This post was first published in August 2018 and is updated October 2019. You are just about to take that perfect photo or make that important phone call and guess what? Yes, that’s right, the battery on your device dies. Never have this happen to you again with a powerbank, aka a portable charger. Never heard of one? Neither had I until recently but my research has shown me there are 5 things to know about a powerbank if you intend to buy one. Here they are.
What is a Powerbank?
Firstly, what is a Powerbank? A powerbank is a very handy device that enables you to charge your devices wherever you are. Then you will never be caught without a charged device again as this portable device can go everywhere with you. This could be to work, at home or travelling around. They look very similar to a phone but without a screen and come in similar colours to phones so when you are choosing a powerbank what do you look for? Here are 5 things to know about a Powerbank.
Size does matter when buying a Powerbank
Size does matter when considering buying a powerbank and there are two sizings to consider. Its portability and its charging capacity.
The first thing to know about a powerbank is its portability. Powerbanks are mostly about the size of your current phone. They are being designed so they are small enough to fit in to your bag or pocket. Very convenient!
The second thing to know about a powerbank is its charging capacity. The more charging capacity the powerbank has the more times your device/s can be charged. So when it comes to size, charging capacity size that is, size can matter. Powerbank capacity is measured in “milli ampere hours” mAH. Basically the more mAH you have in your powerbank the more times you can charge your devices. Powerbanks currently can range from 2,000mAH to 30,000mAH.
To give you an example for charging capacity purposes, an iPone 5 needs a capacity of about 1,600mAH to charge once. The minimum powerbank you would therefore purchase is one with 1,600mAH. However, most people purchase a powerbank of about 10,000mAH as this would let you charge your iPhone 5 about 5 times before the powerbank needs charging. So you need to consider what device you are charging and how many times you might need to charge it. For example, will you be travelling for days on end without access to power and need to charge a phone and a laptop, therefore a powerbank with more mAH would suit you.
Charge multiple devices with your Powerbank
Being able to charge multiple devices with your powerbank will be very useful. It is extremely handy if your Powerbank has 2, or more USB ports. This will let you charge your phone and/or a small device/s at the same time. Some models come with more than 2 USB ports and are for people who travel with a number of devices. Think about how many devices you might be travelling with so you have enough USB ports.
How to charge your Powerbank
Powerbanks need charging themselves and can be charged using either built-in USBs or cables. Most charge quicker through a cable in a powerpoint but can also be charged through another device. Check how the powerbank will be charged before you purchase one.
Charge time of your Powerbank and Devices
Ensure your Powerbank will provide at least one full charge – refer to point 1. Charge time will depend on the Powerbank’s capacity, mAH. The more mAH the quicker and more charges you will get.
So you need to think about the devices you want to charge and potentially how many charges you might need. I’d also consider how long you might be without access to power. It’s a lot to think about isn’t it? But it will be worth it in the end. So if you are travelling, say through Europe, and have no access to power for a few days the more capacity and the more USBs ports your Powerbank has, the better it should be.
Extra Features to look for in a Powerbank
The final thing to know about powerbanks is what extras they might come with. Some have an inbuilt flashlight/torch and/or LED indicators to indicate the battery level. These are not necessities but do come in handy.
I hope this blog has helped you in your decision of which powerbank may be suitable for your travels. I know it helped me and I purchased a Xiomi 10,000 mAH Powerbank which has served me well. Mine fits in to my handbag and I can discreetly charge my phone and sometimes my laptop as I am walking around checking out the sites. I am looking to upgrade to the 20,000mAH model really to future proof myself for some destinations I am considering visiting.
I can highly recommend the following power banks, the Xiaomi 10,000mAH and the Xiaomi 20,000mAH powerbanks. Also the Aukey 10,000mAH and the Aukey 20,000mAH. If you use a different brand I’d be interested to hear so I can test and review.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled most of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She has travelled with her family, as a single person, as one half of a couple and then with her own kids. Over her years of travel she has discovered some very useful travel gear and accessories that have helped make her travels easier. She reviews and sells them at The Travel Gear Store.