Best Portable Chargers & Power Banks Android Central 2021
Nothing can turn your great Android phone from state-of-the-art to overpriced paperweight faster than a dead battery. The best portable chargers and power banks can help recharge your tech when life plays keep-away with your power outlets. Portable chargers used to be big, bulky, and slow, but USB-C power banks and Power Delivery charging standards have made things much faster — fast enough to charge laptops, even — and have allowed power banks to get slimmer and better than ever. There are plenty of options in every shape or size, but our favorite is the affordably awesome RAVPower PD Pioneer Series 20,000mAh. Still, there are plenty of other choices that rank among the best portable battery packs. Here are our top recommendations that you can buy today.
- Best Overall: RAVPower PD Pioneer Series 20,000mAh
- Best Qi Wireless Power Bank: Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless
- Best on a Budget: Aukey Slimline PD Power Bank (10,000mAh)
- Best Compact: Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)
- Best 25,000+ mAh Option: Anker PowerCore Elite III 25600 87W Bundle
- Best for iPhone: RAVPower 10000mAh Compact Power Bank with 20W
- Sustainable focus: Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD (100Whr)
- Best for Gaming: Aukey Basix Pro (20,000mAh)
- Best 5,000mAh: Xcentz PD 18W Portable Charger (5,000mAh)
- Best Power Station: RAVPower 252.7Wh/70200mAh Portable Power Station
Best Overall: RAVPower PD Pioneer Series 20,000mAh
When choosing a portable charger, it's all about balancing power with portability. After all, a power bank doesn't do you any good if it's so bulky that you forget it at home. Likewise, a power bank that's small but low-capacity can run dry before your day is over, especially when you need to keep multiple devices alive. Lower-capacity portable chargers also have lower charging speeds that make them incapable of powering anything larger than a tablet.
These factors are why the 20,000mAh RAVPower PD Pioneer Series is almost perfectly balanced as the best portable charger on the market. Weighing in at under a pound, this power bank can recharge a phone 4-6 times, but it also has the ability to recharge tablets and laptops thanks to its 60W Power Delivery output. Whether you're rocking a Chromebook, a MacBook, or some Windows laptop with USB-C, you can top them off with the Pioneer Series.
There are only two ports on this power bank — one 60W USB-C port and one USB-A port capable of 18W Qualcomm QuickCharge — so if you're going to be charging a laptop and phone regularly, you'll need to keep a USB-C to USB-A cable handy. RAVPower includes a C-to-C cable for charging your laptop or phone, as well as for recharging your portable charger.
On the note of recharging, while the Pioneer Series 20,000mAh can output at 60W, the max input is only 30W. This means that recharging the bank will take three hours, which is actually pretty good for a 20,000mAh portable charger, but it would've been nice if RAVPower could've included at least 45W input for two-hour recharges instead.
- Competitive price
- 60W charging for laptops
- High capacity
- Compact profile
- Just two ports
- Only 30W input
Best Qi Wireless Power Bank: Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless
While most portable chargers only let you recharge your devices with wired charging, the best Qi wireless portable chargers are finally becoming somewhat mainstream. There were several hurdles that early models had to overcome — finicky placement, inconsistent speeds, and the higher energy loss that inherently comes with wireless charging — but we've finally reached the point where wireless power banks are dependable, widely compatible, and consistent.
While most wireless power banks only charge at 5W, the Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless will charge Samsung smartphones at 10W, iPhones at 7.5W, and all other Qi-enabled phones at 5W, even smaller devices like Galaxy Buds Live or AirPods Pro. When you need faster speeds, you can use the USB-C port for 18W Power Delivery charging to refill your phone more quickly.
Flexibility is paramount in an accessory that will outlive your phone, and being able to use a power bank even when you forget the cable at home is liberating. While this isn't the thinnest power bank around, the usefulness of wireless charging coils and the sturdy design of the PowerCore III Wireless is worth the added thickness — and price.
Anker loves to slip in little details to help elevate the experience with its products, including a nicely fitting travel pouch, a high-quality USB-C-to-C cable, and a curious little clip that can extend out from one side. This is a kickstand, which allows you to slot your phone into it and keep watching while charging via USB-C or USB-A. (If you want to use the kickstand while wirelessly charging your phone, keep reading, we'll cover one later.)
- 10W wireless charging
- 18W Power Delivery charging
- Solid build quality and design
- Only two ports
- Thick for a 10K
- Expensive for a 10K
Best on a Budget: Aukey Slimline PD Power Bank (10,000mAh)
Aukey makes some of the best phone accessories on the market, and its Omnia chargers hold multiple spots on our best 100W Power Delivery chargers and best GaN chargers because its gear tends to last a long time and be priced more competitively. This holds true for its portable chargers, too, with the Aukey Slimline offering up the best blend of power and portability for the price of pizza night with the fam.
Roughly the size of a Note 20 Ultra, this 10,000mAh power bank can charge up to three devices at once while still being slim enough to slip in your pocket next to your phone. You can choose from either USB-C Power Delivery or Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, meaning whether your phone is brand new or a few generations old, the Slimline will charge them all with ease.
Unlike the Anker, Aukey doesn't provide you with a travel pouch, but it does still come with a C-to-C cable for quickly recharging this portable charger — it can also charge via microUSB if you've still also go those hanging around. Considering you're probably going to use a C-to-C cable to charge your phone, you can use that same one to charge the bank when you get home at night. 10,000mAh should recharge most phones 2-3 times.
- Great flat size with three ports
- More affordable than Anker
- 18W PD & QC 3.0 charging
- Doesn't come with a travel pouch
- Only comes with C-to-A cable
Best Compact: Zendure SuperMini (10,000mAh)
If you want a power bank that won't stick out of your pockets awkwardly — especially if all the jeans they make for your body type have tiny, tiny pockets — then turn your gaze to Zendure's smallest portable charger, aptly named the SuperMini. This 10,000mAh bank offers the same 18W speeds and ports as the Anker PowerCore III and the Aukey Basix Slim, but it packs it into a footprint that's smaller than a credit card and light enough to not tug at your jeans when carrying it in your pocket all day.
For a small, rugged power bank, you'd expect this to come in boring colors like black and white. Instead, you have six color options with the Supermini, though you might have to search around a little more for the newer Minty Green and Misty Rose. I'm partial to the Blue Horizon, which is bold, beautiful, and easy to spot amongst the clutter that is my standing desk, but the Sunrise Red is also super-cute.
If there's any downside to this pint-sized power bank, it's that the ports are at opposite ends, which makes things awkward if you're charging two devices at once while walking around — such as in the airport rushing to catch a flight. For a bank this small, you'll likely only need to charge one device at a time, but it's worth mentioning.
- Smaller than a credit card
- 18W PD charging
- Great color options
- Low-power mode for accessory charging
- Ports are on opposite sides
- Both ports share the 18W total output
- Expensive for a 10K
Best 25,000+ mAh Option: Anker PowerCore Elite III 25600 87W Bundle
When you go looking for power banks, Anker will invariably come up on the first page of every search. Anker is one of the most trusted brands in the space, offering durable, dependable, and long-lasting power banks that will stand the test of time. It may not be at the forefront of every bleeding-edge feature or trend, but it refines each of its products and present them in a premium package. Such is the case with the PowerCore Elite III, which gives you the ability to power a laptop and three phones at once thanks to two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports.
The claim to fame for this power bank is that it supports 87W Power Delivery charging. If 87W sounds like a weird number to you, it's the highest speed many MacBooks charge at, meaning if you're trying to keep your Mac alive while you're rendering some 4K video in some cafe, the Anker PowerCore III Elite will actually charge your Mac instead of struggling to keep it alive.
Both USB-C ports are capable of 87W, but that speed is only attainable when it's the only thing plugged in. When 2-4 devices are plugged in, the maximum output is 78W. That would still give you 45W for the laptop, 18W for the USB-C-connected phone, and 12W for the two USB-A devices to share, which is pretty impressive.
This bank has a slightly higher capacity than our best overall, the RAVPower PD Pioneer Series, but it has almost three times the price tag, too. However, Anker offsets some of that price by throwing in a PowerPort III 65W wall charger and Powerline cable that'll recharge the Elite III in just over two hours.
- Comes with wall charger
- Powerful enough for MacBooks
- Long-lasting durability
- Recharges in two hours
- Very expensive
- You only get 87W when one port is used
Best for iPhone: RAVPower 10000mAh Compact Power Bank with 20W
The iPhone 12 series debuted with a new 20W wired charging speed allowing you to top off your phone quicker. While accessory makers have been quick to churn out wall chargers with the new spec, power banks always take a little longer. Luckily, you don't have to wait to get top speed at a low price, thanks to RAVPower.
This 10,000mAh portable charger is light enough to slip into your purse or backpack and forget about it until you need it. Even if it runs down a little living in your bag, it'll still have enough capacity to recharge your phone completely and then some. You have 20W Power Delivery charging for iPhone users and standard 18W Power Delivery USB-C or 18W iSmart USB-A charging so that if your family is cross-platform, everyone is still covered.
Like the RAVPower PD Pioneer Series that sits at the top of this list, its 10,000mAh version is lightweight and very competitively priced for its capacity. It provides excellent power and portability while keeping up build quality and durability.
- Supports 20W charging for iPhones
- Compact, lightweight profile
- Comes with pouch and cable
- Only two ports
- 20W is shared between ports
Sustainable focus: Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD (100Whr)
Suppose you need as big a battery as you can get to keep your phones, headphones, and laptop alive across international flights and 20-hour days. Goal Zero is the one to beat. The Sherpa 100 PD Qi is just under the FAA limit to bring on a plane. The PD input/output is 60W, meaning it'll charge a MacBook at a decent speed, and it's even got a Qi pad on top for your phone.
Goal Zero is a brand you might not have heard of before — it tends to deal with solar and portable power solutions — but because it's geared towards outdoor tech, you can rest assured this is a battery pack that will not leave you hanging. The company has been turning more and more focus towards sustainability in the last two years, recycling more and more batteries from older products and sourcing more recycled materials.
Goal Zero has had a couple of generations of the Sherpa power bank, so be careful. The Sherpa 100 PD is about half the size — and two-thirds the price — of the Sherpa 100 AC, and while the AC model supports charging two 60W laptops at once, it's not worth it when the PD is more portable and just as powerful.
Also, if you're big into camping and remote trips, Goal Zero sells high-quality solar panels to recharge the Sherpa with.
- 60W charging for laptops
- 2 USB-A ports & Qi pad on top
- 0-100 indicator readout
- Can be used with solar panels
- Extra expensive
- USB-A ports are only 3.4A
Best for Gaming: Aukey Basix Pro (20,000mAh)
Aukey's Basix line of chargers has not one but two wireless models on it, and I'm particularly fond of the 20,000mAh version because it's slightly more sturdy and features a LED display where you can see exactly how much of a charge is left. Don't get me wrong, those four little indicator dots are just fine for smaller power banks, but it's so refreshing to be able to tell if my power bank is at 75% or 52% when that means the difference between having 15,000mAh worth of charge or 10,000mAh out of 20,000mAh.
You may notice that the Basix Pro has a lot in common with the Anker PowerCore III Wireless — same wired and wireless charging speeds, same number of ports — but the Aukey has double the capacity in almost the same size power bank. Aukey's kickstand also has a leg up because you can use the wireless charger and the kickstand simultaneously.
Where Aukey loses points is that while you have a small symbol marking the middle of the charging coil, there's not as much of a guide for phone placement as on the Anker, nor is there the non-slip ring to help keep your phone in place. When your phone slipping half an inch can shut down the wireless charging, anything to keep the phone in place is heavily appreciated.
- 10W wireless charging
- Built-in kickstand
- Phone-sized 20,000mAh bank
- 0-100 power indicator
- Only two ports
- Kickstand could be sturdier
Best 5,000mAh bank: Xcentz PD 18W Portable Charger (5,000mAh)
While I prefer 10,000mAh power banks over 5,000mAh because the size difference usually isn't that much — the Zendure SuperMini proves that 10,000mAh banks can be very small — but sometimes you don't need a bigger, expensive battery. Sometimes you want a slim, super-simple power bank, and that's where 5,000mAh power banks shine.
If you need some emergency power that will fit in that super-small clutch or the tiny pockets on your women's jeans — trust me, I know the struggle — the Xcentz 18W PD is the truly portable charger that you need in your life. It only has one port on its miniature body, which is about the size of two lipstick tubes, but that USB-C port offers 18W Power Delivery output for charging your phone at likely top speed.
This means that even if you barely have any room for a spare charger in your date-ready purse, you can still recharge your phone and do it quickly, as 18W is the top speed most phones charge at these days. And while the input for recharging the centz is only 12W, it still won't take that long because of its smaller size.
Xcentz proves the adage true yet again: Good things come in small packages.
- Positively pocket-sized
- Bright color options
- 18W output
- Only one port
- Smaller capacity
- Only 12W input
Best Power Station: RAVPower 252.7Wh/70200mAh Portable Power Station
Power banks come in some pretty large sizes, but at some point, it's better to transition to the boxier form factor of a power station. These ultra-high-capacity portable chargers are designed to power appliances on camping trips or keep your gear alive during a hurricane, and they have a wide array of port types and power levels to choose from. Power stations can run you hundreds or thousands depending on what capacity you go with, but I prefer the balance of capacity and price that comes around the 200-300Whr range.
I love that RAVPower lists the capacity in both watt-hours and milliamp-hours — it makes it easier to picture how many times the station could recharge smaller gadgets like phones and laptops. Yes, when you get into this segment, laptops seem small since this power station is rated to run appliances like mini-fridges and fans.
Most power stations tend to have a mix of DC, AC, and USB ports, and the mix on the RAVPower Portable Power Station is nice and balanced: you get 120W DC output, two 110V AC power outlets, 60W USB-C Power Delivery, and three USB-A ports. This gives you a wide array of options for charging all your gear or powering smaller appliances, and you have a variety when recharging the power station as well. There's 60W DC input and 60W Power Delivery input.
While this is probably overkill for most of your power bank needs, if you live in an area where hurricanes or snowstorms can knock out the power for days at a time, the RAVPower Portable Power Station fits the bill perfectly. It'll keep the family's phones and laptops alive for days, and it can even power a few emergency appliances like a CPAP machine.
- Dual AC plugs + DC in/output
- Ultra-high capacity
- Most reasonably priced station
- Power Delivery in/output
- Too big to fly with
- Only one USB-C port
- No car outlet
Why size matters for the best portable chargers
You can find portable chargers in a variety of sizes, but for the majority of you reading this, you're going to want either a compact 10,000mAh or a slightly beefier 20,000mAh portable charger. I'm partial to the former, such as the strikingly colored Zendure SuperMini, which I can throw into my pocket before a long day out at a theme park.
The best power bank is the one you remember to bring with you, and smaller, lighter banks are easier to carry around. 10,000mAh also gives you enough power to recharge a phone twice before it needs a recharge, but if you need to keep a whole family's worth of phones alive during a long day or a long weekend — or if you're only going to own a single power bank rather than a couple in different sizes — get the RAVPower PD Pioneer Series 20,000mAh.
RAVPower's bank is less than a pound so that it won't weigh down a backpack or purse too much during long grueling days of travel or adventure. The 60W Power Delivery output means you can recharge laptops, and the bank can fully recharge in three hours, so you aren't tethered to a wall long when you're topping it back up.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Ara Wagoner themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing help and how-to's, she's running around Walt Disney World with a Chromebook. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco. If you see her without headphones, RUN.
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