What is the best portable power bank?
One of the key tenets of this site is that your mobile phone is your most important piece of urban survival gear, primarily because it keeps you in touch with your relational networks. Additionally, it is your primary source of online information and can easily function as your sole timekeeping device, calendar, calculator, flashlight, and game machine. Unfortunately, the more you use this wonderful device, the more you run down the batteries.
Just about all of us have experienced the frustration of a dead phone during an important event in our lives. Thus, the odds of having a dead battery during an emergency are incalculably high and a mobile phone with an empty battery is useless dead weight. It is true that we can carry a wall charger and cable, but then we must wait for our phones to charge and we are often tied to a wall outlet if we can find one at all. Consequently, the urban survivor always carries either a spare battery or a portable power bank.
Phone manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung are phasing out replaceable batteries from their premier lines, and other manufacturers are following this trend. This result has led to the increase in portable power banks for the purpose of keeping our mobile equipment in operation. They can power our phones, tablets, laptops and a myriad of other electronic gadgets. Enterprising companies have responded to our needs by making devices in a variety of shapes, sizes, and capacities. For better or worse, there are myriad of such devices on the market, leading everyone to ask, “What is the best portable power bank?”
The top power bank depends on the reason you have for buying one. If you want to remove the hassle of wall chargers and power cords for differing devices, you need an All in One power bank. Perhaps you need rugged one that is water and drop resistant. Read on to find the best power bank for your needs. While giant power banks are attractive, they are too heavy to always have on hand, and most people in the city can get by on 10,000mAh capacity power banks.
Best All in One Power Bank: The 10000mAh All in One Power Bank by Heloideo
- capacity: 10000mAh
- weight: 9oz
- size: 6.3 x 3 x 0.6 inches
- charging speed: fully charges in 6-8 hours from a wall socket
- Passthrough Charging: yes, but slower than charging just from the power bank
- Output capacity: 5v/2.4 amps, no fast charging
This is perfect for travelers and people on the go. As an all in one device, it has a built-in wall adapter, so you can plug it directly into any 110-240 voltage AC outlet, in the US or overseas. It also has a built-in Lightning cable to charge Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, iPods and such. It also has a second built-in micro USB cable to charge Android devices, as well as Bluetooth speakers, and headphones. Additionally, this power bank has the new USB type C cable which can charge the Samsung Galaxy S8/S9 as well as recent Google, Moto and LG phones. These cables are attached permanently to the device, so you can’t lose them and when not in use, they fit smoothly into the recessed edges of the power pack, so they won’t become damaged or broken. Furthermore, if you do break a cable you can still use the two USB ports in the bottom of the device to charge your equipment.
With a built-in adapter and three integral charging cables, you can be sure that this one portable power pack can replace five separate pieces of equipment and yet it will charge all your equipment and that of your friends as well. It is the simplest solution possible, just charge up your power bank and you will have electricity for whatever happens next. At a size of 6.3 x 3 x 0.6 inches and a weight of 9 oz, this all in one portable charger is about the size of your smartphone and can easily fit into your pocket.
If you are like most people, you like to charge your phone overnight. Fortunately, the All in One power bank allows pass-through charging, so you can charge both at and the phone at the same time. Unfortunately, it does not support fast charging. Hopefully, that feature will be included in the future. The weakness of this battery is that it could be more rugged. We will consider external batteries that focus on ruggedness in the next section.
Here is a review of the very similar 5000mAh Heloideo by Chris Shao
Best Rugged Power Bank: FosPower PowerActive 10200 mAh Power Bank
- capacity: 10200 mAh
- weight: 7.76 oz
- size: 3.98 x 2.54 x 1.06in
- charging speed: 5V / 2A (About 5 hours)
- Passthrough Charging: I don’t know, probably not recommended
- Output capacity: 5V / 2.1A
In emergencies and survival situations, you need reliable power in all circumstances. You definitely need a rugged phone. or a least a rugged case for your phone. Likewise, you should have a rugged power bank for back up. Even if you just charge it up and keep it in storage, a well-built power bank will keep its charge for a couple of months or more. This makes it practical for you to keep a rugged power pack in your Commuter bag, Get Home Bag, Bug Out Bag, Hiking bag, car, runner’s belt or even just your pockets. The FosPower PowerActive 10200 mAh Power Bank is very popular and reliable because it is the best combination of power, convenience, and toughness.
This is a rugged IP67 milspec power bank. IP means “ingress protection”, and that means things like dust, sand, and water can’t get inside and ruin your device. IP6 signals this FosPower device is completely protected from harmful dust. IP_7 shows that this power bank is completely waterproof and you can leave it underwater to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. However, you can’t put it in the washing machine and when charging a device, you must remove the waterproof cap, so charging a cell phone in a rainstorm might be a problem. The unit is also shockproof, so you should be able to drop it a meter to the ground without damage. Some users have tested this to be true.
The FosPower also comes with a built-in light, but to use the light you must open the waterproof lid, so it’s usefulness as a wilderness light is limited. It also comes with a compass, but most regard the compass as a useless toy. Finally, it comes with a carabiner to hang on the outside of your gear as you travel. Other similar units come with a built-in solar charger, this one does not. However, these small solar chargers are just a gimmick as it would take 35 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge a 10,000 mAh power bank. In the end, solar charging is a useless feature that adds 3 oz to the weight of a unit.
Here is a review of the FosPower by Pizza Tek.
You can buy the FosPower PowerActive 10200 mAh Power Bank here.
In the end, modern life requires vast amounts of electricity. Our portable devices are not able to last as long as we want or need. The best solution is to buy one or more power banks. Which you prefer, versatility or ruggedness?
Well, that’s my opinion. Please add your thoughts in the comments below.