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The Best Portable Chargers of 2018

Thursday October 25, 2018
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Searching for the most perfect portable charger around? We did plenty of research, then picked out the most promising power packs to purchase and test head-to-head. We rated and scored the capacity, discharge performance, and recharge time of each battery pack, as well as how convenient and portable each one is. Keep reading to see which portable battery pack is truly the best of the best, which is the best bang for the buck, and which is the best bet when you need maximum power.


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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award    
Price $30 List
$29.99 at Amazon
$20 List
$19.99 at Amazon
$36 List
$35.99 at Amazon
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$49.99 at Amazon
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$59.99 at Amazon
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Pros Recharges quickly, great capacity, highly convenientInexpensive, super easy to carry in a pocket, short recharge timeHighly portable, recharges quickly, decent capacityRugged, recharges quicklyGreat capacity
Cons Could fit a little better in a pocketNo integrated cables, can only charge a single device at a timePricey, bare-bonesPricey, less portable than othersExpensive, not terribly convenient, not the most portable
Bottom Line The best of the best, the Jackery is our favorite when it comes to portable battery packsIf you want a bare-bones portable charging solution without breaking the bank, this is the battery for youThis is a solid, all-around portable battery but we wish it had a few more convenience featuresIf you want a portable charger that can keep up with your off-the-grid adventures, then the OtterBox is best for youWhile this battery does have an impressive capacity, it otherwise failed to distinguish itself
Rating Categories Jackery Bolt 6000 PowerCore 5000 PowerCore II Slim 10000 Power Pack 10000 PowerCore Speed 20000
Portability (40%)
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Specs Jackery Bolt 6000 PowerCore 5000 PowerCore II Slim 10000 Power Pack 10000 PowerCore Speed 20000
Output 1 5V / 2.4A 5V / 2A 5-6V / 3A
6-9V / 2A
9-12V / 1.5A
5V / 2.4A Quick Charge 3.0
5-8V / 3A
8-10V / 2.4A
10-12V / 2A
Output 2 Built in micro
5V / 2.1A
N/A N/A N/A 5V / 2A
Output 3 Built in lightning
5V / 2.4A
N/A N/A N/A N/A

Best Overall


Jackery Bolt 6000


Editors' Choice Award

$29.99
at Amazon
See It

Capacity: 6000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 2.4A USB, 2.1A micro USB, 2.4A Lightning
Extremely convenient
Recharges quickly
Solid capacity
Could be a little thinner

With a solid battery capacity, great recharge time, and features that make this power pack exceptionally convenient to use, the Jackery Bolt 6000 is the clear winner of the Editors' Choice Award and the title of Best Overall Portable Charger. This battery pack has enough juice for 1-2 full charges on most smartphones and is highly portable, easily fitting in a purse or backpack without issue. It retails at a great price and we found this power pack to be practically perfect, with only one exception.

The only slight issue we found with this pack is that it is a tiny bit on the thicker side. This product still fit in most pockets without issue, but you definitely noticed its presence and it could even be slightly uncomfortable, depending on how tight the cut of your pants are. However, this is a relatively trivial issue and we are thoroughly being nitpicky at this point. If you want the best of the best in the world of portable chargers, the Jackery should be the first option you consider and we highly recommend it.

Read Full Review: Jackery Bolt 6000

Best Value


Anker PowerCore 5000


Best Buy Award

$19.99
at Amazon
See It

Capacity: 5000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 2A
Ultra fast recharge time
Great price
Highly portable
No additional convenience features

Finishing right behind the Jackery Bolt 6000 and costing about 30% less, the PowerCore 5000 easily claimed the Best Buy Award. This top-notch portable charger is supremely easy to carry in a pocket, has a solid capacity, and recharges exceptionally quickly. It packs a ton of power into a lightweight and compact package and is our top recommendation if you need a new battery pack and are shopping on a budget.

However, this battery back would definitely be considered bare-bones. It only has a single USB output that doesn't have the highest discharge rate and there aren't any built-in convenience features. Despite these omission, the PowerCore should be your first choice if you want a simple portable power pack without spending a ton of cash.

Read Full Review: Anker PowerCore 5000

Best on a Tight Budget


Aibocn Power Bank 10000


Best Buy Award

$11
List Price
See It

Capacity: 10,000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 2.1A USB, 1A USB
Inexpensive
Recharges quickly
Lackluster capacity
No built-in cables or charger

If you are shopping on the tightest of tight budgets and want to spend the absolute bare minimum on a portable power pack, then the Aibocn is for you. Retailing for around $10 and having enough capacity for about 1-2 charges, this is a good option if you want to get a few batteries to leave one at home, at work, or stash in your purse or backpack. It even has a built-in flashlight. However, you shouldn't expect too much from this product in terms of performance.

This battery pack should have gotten well over 2 charges on most smartphones and took substantially longer to charge than comparable battery packs, but if you want a cheap charging solution, the Aibocn is a solid choice.

Read Full Review: Aibocn Power Bank 10000

Top Pick for Maximum Capacity


RAVPower Ace 22000


Top Pick Award

$41.99
at Amazon
See It

Capacity: 22,000 mAh | Maximum Discharge Rate: 5.8A (Shared for 3 USB ports)
Huge capacity
Can charge up to three devices simultaneously
Large
Takes forever to recharge

If you are looking for a portable battery pack that has the largest capacity possible, whether you are looking at an extended backcountry or off-the-grid trip or you have a ton of devices to charge, the RAVPower Ace 22000 is our top recommendation. This portable charger is unmatched in terms of capacity compared to the other products in our test, has a respectable discharge rate, and can charge up to three devices at once. Even better, it retails at a price that won't break the bank.

However, all of that capacity comes at a price. This battery is much larger and heavier than many of the others, effectively precluding it from being something that you want to carry around in your pocket. This larger battery also takes significantly longer to recharge, on the order of 8 hours, so it is definitely more suited for week-long, rather than daily use.

Read Full Review: RAVPower Ace 22000


A portable charger is a great way to ensure you never get caught with a dead phone.
A portable charger is a great way to ensure you never get caught with a dead phone.

Analysis and Test Results


In our quest to find the perfect — or as close to perfect as possible — portable charger, we conducted extensive research, then picked out the the portable power packs that showed the most promise, and then purchased them to test head-to-head. We rated and scored the electrical properties of each battery, as well as the convenience and portability of each one to determine overall scores. We divided our testing procedure into four weighted rating metrics — Portability, Added Convenience, Capacity, and Recharge Time — with our results discussed below.

Value


Right off the bat, two products stand out if you are shopping on a budget. The Aibocn retails for approximately $10 or so, making it one of the least expensive options out there, but we weren't overly enamored with its performance. The Anker PowerCore 5000 costs about $20 and is a much more portable pack, with better capacity and recharge time, but it lacks the built-in flashlight of the Aibocn and only has a single USB output port, compared to the Aibocn's two. Our top overall scorer comes with another jump in price, with the Jackery Bolt 6000 retailing for about $30 and is our top recommendation for most people. Finally, the RAVPower Ace is your best bet if you need maximum capacity, but comes with a proportional increase in price and sells for around $50, depending on what color you select.

Even the largest batteries are quite easy to carry in a bag or backpack.
Even the largest batteries are quite easy to carry in a bag or backpack.

Portability


Accounting for 40% of the final score, it's easy to see why portability is of vital importance to these products, as it is literally in the name of this category of products — portable chargers. In fairness, all of these products are ostensibly portable, with all of them weighing less than a pound and are quite compact, making them almost unnoticeable in a purse, backpack, or laptop case. However, we did notice some stark differences when attempting to carry these around in a pocket, which is what the majority of the score is based on. Additionally, we also awarded points based on the measured weight and volume of each battery pack.



The PowerCore 5000 by Anker is by far the most portable power pack that we have tested, earning it a 9 out of 10 — the highest score of the entire group. This battery is both one of the most compact and lightweight that we tested, weighing in at about 4.71 oz. and having a cylindrical form factor about 1.3" in diameter and 4.3" long. However, it was the incredible ease of carrying this in a pocket that boosted this to the top spot. We particularly liked that it was 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 cable around your waist.

The PowerCore 5000 is one of the easiest to fit in a pocket.
The PowerCore 5000 is one of the easiest to fit in a pocket.

Following the PowerCore 5000, both the PowerCore II Slim 10000 and the Jackery Bolt 6000 came next, each meriting an 8 out of 10. The Jackery has a slightly more compact form factor than the PowerCore II Slim, but is a bit larger than the PowerCore 5000. The Jackery Bolt 6000 and the PowerCore II Slim are both heavier than the PowerCore 5000, weighing 5.67 oz. and 7.42 oz., respectively.

Both of these are quite easy to carry around in your pocket, with the Anker PowerCore II Slim 10000 having a slight edge on the Jackery Bolt 6000, by being slightly — you guessed it — slimmer, per its name.

The PowerCore II Slim also fits quite well in a pocket.
The PowerCore II Slim also fits quite well in a pocket.

Next, there was quite a bit of a drop in performance, with the Aibocn Power Bank 10000 and the OtterBox Power Pack 10000 both earning a 5 out of 10 for their portability. These both are quite a bit larger in terms of volume and both weigh about 8.5 oz. The OtterBox fit in the front pocket of a pair of regular cut men's jeans without too much issue, but it definitely is a bit cumbersome and quite noticeable. However, we wouldn't count on it fitting in a pair of slimmer cut jeans.

The ruggedized OtterBox has a much taller profile.
The ruggedized OtterBox has a much taller profile.

The Aibocn is a little smaller, but a fraction of an inch thicker, giving it a similar fit to the OtterBox. However, its output ports are on the side, making it essentially impossible to plug a cable into it while it is in your pocket.

A group of portable chargers came next, with the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000, the RAVPower Deluxe 16750, and the Tzumi 12000 all earned a 4 out of 10 for their overall lackluster portability. None of these are particularly comfortable to carry around in your pocket while sitting down, front or back pocket, but the PowerCore Speed 20000 isn't too bad to walk around with, though it is far from our favorite.

The larger batteries are much more suited to being carried in a bag than a pocket.
The larger batteries are much more suited to being carried in a bag than a pocket.

However, the PowerCore 20000 is the heaviest of this group, weighing in at 12.72 oz., with the rest of them shown below.


Finishing at the back of the group, the RAVPower Ace 22000 earned a 3 out of 10. This is the largest power bank of the bunch and, consequently, the least convenient to carry. It weighs just an ounce shy of a pound, but its narrower aspect ratio makes it actually not too bad to carry in a back pocket.

This giant battery barely fits in most front pockets.
This giant battery barely fits in most front pockets.

However, the weight is definitely noticeable and we usually found it preferable to carry it in a bag rather than a pocket.

Some of the electrical meters and dummy loads we used to test these products.
Some of the electrical meters and dummy loads we used to test these products.

Capacity


For our next set of tests, we moved on to assessing and scoring the capacity of each battery pack, which accounts for 30% of the overall score. We scored each battery pack on how much power it actually output at its maximum discharge rate, relative to it rated capacity, as well as how various manufacturers' claims, such as being able to charge a certain phone a certain number of times, stood up to actual testing. We used a dummy resistive load set to draw power at the maximum rate from each battery pack and a digital multimeter to measure exactly how much electricity was put out by each pack.This is a bit of a torture test and no pack even came close to its listed capacity. Our final results for the capacity tests of each portable charger are shown below.


Tying for the top spot, both the Jackery Bolt 6000 and the RAVPower Ace 22000 earned a 7 out of 10 when it comes to capacity. The Jackery got off to a great start, exceeding the manufacturer's claim of being able to charge an iPhone 6/7/8 twice, charging the phone twice and getting it up to 40% on a third time before the pack died. The Ace 22000 is claimed to be able to charge a Galaxy S8 4.4 times, which it also exceeded in our tests, charging it 5.3 times.

The Jackery Bolt is one of our all-time favorite chargers.
The Jackery Bolt is one of our all-time favorite chargers.

The Jackery also did quite well in our discharge test using the load resistor. We set it for a 2.4A discharge rate, which, unfortunately, the Jackery could only sustain for about an hour and a half before the voltage began dropping to the point where it turned off. We dialed the load back to 1A and it lasted for another 20 minutes or so. In total, we pulled 3897 mAh out of it before it quit — about 65% of its stated claim.

The Ace 22000 performed similarly, as we were able to pull about 66% of its rated capacity out at a 2.4A rate before it died.

Following this duo of top performers, the PowerCore 5000, the OtterBox Power Pack, the PowerCore Speed 20000, and the Tzumi Endurance all earned a 6 out of 10.

Both the Anker PowerCore 5000 and the PowerCore Speed 20000 slightly exceeded their marketing claims, charging a Samsung S8 1.12 and 4.48 times in our tests. The OtterBox didn't really have a claim similar to the Anker portable chargers, so we tested it against the Anker PowerCore II Slim 10000's claims, as they are comparable power packs. The OtterBox exceeded this standard, charging the phone 2.49 times, compared to the 2.2 times claimed by the PowerCore II Slim 10000.

The Tzumi 12000 just barely fell short of its advertising claims, missing it by 0.5 charges.

The Tzumi was a bit of a disappointment in our discharge tests.
The Tzumi was a bit of a disappointment in our discharge tests.

For our discharge test, the OtterBox came out on top, discharging 67% of its listed capacity. We used a 2.4A discharge rate for as long as we could, but had to drop it down a bit after a while to keep it from resetting. This was followed by the Tzumi, the PowerCore 5000 at 65%, and the PowerCore Speed 20000 at 61%. We ran all of these at 2.4A until they died, though the PowerCore 5000 did need its discharge rate dropped a bit right at the end to keep from resetting.

Following this group, the Anker PowerCore II Slim 10000 and the RAVPower Deluxe 16750 came next, which both received a 5 out of 10 for their performance in our capacity tests. These both output slightly less than 60% of their stated capacity with our dummy load. The Anker outputting 5892 mAh, or 59% of its stated amount, before dying, though we did appreciate that it maintained a steady 2.4A discharge rate the entire time.

We weren't able to even get close to the claimed capacity in our test.
We weren't able to even get close to the claimed capacity in our test.

The RAVPower output 9654 mAh, or 58% of its capacity and also maintained a 2.4A discharge rate.

The integrated wall plug on the Tzumi is quite handy.
The integrated wall plug on the Tzumi is quite handy.

Added Convenience


Next, we moved on to evaluating and judging how convenient to use each portable power pack is, namely, if there are any features on any of the power packs that made them significantly more expedient and favorable to use. We looked at if you could charge multiple devices at the same time, if there is a built-in flashlight or built-in cables, and if there is an integrated method to recharge the battery, as well as the included warranty. Overall, this metric is responsible for 20% of the total score for each portable charger, with our results shown below.


The Jackery Bolt 6000 claimed the top spot in this test, earning a 7 out of 10. The Jackery can charge multiple devices at once, using the built-in lightning and micro USB cables, as well as the standard USB output port. We found these built-in cables to be super convenient to use, making for an extremely compact package that even includes a built-in flashlight.

The Jackery Bolt is one of our all-time favorite chargers.
The Jackery Bolt is one of our all-time favorite chargers.

This battery pack also has a 24-month limited warranty, but you do need to use the included micro USB cable to recharge the battery pack, using a wall power brick or other powered USB port.

Following this top performer, the Tzumi came next, earning a 6 out of 10. This battery can charge multiple devices, with up to 3.4A of shared output and has an integrated wall charger. However, it lacks any built-in cables and does not have a flashlight. It does include a micro USB cable and has a 1-year limited warranty.

A group of portable batteries came next, with the RAVPower Ace 22000, the RAVPower Deluxe 16750, the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000, and the Aibocn Power Bank 10000 all earned a 5 out of 10. None of these portable charges have an integrated re-charging solution or any built-in cables, though the pair of RAVPower products both include two micro USB cables, compared to the single cable included with the Anker or the Aibocn.

The carrying sleeve included with the RAVPower Ace.
The carrying sleeve included with the RAVPower Ace.

These four portable chargers can all charge multiple devices, but only the RAVPower Deluxe has an included flashlight.

Next, the OtterBox Power Pack 10000 merited a 4 out of 10 for its less than average convenience factor. This charger lacks any integrated functions — no built-in flashlight, recharge, or charging methods — and can only charge a single device at a time. However, it did redeem itself a tiny bit by including a single micro USB cable and a lifetime limited warranty.

Rounding out the back of the group for this set of tests, the Anker PowerCore 5000 and the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 both merited a 3 out of 10 for their bare-bones nature. This pair of portable chargers lack any integrated convenience features and can only charge a single device at a time. These both come with an 18-month limited warranty and each come with a micro USB cable.

The largest batteries took a surprisingly long time to recharge.
The largest batteries took a surprisingly long time to recharge.

Recharge Time


For the final 10% of the score for each portable charger, we looked at how long it took to recharge each of these batteries. This testing process was quite simple — we timed how long it took for a completely dead portable charger to fully recharge, using their LED indicator lights as a gauge. To power each power pack, we used either the included micro USB cable with a Samsung Quick Charge wall adapter or the integrated charging plug if the charger had it.


The Anker PowerCore 5000 earned top marks for this metric, meriting a 10 out of 10 for the 150 minutes it took to completely recharge. This was followed by the Jackery Bolt 6000 with a 9 out of 10 for its 195 minute recharge time and the Aibocn and the Anker PowerCore II Slim 10000, which both earned a 7 out of 10. You can see all of their respective charge times, as well as the rest of the group in the chart below.


The OtterBox Power Pack and the RAVPower Deluxe came next, earning a 6 and a 5 out of 10, respectively. Our two largest battery packs came next, with both the PowerCore Speed 20000 and the RAVPower Ace both earning a 4 out of 10 and taking about 485 minutes to charge.

Finishing in the last place position, the Tzumi 12000 took a whopping 695 minutes to charge — even though it only has a moderate capacity — earning it a 1 out of 10.

Conclusion


At this point, you should have a pretty good idea which battery pack is the best bet for you, whether you want the maximum capacity, the one that is the most convenient to use, or the battery that gives you the most bang for the buck. If you want a more thorough explanation of our testing process or more background information on these batteries in general, head on over to our How We Test article or check out our Buying Advice guide.


David Wise and Austin Palmer