As technology continues to grow its role as an integral part of our daily lives (mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices) has become indispensable in our day-to-day. Whether we use them for work, leisure or simply as a primary means of communication and social interactions, the reality is we now need to be connected at all times.
Unfortunately, the batteries in our devices don’t often have the life we would like them to have. In fact, it seems that as other tech specs get better and better, battery life gets shorter and shorter. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t had their phone die at the most inopportune time? One very practical solution to this annoying problem is to have an external battery that allows you to charge your devices anytime, anywhere.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best external batteries on the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about external batteries
- 3.1 What is an external battery or power bank exactly?
- 3.2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of external batteries?
- 3.3 Why is it recommended to own an external battery?
- 3.4 How do external batteries work?
- 3.5 How do I charge my Power Bank?
- 3.6 What care do power banks require?
- 3.7 What types of external batteries are there?
- 3.8 What is the capacity of an external battery?
- 3.9 How many charge-ups can be made with one fully loaded power bank?
- 3.10 Is it possible to bring external batteries on a plane?
- 4 Purchase Criteria
- 5 Summary
- External batteries or power banks are used to charge mobile phones, tablets and even laptops and other electronic devices. Its primary function is to extend the hours of use of electronic devices.
- They are ideal for people who need to be connected continuously or during long journeys with no access to power outlets.
- The price for these devices is not usually excessively high. You won’t need to make a large financial investment in order to enjoy all the advantages of prolonged battery life.
Ranking: The best external batteries on the market
Below, we offer you our complete ranking with the 5 best external batteries available on the market today. We have made a varied selection taking into account the different needs you may have. This way, you will be able to choose the one that is best suited to your needs.
No. 1: Poweradd, Pilot X7 – 20,000 mAh
This external battery offers a capacity of 20,000 mAh at a very agreeable price. It has auto-detection technology that allows you to recognize the type of device connected in order to provide it with maximum loading speed. It comes in an elegant and practical design in red and black with a light that indicates the remaining energy.
This power bank has two USB outputs, so you can charge two devices at the same time. It is lightweight, comfortable and easy to carry. It takes 8 hours to fully charge. It comes with a 24 month warranty that ensures you will be enjoying it for a long time.
No. 2: Licorne, External Backup Battery – 24,000 mAh
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This solar panel battery is one of the best sellers in Canada. It comes with fast solar charging technology and double solar panels. It also has an integrated Li-polymer battery with a 24,000 mAh capacity. In addition, it comes with a protective silicone shell that makes it waterproof, shockproof and dust-proof. It comes with dual USB smart charging technology, which allows you to charge two devices at once.
This solar battery also comes with Emergency Double Bright LED lights, ideal for outdoor trips or in emergency circumstances. It is compatible with most iOS and Android devices. As with any product, it’s always advisable to make sure that it is compatible with your device before buying it. This device can also be charged by connecting it to a power outlet and not just through the solar panels.
No. 3: Poweradd, Slim 2 -5,000 mAh
The 5,000 mAh Poweradd Slim2 is a small, lightweight and compact external battery with enough capacity to charge a smartphone twice. Thanks to its small size and the fact that it weighs less than 200 g, you will be able to carry it in your pocket. It is available in four different colours: black, light blue, red and pink.
In short, this is a very practical external battery that can get you out of more than one predicament. In addition, it is guaranteed by one of the most prestigious brands on the market. Best of all, its price is truly affordable, so your wallet will also stay full.
No. 4: Quick Charge, 3.0 Power Bank – 20,100 mAh
This external battery boasts of very fast charge-ups and a large energy storage capacity. In a single charge cycle you can charge an iPhone 7 six to seven times. Plus, it only takes 5 hours to fully charge it. However, to enjoy this high speed you will need a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 charger.
This is the first portable external battery with USB-C/Type-C capabilities. It offers protection against short circuits and energy overloads during the loading or unloading process. These qualities make it an external battery of one of the higher end models. Logically, quality often comes at a price and this battery may be a little more than some would spend.
No. 5: Anker, Power Core – 21,100 mAh
This powerful external battery allows you to charge mobile phones, tablets and even laptops. Moreover, it does so at very high speeds. It comes with two fast-charging USB ports and a C-type USB port. It also includes a 60 cm USB Type C cable and a micro USB cable.
If you need a high-quality, powerful, fast charging external battery, this is the device you’ve been looking for. It has a colossal capacity of 26,800 mAh. Nonetheless, keep in mind its price is quite high and most of the time it’s power is not necessary for daily use.
Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about external batteries
When choosing the best power bank for you, consider the following questions to help guide you towards your best option. And if not the “best” option, then the one that best suits your needs. Ahead in this section we address a series of frequently asked questions that can help clarify any doubts you may have.
What is an external battery or power bank exactly?
An external battery is an electronic device that allows you to charge electronic devices without having to connect them to an electrical outlet. It’s the ideal accessory to a mobile phone, laptop or tablet, specially when you’re on the road. They are lightweight, compact and easy to transport.
You will no longer have to worry about your battery running out in the middle of a work call. You also won’t have to worry about your phone turning off when waiting for an important message, or your Uber, or worrying about running out of power during an important match during one of your favourite games.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of external batteries?
External batteries allow us to enjoy our mobile phones, laptops and tablets anytime, anywhere. In addition, they are portable and take little space, they are easy to use and are usually compatible with virtually any electronic device.
It is actually quite difficult to find any specific and important disadvantages for having them. Our one word of caution is that you avoid buying one of poor quality, as they have been known to exploded as a result of serious manufacturing defects.
Why is it recommended to own an external battery?
These handy devices are recommended to anyone who owns an electronic device because they are convenient enough to keep with your tech equipment at all times as this allows you to stay connected whenever you need to be. External batteries are the ideal accessory for frequent travellers and of course, also for those who need to be connected at all times.
How do external batteries work?
Power banks consist of a lithium battery and an electronic circuit board (PCB) that serves as the brain of the device. Moreover, they usually have multiple USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously. They also have a micro USB port through which the battery of the power bank itself is charged.
When a device is connected to the external battery, it recognizes it and supplies it with the specific electrical current it needs to charge.
This process can take more or less time depending on the type of battery and the type of device connected. The external battery in turn, is charged by connecting to a power source.
How do I charge my Power Bank?
External batteries are charged through a micro USB port that is connected to electrical current through a USB charger. They can also be charged using a computer or another external battery. If you want to enjoy fast charging speeds, it’s recommended that you opt for a “fast charge” device.
What care do power banks require?
First of all, it is important to keep them away from high temperatures. Exposure to very high temperatures can create irreversible damage. It should go without saying, as with most electronic equipment, you have to avoid getting them wet and from experiencing intense shock. If it accidentally falls into the water, do not use it again.
When charging devices with external batteries, avoid placing them one on top of the other. Doing so may increase the temperature of both electronics exposing them to damage from overheating. Last but not least, it is advisable to use them with devices of appropriate charge. Make sure they’re compatible with your battery.
What types of external batteries are there?
There are different types of external batteries, each tailored to specific needs. There are pocket ones which are small and portable, thought mainly for mobile phones. The ultra slim ones are similar to the pocket style ones, but with an ultra slim design. In addition, there are those of great capacity and those of enormous capacity, the size and weight of these devices increases with higher charge capacities.
Moreover, there are all-terrain models ideal for nature lovers who like to be active outdoors. There are also external solar batteries that can be charged with solar power. These devices are even being used by businesses (ie: restaurants, hotels, subway stations, etc.) to offer their clients the added service of charging their mobiles.
What is the capacity of an external battery?
Currently, there are external batteries on the market with capacities that vary depending on the main use for which they are designed. The capacity of an external battery is measured in milliamperes-hour (mAh). Logically, more capacity means more weight, bigger size, more loading time and a higher price.
As a reference, generally a small battery can have a capacity of 5,000 mAh. On the other hand, a high-capacity battery can exceed 30,000 mAh. To give you an idea of what this means; the full charge of an iPhone X requires no less than 2,716 mAh.
How many charge-ups can be made with one fully loaded power bank?
A mistake that is often made when calculating the number of charges on an external battery is that many people think you can get this number by dividing the capacity their device’s battery by the capacity of the power bank. This calculation will results in them believing they have been deceived concerning the actual capacity of the battery.
Unfortunately, no energy transfer process is 100% efficient. In the specific case of external batteries, their current efficiency is around 60% or 70%. Here’s a formula that lets you calculate how many charges can be done with a fully loaded external battery.
Number of charges = External battery capacity (mAh) x Performance / Battery capacity of the device to be charged (mAh)
Is it possible to bring external batteries on a plane?
You can rest assured, external batteries can be carried on an airplane. Air law allows them to travel as part of hand luggage and without much fuss. What is not allowed however, is to send them in checked luggage. Moreover, for safety reasons they should never exceed a nominal capacity of 100 Wh.
Next, we will analyze a series of important criteria you should take into account when buying a power bank. Our hope is that this information makes it easier for you to choose the portable charger that best suits your needs, ensuring you will enjoy it fully. Without further ado, the most important things to consider:
- Capacity (mAh)
- Charge time of external battery
- Smart Charge
- Extra Features
In general, when it comes to external batteries the price is often lined to different features. The most common and influential ones are: battery quality, manufacturer, size and/or manufacturing materials. Today, you can find a good-quality external battery for about 15 bucks.
Of course, if you’re looking to acquire a power bank with great capacity, you will likely have to make a much larger financial commitment.
The capacity of today’s external batteries can range from 2,600 mAh to 30,000 mAh. For a point of reference, most mobile batteries are in the range of 1,500 mAh to 5,000 mAh. Tablets, on the other hand, usually range from 8,000 mAh to 12,000 mAh.
Our advice is that you opt for a battery that has twice the capacity required by the primary device you are going to need to charge. To accurately calculate the capacity you will need, you must keep in mind that some of the accumulated energy in the charger is lost during charge. So, you know what they say; its better to be safe than sorry.
Often the size of the battery is related to its charging capacity. By the same token, if its dimensions are larger, it is also likely to be less comfortable to transport. At the end of the day, remember to choose the size according to your priorities. Do you need more capacity and power or do you need it to be comfortable to carry and easy to transport?
External batteries must be practical and easy to carry. Don’t forget that its main use is to charge your devices when you’re away from home or on a trip. It’s important to make sure you buy one that you can easily take with you anywhere, otherwise you may never enjoy it’s full potential by leaving it behind.
Generally, higher quality and higher price tend to go hand in hand, but don’t fret, it’s not impossible to find a good external battery at a good price. Nonetheless, we advise you to avoid unknown brands. For your safety, we recommend that you choose a reputable brand that offers a guarantee period of at least two years.
Charge times of external batteries
The charge time for the power bank basically depends on two factors: the capacity of the external battery (mAh) and the intensity of the input current (mA). We advise you to check what is the maximum input current that the battery can take. The time it takes to fully load your power bank will depend on this number.
Predominantly, these magnitudes appear in the external battery specifications. They should be clearly indicated in the user manual.
An intelligent charge system allows the power bank to identify the amperage of the connected device to optimize the charging process. Please note that not all external batteries incorporate this system. However, more and more brands are including this technology in their devices.
When buying an external battery you should also consider some of the extra features. It is usually convenient to have more than one USB port. This will allow you to charge more than one device at a time. Other extras to consider are USB cables, USB-C ports, instruction manuals and protective covers.
External battery manufacturers don’t usually sell them with a charger, when it is included, you can consider it a plus when making the final decision. The same could be said for products that offer other extras such as a carrying case, instruction books or USB cables.
External batteries are the perfect complement to mobile devices. They offer you the possibility to make use of technology during your travels or long periods away from home, the office or an outlet. In addition, they are practical and very easy to use, and far as price goes, you are certain to find a good power bank within any budget.
If you’re thinking about buying an external battery, there are a number of factors that will help you make the right choice. As always, price is a key aspect to consider, but so are size, loading time and loading capacity. In addition, it is recommended that the device you choose has an intelligent charging system for optimal charging and to prolong the life of your batteries.
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(Featured image source: Vegh: 39030724/123rf.com)