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Best portable chargers and power banks

Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Carrying around one of the best portable chargers is a fantastic way to start the new year right. My resolutions include no longer hearing strangers' conversations on the subway, and our list of the best power banks includes plenty of top items to help keep my phone and headphones charged. We tested each of these, looking at how fast each of these accessories charges and many charges each power bank holds. 

While many hold a lot of juice, not all portable batteries equal. We've got our picks for best portable charger, as well as the top compact charger, fastest short-term charger and more. 

Here, you'll see how much juice they give flagship smartphones in shorter bursts (i.e. when you've got a little time at the bar), as well as how long it takes to refuel a phone phone, and how many phones refuel from one charge. Even if your phone is on our longest lasting smartphones page, I bet you could benefit from this portable insurance package on your next road trip.

Recently, I lost my Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux that I was testing and I'm really annoyed about this mistake. It's one of the best portable chargers because it's got more than enough juice for a full recharge, it's got both fast-charging USB-C PD and the standard USB Type-A ports and it's small enough (4.2 x 2. x 1 inches) to fit in my front pant pockets.

We're about to start testing Apple's latest iPhone battery cases, which do more than just increase the amount of charge you bring on the road. A dedicated camera button cuts down on the time it takes to actually snap a photo.

If you want to protect your gadgets when charging, be sure to check out our roundup of the best surge protectors.

The best portable chargers now

Anker PowerCore 20100

Anker PowerCore 20100 (Image credit: Anker)

1. Anker PowerCore 20100

The best portable charger for the money

Capacity: 20100mAh | Output Ports: 2x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 12.6 ounces | Measurements: 6.6 x 2.4 x 0.9 inches

A lot of power
Fast charging times
Clean design

With the Anker PowerCore, you get what you pay for. It's not as cheap as some of its competitors, but it's an ace in every category, making it the best portable charger overall. That means you get speedier charging times (both iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy S8), a high capacity (charges the Galaxy S8 nearly three times on a single charge) and some of the lowest times for charging a phone (Galaxy S8).

Let's break down the details. The PowerCore charged 2.79 Galaxy S8s, which was no shock considering its high mAh rating. Its fast full-refuel times (Galaxy S8 in 95 minutes, iPhone 8 Plus in 98 minutes) earned our respect, and its short-term times for the Galaxy S8 (21% in 15 minutes, 38% in 30 minutes, 73% in 60 minutes) and the iPhone 8 Plus (19% in 15 minutes, 32% in 30 minutes, 69% in 60 minutes) are also great.

Aibocn 10000mAh Power Bank Portable Charger with Flashlight

Aibocn 10000mAh Power Bank Portable Charger with Flashlight (Image credit: Aibocn)

2. Aibocn 10000mAh Power Bank Portable Charger with Flashlight

The best portable charger for those on a budget

Capacity: 10,000mAh | Output Ports: 2x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 8.6 ounces | Measurements: 5.4 x 2 x 0.8 inches

Includes flashlight
Super affordable
Fast despite its performance
Blah design

Of the two $10 chargers we tested, the Aibocn refuelled more phones with 1.77 Galaxy S8 charges versus 0.87 of a charge from the Poweradd Slim 2. Its percentage charged over the course of 15-, 30- and 60-minute increments was also faster. That amount juice on a budget makes it one of the best portable charger options available today.

The Aibocn's 1.77 Galaxy S8s refuel capacity makes sense considering its size while its full refuel times for the Galaxy S8 (120 minutes) and iPhone 8 Plus (126 minutes) aren't as exciting. Its short term times for the Galaxy S8 (16% in 15 minutes, 33% in 30 minutes, 66% in 60 minutes) and the iPhone 8 Plus (17% in 15 minutes, 34% in 30 minutes, 61% in 60 minutes) were more respectable. 

Anker PowerCore 10000

Anker PowerCore 10000 (Image credit: Anker)

3. Anker PowerCore 10000

Highly portable and packs enough juice for a couple of refuels

Capacity: 10,000mAh | Output Ports: 1x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 6.4 ounces | Measurements: 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 inches

Portable design
Relatively affordable
Slower than the 20,000 mAh model

One of the more-compact chargers reviewed here, the PowerCore 10000 packs enough juice to recharge two whole phones, and then some. It may not have charged our phones as fast as its big brother, (the 20100-mAh Anker PowerCore 20100), but the 10000's lower price makes the slower speed easier to handle. Its combination of portability and mAh capacity makes it the best portable charger that you don't need a huge pocket or a small bag to carry.

We saw better device refuel capacity from the Anker (2.14 Galaxy S8s), which also refuelled the Galaxy S8 pretty quickly (98 minutes), though the iPhone 8 Plus (126 minutes) took longer. Short term charging wasn't fantastic for the Galaxy S8: (16% in 15 minutes, 33% in 30 minutes, 70% in 60 minutes) or the iPhone 8 Plus (15% in 15 minutes, 31% in 30 minutes, 71% in 60 minutes).

Poweradd Slim 2

Poweradd Slim 2 (Image credit: Poweradd)

4. Poweradd Slim 2

The best portable charger that's really tiny

Capacity: 5000mAh | Output Ports: 1x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 4.4 ounces | Measurements: 3.9 x 1.3 x 1.2 inches

Small
Fast charging
One USB out port

Smaller power chargers often seem the most suspicious. How much can you fit into these tiny tubes? Well, the Poweradd Slim 2 is the best portable charger that fits in your palm, because it holds around 33 % more power than similar-size devices and its charging speeds are just as fast as those of its competitors.

It's a small charger, so we're not surprised it only has enough charge to refuel 87% of a Galaxy S8. Its win, however, came with short-term charging speeds for the Galaxy S8 (12% in 15 minutes, 29% in 30 minutes, 55% in 60 minutes) and iPhone 8 Plus (15% in 15 minutes, 29% in 30 minutes, 55% in 60 minutes) that compete with the big boys.

Jackery Bolt

Jackery Bolt (Image credit: Jackery)

5. Jackery Bolt

Need a quick refuelling? This portable charger is for you

Capacity: 6000mAh | Output Ports: 1x USB-A, 1x Lightning, 1x microUSB | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 6 ounces | Measurements: 5.5 x 3.7 x 1.2 inches

Lightning port is great for iPhones
Integrated cords
Fast charging
Except when you get closer to 100%

The Bolt earned its name in our testing, refilling 81 % of our Galaxy S8 in an hour and 63 % of our iPhone 8 Plus in the same time. Both are the fastest rates for any charging device we tested, and the Bolt's numbers for 30 and 15 minutes are also excellent. One note: Its speeds seemed to slow once it got closer to a full charge, as its times for a complete charge were longer than those of a few of its competitors. Also, its integrated Lightning and micro USB charger cords are a nifty perk, saving you from needing to carry your own. 

The smallish Bolt still refilled more than a whole phone, topping up 1.3 Galaxy S8s. Its full phone refuel times aren't fantastic for the Galaxy S8 (112 minutes) or iPhone 8 Plus (129 minutes). Short-term charging showed off some prowess on the Galaxy S8 (22% in 15 minutes, 47% in 30 minutes and 81% in 60 minutes), and the iPhone 8 Plus (17 % in 15 minutes, 33 % in 30 minutes, 63 % in 60 minutes).

EC Technology 22400-mAh Power Bank

EC Technology 22400-mAh Power Bank (Image credit: EC Technology)

6. EC Technology 22400-mAh Power Bank

If you've got a lot of gadgets, this portable charger might be right for you

Capacity: 22400mAh | Output Ports: 3x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 16.2 ounces | Measurements: 6.3 x 3.1 x 0.9 inches

A ton of power
Three USB out ports
Lackluster power

This power bank from EC has one of the larger capacities we've tested, but that didn't prove enough. Its charging speeds fell in the middle to the back of the pack, which means waits that you don't want to sit through. But if you're trying to charge a whole family of devices at once, this charger's three USB ports will help you get everyone's gear closer to full.

The EC Technology bank refilled 4.07 Galaxy S8s, refueled a Galaxy S8 in 129 minutes and refueled an iPhone 8 Plus in 109 minutes. It charged 14% of the  the Galaxy S8 in 15 minutes, 27% in 30 minutes and 52% in 60 minutes. With the iPhone 8 Plus, it refilled 18% in 15 minutes, 30% in 30 minutes, 70% in 60 minutes

KMASHI 10000-mAh Portable Power Bank

KMASHI 10000-mAh Portable Power Bank (Image credit: KMASHI)

7. KMASHI 10000-mAh Portable Power Bank

Annoyingly, this brick didn't refuel our phones fast enough

Capacity: 10000mAh | Output Ports: 2x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 9.8 ounces | Measurements: 5.5 x 2.5 x 0.9 inches

Relatively cheap
High capacity
Slow at recharging

The KMASHI charger's perks are its low, low price and how it packs plenty of juice, charging our Galaxy 8 phone 2.31 times. On the downside, its short-term and long-term charging times are slower than those of most of the other chargers, especially with our iPhone 8 Plus, which gained only 40 % of a charge after an hour.

The 98-minute Galaxy S8 time and 110-minute iPhone 8 Plus times didn't help the KMASHI charger rank on our best portable chargers list. And, yes, it's on the affordable side, but will you wish you spent more when you see slow short-term charging times like we got from the Galaxy S8 (18% in 15 minutes, 33% in 30 minutes, 65% in 60 minutes) and the iPhone 8 Plus (9% in 15 minutes, 19% in 30 minutes, 40% in 60 minutes)

RavPower 10000-mAh Portable Charger

RavPower 10000-mAh Portable Charger (Image credit: RavPower)

8. RavPower 10000-mAh Portable Charger

This brick delivers some juice but it's on the hefty side

Capacity: 10000mAh | Output Ports: 2x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 19.4 ounces | Measurements: 4 x 2.6 x 1 inches

Good short-term charging
Slow at refilling a whole phone

While this device charged two and a half Galaxy S8s by itself, it did so a bit slowly. Sure, it came out of the gate with 16 to 19 % charged in 15 minutes, but its rates for 30 and 60 minutes, as well as for a full charge, were at least 10 % behind those of its competitors.

If this brick were any lighter or cheaper, its full Galaxy S8 (110 minutes) and iPhone 8 Plus  (129 minutes) times would be more understandable. The story doesn't improve with its timed charging on the Galaxy S8 (19% in 15 minutes, 27% in 30 minutes, 55% in 60 minutes) or the iPhone 8 Plus (16% in 15 minutes, 30% in 30 minutes, 57% in 60 minutes).

Anker PowerCore+ mini

Anker PowerCore+ mini (Image credit: Anker)

9. Anker PowerCore+ mini

Teeny tiny portable charger with neat colors… and not much else

Capacity: 3350mAh | Output Ports: 1x USB-A | Input Ports: 1x microUSB | Weight: 2.8 ounces | Measurements: 3.7 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches

Pocket-friendly
Metallic color options
Only one output
Slow at delivering power

Available in metallic hues, this charger looks nice, but you can do better. Opt for the less expensive Aibocn or Poweradd chargers we listed earlier, which hold more of a charge, as the PowerCore+ mini fills only two-thirds of a Galaxy S8. 

Also, it filled only 9 % of our iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy S8 in 15 minutes, a low among the chargers we tested, and its rates for 30 minutes (20% of the Galaxy S8, 21% of the iPhone 8 Plus) and 60 minutes (41% of the Galaxy S8, 40% of the iPhone 8 Plus) were also poor compared to what others achieved.

How we tested the best portable chargers

We kept draining an iPhone 8 Plus and a Galaxy S8, and then timed how much time it took for each charger to refuel those phones. Along the way, we checked out how much of said phones were refuelled after 15, 30 and 60 minutes. 

We look forward to new rounds of charging with newer phones soon.