Modern mobile devices can do pretty much everything. Your smartphone is a camera, a video player, video game console, an MP3 player, and a notebook, all in one compact package. Unfortunately, using all of your handset’s functionality can eat up its battery power, fast. That's where a USB battery pack can help your phone. It will charge your iPhone or Samsung on the go, no power outlet required.
After weeks of research and testing, we've concluded that the Jackery Bolt is the best portable charger to buy for most people. It’s a compact 10,050 mAh battery pack that offers built-in micro USB and Lightning power cables, plus a USB-A port. It has all of the features and power that most users will ever need.
Our best portable charger and battery for phones and tablets equipped with a USB-C port is the Mophie PowerStation PD (available at Amazon). It’s a small, well-designed battery that offers a lot of features for a reasonable price. It supports high-speed charging and stores enough power to fully recharge a Galaxy S10, twice.
Here are the best USB battery packs we tested ranked, in order:
Mophie Powerstation PD
Aukey 5000mAh Power Bank
Luxtude PowerEasy 5000L
Fuse Chicken Universal
RAVPower 2-in-1 Portable Charger
Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux
Metecsmart Phone Battery Charger Portable
Mophie Powerstation Plus
Anker PowerCore Fusion
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Jackery Bolt 10050mAh
Mophie Powerstation PD
How We Tested
What You Should Know About Portable Chargers
What To Look For in a Portable Charger for your Smartphone and Small Devices
At just 4.5 inches long, the Jackery Bolt is surprisingly compact, considering its high capacity, at 10,050mAh. That's enough power to charge an iPhone XR three times! The Bolt boasts built-in Lightning and micro USB cables, which can be tucked away when they’re not in use. That it comes equipped with a USB-A port means you’ll be able to use this battery pack to charge a wide variety of devices. The Bolt comes packing a built-in LED flashlight, too. A built-in charge meter provides users with a rough estimate of how much power the portable battery has left in it, making it easy to know when it’s time to recharge it.
That said, the Bolt isn’t without its limitations. It can output a total of 18 watts of juice—but not to one single port or built-in cable. So, when using the Bolt to charge a device, whatever you have plugged into it will only get a small taste of the total amount of juice the battery has to offer: about 5 Watts (at 5 Volts/1 Amp) on the micro USB cable, 12 Watts (5 Volts at 2.4 Amps) on the USB-A port, while its Lightning cable can deliver roughly 10.5 Watts (5 Volts at 2.1 Amps). What this means is that the Bolt can charge a couple of devices at once, but charging them, one at a time, won’t net you a quick charging time.
At just over four by two by 0.9 inches, the Mophie PowerStation PD is a small battery but, with its 6,700 mAh capacity, it packs a punch. This juice can be output through its USB-C or USB-A port, which delivers 18 and 14 Watts, respectively.
As its name suggests, the Powerstation PD also supports Power Delivery, which negotiates higher voltages and power outputs over a USB-C output/input with devices that support it. This results in faster charge times. This battery can deliver 18 Watts of power, which is enough output to charge two phones, simultaneously. Attempt to charge a phone and tablet at the same time, however, and you’ll find that your tablet will recharge at a snail’s pace. I was disappointed by this battery’s lack of built-in charging cables.
I’m Richard Baguley, a veteran tech writer who has been testing and writing about technology for over 20 years. During that time, I’ve tested and written about a wide variety of hardware for publications such as Reviewed.com, Wired, PC World and many others. I understand the underlying technology that makes a battery work and know how to test to see whether or not one’s worth your money.
For this guide, we’ve focused on portability over power, looking at battery packs that are light and compact enough to include in your everyday carry but offer enough power to provide your phone or tablet a charge or two. If you're looking for high-capacity power banks to charge your laptop or larger device, we are currently testing those and will publish our favorites soon.This meant looking for batteries that offer between 5000 to 10,000 mAh (milliampere-hour) of power storage. After researching the most popular and well-reviewed USB battery packs in this mAh range, we called in 10 of the most popular and well-reviewed models that we were able to find.
Each battery in this guide was put through a number of tests:
We measured how much power each battery could store by using a Total Phase USB Power Analyzer to measure the amount of power flowing into the battery as it charged
We measured how much power each battery was capable of outputting to an 11-inch iPad Pro, an iPhone XS and a Samsung Note 8 smartphone, both individually and charging together (where supported)
We also measured the maximum amount of power they could deliver by running them into USB dummy loads: testing devices that pretend to be power-hungry smartphones.
These tests gave us an excellent overview of how much juice these USB batteries are capable of delivering. Additionally, we also gave consideration to the design, build quality and features of each battery.
A modern USB battery pack comes packed to the gills with Lithium batteries. These batteries store electrical energy in chemical form, which can be released in a controlled way. A small computer, called a charge controller, is connected to these lithium batteries. The charge controller, as its name suggests, controls the flow of power in and out of the battery pack’s lithium batteries as it charges a connected device and while you’re recharging the battery pack. In the interest of keeping costs low, most of the battery packs in this guide ship without a USB wall adapter. If you’d rather not invest in one, your battery pack can be charged, in many cases, using the same wall adapter you use to charge your tablet or phone with, or by plugging it into one of your laptop’s USB ports.
What To Look For in a Portable Charger for your Smartphone and Small Devices
When shopping for a USB battery pack, you’ll want to keep these terms in mind:
Capacity: The measure of how much energy the battery can store. The capacity of the battery is recorded in milliamp-hours (mAh) or Watt-hours (Wh). Both of these represent how much electrical energy the battery can release over time: 1 mAh means that the battery can release energy at a rate of 1 milliamp for 1 hour. 1 Watt-hour means that the battery can release a flow of 1 Watt for 1 hour. As a rule, the bigger the number, the more juice the battery can store. For consistency, we have used mAh in this article.
Power output: A measure of how much power the battery can output at maximum. Measured in Watts, the higher this number, the better. If you are charging an iPhone XS or other large smartphones, it can draw as much as 18 Watts. So, if you want to charge two phones at once, you are going to need something that can output at least 30 Watts of power.
Ports Most USB battery packs come equipped with USB-A ports: the larger, rectangular ports used by most devices. Some offer built-in cables that have plugs for micro USB or Lightning connectors for charging devices like an Amazon Kindle or an iPhone, respectively. Many come packing more recent USB-C style ports that are compatible with many Android phones, Apple’s iPad Pro or the Nintendo Switch. USB-C can safely transfer more energy than the older USB-A ports can. They’re also bidirectional: this means that you can use the same cable and port to charge a device with your battery, or charge the battery itself.
Portability: is how easy the battery is to carry around. A smaller battery will hold less charge, but will be easier to carry with you. A bigger battery will hold more juice but will be harder to carry around.
Other Portable Chargers We Tested
This cigar-shaped battery is the least expensive in our guide, and the simplest. Weighing just 4.8 ounces, it comes equipped with a single USB-A port. Next to this port is the micro USB power input. Three small LEDs light up to show how much power the battery pack currently contains. battery charge.
As the name suggests, Aukey holds about 5000 mAh of power, which can be sent out at a rate of up to 10 Watts (5 Volts at 2 Amps). That’s not a lot, and makes this battery more suited to lower power devices, like headphones and fitness trackers. Our iPhone XS took nearly twice as long to charge from this device as it did from more powerful batteries like the Jackery Bolt. Despite this shortcoming, it’s not a bad option for anyone looking for a portable power source, though; at just 4.8 oz, it wouldn’t weigh you down and can easily fit into a coat pocket or bag.
If you love the sleek, thin profile of the iPhone XS, the Luxtude PowerEasy 5000L is the battery for you. This svelte battery has the same size, shape and curved corners as the iPhone XS. Tucked into the bottom of the battery is a stowable lightning cable, and this 5,000 mAh battery can use it to recharge your iPhone XS about one and a half times. That’s not as much as some in this roundup, but it is enough to keep you amused on a long flight or car trip.
Unfortunately, with no other connections or ports other than its integrated Lightning adapter, it’s only suitable for use with Apple devices.
Need a battery that has everything but the kitchen sink? That would be the wonderfully named Fuse Chicken Universal. This compact (3.1 by 3.1 by 1.1-inch) device contains a power supply with USB-A and USB-C outputs, a wireless charging pad and a 6,700 mAh battery for recharging on-the-go. Oh, and don’t forget the included international plug adapters for charging in the US, UK, Europe Union, and Australia. The 6,700 mAh battery has enough oomph to recharge an 11-inch iPad Pro to about 80% or recharge an iPhone XS twice, so it should be able to get you through all but the longest airplane flights. Plus, when you arrive you can plug it in and charge it up again, so that’s one less thing to carry. It supports the Power Delivery (PD) standard, which means it can up the voltage to deliver more juice, delivering 18 Watts (at 12 Volts, 1.5 Amps) through the USB-C port.
Putting all of this aside, the Fuse Chicken Universal is more expensive than many other batteries of the same capacity.
Like the Fuse Chicken Universal, the RAVPower 2-in-1 Portable Charger combines a power supply and battery into a 3.1 by 1-inch square device. Its 6,700 mAh battery that can deliver about 14 Watts to its two USB-A ports. While similar to the Fuse Chicken Universal and the Anker Fusion 5000 in this regard, the RavPower lacks the Fuse Chicken’s wireless power, USB-C port and interchangeable power plugs.
The Anker PowerCore 10000 favors simplicity over features: you get a 10,000 mAh battery, one USB-A output, one USB-C output and—that’s it. No built-in cables, no multiple outputs, no wireless charging, and no other fancy features. This battery has it where it counts, though, holding a hefty 10,000 mAh of power. That’s an impressive amount for a battery about the size of a pack of cards (3.5 by 2.5 by 0.9-inches). This can be output about 17 Watts (15 Volts/1.4 Amps), about the same as others in this roundup. The only control is a single button and four LEDs that show the charge level, but the large battery does mean that you should be able to charge an iPhone XS battery two and a bit times. That’s enough to stay in touch on a weekend camping trip.
The Metecsmart Phone Battery Charger Portable, also known as the M0527, is one of the smallest batteries around. At 3.5 by 2.5 by 1.5 inches, It’s about the size of a credit card, although somewhat thicker. This battery has a 5,000 mAh capacity, two USB-A outputs and a micro USB port for charging. It can deliver about 10 Watts of juice (5 Volts at 2 Amps), and has enough capacity to charge an iPhone XS once. There are no built-in charging cables, so you'll need to carry them with you, adding to the overall bulk of this otherwise diminutive charger.
Weighing in at about 9.5 oz and measuring 5.6 inches long, the Powerstation Plus is an impressive slab of a battery. It holds 6,000 mAh of power, which can be dispensed through its built-in USB-C charging cable or via its USB-A port.
The Powerstation Plus’ support for Power Delivery (PD) means it can do some clever stuff to make charging easier, like increasing the voltage sent over the USB-C connection to 10 Volts. This trick doesn’t mean it charges any faster, however. Instead, it makes the power transfer slightly more efficient.
The Powerstation Plus has a maximum output of 18 Watts. We were able to get full charges using the Samsung Note 8 and an iPhone XS at once, as the combined draw is about 18W. However, when we replaced the Note 8 with an iPad (which can suck down 18W on its own), the charging speed of the iPhone dropped considerably, as both devices have to share the 18W of juice on offer. Our only real complaint is this battery’s integrated USB C cable, at four inches long, feels a bit short. In order to charge a smartphone while the cable is plugged into it, you’ll have to hold both the battery and the handset in the same hand. That’s pretty awkward.
Like the Fuse Chicken Universal, the Anker PowerCore Fusion combines power supply and a USB battery in one neat package. Flip out its power connector, plug it in and it works as a wall charger with a USB-A power supply, pumping out 14 Watts to each of its two USB-A ports, delivered as 5 volt, 2.1 Amps of power. Unplug the PowerCore Fusion from the wall socket, and your devices will continue charging from the Fusion’s built-in 5,000 mAh battery—enough capacity to charge an iPhone XS roughly one and a half times.
The PowerCore Fusion isn’t as compact as batteries that don’t include the power supply: the Metecsmart 5000 offers the same amount of portable power in a far smaller package. But, as the PowerCore Fusion is both a power supply and USB battery, it’s a great pick for travelers with frequent access to a wall socket for those who want to keep their phone charges on the go.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.