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We've researched over 100 of the top portable chargers you can buy, then bought 11 of the best models currently available to figure out which is rules the roost. We rigorously tested these products head-to-head, even going so far as to use a digital multimeter and a simulated resistive mode to measure their capacity. We also evaluated and ranked how portable these products are and their overall convenience and ease of use. Check out the full review to find out which battery bested them all, which charger is the most compact, and which is the best for high-power devices.
Editor's Note: We updated this review on June 28, 2022, confirming that our selection is still current. Additionally, the Anker PowerCore+ PD is now sold as part of a bundle, which we are linking to in our review.
Our top recommendation for most folks seeking a portable charger is the PowerCore 5000 by Anker. It's affordable, compact, super portable, and has enough capacity to fully charge most smartphones — and then some. We like the dual output ports as well.
However, this charger is a bit bare-bones in nature. It doesn't double as a flashlight and lacks integrated features, like device charging cables or a wall recharging plug. The maximum current is also a bit less than some of the newer power bricks, so you might notice that your larger devices are charging just a bit slower than you are used to. Despite these caveats, this is a premium product, and we highly recommend it.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 3 A
REASONS TO BUY
Can charge three devices at once
REASONS TO AVOID
No built-in cables or plugs
Need a portable charger with enough juice to handle multiple full charges for your smartphone? Check out the INIU Portable Charger 10000. This larger battery has three output ports, allowing you to recharge multiple devices at once. It has good capacity and is highly portable — we carried in both front and back pockets without issue. This charger even has an integrated flashlight.
The INIU doesn't include integrated cables or a plug for recharging; you'll have to supply your own. However, if you need a battery bank with a bit more capacity, we think the INIU is one of the better options.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 2.4 A
REASONS TO BUY
Can charge two devices at once
REASONS TO AVOID
Slow to recharge
No built-in cables or plugs
If you're on a tight budget and hoping to get the most battery for your buck, check out the 2-Pack Miady 10000. This bargain 2-pack of 10,000 mAh batteries usually costs as much as a single one of its competitors and offers solid performance. Each battery can charge up to two things at once, and you have the option of using a micro-USB or a USB-C cable to recharge the Miady once it's depleted. It has a decent output rate for fast charging most devices and is small and slim enough to be convenient to carry.
However, these batteries are pretty minimalistic. They don't have any built-in cables for charging different devices, and you will need to provide your USB power adapter to recharge them, as they don't have an integrated wall plug. Speaking of recharging, we also found that these batteries can take a long time to recharge — just shy of 7 hours. Despite that, we think it's hard to argue with how good of a value the Miady can be and recommend it to anyone hoping to maximize their budget.
If you're an iPhone user seeking the smallest, most compact charger you can get, then the Clutch Charger should be your go-to. This petite portable is roughly the size of a few credit cards stacked together, and you can easily carry it in a wallet or pocket without it being cumbersome. Even better, it has a built-in Lightning cable, so you don't need to worry about forgetting to bring one.
Unfortunately, this charger isn't as versatile as other products we have seen. It can't recharge multiple devices at once and is only compatible with iPhones. The Clutch also doesn't have a very high capacity, generally limited to a single charge or less. It's a great product if you want to make sure you always have enough juice in your iPhone to make a call or summon an Uber, but you'll probably be disappointed if you expect more than that.
Capacity: 10,000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 2.1A Shared
REASONS TO BUY
Three integrated device cables
Built-in wall plug
REASONS TO AVOID
Takes forever to recharge
Can't fast charge multiple devices at once
If you've ever experienced the frustration of having a portable charger but not having the correct cable for your device, take a look at the Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh. This portable charger has three different integrated charging cables that give you the flexibility to charge all the most common consumer electronics devices. It also features a foldable wall plug, negating the need for a separate USB wall adapter for recharging the Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh when it's dead. On top of all that, it did reasonably well in our capacity tests, and we found it quite portable, taking up roughly the same amount of space as a typical smartphone.
However, we were a little disappointed in the Q Slim Power Bank Pro when it came to recharging its own battery pack. Although it is very convenient to recharge with the built-in plug, it takes significantly longer than many other batteries — approaching almost 10 full hours in our test! Additionally, while this power pack has three integrated cables, it only has a maximum shared power output of 2.1 amps between them, so you can't fast charge multiple devices simultaneously. We think the convenience factor of the Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh far outweighs these flaws and highly recommend this battery to anyone who hates getting caught without the right cord or wants to cut down on their clutter of chargers and cables.
Capacity: 26,800 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 3.4 A shared among two USB-B, 3 A for USB-C PD port
REASONS TO BUY
Great for high-power devices
Recharges exceptionally fast
REASONS TO AVOID
Anker now only sells the PowerCore+ PD as part of a bundle, which includes a USB-C to C cable and a wall charger. We're linking to the bundle in our review.
If none of the previous portable batteries can fulfill your device's power needs, then you should check out the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD. This beast of a battery can supply enough current to capably charge some of the most power-hungry devices, such as newer MacBooks, laptops, or gaming systems — like a Nintendo Switch. It uses the more modern Power Delivery standard with USB-C connectors, letting you charge compatible devices at their absolute fastest rate. It has plenty of juice to fully charge most newer smartphones five times or more, and it recharges itself quite fast with the included fast charging wall adapter — a rarity for larger battery packs.
The Anker PowerCore+ is one of the largest and heaviest portable batteries we've tested. It's cumbersome to carry around in a pocket, cutting down on its convenience quite a bit. However, just toss it in your backpack with your laptop, and you're in business. As you might guess, this product is also a bit more expensive than some smaller models. Regardless, we readily recommend this battery module to anyone that needs to charge their phone a handful of times or needs a battery that can handle the higher power draws of larger devices.
Both Austin Palmer and David Wise have extensively tested and compared hundreds of different consumer tech products over the past few years and are more than familiar with all of the different ways to charge devices over USB. In addition to their extensive experience testing and reviewing over 400 different home and tech products for TechGearLab, David also has formal training as a mechanical engineer, with a particular focus on electronics and electromechanical systems. He specialized in designing and building electric vehicles and the electronics systems for underwater robots, which came into play when determining our portable charger testing procedure. We also consulted with a handful of other mechanical and electrical engineers while designing our testing plan.
Our testing of portable chargers is divided across four rating metrics:
Portability tests (40% of overall score weighting)
Charging Efficiency tests (30% weighting)
Added Convenience tests (20% weighting)
Recharge Time tests (10% weighting)
We've tested a total of 22 portable chargers over the past three years, subjecting each to over 25 different tests. For our most important metric, Portability, we measured each device's volume and weight, then tested how well each charger fit into the front and back pockets of the same pair of casual-fitting jeans, both when sitting, standing, and moving about. For our Charging Efficiency tests, we charged everything from a Nintendo Switch to smartphones to laptops, comparing the chargers' performances side-by-side in several real-world scenarios. We also used a dummy resistive load and a digital USB multimeter that we could set for different discharge rates to objectively compare the capacity of each battery under controlled conditions and timed how long it took for each one to recharge. Along with this set of electrical tests, we measured the weight of each battery and compared how easy they are to carry in a pocket, as well as awarded extra points for any additional special features and functions.
Analysis and Test Results
In our quest to find the best portable charger, we conducted extensive research and picked out the most promising portable power packs on the market. We then purchased them to undergo head-to-head tests here in our lab. We divided our testing procedure into four weighted performance metrics: Portability, Added Convenience, Capacity, and Recharge Time.
We think the Miady 2-Pack easily offers the most bang for the buck for those shopping on a tight budget. You get the cost savings of multiple batteries, with the price of this pack being far less than some of the single batteries. You may also want to consider the Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh. This battery pack isn't too expensive, but it has all three major types of charging cables built-in and an integrated wall plug, so it can save you quite a bit since you don't need to buy multiple additional cables and a USB wall adapter.
Although none of these batteries are too large to be carried around, we noticed a difference between several of them. Some can easily fit in a pocket, while others are more suitable to carry around in a purse, backpack, or laptop case. We looked at each charger's dimensions, weight, and how easily it could fit in a pocket to determine the score.
It's easy to see why the Clutch Charger is our top recommendation for portability. It weighs only 2 ounces, and its credit card-like shape allows you to carry it in a wallet — a unique trait for these products. It is also virtually unnoticeable in a pocket, so easily forgotten that we worry some people might put it through the washing machine by mistake.
The Anker PowerCore 5000 is another one of the most compact and lightweight chargers we tested. It weighs in at 4.71 ounces with a cylindrical shape roughly 1.3 inches in diameter and 4.3 inches long. However, the incredible ease of carrying this in a pocket boosted it to the top. We particularly like that it is easy to access the output port and plug a cable in while it is in your pocket, allowing you to carry the battery in one pocket and charge your phone in the other, running the cord around your waist.
Following that, we think the INIU Portable Charger 10000 is easily the next most portable. This charger is very lightweight and has a slim profile, making it easy to carry around in a pocket without becoming uncomfortable. The Anker PowerCore 10000, the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000, and the 2-Pack Miady are also very portable options. We looked at a single one of the Miady 2-Pack chargers for this metric.
None of these chargers are too heavy, weighing between 5.5 and 7.5 ounces. They are all easy enough to carry around in your pocket, with the Miady 10000 having a slight edge over the others by being just a bit slimmer.
The Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh is heavier than some models, but it fits in a pocket much better than most. It feels like a phone when sitting, and it is easy to forget that you are even carrying it while walking around.
We found the INIU BI-B5 quite uncomfortable to carry around in a pocket, both while sitting or standing. It's bulky, feeling like three smartphones stacked on top of each other.
We evaluated each model based on its power output at its maximum discharge rate relative to its rated capacity. We also verified how well various manufacturers' claims stood up to actual testing, such as charging a specific phone a certain number of times. We used a dummy resistive load set to draw power at the maximum rate from each battery pack and a digital multimeter to measure how much electricity each pack put out. We discovered that no battery pack even came close to its listed capacity.
The Anker PowerCore 5000, the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000, the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD, the Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh, the INIU 10000, and the Miady 2-Pack 10000 all showed respectable results in our capacity and efficiency tests.
Of these batteries, the Miady 2-Pack did the best in our device charging efficiency tests, significantly exceeding its manufacturer's claims. It managed to charge our test phone three full times, surpassing the claim of 2.2 charges for a comparable phone. This was almost matched by the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000, which exceeded its claimed number of charges by around 18%.
The Anker PowerCore 5000 and the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD slightly exceeded their marketing claims, charging a Samsung S8 1.12 and 6.11 times, respectively. These figures equate to about 10% more charges than their claimed max. The INIU 10000 was right on the mark, charging our test phone exactly the number of times as claimed, or within less than a percent off.
The Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh fell just a tiny bit short of its advertised claims in our tests. Its manufacturer says you should get between 2.4 and 4 complete charges, depending on the phone, but we didn't find that to be the case in our assessment. Using the same Samsung Galaxy S8, we could fully charge it 2.27 times. You may be able to get more with a smartphone with a smaller battery, but we wouldn't expect much more than two full charges from this battery with most newer phones.
For our discharge test, the Anker PowerCore 5000 discharged 65% of its listed capacity, and the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD at 62% — both outperformed by the Anker PowerCore Essential 20000, which output 67% of its claimed capacity in our test. We ran these at 2.4A until they died, though the Anker PowerCore 5000 needed to have its discharge rate dropped a bit right at the end to keep from resetting.
The INIU BI-B5 also scored poorly in our capacity tests, putting it close to the back of the group. While this battery is rated with a 20,000 mAh capacity, we only achieved around 28% of that when using our load resistor set for a current draw of 2.4 amps. However, it did much better with lower outputs, charging our test phone multiple times and outperforming some similarly rated packs.
Next, we moved on to evaluating and judging how convenient each portable power pack is to use, identifying if there are any special functions or extra features. We considered if you could charge multiple devices simultaneously, if there is a built-in flashlight or built-in cables, and if there is an integrated method to recharge the battery.
The Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh delivered an unparalleled performance in this group of evaluations with its remarkable convenience. This portable battery can charge multiple devices simultaneously but is restricted by a maximum 2.1 amp shared output, so your phone and tablet might not charge quickly if you plug them both in at the same time. This battery has the typical 4-LED battery indicator but lacks an integrated light source. However, the supreme convenience of all the built-in cables and plug sets the Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh well above the rest of the group in terms of convenience. You can charge a myriad of devices with the built-in USB-C, micro-USB, and Apple Lightning connector. After your charging is complete, you simply fold out the 120-volt plug and plug it directly into the wall to recharge.
The Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD lacks any integrated features, but it can charge multiple devices simultaneously and has the standard battery level indicator. It earns some extra points for having USB Power Delivery capabilities, which means that it can function as an all-in-one charging solution for devices as more new products adopt this standard. It can charge large devices that other batteries can't, like a Nintendo Switch or a new MacBook computer.
The INIU BI-B5 and the INIU 10000 have an integrated flashlight and can recharge multiple devices simultaneously. The INIU BI-B5 even has an additional USB-powered flashlight for more luminescence. However, neither have an integrated charging cable nor wall plugs.
Neither the Anker PowerCore Essential nor the Miady offers much in the way of extra features, but we appreciate that they can charge multiple devices simultaneously.
The Clutch Charger is pretty bare-bones, but it has a built-in charging cable for an iPhone. You can't charge multiple devices or other non-Apple devices, though.
For the final 10% of the score for each portable charger, we timed how long it took for a completely dead portable charger to fully recharge, using their LED indicator lights as a gauge. We used either the included micro USB cable with a Samsung Quick Charge wall adapter or the integrated charging plug to power each power pack if the charger had one.
The Anker PowerCore 5000 earned top marks for this metric for the 150 minutes it took to completely recharge. It was followed by the Clutch Charger with the 208 minutes it took to recharge. The Anker PowerCore 10000, the Aibocn Power Bank 10000, and the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD all took 240-250 minutes to recharge, but we used the included fast charger with the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD rather than the standard charger used with the other products. It would take significantly longer with a typical charger.
The Miady 2-Pack, Anker PowerCore Slim 10000, the INIU 10000, and the INIU BI-B5 required approximately 5-7 hours to recharge fully. The Q Slim Power Bank Pro 10000 mAh has a disproportionately long recharge time, considering its 10,000 milliamp-hour listed capacity. We used the integrated wall plug on this power pack for this evaluation, and it took just under 10 hours — 588 minutes — to completely refill this battery.
The Anker PowerCore Essential takes a very long time to recharge compared to the smaller batteries — generally at least 10 hours.
Hopefully, this review has given you a better understanding of what to look for in a portable charger and has helped you narrow down your options to pick the perfect model for your needs and budget. Whether you are looking for the lightest possible portable battery, the one with the most capacity of them all, or something in between, our lineup has the ideal option for you.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.