Learn more about Power Banks
Electronic gadgets like smartphones and headphones are just a part of our life. We use them every day to perform a lot of tasks. Whether we are in a business meeting or chilling out on a beach during our vacation, we carry these electronic gadgets alongside us.
While we continue to use them every day, it is not guaranteed that we will have a wall charger nearby. Also, while traveling, it is difficult to carry wall chargers in the backpack. That’s where the portable phone charger – also known as a power bank – would come in handy.
Things to keep in mind while buying a Portable Phone Charger
Buying a power bank can be a little tricky as there are quite a few things that one should check before making a final purchase decision. Let’s go through all the things here.
Availability of ports on a power bank
Almost all the power banks come with a USB-A output port. This is still the most common port used for charging different devices. Most people already have the cables of their respective devices which come with a USB-A port on one side and their respective charging port on the other.
While the USB-A port is pretty common to find on power banks, we are slowly shifting towards the USB-C port on the majority of the devices. So, we are slowly seeing a rise in the USB-C ports on the power banks as well. And if you are currently looking to buy one, it’s highly recommended to buy a power bank that has a USB-A and USB-C output ports.
Earlier, the USB port on the power banks used to be of the micro-USB type – at least for the input. However, that has been changing as well and most of them now come with a USB-C port. The micro-USB is now considered a thing of the past as it’s taken over by the USB Type C ports.
Other than these two common ports, some power banks also have a wall outlet port where you can plug in any of the electronic gadgets and charge them faster. This port is especially useful when you are out on a trip but you want to keep your laptop running for a little longer time – especially when it starts running out of battery power and you don't have a laptop charger or any nearby power outlet.
Here, we are going to talk about a couple of charging speeds. The first will be the input charging speed of the power bank while the second one will be the output charging speeds of the power bank. Note that the input charging speed will decide the charging time of the power bank itself while the output charging speed will decide the charging time of the phone attached.
One of the most common misconceptions of any portable charger is that the charging speed will be lower than what you can achieve with an official phone charger. This is not true especially after the implementation of the fast charging technologies on the portable chargers.
Portable chargers of the current generation are equipped with the fast charging power output technologies like the Qualcomm QuickCharge and even USB-PD – where PD stands for Power Delivery. USB-PD technology has been the recent standard as that is used to charges several phones as well as laptops. If you end up choosing a portable charger that comes with USB-PD – like the Omni20+ – then you don’t have to worry about leaving phone chargers and laptop chargers at home.
Some portable chargers – like the Omni 20+ – are capable of charging devices at up to 100W using the port for the wall charger. However, on using the USB-PD, you can still get up to 60W power. The same USB-PD technology can be used to charge the power bank again at high speeds as it also works as a USB-C input port.
While we have the example of Omni 20+ here, such charging speeds are present on several other power banks that come with USB-PD for input as well as output. If you are buying a portable charger today, make sure to check if it has power delivery or not. It’s a feature that often gets missed while making the purchase decision. It is also important to note that high-speed cables are required to achieve these speeds.
Warranty and Extra Features
When we buy a portable charger, we aim to use it for at least a couple of years. So, if a brand offers a higher warranty period with great features on the power bank, then it’ll be a go-to option for us. While most brands offer a standard one-year warranty on their power banks, there are a few brands that even offer 18-36 months of warranty – which is amazing.
While warranty is essential to look at, it shouldn’t be the only factor while purchasing a power bank. Features mentioned above – like the availability of output ports along with the fast charging speeds – are also essential. Alongside those features, you can also be on the lookout for the additional features offered by a power pack – like wireless charging and battery life indicators.
If you want a complete package of features on a portable charger, then Omni 20+ is one of the best options out there. However, if your main usage of the portable charger is just charging your phones, then the Anker PowerCore+ can be a great choice as it comes with a higher capacity battery. Anker PowerCore+ also has more portability and is easier to carry around. When we are talking about a portable charger, portability obviously matters.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Let's quickly go through some frequently asked questions about the power banks.
Would we get the same battery capacity – that is mentioned on the power pack – as the output charge?
In simple words, the answer will be no. It’s a common misconception that a portable charger with a 20,000 mAh battery should be able to charge a 4,000 mAh device 5 times.
Unfortunately, batteries don’t work like that. In most portable chargers, the battery is 3.7V – while the phone that most of us own would have a battery that charges at 5V. Only because of this conversion, we would lose out on quite a bit of the capacity. When we add the heat dissipation and degradation of the battery over a longer period of time, the overall output capacity will be even lesser.
In most typical cases, you should expect the battery output capacity of any power bank to be 20-30% less than what it’s rated at.
How long does a portable phone charger last?
Under normal circumstances and usage, a battery pack should easily last you for 3 years or more. However, if your usage is minimal and if you just use the portable chargers while being on a trip, then it might even last longer for you. If you use the portable charger to charge your phone daily, then the batteries will degrade quicker, and it might last you for a lower period of time.
Most portable phone chargers from all the reputed brands are capable of holding the charge for about 3-6 months – when you don’t use them. However, it is essential to keep an eye on their charge to see if they didn’t die completely. If you let the battery die completely, it affects the chargers negatively and can even slightly speed up the degradation of the battery.
How does an external phone charger work?
An external phone charger is nothing but a portable battery pack. They have cylindrical lithium-polymer or lithium-ion batteries insides them – which are usually charged by the USB-C input port. Later when we plug in our devices, the charge from these batteries gets transferred to our devices.
All these portable battery packs are also equipped with PCB i.e., printed circuit board – which helps in controlling the input and output of power through the USB-C, USB-A, or micro-USB ports. Most newer ones are also programmed to automatically stop the charge once the device that is charging reaches 100 percent charge.
What is the fastest portable phone charger?
If you are looking for fast portable chargers, it is essential to check if they have USB-C PD or not. Usually, the ones with USB-C PD will offer you fast charging. One of the fastest chargers in our store is the Zendure SuperTank – which can deliver up to 100W of charge using the USB-C PD and has a huge capacity of about 27,000 mAh.
Another one in our store is the Omni20+ – which supports up to 60W USB-C PD and up to 100W of charge using the barrel or wall outlet port. Such fast-charging capabilities on a portable charger are pretty amazing - and it results in a great experience.
Brands like Anker also manufactures portable battery packs with huge capacity under the Anker Powercore line-up. This is a pretty big line-up that comes with USB-C PD support as well as Qualcomm’s QuickCharge support through the USB-A port.
Which is the best portable charger?
We can’t just crown one portable charger to be the best for everyone. Just like every other electronic device, the best here would also depend on what are the needs of the user. If you just need one for trips, you can buy a battery pack with a bigger capacity from any of the reputed brands – and that will get the job done for you.
However, if we still had to select only one portable charger, we would say that Omni 20+ is one of the best portable chargers out there. It’s mainly because of the added benefit of charging options. It allows us to charge any portable device – including laptops and phones – with that wall outlet port which isn’t really offered by many other portable battery packs.
But if your needs are different, then there will be another best portable charger for you – and that’s perfectly fine. If you want our help to select a power bank, then just get in contact with one of our Gear Guides at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll help you out to select the best according to your needs.