs one feature above all else: an integrated USB cable. There are different ways to do this, but we like Jackery Bolt’s approach the best (because EasyAcc discontinued their amazing pack).

6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone's Uptime jackery bolt back up battery power bank 648x500

 

Jackery Bolt uses a single type of cable that’s built into the case. This cable flips out, and you can connect it to the phone. Simple enough, right? You can buy a Jackery Bolt power bank with Micro-USB cable and/or a Lightning cable.

The device also has a regular USB port, in case you want to use a longer or different cable like the USB Type-C Understanding USB Cable Types & Which One to Use Understanding USB Cable Types & Which One to Use The world of USB cables can be a bit confusing because there are so many different connector types. Here's everything you need to know to not be confused any longer. Read More .

Apart from EasyAcc, two other brands do integrated cables well. The Jackery Bolt has two cables: Lightning and Micro-USB. And Belkin’s MIXIT Rockstar carries one custom-sized cable at a time, but ships with both options in the product box.

Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh Portable Charger - iPhone Battery Charger with Built-in Lightning Cable [Apple MFi certified] External Battery Pack Compact Power Bank, TWICE as FAST as Original iPhone Charger Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh Portable Charger - iPhone Battery Charger with Built-in Lightning Cable [Apple MFi certified] External Battery Pack Compact Power Bank, TWICE as FAST as Original iPhone Charger Jackery Bolt: Apple MFi certified, customized for iPhone Buy Now At Amazon $30.99

Safest for USB Type C: Kanex GoPower

Everyone is happy that we are moving to a single port for everything with USB Type C (USB-C). But on the flip side, a bad charger can be dangerous with USB-C The Best USB-C Chargers: What's Safe and What's Dangerous? The Best USB-C Chargers: What's Safe and What's Dangerous? What are the best USB-C chargers? Benson Leung and Nathan-K's roundup of the best chargers on today's market can be complex to read. Fortunately, we've simplified it for you! Read More .

Going by the reliable, ever-expanding spreadsheet made by experts, the safest (and best) power bank for USB-C is the Kanex GoPower USB-C. Its 15,000 mAh battery can charge everything from phones to MacBooks.

Speaking of MacBooks, this one almost seems designed by Apple. It has that distinct brushed aluminum body to go with its sleek profile. It’s pretty large though, so you’ll need to put this in a bag — not your pocket.

You can charge two devices simultaneously, one via USB-C and one via regular USB-A. The USB-A port (it’s boxy and rectangular) offers Quick Charge (or Rapid Charge, it’s the same thing). A safe guess would be that it’s a 2.4A charging port, which charges phones faster than the standard 1A port.

For Power Hungry Devices: Anker PowerCore+ 26800

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger, Portable Charger Bundle for iPhone X / 8, Nexus 5X 6P, LG G5 & USB Type-C Laptops (e.g. 2016 MacBook) Power Delivery Support Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger, Portable Charger Bundle for iPhone X / 8, Nexus 5X 6P, LG G5 & USB Type-C Laptops (e.g. 2016 MacBook) Power Delivery Support The Anker Advantage: Join the 20 million+ powered by America's leading USB charging brand. Buy Now At Amazon

Which devices a battery pack can charge depends on how much power the pack can deliver. Low-powered battery packs can’t charge certain devices like the Nintendo Switch or a new MacBook. And that’s what makes the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 a clear winner.

It can charge three devices simultaneously: with one port for a USB Type-C cable, and two ports for a Lightning or Micro-USB cable. Just make sure you buy a USB-C cable that won’t destroy your devices How to Buy a USB-C Cable That Won't Destroy Your Devices How to Buy a USB-C Cable That Won't Destroy Your Devices A few months ago, Amazon banned USB-C cables that did not meet the standards set forth by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), and for good reason: such cables are prone to failure, can damage connected... Read More .

The PowerCore+ also recharges itself fully in less than five hours, so having only a small amount of time to access a power plug should still be enough.

Traveler’s “Charge Anything” Pack: RavPower Universal Travel Charger

AC Portable Charger, RAVPower 20100mAh 65W(Max.) Built-in AC Outlet Universal Power Bank Travel Charger (Type-C Port, USB iSmart Ports, 19V/1.6A DC Input) For MacBook, Laptops, Smartphones AC Portable Charger, RAVPower 20100mAh 65W(Max.) Built-in AC Outlet Universal Power Bank Travel Charger (Type-C Port, USB iSmart Ports, 19V/1.6A DC Input) For MacBook, Laptops, Smartphones Updated Version: Come with an AC power supply indicator and udpated AC power supply solution, it is compatible with more devices and easy to find out whether the AC power supply is on or off. With a built-in 2-prong AC output for devices up to 50W, this portable power outlet allows 110V electronic devices like GoPros, printers, table lamps, vacuum cleaners, and small fans to recharge anywhere. Please check if your device(s) being charged fit within these requirements to ensure compatibility. Buy Now At Amazon $99.97

6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone's Uptime best battery packs RavPower AC with appliances 608x500

The RavPower Universal Power Bank Travel Charger is, as the name suggests, ideal for travelers. That’s mainly because of the built-in AC outlet, which lets you use the battery like any power outlet on a wall. Connect a plug and you’ve got electricity.

It’s an incredibly handy device for those who move around often since this lets you charge a lot more than just phones and tablets. Of course, there is a USB outlet for those, as well as a USB Type-C port. Unfortunately, without a qualified technical analysis, we do not know how safe USB-C port is.

It’s a bulky and a costly gadget. But with the utility it offers, it’s a must-have gizmo for globetrotters and travelers 10 Top Tech Gifts for Globetrotters and World Travelers 10 Top Tech Gifts for Globetrotters and World Travelers If you've got a friend, partner, or family member who's a passionate traveler, one of the best Christmas gifts you can get them is piece of technology that'll let them enjoy their hobby even more. Read More .

Emergency Charger in Wallet: TravelCard

You won’t always carry a battery pack with you. And that’s when you’ll run out of power. But what if the power bank was always with you, sticking in your wallet for an emergency?

6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone's Uptime best battery pack Travel Card Charger 670x353

The last time MakeUseOf looked at power banks, the TravelCard was but a Kickstarter campaign. Since then, it became one of the best budget tech gifts for geeks 22 of the Best Budget Tech Gifts for Geeks 22 of the Best Budget Tech Gifts for Geeks Looking for gifts for geeks? You've come to the right place! We've rounded up the best gadgets and technology for those on a budget. We've got gifts from under $20 to $150. Read More .

It is the shape and size of a credit card, and less than 5mm thick. That means it fits easily into your wallet in one of the card slots. When you’re running low on power, take it out and pop open the integrated cable. With 1500 mAh of battery backup, you should be able to charge your phone enough to get basic functionality.

TravelCard has separate units for iPhones (with a Lightning connector) and Androids (with a Micro-USB connector). Currently, it doesn’t have a USB Type-C option.

Also, be warned that power will trickle to your phone slowly. It’s best to not use your handset while it charges through the TravelCard, or use tricks to increase charging speeds 4 Tips To Increase Smartphone Charging Speeds 4 Tips To Increase Smartphone Charging Speeds Faced with a low battery warning right before you need to leave? These neat tricks can help you charge your smartphone faster than usual so you aren't left with a brick in your hand. Read More .

For Camping and Adventures: ZeroLemon ToughJuice v3.0

ZeroLemon ToughJuice 30000mAh USB-C QC 2.0 Portable Charger External Battery Pack,7A Output 5 USB Ports Dual Layer Rugged External Battery for MacBook, Pixel, Nintendo Switch and More(V2.0) ZeroLemon ToughJuice 30000mAh USB-C QC 2.0 Portable Charger External Battery Pack,7A Output 5 USB Ports Dual Layer Rugged External Battery for MacBook, Pixel, Nintendo Switch and More(V2.0) High Capacity: World's Toughest USB-C/Type-C External Battery Pack @ 30000mAh Capacity. Charge iPhone 7 up to 11 times, iPhone 7 Plus/Galaxy S8 Plus/Google Pixel XL 7 times and MacBook once. Buy Now At Amazon $64.99

When you’re going to be far away from civilization for a few days, you need a whole lot of power and a way to keep it safe. ZeroLemon ToughJuice meets both requirements and offers a bit more.

6 Of The Best Backup Battery Packs To Extend Your Phone's Uptime best battery pack zerolemon toughjuice 593x500

The 30000 mAh of battery is a lot, so you can share it and charge up to five devices simultaneously, with four USB ports (including one Quick Charge 3.0) and a separate USB-C port. All the ports are protected from water and dust by rubber flaps. The toughened exterior has dual plastic layers for shock absorption.

All put together, you should be able to take this with you on any adventure, along with one of the best rugged smartphones The 4 Best Rugged Phones for Outdoor Adventures The 4 Best Rugged Phones for Outdoor Adventures Phones break. They slip, they fall, they get water splashed on them. These ubiquitous gadgets are essential to our daily lives, but they aren't built to last. Well, most aren't built to last... Read More .

Which Power Bank Do You Use?

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the battery packs out there, and there are plenty of other good ones on the market. Which power bank do you use? Why would you recommend it to others?

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  1. Kit Kennard
    April 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    What about the shelf-life of the charge capacity ?? If I charge it to capacity, say 10000mAhrs, will 10000 still be there after a week, after a month, after 6 months ??? This is an important feature!!!

  2. ling_c
    April 25, 2014 at 6:54 am
  3. dean
    April 15, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Just buy spare batteries. Loads cheaper. And if you're a cheap skate like me you will not have bought into the Apple world so the lack of a changeable pack doesn't matter.

  4. Douglas M
    April 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Because I have to move a lot in places where electricity is sometime a miracle I bought the Joos Solar. It's just what you expect from a powebank! Plus its solar capability is very useful!
    Great article! Thanks

  5. Chris
    April 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I'm shocked you don't have a single Anker product in your roundup. Just do a check on AMZ and you'll see Anker battery packs routinely getting 4.5* ratings. I love my 5,600mAh model that includes flashlight. Has very solid build quality, like all of Anker's stuff.

  6. Jamesrichards1964
    April 13, 2014 at 3:08 am

    I use a rayovac that uses 4 AA batteries, use rechargables or regular alkaline, costs about $10, works great. I can carry extra AA batteries and am good to go for days of camping or playing Ingress for several hours.

  7. Clement
    April 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I'm in France but the company is shippinh worldwide via Amazon.
    I've just bought an Anker Astro E3 with 10000mAh capacity. In term of size, it's a big LG G2 which is less thin.
    I charged yesterday an iPhone and today my G2 (45 to 100%), between 50 and 75% left in the battery pack.
    The customer service is very comprehensive.
    Why don't you mention them.

    • Mihir Patkar
      April 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Hey Clement,

      I did look at the Anker too, actually. IMO, the $40 Astro 3E is a good purchase, but not as good as the Satechi or myPowerHub. Why? As someone who has 8 different power banks at home, I can tell you that the one I always carry is the one that is the most unobtrusive. In that regard, for an extra $20, the Satechi is much more portable and worth that extra. And the myPowerHub beats both the Astro and the Satechi since you don't have to carry cables, but well, that comes at a price :)

      I'm not against Anker at all, I just think it makes more sense to spend those extra $20 because as a long-time power bank user, I can tell you that you will use the power bank a lot more if it's easier to carry in your pocket.

      Thanks for writing in!

  8. Ben B
    April 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I'm surprised you said nothing about native unions jump cable considering its massive success on kickstarter! Its a little different to your conventional backup battery as its also used as your charging cable, smallish battery but i don't want to carry around a brick with me. Also it looks rather nice with the slate colour and braided cable.

    http://www.nativeunion.com/uk/jcable-musb.html#144

  9. Robert Ford
    April 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Hey Mihir,

    I test electronics devices for Amazon and my blog. You have a nice selection but in terms of performance, reliability and design, Apelpi smartphone and tablet backup battery chargers should be in this list. It's the only one that is MFi Apple certified, fully compatible with Android phones and made with Korean cells (not low quality Chinese cells) plus it has an awesome apple shape like no other (hence the name Apelpi, as in apple-pie).

    Try Apelpi out and you'll love its compact size plus the peace of mind that a high quality item brings to the table.

    • Mihir Patkar
      April 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      3200mAh for $55 without a built-in cable, when you get the 3000mAh myChargeHub for $66 with built-in cables and a direct charge plug? I'd go for the myChargeHub

  10. Alex
    April 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm
    • Brian Deeley
      April 12, 2014 at 12:19 am

      I'm a huge fan of these Anker Astro as well.

    • Mihir Patkar
      April 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I like the Anker Astro series too. In a response to commenter Clement, I replied in a little more detail why I went with Satechi over the Anker. I dunno if you'll agree with my reasoning, but that's what the comments are for, so please feel free to argue (it's how us writers learn best!) :)

    • Jason N
      April 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      Shocked to see no Anker product. Anker rocks.

  11. Mark
    April 11, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Seriously no mention of a single Monoprice product?

    http://www.monoprice.com/Category?c_id=108&cp_id=10831&cs_id=1083110

    I've got the 9283 - 5000 mAh - $29.82 - has both 1amp and 2.1 amp ports and has 4.5/5 stars on 186 review...