The Anker PowerCore 13000 is the Goldilocks of portable batteries. It's not too small, it's not too big, and its size and capacity is just right. The battery has two USB ports, and it stores enough juice to recharge most smartphones up to five times. It's even powerful enough to slow the battery drain on a MacBook.
The Jackery Bolt is the best portable battery for iPhones. It's MFi-certified for Apple devices, and it has an integrated Lightning and micro USB cable for easy charging of your devices. Plus, there's an open USB port for all your other gadgets. Its large 10,050 mAh capacity is large enough to charge your iPhone four times.
This battery pack has enough power to recharge a tablet and two smartphones with room to spare, or a smartphone a day for over a week. It’s about as thick as a deck of cards, and it's a hair taller than an iPhone 8 Plus. It's a good choice for charging laptops and the Nintendo Switch, too. It has two 2.4A USB ports and a single Type-C port.
If you want a pocketable battery that's just a third of an inch thick, we recommend this battery from Anker. It features a silicone rear panel that grips your phone without scratching it. The battery fits perfectly in the hand, and it's about the size of a smartphone. It has one USB port, and it can recharge your phone twice.
If you want a cheap but powerful portable battery, this one from Xiaomi will give you the most bang for your buck. It's just a half-inch thick, comes with a nifty micro-USB/Type-C 2-in-1 cable, and it'll fully charge your smartphone four times.
We hate to break it to you, but closing out of your open apps doesn’t save battery life. What you actually need is an external battery pack, especially if you’re someone who constantly forgets to charge your devices, or if you just live life on the edge and always have a low battery.
External battery packs are small, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries enclosed in a durable plastic shell. Most have one or two USB Type A ports, which is what you're probably used to for charging your gadgets, but some use the newer USB Type-C charging standard that's found on the Nintendo Switch and newer Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Google Pixel 2. Some even have built-in USB or Lightning charging cables, so you can easily juice up your devices, but most require you to use your existing charging cables.
Because pretty much all of today's smartphones lack a user-replaceable battery, an external battery pack is a must-have mobile accessory ... because who honestly wants to be huddled up against a charging outlet at an airport?! Speaking of flying, just so you know, the FAA says lithium-ion batteries like these have to be carried in carry-on baggage and can't be in your checked baggage.
We’ve researched hundreds of portable chargers to find the best, most powerful, and fastest ones you can buy. After narrowing our findings down, we tested them to find the best battery for your needs and budget. These top picks will ensure you'll never hover around 1% again.
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1. Check PricePortable Phone Charger -
Pro: Large capacity battery, small, portable size
Con: Doesn't have integrated charging cables
The Anker PowerCore 13000 is the Goldilocks of portable batteries. It's not too small, it's not too big, and its size and capacity are just right. The battery has two USB ports, and it's powerful enough to recharge some smartphones up to five times. So, if you forget to charge the battery on your charger — which you will — you'll be OK. It'll still have juice to recharge your smartphone when you forget to charge that, too. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to charge an iPhone X during our tests.
The battery (when fully charged) is even powerful enough to give a MacBook an additional 60% of power. Of course, that's assuming you have a newer USB-C equipped MacBook. Speaking of USB-C, Anker sells the battery with a USB-C, or micro-USB input, for recharging it, which takes five hours. Although we would have liked to see an integrated charging cable with this external battery pack, it's a shortcoming we're willing to forgive, considering the PowerCore 13000's portability and powerfulness. The battery is about the size of a deck of cards, weighs less than a pound, and is strong enough to recharge an iPad 1.5 times.
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Best for iPhones
Pro: Has integrated charging cables
Con: Its integrated flashlight isn't very bright
The Jackery Bolt is the most versatile portable battery you can buy. The only reason it wasn't named our best overall pick is because it was larger and heavier than the Anker PowerCore 13000, despite having a slightly smaller capacity. However, what the Anker lacks is integrated charging cables, which the Bolt has. On one side of the Bolt, you'll find a micro-USB cable for charging your Android smartphone, tablet, or pair of wireless headphones, and the other has your choice of a Lightning or USB-C cable. The 2-inch cables tuck away neatly when you're not using them. It also has an additional USB output, so technically you could charge three devices simultaneously without issue. There's a small blue LED flashlight on its side, too, but it isn't very bright.
At just 4 inches tall and an inch thick, the battery pack is about the size of a point-and-shoot camera. It's still small enough to pocket, but it'll leave a noticeable bulge in your jeans. Jackery does make a smaller and more portable battery pack that's about an inch less wide. However, that model has a smaller 6,000 mAh capacity compared to this one's 10,050 mAh, which provides enough juice to recharge a smartphone up to four times, or fully recharge a tablet once. During our testing, we found that the Bolt fully recharges an iPhone X in an hour and a half. It takes 5 hours to recharge the Bolt with the included micro-USB cable and an Apple 12W USB Power Adapter.
3. Check PricePortable Phone Charger -
Best Big Battery
Pro: Powerful enough to recharge a Nintendo Switch or a laptop.
Con: At almost 7 inches long, this battery won't fit in a pocket.
Although this external battery isn't the biggest you can buy, we think if you're in search for a large portable battery pack, this is the one to get. Its 26,800 mAh capacity is huge. You can charge a tablet and two smartphones with room to spare, or a smartphone each day for over a week. During our testing, we were able to recharge a Nintendo Switch 3.5 times before it ran out of juice.
The battery is the size of a Texas Instruments graphing calculator, and it weighs one pound. It's equipped with two standard USB ports, as well as a 30W Type-C output, which can be used to power or recharge a laptop. You have the choice to recharge the battery with an included micro-USB cable or using the Type-C port. If you pick the latter method, you'll save several hours. USB-C takes just 4.5 hours, compared to 10-plus hours with a micro-USB cable, but you'll need a a power adapter, which is an additional expense. Fortunately, a USB-C to USB-C cable is included. This battery will definitely come in handy for power outages, international flights, road trips, or camping. It doesn't disappoint.
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Best Slim Battery
Pro: Super sleek and slim design
Con: It doesn't have integrated charging cables
The Anker PowerCore Slim 5000 is a sleek and thin battery that feels great to hold. It's just a third of an inch thick, and it features a silicone rear panel that grips your phone without scratching it. The battery fits perfectly in the hand, and it's about the size of a smartphone.
It has one USB port, recharges your phone twice, and is also available in eye-catching colors like red and blue. The battery has a maximum input and output of 2 amps (others are as high as 2.4 amps), so you can expect it to charge your smartphone in a little over an hour. It comes with a carrying pouch, a micro-USB cable, and an impressive 18-month warranty.
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Best Budget Battery
Con: USB-C port is for input only
If you have a tight budget and all you need is a basic, no-frills portable battery pack that's reliable, the Xiaomi Mi Power Bank Pro is a solid choice. It sports a metal exterior and is just a half-inch thick, making it pocket-friendly. Best of all, it offers up a large 10,000 mAh capacity. That's enough juice to recharge a smartphone around four times. Additionally, the Mi Power Bank supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, so you can potentially recharge your phone battery from 0 to 80% in just 35 minutes.
The battery, which weighs just 7 ounces, has one USB port. There's also a USB-C port on board, but sadly, that's only for recharging the battery itself — so you can't connect it to another USB-C device like the Nintendo Switch or a MacBook. The battery takes 3.5 hours to recharge. It comes with a convenient dual micro-USB/USB-C cable for recharging and a 1-year warranty.
More of Our Top Picks:
Just because they didn't make our top five doesn't mean they're not worth shopping! These next few portable battery packs will still get the job done.
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Pros: Has enough juice to fully charge a MacBook
The mophie powerstation AC is a high-end portable battery pack that was just announced at CES 2018. It's about the size of a paperback book, but it weighs much more — almost 2 pounds. We love its modern, durable design and cloth exterior that keeps it free from scratches. Plus, it offers a generous capacity of 22,000 mAh, and it's capable of 100W AC output, meaning it's the perfect external battery for power-hungry devices like a laptop or a tablet.
You can charge devices through its 3-prong AC adapter, its single 2.4A quick-charge USB-A port, or with the built-in USB-C port. We're glad to see that the USB-C port features 30W USB-PD, a standard that's necessary to fast-charge devices like the Nintendo Switch or an iPhone X. During our testing, we found that it delivers impressive performance. You can charge an iPhone X eight times with it, a 12-inch MacBook twice, or a 13-inch MacBook Pro once. That equates to over 10 additional hours of battery life on a laptop.
Charging speeds vary depending on which port you use, but we found that this is one of the fastest batteries you can buy. Best of all, it only takes 3 hours to fully recharge if you're using a USB-C to USB-C cable and a power adapter. Good news: There's a USB-C to USB-C cable included! Our only complaint is that the battery has a built-in fan that can be a little loud. Fortunately, it only kicks in when you're using the AC port, but we'd choose a slightly noisy fan over a dead battery any day.
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Best for the Nintendo Switch
Pro: Portable size
Con: Only comes in black
The Nintendo Switch requires a hefty 15V/2.6A to charge, and although we've listed a handful of portable battery packs capable of reaching these metrics, we think the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD is the best battery for the Switch. The Nintendo Switch's biggest selling point is its portability because it offers entertainment in any environment thanks to its small size, so we don't think you'll want a large external battery to lug around with your Switch.
Measuring about an inch thick, 6.5 inches tall, 2.5 inches long, and weighing in at 13 ounces, we wouldn't call the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD small. However, we still think it's portable — especially in comparison to other USB-C PD battery packs, and it's easy to toss in a backpack. We also gave it higher marks because it comes with a USB Type-C to Type-C cable, and a wall charger — a rarity among battery packs. Most just come with a charging cable, but no wall charger. These two accessories can be used to not only charge the battery (which takes about 3 hours), but also to plug your devices into an outlet, too. As you'd expect, this battery is not only compatible with the Nintendo Switch. It has a single USB-A port, and a USB-C port. Its generous 20,100 mAh capacity is large enough to charge a smartphone fives times, a USB-C laptop once, and a tablet twice.
8. Check PricePortable Phone Charger -
Best Waterproof Battery
Pro: Built tough to survive the elements and withstand drops
Con: Its capacity is just 10,000 mAh, which is small for its size
This external battery pack from LifeProof can handle whatever's thrown your way because it's water-, drop-, and dirt-proof. While we wouldn't recommend mixing electricity and water, our tests did prove that the battery is in fact waterproof — just as long as the door that protects its charging ports is closed. The battery can be submerged in 2 meters of water for an hour. We also dropped the battery into 6 inches of wet snow and it worked perfectly fine.
The battery's large 10,000 mAh capacity will keep your smartphone or tablet charged and ready to go. It's the perfect external battery for camping because it has a built-in flashlight, and it comes with a lanyard that makes it easy to travel with. Not to mention, it's lightweight and small enough to toss in a small bag. The battery is about the size of an iPhone 8 Plus, just much thicker. We were excited to see that it has four bright LEDs. Two of them shine white, the others red. If you press a button, there are different intensities of white, and a steady or flashing red light. This feature would especially come in handy during roadside emergencies or camping. You can expect the battery to charge a smartphone four times and a tablet once.