Energy Crisis: The 8 Best Portable Chargers
Just stepping out of your house these days often requires that you be loaded down with a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop to ensure that you have all of the various tools you will need to survive another day in the digital world. The trouble that arises is that while information and mobile technology are gaining ground, battery power is being pushed to the limit. In order to keep your array of devices running throughout the day to ensure you don’t miss a beat, you must invest into charger will keep up with your active lifestyle.
Choosing the right portable charger is a matter of balancing the power capacity in milliamperes (mAh) with overall weight and portability. You also need to decide if you need something that will work long-term, or just a quick pick-up to get you through the end of a long seminar. For ultimate power there are even solar machines and hydrogen reactors that can pass a fresh charge even when you are braving the wilds of the Congo. Depending on the tech you carry and your lifestyle, you could need only one or all of the options below.
myCharge Hub 9000
Easy as Pie: Everything about the Hub 9000 is smooth and simple. It has a micro USB and is one of the only devices with a Lightning connector built in so that it can pump juice right out of the box. It recharges quickly with flip-down prongs that allows it to jack directly into the wall whenever you are near an outlet. It can get airtight by taking 3 devices at once and is only slightly bigger than an iPhone. The only downside is the highest capacity is 9000 mAh, making it a bit on the wee side. [Purchase: $66-$107]
Anker Astro Pro2
Complete Capacity: Anker did not set out to make a a device that will fit in your purse or your pocket. They made one that can store power like a caravan camel. It packs a whopping 20,000 mAh which will let you charge the average smartphone between 6 and 10 times. It uses proprietary PowerIQ tech to determine what kind of device is plugged into it to maximize charging speed. An LCD display tells you the current power level for an easy read. Some devices (you guessed it Apple fan boys) will need adapters to work with the Pro2. [Purchase: $80]
Anker Astro Mini
Powerful and Portable: Anker took the title “lipstick charger” a little too literally. When you pull this out the people around you won’t know if you are about to recharge your phone or “fix your face.” The Mini packs 3,000 mAh so it can double the battery life of some smartphones or give your e-reader a jolt without sacrificing space. It can ride in your briefcase, backpack, or pocket with ease. Apple users will once again need adapters. [Purchase: $20]
EasyAcc Power Bank
Most mAh for the Money: At 10,000 mAh, the Power Bank can increase talk time of the biggest smartphones by almost 3x with a dual USB that will let you simultaneously pump up two devices. It balances its high capacity with reasonable portability and an incredibly low price. It probably won’t feel comfortable in your pocket, but the slim design won’t weigh down your luggage or your laptop bag. You will need to buy Lightning adapters and your own AC charger, so that adds to the price, but it is still a bargain compared to its competitors. [Purchase: $30]
Life-Saving Features: The Powerall carries a respectable 12,000 mAh, but you don’t buy it just because it has a high capacity, you buy it if you need a rugged portable charger that can also keep you alive. The PowerAll not only has 2 USB ports, it also has the ability to jump start your car up to 20 times when it is holding a full charge. Includes an LED flashlight that can be used for illumination or set to SOS mode to signal for help. You never need to be stranded again with the PBJS12000R. [Purchase: $100]
The Survivalist’s Charger: This is not the charger you whip out when your flight is delayed and you are stranded at the airport. This is the charger you need when your rescue plane crashes and you need to play some Candy Crush. It has a built-in 5400mAh battery, but more importantly it has solar panels so that it can recharge using only the power of the sun. This makes it bulky and much heavier than other chargers, but a necessity for survivalists or serious outdoorsmen who don’t go in for that outlet nonsense. Can be charged indoors if need be. Apple users will again need a USB adapter. [Purchase: $149]
True Wireless: If you have a qi enabled device and want to cut down on the cables you carry around with you, then THOR is currently the only decent option for true wireless induction charging. It carries a 7,000 mAh battery which is plenty of juice for most travel needs when you are too far from an outlet. It also has an on-board USB plug in the event you have devices that do not have a qi chip or when you need a quicker draw. The LED lights are easy to use so you never have to guess if your device is charging. Even without the added induction features, THOR is a solid portable charger and an easy choice for qi lovers. [Purchase: $50]
MiPow Power Cube
Apple’s Only Friend: The MiPow is built specifically for use with iPhones, iPads, and iPods. It has an on-board Lightning port so Apple aficionados don’t need to spend more on an adapter. Huzzah! It does also include a sole micro USB for those that have other devices, but it is really intended to charge Apple products with a quickness while others will find it sluggish. Total capacity of 5,400mAh make it relatively small and since it is Apple certified, it is also costly. [Purchase: $108]
Brunton Hydrogen Reactor Charger
Honorable Mention: This is very different from everything on the list in that it can’t be recharged but rather relies entirely on hydrogen fuel cells to keep going. It doesn’t have an mAh capacity, but each hydrogen cell will totally recharge most phones between 3 and 6 times before needing to be replaced.
With enough fuel cells, your ability to generate power is effectively unlimited. The device itself is fairly light and about the size of a Walkman. If you don’t know what a Walkman is, it is about the size of a paperback book. If you don’t know what a book is…look, just Google it. Brunton claims the reactor is entirely safe, but it does require open air to be used. The only byproduct is water, so it will not put harmful fumes into the air. Output is through a single USB. [Purchase: $117]