The Ultimate Guide: How To Choose The Perfect Power Bank
A frequent power supply is a must for modern gadgets owing to their incapability of not holding battery even for a day. Due to the demand of high-speed data and big colorful displays, now you’re pretty much compelled to keep a nervous eye on the battery icon camping at the corner of your screen.
Yes, the mobile phone technology is acing forward and battery life should be a part of it. But for some inexplicable reasons, the battery capacity hasn’t witnessed much increase in the last whole decade.
Although manufacturers are trying to speed things up with many rapid charging technologies, there still are some situations that keep us from being able to reach an outlet when needed, travelling and running for instance. And thanks to the endless WhatsApp texting and binge-watching cute cat videos on Youtube, we’re almost always running out of power at the middle of the day.
And that’s exactly when power banks come to the rescue.
Regardless of how much you’ve blown after the glisteringly new smartphone, a power bank is always going to keep your batteries charged. Power banks come in many names — portable chargers, battery packs, fuel banks, pocket power cells — are a few examples. Regardless of what you call them, all of them are built solely for one thing, and one thing only ‘Charging your phone’.
Over the course of this piece, we’ll go over 10 things you should be considering when buying your next power bank. Let’s get started:
(1) Battery Capacity
The ‘mAh’ (milliamp-hour) signals the capacity of a power bank, meaning that the more the ‘mAh’, the better its battery capacity. While it’s tempting to opt for the longest lasting battery in the market, keep in mind that the weight also gets increased parallelly. Power banks usually range from 2,000 mAh to 10,000 mAh or even up to 26,000 mAh.
Different devices require different amounts of capacity. For instance, the iPhone 8 has an 1821 mAh battery, while Androids like the Samsung Galaxy S8 are usually between 2000 to 3000 mAh. iPads and other tablets, however, pose a different story. Ideally, your power bank should have equal or more capacity than your smartphone so you can yield full charge(s) out of it.
(2) USB Ports
Multiple USB ports on your power bank can be advantageous – charging your phone and tablet simultaneously – for example. Usually, the bigger batteries with more mAh, the more chances of them containing multiple USB ports. More ports pack you with the power to
• Give a battery boost to your friend.
• Charge your smartphone and GoPro simultaneously
• Charge your smartphone and Bluetooth headset at once
The power bank market is very wide-ranging. Although some of these portables comprise lightning cables, some also feature a micro USB charger. When your power bank offers only the lightning port, none of your Samsung sets will be supported. Other power banks are formulated with 2 charging cables, while some with PD ports.
Top notch power banks are equipped with all the required cables for charging devices using micro USB, mini USB or thunderbolt method. While most of these power banks save you the hassle of carrying wires, having enough of ports makes them so much the better.
(3) Input and Output Power
Imagine having a power bank with low capacity. Spending some time charging the battery may not seem like a big deal for you, but what if you were to charge one comprising 10,000mAh with a 0.5V/5A input? Can you picture the amount of time you’d need to fill it full?
As for output, many banks have their own QC or PD ports, which can help the power bank charge faster. Android, iPhone and iPad demand different output power. USB ports of most power banks are marked to teach the learners which one suits Android or iOS devices.
(4) Quick Charging
Swearing by the Qualcomm certified QC3.0 quick-charge tech, some nicely built quick charge 2.0 and 3.0 power banks attained extreme popularity amongst people wanting to cut down charging time for some high-end gadgets. Aside from charging rapidly, QC 3.0 does a great job of collaborating with QC 2.0 devices as well.
Before you opt for a quick charger, remember that if the ampere or voltage of your charger is higher, your charging speed will shoot up as well. That said, some devices have a maximum voltage/ampere which can’t be surpassed, meaning that if your smartphone isn’t compatible with quick-charging, a portable quick-charger is not going to help.
(5) Built-in Cable
Every portable charger comes with a cable (a basic USB to Micro-USB cable usually) for charging the bank itself. This cable is used to connect the power bank input port (usually Micro-USB) to a basic USB wall charger. The spare built-in cable saves your cable and yet works very well when you forget the charging cable home.
(6) LED Lights
Most power banks feature an LED indicator that notifies you about the exhaustion, the power amount and the time for recharging it.
These lights also signal you the amount of power the charger has left, the charging and working status of the power bank as well.
(7) Power Bank Lifespan
Lithium-ion, more precisely, lithium-polymer batteries in Power Banks and phones lose their capacity sooner or later, normally within 200 to 1000 cycles depending upon the battery cell quality and chemical composition. The bigger the battery, the less charging cycles it’ll need and the more durable it will be. Plus, smartphones discharge their battery regularly, giving birth to a shorter battery lifespan over a large capacity one.
Tip: Make sure that your Power Bank works with the USB standard. While some smartphones charge very slowly with PC, they suck up a lot faster on direct outlet connection.
Figured out which charging source gives you faster charging? Good. Now find out which one of these speeds your power bank is offering. If you’re receiving low speed, you may still be able to fix it using a faster USB charging cable. However, if the Power Bank fails to supply you the power (usually due to low-quality power banks), cables won’t be able to fix it.
(8) Charging the Power Bank Itself
Unfortunately, no power bank yet can magically recharge itself when low or empty. However, they’re very simple to charge: plug in the given cable into the input port on the power bank and a basic USB on the other side or some other power source. Such Power Banks input ranges from 1 Amperes to 3 Amperes. Simply put, the bigger input you provide, the faster will your device recharge.
Some power banks have an LED indicator, which tells you how much power the power bank has left and on the other side will tell you when you need to recharge the battery.
While the manufacturers should state their safety details hugely, some list the details over the package to prove their banks are safe. However, if you’re extra cautious about safety (which is a very good thing), you may want to follow these tips.
Want to avoid phoney and dangerous products? Do this?
Get your device registered/activated: Some brands require you to register your product using the given serial number over the internet or a helpline. This method does a great job of ensuring you received the right product or not.
Check the Warranty, manufacturer, country of origin: And also the type of battery that may make differences in the type or span of the warranty. If you are confused, check the little print on the bundle or the given instructions.
Further, make sure that the power bank you’re using has gone through the following tests. If yes, then your product is most likely safe. Let’s get started:
Efficiency: The more efficient the power bank is, the less temperature it will generate, costing you less energy in the long-term.
Excessive Current Protection: This keeps excessive power from going into the battery pack and the power heading to the linked equipment, providing protection for the fragile motherboard of both the devices.
Excessive Voltage Protection: This keeps both the power bank and linked gadgets by limiting the voltage levels for avoiding damage.
Excessive Charge/Discharge Protection: Some power banks observe charge states consistently to avoid the excessive charge/discharge issue.
Heat tests: Although it’s not advised to use extremely heated temperatures anywhere, this test ensures you’d be okay if something awkward comes up.
(10) Power cut feature
Only a few power banks have the power cut feature, which stops charging your phone when it’s full. Although they cost a bit more, considering it’s keeping your phones from overcharging, it’s definitely worth it.
In addition to the factors above, you also need to consider the product price.
If you don’t have a good understanding of power bank, opt for a piece from the big-name brands out there. However, if you find them too expensive and want cheaper alternatives, you can search for them online, however, don’t rely solely on the internet.
Because some of the shady brands out there are claiming their portable chargers to offer 10,000 mAh capacity, whereas the reality is nowhere close to that. Beware.
Mehedi is a freelance writer/blogger helping businesses grow with red-hot content. You can visit his site PowerhouseBlogger for actionable business tips. And if you want Mehedi to help you with content, you can hit him up on Facebook or Twitter.