Power efficiency plays huge role in extending the battery life of portable devices. As battery technology stagnates, hardware manufacturers are working on doing more with the power they already have.
That means new laptops use less power than older laptops did. Not only does this extend your existing battery life, it makes charging your machine with a portable battery pack a more viable option.
So here are six battery packs that’ll charge your laptop on the go, and a few features to remember when shopping around.
Make Sure Your Laptop Is Compatible!
For best results, your laptop will need to use the USB Power Delivery (PD) standard. A few examples include the latest line of MacBook Pro models, the Dell XPS 13, and Google’s Pixelbook. We’ve thrown together a list of laptops you can charge using a USB power bank.
The exact power drain will differ with every machine. Aim for at least a 30W USB-PD rating, though there exist some pricier alternatives that can output 100W and beyond. To find out which is best for you, check your model’s power ratings as per the manufacturer specifications.
Even if your laptop ships with a 60W or 100W charger, a 30W USB-PD battery will still work. It just won’t charge your laptop as quickly. In some instances, the laptop you’re trying to charge won’t increase its charge percentage while plugged in (but will still extend your overall life).
The powerstation AC is a beast that can charge just about every device in your bag. It’s armed with a bona fide AC port that provides 100W of power at 110V, a USB-C charging port that delivers 30W, and a standard USB-A port with 2.4A quick charge ability.
Best of all, you can use all these outputs at once to charge three separate devices. The battery holds a generous 22,000mAh which is enough to power a 90W laptop for an hour. If you’re using a USB-C laptop that only draws 30W, you’ll get 15 hours out of it. Most smartphones will exceed 100 hours.
The drawback is that it’s not cheap, and fairly heavy. Weighing in at 26.7oz, the powerstation AC will have to live in your bag rather than your pocket. It’s wrapped in a tactile fabric finish, and allows for passthrough charging that will give your devices priority before charging the internal cell.
If you’re looking for a cheaper high-output laptop power pack than the mophie above, check out the Jackery PowerBar. It provides an 85W output with a 20,800mAh built-in battery, for around half the price of the mophie.
The sacrifice you make is the brand, a slightly lower capacity, and the 85W cap (which is still enough to charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro with USB-PD at full speed). The Jackery includes a full-sized AC output, two USB-A ports, and a USB-C port. These include support for 5V at 2.4A (USB-A) and the 3A USB-C quick charge standard.
Be aware that this power pack includes a fan to keep the internals cool, so it’s not dead silent like your standard smartphone batteries. It weighs in at 24.3oz, and it’s also available in a higher-capacity 23,200mAh version if you’re willing to pay more.
If you in the market for a laptop power bank, you’re probably already aware that it’s going to weigh quite a bit. One remedy to this situation is to carry a comfortable bag built with cable management in mind. The TYLT Energi Pro is one such bag.
Capable of storing a 15″ laptop with 11 separate charging pockets, the TYLT has internal routing to keep everything tidy. It ships with a 20,100mAh quick charge battery that can output 45W in USB-PD mode, enough for most light laptops like Apple’s MacBook and Google’s Pixelbook.
The battery back includes two USB-A outputs, a USB-C output (with 3A quick charge) and a micro-USB input for charging. The bag is TSA-friendly for frequent fliers, and features an RFID blocking pouch plus “weather resistant” pockets to keep its contents dry.
If you’re looking for a different type of carrier for your computer, check out these anti-theft laptop bags.
While many of the chargers on this list emphasize high power output and extreme capacity, this RAVPower keeps it fairly simple. The 26,800mAh capacity is within the limit set by many airlines, and the star feature is the fast recharge of around five hours using the USB-C input.
RAVPower built this to stay well within the 30W specification. Thus, it’s best for less thirsty machines like the standard MacBook or Dell XPS 13 (but will still work with more demanding models). You get a single USB-C PD output, and two USB-A 5V/2.4A fast charge ports for smartphones.
This battery has received great reviews, notably for its capacity and fast charging over USB-C. It’s also the cheapest charger on this list.
If you have a MacBook made between 2006 and 2018, MaxOak’s MacBook Charger is for you. It offers a staggering 36,000mAh capacity, which means it’s above the 27,000mAh limit set by many (but not all) airlines. It’s also quite heavy as a result, weighing in at 1.98 pounds.
It comes with every type of MacBook adapter, and it’s also compatible with USB-C PD to power other laptops up to 45W. It’ll charge an iPhone X nearly nine times, or double the life of your 15-inch MacBook Pro. It’s even been styled to perfectly complement your Apple gadgets.
In total there are four outputs, and you can use all of them at the same time. One 16.8V/4.6A output for MagSafe 1 and 2 devices, one USB-C PD up to 45W, and two other 5V/2.1A USB-A adapters for smartphones and tablets. MaxOak rates the charger for 1,000 cycles, and it’s fairly well-priced considering the capacity and flexibility on offer.
This isn’t a portable battery for regular use; in fact, it won’t even fit comfortably in most bags. Instead, it’s the perfect oversized power solution for your car, mobile home, camping trip, or anywhere else that lacks a power outlet.
Featuring a total of 11 outputs, the RIVER provides two AC, two DC, a single 12V car, two USB-C with Power Delivery, and four USB-A outlets (two of which feature 5V/2.4A quick charge). It’ll hold its 412Wh charge for up to a year too.
It’ll fully recharge in six hours using the included AC input, or nine hours with the included car charger. You’ll get more than five full laptop charges out of it, and you can use all 11 outputs simultaneously. At 11lbs, it’s not light but comes with a built-in carry handle. Throw it in the car and work from your camping tent all weekend!
Keep Working Wherever You Are With Power Banks
Whether you’re using a brand new USB-C PD laptop or an old AC powered model, these chargers should keep you going regardless of where you are.
If you’re looking for something simple to charge your smartphone, make sure you check out our list of all-around USB chargers too.