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Having your phone’s battery trickle into the red zone can be nerve-racking, especially if you’re nowhere near an outlet or a charger. So I requested free sample of a series of portable phone chargers and then tested them, looking at everything from how large they were, to how much they weighed, to how effectively they charged, to help you ensure your device won’t dwindle into single digit territory before ultimately biting the dust.
One of the most important factors to consider in a portable charger is, well, exactly how portable the battery is. If it can easily fit in your pocket or your purse, you’re more likely to carry it around with you, and that means you’re less likely to find yourself without the ability to power up. Another thing to look for is the type of input and output ports the battery has, and therefore what type of cords you’ll need, and whether it’s compatible with your devices that need charging. (Many portable power banks are capable of charging more than just phones .) And, of course, how fast does this thing charge, and how much charge goes it offer? Here are my picks for portable phone chargers.
My pick: Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD $29.99 on Anker.com $29.99 on Amazon $21.99 on Walmart
Identical in length but slightly thinner in width than my iPhone 11, this power bank charges a number of Apple and Android products (see below) and holds enough battery to fully charge an iPhone XS or Google Pixel. It boasts dual USB ports to charge devices simultaneously, though no cables are included (both a USB-C and USB-A are required to charge the device and then connect the power bank to the item you want to charge, so you’ll need to be armed with dual cords at all times). But the PowerCore does come with a small pouch that you can carry it and any necessary cords around in. An LED color wheel indicates the amount of charge left on the power bank. This power charger was named “best for phones” by Wired, and has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on TechGearLab.com. Devices it’s compatible with: All iPhones from 8 and beyond, Samsung Galaxy S10, Pixel 3/3XL, iPad Pro 2018 and more Apple and Android products Charging ability: It offers 10,000 mAh, which Wirecutter notes is “enough to fully charge most smartphones three times.” When I tested it, the PowerCore took my iPhone from the red zone of 18% to 32% in about 10 minutes. The power bank itself can be fully charged in about 4.5 hours. Size and weight: 5.89” x 2.7” x 0.57” and 7.5oz
For wireless charging: Mophie Snap+ Juice Pack Mini – $49.95 on Zagg.com – $49.99 on Amazon -$49.99 on Best Buy
This small and lightweight Snap+ Juice Pack Mini is one of CNET’s top picks for chargers. You simply lay your phone on top of the wireless charger and watch the green lightning bolt illuminate. I didn’t even have to take my phone’s case off to activate charging and for phones that don’t have magnetic feature like MagSafe, a one-time snap adapter is included. A USB-C port recharges the battery pack and can also be used to charge a device if you prefer having a hard-wired charger. Devices it’s compatible with: iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, Qi-enabled devices; not compatible with iPhone 13 Pro Charging ability: It offers 5,000mAh internal battery, which is about half of the above Anker charger, though this one doesn’t require cords. When I tested it, after about 10 minutes of charging, my battery increased about 10%. Size and weight: 2.64” x 4.41” x 0.49” and 4.76oz
Apple owners who want to charge multiple devices at once: Belkin Boost Charge Power Bank 10000 with Lightning Connector – $59.99 on Belkin.com – $54.60 on Amazon -$58.81 on Walmart
Measuring basically the same size as an iPhone 11, this power bank conveniently uses the same lightning cable to charge both the power bank and an iPhone. With just one cord (it doesn’t come included) needed for all functions, it’s extremely convenient. What’s more, it can simultaneously charge two devices at once, such as an iPad and an iPhone (but those are the only two devices it can power up, period). Four LED lights on the front of the power bank indicate the amount of charge left, which at full capacity is about 70 hours. And it scores a 4.5 out of 5 star rating at AppleInsider.com.
Devices it’s compatible with: iPhones and iPads Charging ability: It offers 10,000 mAh, which Wirecutter notes is “enough to fully charge most smartphones three times.” With my iPhone down to just 11%, I plugged it into the power bank and went from red to green in just a handful of minutes. The power bank itself can be fully charged in just a couple of hours. Size and weight: 5.76” x 2.92” x 0.62” and 7.8oz