Have you ever experienced battery anxiety? (You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?) That feeling when you are driving home from someplace and there is only 1% left on your cell phone battery.
Or worse, you are driving to an important meeting using the GPS on your phone and you realize your phone is about to die and you will then be completely lost.
The fact is, power banks are an ideal option when your electronic devices are running low. They can range in size from pocket-sized devices up to larger higher-capacity power banks.
They are typically used to charge cell phones, tablets, cameras and even laptops. But, what should a quality power bank have versus a piece of junk from China?
How do they charge?
Most power banks come with a USB input, which you can use to connect to a wall socket or a USB port on your computer to charge the power bank.
In addition, small or slim power banks typically have a mini-USB socket, which you can use to charge the power bank.
Finally, some power banks are rechargeable through a built-in solar panel that would be useful on a long camping trip where you may not have a place to plug in.
What is the mAh rating?
The mAh rating of your smartphone, tablet, or computer is critical when deciding what kind of power bank to buy.
For example, the iPhone X has an mAh rating of 2716, meaning a power bank with a rating of 2000 mAh wouldn’t even be able to give the iPhone a single complete charge.
A power bank with a rating of 10000 mAh would give you multiple complete charges for the iPhone X.
Just remember, when charging a tablet or laptop with a power bank, the device may only charge a small percentage since it will most likely have a higher mAh rating than the power bank, unless you purchase a high capacity power bank.
The thing about mAh is that you can’t simply buy a power bank with a 2000 mAh and charge your phone completely since it has a rating of 2000 mAh as well.
The marketing ploys and power loss in the power bank can oftentimes be misleading. A good rule of thumb is that you can expect two-thirds of the mAh rating from your power bank.
For instance, if your power bank is rated at 10000 mAh, you should plan to only get about 6600 mAh out of the power bank before needing to recharge it.
What batteries are inside a power bank?
Power banks generally come with Lithium-Polymer (Li-Po) or Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries. When it comes to batteries, there is a big difference between the two.
Lithium-Ion batteries have a higher energy density and are cheaper to manufacture, but can have issues with aging. (Think exploding cell phones.)
On the other hand, Lithium-Polymer batteries do not suffer from aging to the same extent, but due to their higher manufacturing costs are more expensive.
Which power banks to look at?
The Mophie Powerstsation Plus XL, is a 10,000 mAh, lightweight battery pack.
For $99, the power bank includes a cable that’s dual purpose, with a removable lightning adapter for Apple devices and a Micro-USB adapter for everything else.
There’s also a standard USB port on the pack.
Another solid option is the Maxoak 50000 mAh 6 port power bank. This device is designed for use with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It’s built with a Polymer battery and you can charge multiple devices at once.
Depending on the size of the laptop, you should be able to get two full charges from this power bank. The Maxoak sells for about $140 on Amazon.
A power bank is something you should definitely have for emergencies and they’re not too expensive. Plus, they’re small enough to fit in a pocket or a backpack or other bag that you carry on your person or in your car.