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The Best Portable Chargers & Power Banks for Everyday Carry

Best Portable Chargers 0 Hero

As time goes by, more and more of the everyday carry gear we haul around requires power of some kind. The trouble is that the batteries don’t always last for as long as we need them to, and access to power outlets, especially when out and about or on travel, is not always easy to come by. Thankfully, you don’t simply have to accept that your gear will power down — so long as you have a means of keeping it juiced up while on the go.

That’s where portable chargers and power banks come into play. You see, by adding one of these simple devices to your everyday carry, you’re afforded the ability to keep your most-used tech powered up and going strong — sometimes for days at a time without access to an outlet. We’ve also included a quick primer outlining the specific differences between portable chargers and power banks so you can make an informed decision when purchasing one of the best of them found in the buyer’s guide below.

Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks


At a surface level, it can sometimes seem like portable chargers and power banks are one and the same. However, there are some very distinct and important differences between the two. To ensure that you’re getting the device you need and not one that will only cause frustration, we’ve outlined what separates the two tech categories below.

Portable Chargers: Put simply and at its basest level, a portable charger is little more than a power converter that plugs into a wall outlet in order to transfer a charge from said wall outlet safely into a piece of electronic technology. This can be an integrated charger that has its own built-in cable, or it can be something as seemingly small and simple as the outlet-to-USB “blocks” that come with every Apple device. These devices do not necessarily have the ability to store power in an onboard battery for charging at a later time.

Power Banks: In essence, a power bank is a standalone battery that stores power, which can then be transferred over and used by varying pieces of electronics and/or technology. While their format can change from brand to brand, the basic concept of a power bank remains mostly the same. Sometimes, these devices plug directly into a wall in order to charge themselves. Other times, they might have a USB port that can be connected to any powered USB port in order to juice up. The primary intention of these devices is to store power onboard so that you can access and utilize that power at a later time when you do not have access to a power outlet.

Hybrids: More and more, brands are choosing to combine the two above pieces of gear into single devices — the intention being that people don’t want to carry around more power-focused devices than necessary. As such, hybrid devices can either function as a wall charger, a portable battery, or both — often with the ability to charge themselves while simultaneously charging up your portable technology. It’s important to note, however, that power banks can theoretically function this way, but unless they’re specifically made to be a hybrid device, using them as such could potentially negatively impact their performance over time — reducing their active life and limiting their ability to hold a full charge.

what to look for

Power: This is the most important factor to consider, as it determines how many charges you get (and it’s usually measured in mAh or Wh). For smartphones, 10,000 mAh is plenty (and chargers/banks capable of fast charging with around ~5,000 mAh are just fine, too), but tablets and laptops will benefit from more charging capacity.

Compatible Devices/Ports: While many power banks and chargers will offer multiple connections/ports (USB, Micro-USB, USB-C, etc.), some may be built for specific devices. For instance, Apple’s MagSafe battery pack can technically work with other Qi-enabled devices, but the tech is purpose-built for the iPhone.

Size: If you’re traveling or camping, a smaller charger can be more convenient, but won’t offer as much charging capacity. At the end of the day, you’re trading the number of charges you get for a more manageable size (but even small options pack plenty of power, and the tech is only improving).

Speed: Most modern power banks and chargers offer solid charging speeds, but if you need some more, look for devices with higher output currents (2.1A+) and/or fast charging tech like Apple’s MagSafe (for iPhone users), Quick Charge, and USB-C inputs.

Anker PowerCore 5000

Anker Power Bank Power IQ 3 0
  • Will last a while
  • Great power capacity and durability for the price
  • Super portable
  • Doesn’t come with a storage bag

Best Budget Power Bank: The Anker PowerCore 5000 has been a mainstay of the portable power pack industry for years and years for a couple of very simple, specific reasons. For starters, it holds up to 5000mAh — which is almost enough to fill up an iPhone 12 battery fully twice. Second, it is remarkably portable — measuring up at a minuscule 3.94″ on its longest side, making it perfect for stashing in your pocket, backpack, glove compartment, etc. It might not be the most modern, high-tech option around, but it more than makes up for that with its small stature and, therefore, extreme portability.

This charger works for smartphones, tablets, and laptops, with enough power to provide full charges for most smartphones. It comes with a micro-USB cable, and an 18-month warranty as well.

Power: 5,000 mAh
Ports: USB-A, Micro-USB
Size: 3.94″ wide

Clutch Charger

Clutch Charger
  • Convenient wallet size
  • Choice between an iPhone or Android version
  • Sleek metal construction
  • Might be too small for some

Best Portable Smartphone Charger: Not every charger needs to be plugged into the wall to work. Take, for instance, the Clutch charger you see here. This nifty charger is as thin as a credit card, weighs only 2 ounces, and still gives you 3300mAh of power. It comes in this sleek metal body that measures just 3.5 inches wide, making this a super convenient pick for those who need the smallest charger they can get (that’s still effective). If you leave it alone, it can also hold a charge for several weeks, and it comes with a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.

Clutch is offering two versions of the charger, one is compatible with all current Android smartphones, and the other is compatible with all current iPhones. We’ve linked to both options below for you to make a decision.

Power: 3,300 mAh
Ports: USB-A, Micro-USB
Size: 3.5″ x 2.5″

Otterbox Fast Charge

Otterbox Fast Charge
  • Convenient fast-charging tech
  • Comes in a variety of power options
  • Otterbox build quality
  • N/A

Best Fast-Charging Power Bank: If you like the slimness and portability of the option above, but you’ve soured on the limited capacity, the Otterbox Fast Charge you see here might be a happy medium — or at least an alternative worth considering. It’s not quite wallet-sized, but it is definitely slim and small enough to fit into even crowded pockets. Mate that to its ability to fast-charge as well as an impressively capacious 20,000mAh power bank, and it’s clear to see that this is a true contender in its category.

USB-A and Fast Charge USB-C ports allow you to charge multiple devices at the same time, and Otterbox offers this model in multiple power options, so you can get the right one for your needs.

Power: 20,000 mAh
Ports: USB-A, USB-C (fast charging)
Size: 6.26″ x 3.08″ x 0.92″

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
  • Apple build quality and aesthetic
  • Super convenient wireless charging
  • Portable design
  • USB-C power adapter is sold seperately

Best Portable iPhone Battery: This pick here is for iPhone users, specifically those who own a 12 and up, as this is the beginning of MagSafe technology. This convenient portable battery pack attaches right to the back of your iPhone, and provides up to 15W of wireless charging power. With a power adapter that can get up to 20W, you can charge both the MagSafe Battery Pack and your iPhone even more quickly. Apple keeps things easy (as they always do) with the ability to track the status of your charge on your lock screen

If you’re in the market for a simple, quick, and effective way to wirelessly charge your iPhone on the go, this is really the ultimate pick. It may not offer as much capacity as other options, but you’re still getting fast charging (via MagSafe) and Apple’s intuitive design.

Power: 1,460 mAh
Ports: Lightning
Size: Not listed

Anker 737 PowerCore III Elite 26K

Anker 737 PowerCore III Elite 26K
  • Can charge 3 devices at once
  • Made with heat dissipation materials
  • Charges devices quickly
  • Clunky UI

Best Laptop Power Bank: You may have noticed we’re showing a lot of love to Anker in this guide, and this is no mistake. They’ve been around for over a decade now and are always reliable when it comes to portable power solutions. This power bank is no exception, and it’s equipped with a power capacity of 25,600 mAh, two USB-A ports, and a USB-C port. This power bank can charge up to 3 devices at once (your laptop, tablet, and phone), making it a super convenient one-stop solution.

This power bank comes with Anker’s 515 wall charger (65W), a USB-C to USB-C cable, and an 18-month warranty. You’re also getting Anker’s MultiProtect safety system and heat dissipation materials that keep you and the power bank protected.

Power: 25,600 mAh
Ports: USB-A (2), USB-C
Size: 7.22″ x 3.24″ x 0.94″

Anker Power Bank 24K

Anker Power Bank 24K
  • Fast-charging
  • Digital display
  • 24-month warranty
  • Included carrying bag is not very good

Best Power Bank Overall: If you’re looking for great power capacity and charging speed, you’re definitely going to find interest in this offering from Anker, as it has a battery boasting a 24,000mAh total capacity and provides a 140W ultra-powerful charge. For reference, that’s more than 5 full charges for most modern smartphones— like iPhones or your favorite iPhone alternative. Honestly, that capacity and charging speed might be enough to earn it a spot on this list, but it does get better. This power bank also has three USB outputs (two USB-C, one USB-A), a smart digital display to let you know how much juice it has onboard, and even comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable.

Like the rest of the Anker picks in our guide, this power bank comes with a warranty (24 months), and the label will replace it if anything should happen.

Power: 24,000 mAh
Ports: USB-A, USB-C
Size: 6.13″ x 2.15″ x 1.95″

Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC

Sherpa 100AC
  • LCD display
  • Insane battery capacity
  • Durable aluminum body
  • 2-year warranty
  • Expensive

Best Rugged Power Bank: Goal Zero’s Sherpa 100 AC is so massive in its storage capacity, that the brand doesn’t even measure the total onboard storage in milliamps — but we did the math, and it breaks down to about 110,000 mAh, which is the equivalent of nearly 40 full iPhone 12 charges. Yes, you read that right: 40. That makes this perhaps unequivocally the absolute king of portable chargers. Granted, it’s a bit bigger than the rest — clocking in at 7.5″ on its longest side — but even its somewhat cumbersome format can be excused by its unmatched capability.

This isn’t a portable charger so much as it’s an emergency power hub for literally all the tech you might carry on a single day. It can even fully charge up a modern laptop… more than once.

Power: 110,000 mAh
Ports:  USB-C (2), USB-A (2)
Size: 7.5″ (longest side)

The Best Apple Watch Chargers and Stands

Best Apple Watch Chargers and Stands 0 Hero

Now that your other devices are taken care of, you might want to grab something from our best Apple Watch chargers and stands guide.