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  • Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD

  • How We Tested Power Banks for Laptops

  • What You Should Know About Power Banks for Laptops

  • Other Power Banks for Laptops We Tested

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A GoalZero Sherpa 100PD sits on top of a MacBook Pro
Credit: Reviewed / Séamus Bellamy

Rugged, powerful, and versatile, the GoalZero Sherpa PD100 is the best laptop battery pack for most people.

Best Overall
Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD

With its 25,000 mAh battery, a wide selection of ports, Qi wireless charging pad, and rugged build quality, the GoalZero Sherpa 100PD has a lot to offer.

The 100PD's 60 Watt USB-C port is equipped with Power Delivery—a technology that optimizes charging rates, depending on the device connected to the port—allowing for faster laptop, tablet, and smartphone charging times than many other batteries in its class. This USB-C port is also used to charge the battery. If you're using the battery in a locale where charging it using a USB-C power adapter is impossible, GoalZero offers a number of compatible solar charging solutions to see that the 100PD can be topped off in the field.

In total, the 100 PD is capable of delivering 90 Watts of power. Happily, GoalZero makes it easy to use the battery to its full potential, as the battery pack is packed full of other ways to provide power to the portable devices in your life. In addition to its single USB-C port, the 100PD also comes equipped with a Qi wireless charging pad, built into the top of the battery's housing, which makes charging compatible smartphones and true wireless earbuds a simple affair. Users can also make use of the battery's two 2.4 Amp USB-A charging ports to juice up a vast variety of other devices. With the ability to charge so many devices, simultaneously, it could be hard to estimate how much power the 100PD has left to offer as it works. GoalZero sorted this issue out by including a battery percentage meter in the battery pack's control panel.

There's not much to complain about with the 100PD. However, at 1.4 pounds, it's far from the lightest power bank out there. The heft can be blamed upon its outstanding build quality. However, its weight could be a dealbreaker.

Pros

  • Wide selection of ports

  • Includes a wireless charging pad

  • Handles multiple devices at once

Cons

  • None that we could find

How We Tested Power Banks for Laptops

These are the best large USB battery packs.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

For this roundup, we focused on testing USB battery packs that offer enough juice to charge a laptop.

The Tester

I’m Richard Baguley, a veteran tech writer who has been testing and breaking technology for over 20 years. I’ve tested and rated pretty much every piece of technology out there over that time for publications such as Reviewed.com, Wired, PC World, and many others.

The Tests

For this roundup, we focused on testing battery packs that offer between 10,000 to 30,000 mAh of power storage. That’s enough juice to charge a laptop at least once in the case of the former and multiple times in the case of the latter.

We used the Total Phase USB Power Analyzer, a small device designed to record how much power is delivered from one USB device to another, to measure the power being absorbed while the batteries were charging, and then used it again to measure how much power each battery could output to devices connected to it. For our testing purposes, we used an 11-inch iPad Pro, an iPhone XS, and a Samsung Note 8 Smartphone—one-by-one and, where possible, charging together.

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Finally, we measured the maximum amount of power each battery could deliver by running them into USB dummy loads. These are testing devices that pretend to be power-hungry smartphones.

What You Should Know About Power Banks for Laptops

A USB battery pack allows you to transfer a store of energy from one device to another, similar to how a laptop charger designed to be plugged into a wall socket does. In this case, however, The lithium batteries inside these packs store electrical energy in chemical form, which can then be released in a controlled manner. Connected to these lithium batteries is a charge controller, which is a small computer that controls the flow of power in and out of the battery.

When a battery pack's power reserve has been depleted, you'll need to recharge it before using it again. Most of them don't come with chargers. Instead, manufacturers assume you'll already have a USB charger from a cell phone that you can use to charge your USB battery pack.

Why Can’t All USB Battery Packs Charge A Laptop?

Recently, laptop manufacturers started exclusively equipping their machines with USB-C ports. Where the previous version of USB carried a limited amount of power (up to about 18 Watts), USB-C ports carry up to 100 Watts, which is enough to charge the larger battery of a laptop.

USB Power Delivery (called PD for short) can be used with any device such as tablets, laptops, cell phones, etc. It's basically designed to handle higher voltages in a safe manner. Unfortunately, not all USB battery packs come with PD charging, even if they have USB-C ports.

What To Look For In A Power Bank For Laptops

There are five things you need to look out for when buying a power bank for your laptop or tablet: capacity, power output, ports, and portability.

Capacity: The capacity is the measure of energy the battery can store. The capacity of a battery is recorded in milliamp-hours (mAh) or Watt-hours (Wh). Both of these measurements represent how much electrical energy the battery can release over time. 1 mAh means the battery can release energy at a rate of 1 milliamp for one hour. 1 Watt-hour means that the battery can release a flow of 1 Watt for one hour. Different manufacturers use different numbers for their products, but the bottom line is the bigger the number, the more juice the battery can store.

Power Output: The power output is a measure of how much power the battery can output at maximum. Measured in Watts, the higher this number is the better. If you're charging a laptop that can receive up to 60 Watts with a battery that can output only 30 Watts, it will take twice as long as it would with one that can give out 60W. A 60W battery will charge more devices at once than a 30W one at full speed.

Ports: Ports are used to connect the battery to the devices you want to charge. USB-A ports are large and rectangular and can be found on most gaming laptops. Some offer built-in cables that have plugs for micro USB or Lightning connectors. You usually see these types of ports on older Android devices or iPads. There's also USB-C, which can handle more energy than USB-A.

Portability: 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 (and thus will be able to charge your laptop several times) but will be harder to lug around.


Other Power Banks for Laptops We Tested

Product image of Omnicharge Omni Mobile 25600
Omnicharge Omni Mobile 25600

Weighing a little over a pound, the Omnicharge Omnimobile 25,600 Pro is a large battery. It feels sturdy and capable of withstanding some rough treatment. Its feature set includes a wireless charging pad for your smartphone and a variable DC output for your laptop. This is great news for anyone with an older laptop, as they don't typically support USB charging. While the Omnicharge can charge most laptops, you have to buy the proprietary laptop power cable and connector in order to do so.

The Omnicharge’s USB-C port delivers 60 Watts of juice while its two USB-A ports support QuickCharge 3.0m at 18 Watts each, allowing you to charge mobile devices like iPhones and tablets. We had no trouble simultaneously charging a Chromebook over USB-C, an iPhone XS with the wireless charger, and wireless headphones over USB-A.

Pros

  • Nice and sturdy

  • Includes a wireless charging pad

Cons

  • Large and heavy

Product image of Mophie Powerstation AC
Mophie Powerstation AC

The Mophie Powerstation AC is the largest battery we tested and the only one that comes with an AC converter. That means you can plug a 110V AC power adapter into it like the ones shipped with older laptops. It’s also capable of powering low-draw AC electronics such as radios and lamps. Plug high-draw devices such as a refrigerator or microwave into it and, well, not a lot’s going to happen. You should know that using the AC/DC converter will drain this battery faster than if you were using its USB ports. If you do have an older laptop that you’d like to power on-the-go, the Omnicharge Omnimobile, with its variable DC power output, is a better choice.

In addition to this, our research found that when charging devices via the Powerstration AC’s USB-A or USB-C ports, which deliver 30 and 18 Watts respectively, fell behind a number of the less expensive batteries we tested, as they were able to deliver more power.

Pros

  • Powers AC electronics like lamps and radios

Cons

  • Underperforms in terms of charging times

Product image of Zendure X6
Zendure X6

The Zendure X6 has a 20,600 mAh battery that can output a maximum of 45 Watts, which is a little less power than some of the other batteries we tested. However, it comes with a 63 Watt charger that supports pass-through power. So, when you plug the Zendure X6 into a wall socket, it can still recharge and/or power any hardware that you've plugged into it with up to 60 Watts of power.

The battery offers four USB-A ports and a single USB-C port. Not only can it charge up to five devices at once, but it also delivers more than 45 Watts to all of its ports in total. Only one of its USB-A ports supports QuickCHarge, which delivers 18 Watts of power, while the other three are limited to just 12 Watts. This means you have to remember to charge high-power devices like cell phones using the former and low-power devices like wireless headphones using the latter. That's less than ideal.

Pros

  • Five USB charging ports

  • Supports Quick Charge 3.0

Cons

  • Only one port works for Quick Charge 3.0

Meet the tester

Richard Baguley

Richard Baguley

Contributor

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Richard Baguley is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

See all of Richard Baguley's reviews

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