We have categorized 5 types of power banks
- Best cheap price power bank
- The best mid-range power bank
- The best high-end power bank
- The best mid-range power bank
- A solid and correct power bank
- A great autonomy power bank
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 5 best power banks among more than fifty models marketed at the moment. My favorite at the moment is the Anker Powercore Lite, which in addition to being light and compact, offers good performance, and a USB-C port. You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to help you choose the best power bank that will suit you best!
The best and cheap power bank
So much to say immediately: there are many, really many low-cost models in terms of power banks.
The models in this category have, as a bonus, the advantage of addressing each time to a different audience. It is undoubtedly in this category that you will find your happiness.
Anker Powercore Lite: the best cheap power banks
Anker power bank is simply the heavy weight of the external input and midrange batteries. I have many myself, and the quality of the ports – with good resistance to connection – and electronic components have allowed me to trust him with my hardware.
You will see it, however, that does not necessarily mean that these products are perfect. It is even a mirror of the second model of this comparative, Xiaomi: we trade a benefit for another. All for the same price is knowing what is most important to you.
First of all, let’s talk about design. If the size is very similar to that of Xiaomi, the weight is a lot lighter, with the only 200g on the scale. This trait is even put forward in the name, Powerlite.
Only, you have to know what it’s worth, and it’s not due to the optimization – still quite limited to this price – of electronic components. If it is so light, it is primarily because its shell is plastic, not aluminum.
We, therefore, give up the advantages of this material, especially the impact resistance, although I must admit that the plastic used by Anker is generally of good quality. It should also be noted that the solidarity of the pieces between them is felt, in particular by the compactness.
But this is often where the fault point of batteries is: if they fall and the elements have too much space to move, there is a risk of damage.
From experience, my Anker 5000mAh battery, even less compact than this one, has seen all the colors. And despite its plastic shell, I have never had the slightest damage to lament.
Performance issue, this battery offers the same capacity as the Xiaomi, ie 10,000 mAh with a real autonomy that is close to 7 000. But unlike its competitor, instead of two USB type A, we have a single USB-C port.
It is also compatible with fast charging at 2.4A, although too limited in output to support Qualcomm Quick Charge. Again, it’s in another price area.
This power bank comes with a travel pouch, an 18-month warranty, and the after-sales service of a great, efficient brand.
If you are looking for more design and the presence of a second port, it is better to move towards the Xiaomi. But if you want an adaptation to the standard USB-C, Anker is the only brand to offer for this price.
Xiaomi Mi 10000: A solid and correct power banks
Suffice to say, batteries 10,000 mAh less than 34$, there are many. Really, really a lot. So what led us to select this model over another?
Well, design level, it’s already a great effort for this price. The new Xiaomi external battery is only 14mm thick – a third less than the previous model of the same brand.
I regret that it is, however, a little longer than 1cm – which is easily explained by the presence of two USB ports instead of one.
The other design asset is its elegant aluminum finish. You should know that this is relatively rare in this price range, where most brands have been content with a plastic shell. The problem, in this case, is twofold.
In addition to being more vulnerable to shocks than aluminum, plastic does not have the same isothermal virtues either. This is important if you live in a hot area or the battery is exposed to the sun since the lithium-ion batteries that are used in the vast majority of these devices are very sensitive to heat.
Let’s talk about its energy capacity. You will see throughout this comparison, there is an important point to understand when talking about external batteries.
The autonomy displayed in mAh is indicative, it illustrates the maximum capacity of it.
In reality, the real autonomy is always lower, and it tends to gradually reduce with the wear of the battery. A little bit like HDD hard drives.
This difference allowed me to really compare the batteries with each other.
With the Xiaomi, we reach 6900mAh on average on the models marketed.
When we put it back to back with power bank of manufacturers less known and less serious, we can pass the bar of 50% of displayed / actual autonomy.
And then, 6900mAh is enough to recharge the iPhone 6 almost 4 times. As much to admit it, if one thinks of reloading it regularly, it is amply enough.
Especially since there is another data to study, it is that of the yield. The efficiency is the calculation of the energy loss spent to charge the battery, compared to its actual autonomy in use.
For simplicity, with the progress of lithium-ion batteries in recent years, a battery with a yield less than 90% is not really worth the detour, and it is still the case of many entry-level models. Not this: at 93%, it’s a very satisfactory score.
In terms of ergonomics and safety, everything is there. I pass you the technical details, but it is equipped with security sensors to avoid overvoltages, overheating short circuits, and all the other inconveniences. You are sure not to damage your devices by connecting them to this battery.
It is also equipped with a fast charge – that is to say greater than 2A – provided that only one device is connected at a time. Indeed, the 2.4A in output is shared between the two USB ports.
There is nothing to be disappointed, it is a standard limitation in this price range. The same goes for the absence of a USB-C port: to take advantage of this type of connection, it is necessary to aim for a higher range.
we have, for about 28$, a battery ultra-compact, serious, aluminum, with a real autonomy of 6900mAh, and it is a very good deal.
Tronsmart Trim: A great autonomy power bank
This model is a little different from the first two. The Xiaomi emphasized the quality of the hull and the dual-port; the Anker on the speed of the load, the weight, and the standard USB-C. Here, despite several limitations that I will discuss in more detail, we are facing an excellent value for money.
Because it is not 10 000mAh, but 20 000mAh of autonomy.
This choice has a price in terms of ergonomics. The weight is important – almost 400 g – and it is much bigger than its competitors.
From the point of view of the quality of construction, for only thirty euros, we have of course a plastic shell.
This external battery, however, has many advantages. Beyond its great autonomy – enough to charge a Samsung Galaxy 9S several times.
But what catches my attention is mostly the total output of 6.5A, enough for an output of 3.0A on each of the two ports. It is compatible with the fast charging of many smartphones, but also the Qualcomm Quick charge 3.0.
In total, there are three ports, including a USB-C, for full adaptability to the use you intend to make.
The battery comes with a single USB-A cable, a bit short for my taste – 20cm – and without AC adapter. There is nevertheless a travel pouch, convenient to protect the device.
In a general way, you will have understood it, it is a mixed model. The quality of the hardware itself is poor, although the external battery fulfills its contract very well. The 20,000 mAh is an asset for this price, but it’s really its main advantage.
Because beyond that, she suffers from some design flaws. For example, it would have been better, with such a mAh, that the battery charge itself benefits from the Quick charge. In this case, it takes at least 7 hours for a full recharge: it is very restrictive.
The Tronsmart, however, avoids several pitfalls. There is no overheating to notice, and it is well equipped with all safety railings to avoid damaging the battery or devices you plug into.
If only for that and its impressive autonomy for this price, she deserved to be part of this ranking.
The best midrange power bank
Ideally, in this price range, I tried to find external batteries with a good finish and a range greater than 15,000 mAh.
What I found exceeded all my expectations, since the external battery that I found also allows to load some laptops.
ZMI: The best mid-range power bank
It goes well over 56$, but it’s for the good cause: this external battery can be used as a backup battery for your laptop, thanks to its long battery life and standard USB-C.
In fact, it is the most versatile and the most efficient in this price range. We talk about it in detail.
If you’re looking for an external USB-C battery that can keep your Chromebook afloat, it’s the best choice. Although computer manufacturers have made progress and it is becoming easier and easier to get power outlets on trains or cafes, it’s always nice to have a backup solution.
Even though the hull is plastic – a bit of a problem, I’ll talk about it later – I have to admit that there have been some big design efforts. Its rounded shape allows you to slip everywhere without any problem.
With 20,000 mAh and standard USB-C 45W charging – enough for most laptops – ZMI does the job.
Admittedly, it’s a big piece of technology, with its 405g on the scale. We would rather consider putting it in the pocket of his PC than in his pocket.
You have to be aware of some limitations of its performance before rushing on it, however. It only provides 45W, which is 3A at 15V – the most common standard for computer chargers. This is not enough for all computers running at 20V, like some office PCs in the mid-2010s.
In this case, we must fall back on a model at 65 W, which should cover all the needs of the smartphone to the laptop, through the tablets. It is more careful. If like me, you use a standard 12 or 15 V, it is perfectly the case.
You can expect a boost of up to 80% for most standard batteries.
It is able to pass an Asus Zenbook 2 Deluxe from 10 to 84% in 1:30. Not bad!
Its standard 3A also makes it very effective for smartphones, since it is compatible with the Qualcomm Quick-Charge.
If I advise it mainly as a charging aid for a laptop, it is that it has a significant weight for a single USB-C charging port. It does not quite fit with the way most people use it to charge a smartphone, e-reader or e-cigarette.
The other small downside is that the battery tends to heat slightly when it solicits its 45W load. Be careful not to keep it in a bag or in the sun when you use it.
The best high-end power bank
In this category, I gave priority to the best quality of construction, for a range greater than 20 000 mAh. Without falling into prohibitive prices – over 170$ – only one model has kept all its promises.
Anker PowerCore + 26800: The best high-end power banks
We finish this comparison with the last product Anker, the PowerCore + 26800. An external battery XXL which has a record autonomy of – as the name suggests – 26 800mAh. The price, it is not the same: it exceeds the bar of 136$.
Like many Anker products, we are limited to a plastic shell – with the slight disadvantages we all know. Once again, the solidity and solidarity of the components remain satisfactory, especially as the ports are also of very good quality.
It has a 30W USB-C convertible port and two 3A USB ports. It’s not enough to charge most laptops – except for some models like the MacBook Pro 13 – but quite suitable for three devices including two fast charge.
Unfortunately, the Qualcomm Quick Charge standard is not supported.
Naturally, given its very wide autonomy, we reach 580 g of weight, and a consequent size of 180x80x24 mm. It’s understandable when you know that you can recharge your Galaxy S7 6 times or 5 times your Nintendo Switch!
My biggest disappointment is that you need to use a charger with Power Delivery technology – and that’s not the case for everyone. So you should consider buying a charger USB-C approved for fifteen Dollars.
I took this point into consideration to establish the value for money of this battery, especially as it is often on sale.
So it’s a very positive balance sheet. The relationship between autonomy and price is among the best, and Anker quality is a very good point. Durability and build quality are among the best on the market.