So you’ve left your phone plugged into the wall all night….
You wake up with it fully charged and ready for a full day of selfies catching Pokémon….
But just a few hours in you get the dreaded low battery warning and there’s nary an outlet in sight. This is where portable battery banks can save the day.
You just whip it out of your pocket and bam….. No solar panel or flashbacks to playing with a scary jack-in-the-box to get the juice you so desperately need.
But with all the options out there how do you know which one to pick??
Well aside from the usual reading reviews and checking manufacturer reputations, just as you would do with a graphics card a webcam or an extra-large hamster wheel.
The most obvious place to start is with the battery’s capacity. It’s typically expressed in milliamp hours, which despite the name is actually not a unit of time, so I just must hate us.
But rather a unit that describes the amount of electrical energy a device can hold.
So you can think of a device whose battery is rated for fewer milliamp hour like an iPhone has a cup of water and a battery bank rated for more milliamp hours as a bucket of water.
So a battery pack with a high milliamp hour rating can hold enough energy that it can power up your devices multiple times.
They powerup devices like tablets with a higher battery capacity themselves. So consumer grade battery banks start around 2,000 milliamp hours and go all the way up to over 9000.
These devices at the higher end of that range are capable of charging your average smartphone eight times or even more.
But if you’ve had a few of them, you might have noticed that battery banks with the same milliamp hour rating can vary quite a lot in terms of performance.
Not all batteries discharged at the same rate all the time.
This is especially true if you’re charging devices that draw a lot of current such as high-end tablets. This lowers the effective capacity to below what it would be if you were just charging low current electronics.
There is also more to life than just battery size, there are features to consider.
In our previous articles, we compared five rugged battery banks that advertised everything from built-in LED flashlights to shock and water resistance. Though it should be noted that some of these claims didn’t end up panning out in the real world.
While we are on that subject, there`s more manufactures ratings for capacity to line has published articles, that`s comparing how many times six different brands of battery banks could recharge an iPhone se?
While most reputable brands were within fifteen percent of each other. The worst one tested was less than one third as effective as some of the others and it doesn’t get easier charging rate.
Going back to our water analogy is how quickly you can pour from your bucket to your cup and is a huge factor for folks who want to plug in for 20 minutes.
While getting ready for that big date and not have to carry their charger around for the rest of the night.
Typically battery banks have either one amp or two amp outputs both of which are running at the standard USB 5 volts.
If you have a device that can accept two amps of current, as many newer ones can then a 2 amp output on your battery bank will not only charge your device faster but it will also keep it running if you need to use it while it’s charging.
Keep in mind though that chargers labeled as 4.8 amp or some other high number are usually referring to total current across all of the port’s. That is great if you’re going to be plugging in multiple power-hungry devices at once.
If the regular USB spec isn’t enough for you though, there are even some battery banks that support rapid charging technologies like Qualcomm quick charge and Samsung fast charge.
That can power up your devices even more quickly by increasing from 5 volts up to as high as 20 volts, but those require both a device and a charger that support.
Now go forth with this knowledge and find yourself a battery bank that gives you all the power you have ever wanted.