We’ve all suffered the sudden, all-encompassing horror of a dead phone. The accusing looks and hushed criticism of family and friends. That blank screen on the commute home that leaves you at the mercy of your chatty fellow traveler. The sudden loss of Google Maps as you turn into an unfamiliar neighborhood. The sinking feeling as you realize your phone alarm didn’t go off because you forgot to plug your phone in last night. Why, oh, why must our smartphones die?
We feel your pain, and that is why we’ve been checking out some of the best portable chargers on the market. Until there is a real breakthrough in battery technology, a portable charger might be the best solution. We have something here for you, whatever your needs may be, from a bucketload of power for a camping trip to a pocket-friendly solution for your daily commute. These are 20 of the best portable chargers that money can buy.
Fuse Chicken Universal
- Capacity: 6,700mAh
- Outputs: 2 ports (USB-C PD, USB-A QC 3.0)
- Weight: 331g (11.67oz)
- Price: $85
- Time to fully charge: Around 3 hours
For all you globe–trotters out there, this device is nothing short of genius. The Fuse Chicken Universal has everything you need to charge your smartphone all wrapped into one neat, portable package that’s 3 x 3 inches square and about an inch high. It’s a power bank with a 6,700mAh capacity, which is enough to charge most smartphones at least once with some power to spare. But it’s also a wireless charging pad and a travel adapter.
Tap the power button and you can see the remaining power as a precise percentage. There’s an LED that goes green when it’s ready and red while it’s charging something. There are USB-C and USB-A ports. You can charge it or charge another device with it via USB-C Power Delivery, which goes up to 18W. The USB-A port supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 standard. It also doubles up as a wireless charging pad, capable of putting out up to 10W to fast charge your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or any other Qi-certified device.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a built-in plug for a U.S. outlet, with prongs that fold neatly away. The plug part also slides off, like it does on Apple’s power adapters, and you can slide on one of the supplied plug attachments, which include plugs for the U.K., Europe, and Australia. This is a versatile device. You can plug it into an outlet and charge an iPad Pro via the USB-C and a phone via the USB-A at the same time. Or you could use it unplugged and have the power bank charge your iPhone 8 wirelessly and rapidly charge your Pixel 3 via the USB-C port at the same time. This is a thoughtful design that’s perfect for travelers.
Omnicharge Omni 20
- Capacity: 20,400mAh
- Outputs: 4 ports (100W, 70W, 3A, QC 3.0)
- Weight: 630g (22.2 ounces)
- Price: $250
- Time to fully charge: Around 3 hours
If you’re craving the versatility to charge any device in the room, but you still want something reasonably portable, then the Omni 20 is set to become the new object of your desire. This unassuming square with sloping corners packs a multitude of speedy charging options. While Omnicharge may have literally cut corners on the exterior, you’ll find everything you could need inside.
There’s a proper AC outlet, just like a wall outlet, capable of putting out 100W to power a laptop or other large devices — you could even plug a TV into it. There’s also a DC outlet that can put out 70W and two USB ports — the first is rated at 5V/3A and the second supports the Quick Charge 3.0 standard, so whatever smartphone you own it should be able to charge at top speed from this power bank.
Next to the power button, you’ll find a wee OLED screen that shows the remaining power as an amount and as a percentage. It also displays how much power is currently coming in, how much power is going out, how much time before it runs out of juice, and the temperature. On the other side of the screen, there’s a rocker to turn on the USB ports and the AC outlet. The DC port can act as an output, but it’s also the best way to charge the Omni 20 and if you use the adapter and cable provided it can charge up fully in just 3 hours — not bad for a 20,400mAh capacity device. You can also use a laptop adapter to charge it, which is handy for travelers who don’t want to pack any superfluous extras. Incidentally, the Omni 20 is FAA approved for air travel.
This is a seriously versatile device that will charge up just about anything. You can also dig into the settings using the OLED and fine tune your charging preferences, turn the fan off, turn the screen off, and tweak various other bits and pieces. It does also support pass-through charging, so you can recharge it and charge up connected devices at the same time. There are a few different versions of the Omni 20, so make sure you get the right one for you. You can pick the Omni 20 that switches a USB-C for the AC outlet for $200 and there’s a Pro version at $300 that includes extra charging cables and tips. Our Omni 20 also had plug attachments for the power adapter enabling us to use it in the U.S., the E.U., and the U.K. According to some descriptions it was going to support Qi wireless charging as well, but this feature was cut.
Originally backed on Indiegogo, it’s not hard to see why people would want a feature-packed portable charger like the Omni 20 in their bag. It’s on the expensive side and quite large for the capacity offered, but as a one-stop charging solution for every device you own, it’s hard to match.
- Capacity: 26,800mAh
- Outputs: 3 ports (USB-C 3A, 2.4A, and 2.4A)
- Weight: 462g (16.2oz)
- Price: $80
- Time to fully charge: 4 to 5 hours
This versatile charger has three output ports and supports USB PD (Power Delivery). There are two standard USB ports, both rated at 2.4A, but the maximum joint output is 3.4A. More importantly, there’s a USB-C port that can deliver up to 30W for your laptop or tablet, or charge your phone at top speed. There’s a power button up top with four blue LEDs to show remaining power.
Not only can it charge devices with USB-C, but it can also be charged through that port, which means it’s very fast to juice up, provided you have a powerful wall charger (you don’t get one in the box). What you do get is two tangle-free USB-to-Micro USB cables at different lengths, and a longer USB-C-to-USB-C cable. It also comes with a soft mesh bag sporting a drawstring closure.
It’s not the most portable device in the world, but it’s impressively compact and light for the capacity. This is a good solution for travelers with multiple gadgets. You can expect at least five full charges for an iPhone XS, four full charges for a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and it can even charge an iPad with change. If speed is important to you, then this is a must-have.
- Capacity: 20,100mAh
- Output: 2 ports (USB-C 3A and 2A)
- Weight: 373g (13.1oz)
- Price: $100
- Time to fully charge: 4 hours
If you want something fast charging, then Anker’s PowerCore Speed 20,000 PD is tough to beat. This long, slim power bank is packing 20,100mAh, which is enough to charge your smartphone at least three or four times over, maybe more depending on the model. You can also charge an iPad with change or even charge a small laptop, though we recommend checking compatibility before you buy.
It has a sleek, understated design with the usual power button on the side and four blue LEDs to show remaining power. There are two ports: One standard USB-A rated at 5V/2A and a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) output that can deliver up to 24W. You may be thinking it looks a little pricey, but you also get a slim 30W power delivery wall charger in the box, alongside a USB-C to USB-C cable, a USB-A to Micro USB cable, and a drawstring carry pouch. That’s everything you need for fast charging on the go.
We tried the power bank with a Pixel 3 and found it was capable of rapid charging. The included wall charger can also rapidly charge an iPhone X or an iPad Pro (Apple’s 30W wall charger costs $49 on its own). When the power bank runs out you can fully recharge it in just four hours with the charger and USB-C cable provided. If you’re after USB-C PD support, then this package is for you.
- Capacity: 23,200mAh
- Output: 4 ports (85W, 15W, QC 3.0, 2.4A)
- Weight: 749g (26.4oz)
- Price: $150
- Time to fully charge: 8 hours
It’s a hefty chunk of a power bank, but this rugged option could be ideal for camping trips or varied power needs because it includes a proper AC outlet at one end capable of delivering 85W. On top of that, you get a USB-C port that can put out 15W, a USB-A port that supports Quick Charge 3.0, and a final USB-A port that’s rated at 5V/2.4A. You can fully charge your smartphone at least four or five times with this, or even fully charge a 12-inch MacBook with change left over.
We got a sturdy USB-C to USB-A or USB-C cable in the box (the USB-A top can slide off to reveal a USB-C plug). We tested the U.K. version which doesn’t come with a wall charger, but the U.S. version does. Press the button power button and you get a precise percentage readout of remaining power. You have to hold the power button down for two seconds to turn the AC outlet on or off and it’s important you do turn it off when you’re done or it will drain the power. You’ll hear a fan start up when you turn it on, which keeps it from overheating.
This is a really sturdy feeling power bank and it’s ideal if you want to be able to charge multiple devices at once. We were able to charge up a MacBook Pro from the power outlet (though not fully) and it also charged a Pixel 3 at full speed from the USB-C port. It is also TSA approved, so you can take it on a flight if you want to. It takes around eight hours to fully charge up, and sadly it doesn’t support pass-through charging.
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
- Capacity: 4,000mAh
- Output: 2 built-in cables (1A and 2.1A)
- Weight: 92g (3.2oz)
- Price: $26
- Time to fully charge: 3 to 4 hours
This is one of the slimmest portable chargers we’ve ever come across. If you’re really looking for something pocket-sized, the Flux Charger is worth more than just a glance. It’s a mere 7.8 millimeters thick and measures 108 x 62.8 millimeters. It’s also incredibly light, but holds enough power to fully recharge your phone at least once, possibly twice. It’s finished with a durable black or white aluminum and features two built-in cables, a Micro USB cable, and an MFi-certified Lightning cable. There’s also a Micro-USB port for charging, which comes with a short Micro USB to USB cable.
Tap the small button on the side, and the four tiny LEDs light up to show remaining power. It doesn’t support fast charging, though, and we found that it took a couple of hours to charge the large battery in the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Fortunately, it should fully charge an iPhone in around an hour. The input for charging it is 1.5A, so it takes a while to fully charge, but it does support pass-through charging, so you can plug it into the wall and your phone at the same time. If you like the design, but you need more power, then check out the 10,000mAh Flux Charger Plus for $52.
Simon Hill/Digital Trends
- Capacity: 20,000mAh
- Outputs: 4 ports (3A each)
- Weight: 370g (13oz)
- Price: $50
- Time to fully charge: Around 4 hours
This chunky battery pack in black plastic has a distinctive orange stripe around it. We’re not in love with the look, but it contains a whopping 20,000mAh of power and an unusual array of input and output ports. The green USB port supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0, and also Huawei’s fast-charging standard, FCP. There are two black USB ports capable of up to 3A and there’s also a USB-C port that can deliver the same. Move round to the side and you’ll find a Micro USB port and another USB-C port for charging the battery up. Interestingly these inputs can be plugged in simultaneously to enable you to charge the battery up faster — bringing charging time down to around four hours, which is pretty impressive for this capacity.
You’ll find the standard four LED array on the top to show you remaining power in 25 percent chunks. There’s a power button on the side and you can double press it to fire up the LED flashlight, which is a handy extra that makes this a good choice for camping. EasyAcc includes a short, 24-inch USB-to-USB-C cable and a USB-to-Micro USB cable that’s the same length in the box. It does support pass-through charging, so you can plug it in to charge and plug your phone into it to charge at the same time.
We think you can expect at least four full charges for the majority of smartphones out there and probably more than that for phones with smaller batteries, like the iPhone 8. Weighing up the complete package we think this is good value for money and worth considering if you need a lot of power and want to be able to recharge it in a hurry.
Omnimobile 12,800 Portable Charger
- Capacity: 12,800mAh
- Outputs: 2 ports (QuickCharge 3.0 and USB-C)
- Weight: 272g (9.59 ounces)
- Price $69
- Time to fully charge: 3-4 hours
You don’t need something that’s big and blocky to recharge a laptop — far from it, in fact. The Omnimobile 12,800 is part of the same range as the Omni 20, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Whereas the Omni 20 is undoubtedly a charger for a bag, the Omnimobile — while still large — is designed to be slipped more easily into a pocket and carried out for day trips, rather than weekends. The rounded corners and soft-touch finish make it easy to hold in your hand, while the position of the ports at one of the flat ends makes it easy to run cables out of pockets to a phone.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a less powerful proposition just because it’s more svelte than its larger cousin; the Omnimobile 12,800 still has plenty of grunt to back it up. The 12,800 battery is enough to charge a phone three or four times, and it can even recharge USB-C laptops with the super-fast 60W USB-C port. That’s enough power to recharge the new MacBook Pro 15-inch, which is an impressive feat for a charger that fits into a pocket. Granted, it’s a large pocket, but it’s still impressive. The same port also recharges the battery, with recharge speeds of up to 30W.
The USB-A port isn’t as impressive as the USB-C port, but it’s still equipped with QuickCharge 3.0, which should make light work of recharging most fast charging-compatible phones. Best of all, the battery also has Qi wireless charging capabilities, so you can drop a phone with wireless charging on top and benefit from 10W fast wireless charging. That said, we’ve noticed the signal seems a little weak, and we had to remove protective cases to trigger charging.
There’s a power button by the ports, as well as four LEDs, which light up to show the level of charge remaining. While it’s not the cheapest portable battery around, it’s certainly among the most versatile, with the ability to charge three devices at once, and even recharge larger devices like laptops. If you need a good all-around battery for a range of devices that’s also very portable, the Omnimobile might be your best bet.
Shiv has over 8 years experience working on Internet of Things and an avid user of Drones