Choosing a portable phone charger that is right for you can be a daunting task due to the sheer volume of products currently available. Believe it of not there are over 210,000 products listed in the external battery pack section of Amazon.com. While it would normally be a relatively easy task to filter out the results by choosing products with at least 4 stars, this will still leave you with over 1500 products so choose from.
This buyers guide will help you better understand and decide which Portable Phone Charger is right for you.
The Physical Size and Weight
The general rule of thumb when it comes to the size and weight of a portable phone charger is that the lighter and more compact the battery pack, the less storage capacity it will have.
- The Pocket Size option – There are times when smaller is better, especially if you want to carry the battery pack around without having to have it in a bag or case. In this instance it would be advisable to choose a model that is pocket sized like the Anker Astro Mini which will give you roughly one and a half charges on most modern smartphones.
- Bigger is Better – If you are not overly concerned about being able to slip the portable phone charger in a tiny handbag or in a pocket, then bigger is most definitely better. Without size restrictions you are able to hugely improve your recharge capacity with barely any more actual cost. The RAVPower Element Deluxe external battery pack for example, is only fractionally more cost than the Anker Astro mini, but will give you up to 8 full charges
The Storage Capacity (mAh)
- What is mAh? – mAh stands for Milli Amp Hour and is a measure of capacity, if you consider the battery pack as a petrol tank on a car, the mAh is it’s fuel, hence the reason why a larger physical size means a greater amount of storage potential. It may seem simple enough to just pick a battery pack that has the biggest mAh value, but there is a general rule that once you go over 24,000 mAh you are entering the realms of instability and a much lower quality of charger due to the fact that reputable brands know that their product will become unreliable. The RAVPower Xtreme at 23,000 mAh will give you as many as 12 full charges and is about as much as you can achieve without compromising on quality.
The Charge and Recharge Speed
- Charge speed (charging your device) – When it comes to charging most smartphones the maximum charge output will be 1A (amp) this is typical and means that your phone will charge equally as quick as it would from it’s normal source. A small portable phone charger will typically have a 1A output which is fine for phones but impractical for other devices like iPads and Laptops. Most large capacity charging devices will have at least 2 outputs, one of which will be 2.1A. This is the port you would choose for charging larger devices and is a necessity if you intend to use the battery pack for tablets and laptops. It’s advisable to look for a portable phone charger with 2 USB ports and a max output of 3.5A, this way you can charge your phone and tablet at the same time.
- Recharge Speed (recharging your batter pack) A battery pack with a huge storage capacity like the RAVPower Xtreme can take a long time to fully recharge. When you consider the fact that your are putting enough power in it to give your phone 12 charges, it will clearly need a fair amount of time. The speed will be dependant on the source of power, it is advisable that you charge directly from a power socket as you would if you were charging an iPad or laptop. This will considerable speed up the process. A 24,000 mAh device will take between 10-14 hours from a wall socket and almost 50 hours from a USB port on a PC.
- This is sometimes one of the most confusing factors when choosing the best portable phone charger to buy. There are a number of brands that appear amazingly cheap, Anker and RAVPower are perfect examples. Despite these names not being as recognisable as the big brands like Sony and Samsung, it should be noted that in the world of portable phone chargers, these 2 in particular are heavy weights who have consistently proven to produce quality battery packs at extremely competitive prices. I would advise that you try to dismiss the general rule “You get what you pay for” when it comes to portable phone chargers. Instead, spend time reading the customer reviews to form an opinion on a particular charging device. You can easily spend half as much on a battery pack without any real compromise on the quality of the product.
Over the last two years I have reviewed dozens of portable phone chargers. I have gathered all my reviews into a Best 20000mAH Power Bank list, which I keep constantly updated. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re looking for a good quality high capacity power bank.