The 4 Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks of 2021

Make sure your phone or tablet never runs out of juice with these USB batteries

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Finding the best portable charger means never having to deal with one of the worst banes of the modern, connected world: a dead phone battery. We've all been out of the house with no charger on hand and watched with growing horror as our battery ticked down into the single digits and then gasped its last and went fully dead. Having one of these batteries tucked away in a purse or jacket pocket means the peace of mind that you'll never lose touch with the wide world (and you'll always be able to get an Uber/Lyft home after a night out). They're also great inclusions into any travel bag, so that when you're away from home you can keep your phones, tablets, and any other portable USB devices topped off on the road or at the Airbnb.

The Rundown
One of the best features is the PowerIQ, which keeps your technology charging as efficiently as possible
The RAVPower adapter has super-fast charge speeds, and enough capacity to hold several full charges worth of power.
Best Ultra-Portable:
Anker PowerCore+ Mini at Amazon
The Anker PowerCore+ mini is a must-have on your keychain and may be the most genuinely helpful of every battery listed here.
Best for Apple Products:
Mophie Powerstation Plus at Amazon
The built-in switch-tip cable charges compatible Apple and micro USB devices, negating the need for the hassle of multiple cables.

Best Overall: Anker PowerCore+ 26800 Battery Pack

What We Like
  • Speedy Quick Charge 3.0

  • Handy PowerIQ feature for efficient charging

  • Sleek and portable

What We Don't Like
  • Subpar included cable

The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 battery is the best overall choice because it has the largest charging capacity while still maintaining a convenient size and weight. The packaging is roughly the same size as a standard smartphone, so it's portable, but has a huge 26800-mAh capacity, which is enough to charge an iPhone seven times. It has three USB outputs and lightning-fast Quick Charge 3.0 output, which ensures that your devices charge up as fast as possible (up to four times faster than standard 1A chargers).

One of the best features of the Anker battery is the PowerIQ, which keeps your technology charging as efficiently as possible, with no chance of a short circuit across devices. Whether your device runs Apple, Windows or Android, the PowerIQ port will detect and adapt the amperage to the most effective setting, eliminating frustrating slowdowns while charging. In addition to the output current stabilizer, it offers automatic shut-off sleep mode, power overload recover and battery cell protection.

It’s compatible with most USB-charged devices, including Apple's iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, and many other brands. Anker also includes an 18-month warranty and will replace the battery if you encounter any problems. The simplistic yet beautiful case design is lightweight but surprisingly durable.

"The single most convenient way to charge your phone on the go anytime you're away from an outlet." Alan Bradley, Tech Editor

Best Value: RAVPower Power Bank 16750mAh

RavPower
What We Like
  • Super-fast charge speed

  • iSmart technology automatically detects device

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly bulkier than competitors

A USB battery suited to nearly anyone's needs, RAVPower's adapter provides 16,750 mAh of power in a handy 5” x 3”, 11-ounce piece of technology. With a max output of 4.5 amps over two output ports, this is a great battery for the average consumer. It has super-fast charge speeds, and enough capacity to hold several full charges worth of power. It is an excellent compromise between speed, capacity and size.

RAVPower comes equipped with iSmart technology and automatically detects the amperage of your device and gives the appropriate volts, reducing chances of a short circuit or any power being wasted in the charging process.

RAVPower also prides itself on durability, with this battery easily lasting through 500 or more charging cycles. A stylish look also adds to the overall quality, and LED lights keep the user informed of the remaining power capacity. 

Best Ultra-Portable: Anker PowerCore+ Mini

PowerCore
What We Like
  • Tiny and portable

  • Decent capacity for its size

What We Don't Like
  • Slower than most full-sized chargers

The Anker PowerCore+ mini is a must-have on your keychain and might be the most genuinely helpful of every USB battery listed here simply because of its miniscule size. This battery is about the same size as a tube of lipstick, which means you could easily store it in any size bag/purse. The PowerCore+ mini has a 3,350 mAh capacity, which should get you roughly one charge on an Apple iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 and similar size smartphone. Also keep in mind that with a 1.0-amp charging system, this charges a little slower than some of the other listed options. But the size more than makes up for that.

"Tiny and discreet, it's the best way to forget you're carrying a charger until the moment you need it." — Alan Bradley, Tech Editor

Best for Apple Products: Mophie Powerstation Plus

mophie powerstation plus 6000 Universal Battery with Lightning Connector
What We Like
  • Designed exclusively for Apple products

  • Sleek and small

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Incompatible with Android

  • Not natively USB-C

With the previous Powerstation models establishing this company as an industry leader, the Mophie Powerstation Plus is an Apple-exclusive product and a true workhouse, delivering hours of power to everything from your smartphone to your tablet. The built-in switch-tip cable charges a variety of compatible Apple and micro USB devices, negating the need for the hassle of multiple cables and providing the fastest charging speed possible thanks to 2.1A output and smart adaptive technology. Smart technology is also integrated into the charging circuitry to ensure that your device receives the right amount of power.

To check the charging status and the Powerstation's current battery levels, press the integrated power indicator button to make sure you’re never caught off guard by a drained device. Built with a sleek, low-profile design and a premium fabric finish available in multiple colors, the 6,000mAh battery offers up to 20 extra hours of power for an iPhone X.

There's also a considerably more expensive USB-C version of the Powerstation (view at Adorama), which delivers delivers up to 18W USB-C PD fast-charging and takes advantage of the new standard without the need for an adapter cable.

Final Verdict

The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 is hands-down the best way to keep a ton of additional charges for your mobile devices in your pocket or purse, with amazing capacity and excellent output. The RAVPower Power Bank (view on Amazon) is also an excellent choice, a great value that delivers super fast charging speeds.

What to Look for in a Portable Charger

Capacity - One of the most important considerations when you're shopping for a portable charger is its total storage capacity, measured in milliamp hours (mAh). A battery's mAh determines how many times you'll be able to recharge your devices before it's out of juice (or how many extra hours you'll be able to squeeze out of it, in the case of some of the smaller chargers or more demanding devices).

Power output - A charger's output, measured in watts, volts, or amps, is the primary way to figure out at a glance how quickly it'll be able to recharge your devices. Of course, the device itself will play a role in determining charging speed, and a lot of chargers will automatically throttle output after identifying the attached device(s).

Portability - One of the most important advances in modern portable chargers is how much they've shrunk compared to the batteries of yesteryear. While you'll still need to compromise on capacity or speed if you want the very smallest chargers, there's a pretty wide margin in terms of size and weight between some chargers with very similar specs.

About Our Trusted Experts

Alan Bradley has been covering and writing about tech for over a decade now, and has hands-on experience with two of the portable chargers on our list. He's extensively used both the Anker PowerCore+ and Anker PowerCore+ Mini and loved the power and capacity of the former, and convenience and portability of the latter.

Patrick Hyde is a tech journalist, digital marketer, and copy writer, with over four years of experience. He's extensively covered Android devices and a huge number of other consumer electronics compatible with the portable chargers on our list.


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