Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Two semi-unique features about this charging device are its selection of colors and its input port. This battery is available in both a textured black and white finish, while most other portable chargers seem to be available just in black. It also gives you the option of charging via a USB-C cable or micro USB — handy if your phone has switched to USB-C and you want to cut down on your clutter of charging cables.
Our initial series of tests focused on how comfortable and convenient it is to transport each of these battery packs, with our scores based on the weight, dimensions, and how it felt to carry around each battery in a front or back pocket. Regrettably, the Anker PowerCore Essential is on the heftier side, leading to a lackluster score in this metric.
As mentioned, this battery pack is definitely on the heavier side compared to top-ranked portable chargers in our test. The PowerCore Essential 20000 tips the scale at just shy of a pound — approximately 14.3 ounces, significantly above average, and a bit heavy to carry in a pocket.
This battery is also on the larger side, with a footprint of 6.19 inches by 2.89 inches and a thickness of 0.8 inches. This can make it a bit cumbersome to carry around in a pocket, especially when seated. It feels quite a bit larger than a smartphone and is noticeably less comfortable to carry than a smaller 10,000 milliamp-hour model, making the PowerCore Essential more suited for carrying in a backpack or purse.
Next, we assessed the charging capacity and efficiency of each portable battery pack. We did this with two separate tests, one looking at how many times each battery could charge a specific device and the other looking at the max discharge rate using a simulated load and our best multimeter. The PowerCore Essential 20000 delivered acceptable results, earning it a middle-of-the-road score.
This battery pack has a claimed capacity of 20,000 milliamp-hours (mAh), but we could only get around 67% of that or 13,416 milliamp-hours of this with our simulated load set to pull 2.4 amps of current. In our experience with these products, this is typical.
The PowerCore Essential did a bit worse in regards to claimed device charges. Anker states that this battery should be able to charge a Samsung S10 close to five full times, which converts to around 5.67 times for its predecessor, the Samsung S8 — our test device. However, we were only able to charge this smartphone a bit more than five times before the battery was fully depleted.
After charge capacity and portability, we moved on to scoring all the different convenience features and other functions that can make portable chargers a bit more easy to use. Specifically, we awarded points based on things like integrated flashlights, cables, or plugs and how many devices you can charge at once. The PowerCore Essential is a bit bare-bones compared to some of the more featured batteries, unfortunately earning it a lackluster score in this regard.
This battery bank can charge two different devices at once with its dual USB-A output ports, but that is about it for convenience features. We like the dual inputs — micro USB and USB-C — but feel it would be a bit more beneficial if you could use the USB-C as an output port to fast charge devices using the newer Power Delivery protocol. This portable charger doesn't have any integrated cables for devices or plugs for recharging and also can't double as a flashlight.
Our last round of tests looked at the time it took for each of these batteries to recharge. We used a high-quality power brick if one wasn't included and timed how long it took a fully depleted battery to recharge for the scores in this metric. The Anker PowerCore Essential didn't fare too well in this test, earning a score well below average.
This battery took around 12 hours to recharge using our setup. Anker states that it should be able to recharge in approximately 10.5 hours with a 10W charging brick and 20 hours with a 5W brick.
Should You Buy the Anker PowerCore Essential 20000?
Though we generally like Anker products, the PowerCore Essential is far from the best battery bank, in our opinion, and we would recommend other products over this one. It isn't terribly impressive when it comes to portability or convenience features and takes a long time to recharge. Other options that cost the same or less perform much more favorably in our tests.
What Other Portable Chargers Should You Consider?
If you want a heavy-duty charger than can handle devices like laptops, the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD is a great option. For something a bit more budget friendly but still high-performing, check out the INIU Portable Charger 10000 or 2-Pack Miady 10000. If you want a do-it-all device that has integrated cables, the Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh is your charger.