Festival season is hereand we know you’ve already packed your sun screen, tent and water bottle. But there’s one more essential piece of kit you can’t do without: a portable power bank to keep your phone topped up. If you’ve ever had yours run out of juice right before that crucial Insta-worthy moment or while searching for your friends, you’ll know how important it is to keep the battery full. The best portable chargers can refuel your phone at least one or two times over, and will be small and lightweight enough to carry around all day.
Here’s our pick of the best portable chargers in 2022:
There are loads of power banks on the market, and we just don’t think it’s worth going with a no-name brand when there may be a risk of overheating or charging failure involved. For our list of the best portable chargers, we focused on trusted brands and reliability. We tried out the best models by powering up a range of different phones (including Apple’s iPhone SEXRand 13 min, and the Google Pixel 6) and timing how long they took to get the handsets back to half full. The picks in our list are a mix of our hands-on tests and expert recommendations.
What does the mAh mean on a power bank?
You’ve probably seen this alongside any portable charger online. We’ll keep the techy jargon to a minimum and just explain that the number of mAh or “milliamp-hours” refers to the capacity of the battery. Larger numbers mean more power, and that means more recharges for your phone.
What is the best capacity for a power bank?
We’d steer clear of anything under 5,000mAh (or 5K) as these smaller batteries won’t even recharge your phone once. 5K is good for about one full charge for most smartphones, 10K or 10,000mAh can recharge most newer phones about two times, while a chunkier 20K power bank can deliver four or five recharges, depending on which phone you have.
Best budget portable charger
Belkin Portable Power Bank Charger (10K)
- Three ports for simultaneous charging
- great petite size
- Some rivals charge faster
For its capacity, this is compact and affordable. There are enough ports to charge up to three devices at eleven, and a USB-C output that can refuel your phone faster than the older USB-A ports. It’s not quite as fast as some of the spennier power banks, but it’s a good size for tossing in your backpack, bum bag or jacket pocket.
Capacity: 10,000mAh; Output: USB-A x2 and USB-C; Size and weight: 4.32 x 9.91 x 13.06cm, 290g
Best portable charger for newer iPhones
Anker Power Bank 633 Magnetic Battery (10K)
- Charges at the fastest speeds
- Magnetic attachment for newer iPhones
- At £69.99, it’s not cheap
This speedy charger restored half of our iPhone 13 mini’s battery in a mere 25 minutes via the USB-C port, where it delivers the best “Power Delivery” (aka PD) speeds. While chunky compared to the Ankers below, it’s smaller and lighter than rival 10K batteries. It has a lot of juice and wireless charging too, with magnetic alignment for iPhone 12 and 13 models. The wireless surface also works for you AirPods/earbuds and for non-Apple phones (yes, we tried it on a Pixel 6 too). It does all this, and has a kickstand for watching videos while you charge. For us, the only downside is the high price.
Capacity: 10,000mAh; Output: Wireless, USB-A and USB-C; Size and weight: 10.7 x 6.65 x 1.81cm, 217.7g
Best affordable portable charger with a built-in stand
Belkin Boost Charge Gaming Power Bank with Stand (10K)
- Has both USB-C and USB-A ports
- Super handy retractable stand
- Doesn’t support the fastest PD speeds
This one may be marketed for gamers but the built-in stand is just as useful if you want to catch up on that Love Island episode you missed without having to hold your phone in your hands. It’s not quite as speed-focused as some of the other picks on our list, but we still found that it refueled our iPhone XR back to half full in a decent 32 minutes. Need to charge a friend’s phone too? It also has a USB-A port and supports simultaneous charging.
Capacity: 10,000mAh; Output: USB-A and USB-C; Size and weight: 15.8 x 4 x 10.2cm, 340g
Best compact portable charger
Anker PowerCore Power Bank (10K)
- Just about the smallest 10K charger around
- Much lighter than competitors
- No USB-C or quick charging
The size is where this one really excels, delivering a high 10K capacity with tiny dimensions and a sub-200g weight. To put it in perspective, it’s about the size of a small wallet and weighs as much as a Dairy Milk sharing bar. You’ll have to settle for a single USB-A port for recharging, so don’t expect it to refuel your phone with any urgency.
Capacity: 10,000mAh; Output: USB-A; Size and weight: 9.2 x 6 x 2.2cm, 180g
Best pocketable charger for newer iPhones
Anker Power Bank 622 Magnetic Battery (5K)
- Magnetic charging for iPhone 12 and 13 models
- super handy kick stand
- It’s a bit of a low capacity
Always forgetting wires? Like the 633 above, this Anker is ideal for newer iPhones because it snaps right onto the back with magnets to deliver a wireless charge. It’s not the fastest and its capacity is the lowest on our list, but it’s convenient and big enough for one full recharge of your phone. The clever built-in stand is great for watching videos hands-free in either portrait or landscape – perfect for TikTok and Netflix. The cute pastel colors aren’t what earned this a place on our list, but they certainly don’t hurt, and we love that this comes in a light blue, green or lilac along with the standard black and white.
Capacity: 5,000mAh; Output: Wireless and USB-C; Size and weight: 10.5 x 6.6 x 1.3cm, 141.7g
Best portable charger for a high capacity
Mophie Universal Battery Powerstation XXL (20K)
- Massive charging capacity
- Versatile with three ports
If you’re camping, you’ll need extra battery power to keep you going, which means you’ll be after something with a bit more capacity than most on our list. A portable charger with a 20,000mAh battery is enough to fully charge an iPhone 8 seven times over, and should be enough for at least four charges of newer models with bigger batteries. This capacity is also usually the maximum permitted on airlines (check before you fly, though!) so can be ideal for travel. This one is chunky but capable, with lots of power and cable ports.
Capacity: 20,000mAh; Output: USB-A x2 and USB-C; Size and weight: 2.32 x 7.75 x 15.9cm, 435g
Best portable charger for wireless charging
Anker PowerCore III Wireless Power Bank (10K)
- Slim size for popping in a bag
- High-speed charging via USB-C
- It’s on the pricey side at £46.99
This slim portable charger has a decent 10K capacity plus wireless functionality to charge devices just by placing them on the pad. This will work with all recent iPhones from the 8 onwards, the majority of Android phones and certain earbud cases like AirPods. It has an old-fashioned USB-A port too, and a fast USB-C port that recharged our phone to halfway in 27 minutes. We like how this versatile battery can refuel three gadgets at once if you use both ports and the wireless surface, but it doesn’t come cheap at nearly £50.
Capacity: 10,000mAh; Output: Wireless, USB-A and USB-C; Size and weight: 14.95 x 6.85 x 1.95cm, 241g
Best portable charger for the basics
Mophie Powerstation Fabric (10K)
- Straightforward and reliable
- Has both USB-C and USB-A ports
- Doesn’t support PD speeds
After a basic battery to get the job done? We like the soft fabric-clad exterior of this Mophie and with both USB-A and USB-C, it has both the ports you’re likely to need most of the time. It’s a simple and dependable option that, while it doesn’t support the fastest speeds, is a portable and convenient size for keeping in your bag. It can also charge two devices at once if you plug one phone into the USB-C port and another into the USB-A port.
Capacity: 10,000mAh; Output: USB-A and USB-C; Size and weight: 1.59 x 7.2 x 13.9cm, 235g
What should you look for in a portable charger?
Beyond capacity, we’d recommend keeping a few more things in mind while you hunt for the best portable charger:
Size and weight: The last thing you want is for the charger to weigh you down. Lower capacities are smaller and lighter, and even the heaviest on our list is pretty portable at 435g. Most of our picks are pocket-friendly and compact, offering you more convenience and more space in your bag.
Charging ports: Fast charging can make a massive difference, so we’d recommend looking for batteries with “PD” (Power Delivery) via USB-C cables. Chances are that you’ve got a USB-C-to-Lightning cable banging around somewhere if you bought a new iPhone recently, or a USB-C-to-USB-C if you’re on Android. If you don’t, you can find these for a couple of quid and you’ll thank us when you see your phone refuel far faster. Still using older USB-A cables? The majority of the options on our list have this old-fashioned port too. It’s also worth thinking about whether you need multiple ports for charging a couple of phones at the same time – ideal if your friends are down to 10% battery too.
Wireless charging: Most phones in 2022 offer wireless charging and some power banks include this feature too. If they do, you can just press the button and pop the smartphone on the device to refuel it. Newer iPhones have “MagSafe” charging too, which is just wireless with added magnets to keep your phone in the right position. We’ve included a few of our favorite magnetic models in our roundup.
One tip? If you haven’t picked a wireless one we’d suggest stashing the main charging cables you’ll need right next to the portable charger (ideally within its pouch) so you’ll never be caught out.
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