We spent 57 hours researching and testing power banks (USB battery packs) to see which would give us the bestquality charging device at the most reasonable price. With an abundance of mobile devices in our lives, we had no shortage of products that needed to be powered up. In the end, we loved the Romoss Up10 10000mAh Power Bank the most.
Table of Contents
What is a Power Bank?
Power banks are also sometimes known as USB battery packs. Very simply put, they store power (electrical energy) for use at a later time when you can’t get your device to a wall outlet.
They consist of a battery in a case with a special circuit that controls power flow. You can use power banks with nearly any portable device that can be charged using a USB cable such as your smartphone, tablet, camera, and GoPro. Nearly anything that can be charged with a USB can be plugged into a power bank to recharge its battery.
These devices have become incredibly popular as the world becomes more and more dependent on mobile devices. With this influx of use, our mobile devices become depleted of power more quickly than ever before. A power bank can give your device that extra boost of energy when you are away from a wall outlet and can’t use your regular charger.
Power Banks are purchased based on their capacity rating which is measured in mAh and stands for milli-Ampere hour. A higher mAh means that the power bank can hold and distribute more power to your device before the bank needs to be recharged.
Power Banks can come with one or more ports to use for charging, and each of these ports can come with a different Amperage Rating. Be sure to compare this when you are purchasing as the amperage will determine how fast the power bank will charge your mobile device.
The below chart gives the approximate amount of power that each mAh rating will hold, and the time it will take to charge a mobile phone or a tablet.
Another good rule of thumb is to know the mAh rating of the device you want to charge. Be sure to buy a power bank with a rating equal to or higher than that device.For example,the iPhone 6 battery is rated at 1810mAh so you would want to buy a power bank with an 1810mAh rating or more.
mAh Ratings vs. Charge Times
|Power Bank Rating||Mobile Phone||Tablet|
|2000mAh||Approximately 1 full charge||Approximately 25%|
|5200mAh||Approximately 2 full charges||Approximately 50%|
|10000mAh||4 full charges||At least 100% full charge|
How We Selected
Power Banks have become ubiquitous in the world we live in today. Look around, and you will see them being used everywhere. You can purchase them in any number of locations from shopping malls, to big box stores, to gas stations. We have become more dependent on our portable devices and don’t want to be stuck without power.
Because of their popularity, we wanted to wade through the many choices available and to find the models that performed best.
When we first started selecting, we found over 5,000 devices available to purchase! Gosh, we only wanted to test five…
We wanted to know what previous buyers thought of each model before we tested them. This way, we could knock out any power banks that weren’t already liked by consumers. Once we did that, we eliminated thousands of models but still had over 1,100 in the running.
Many of these were over $100, but we thought that a more reasonable price for most customers would be under $40. Once we eliminated the higher-priced models, we were left with only 300 results. Of course, 300 is still a lot more than five, so we set out to do some additional preliminary work so that we could whittle down our choices.
We decided to turn to online sites such as Cnet.com and Wired.com to read up on their opinions since they know their stuff when it comes to technology.
Once we had their input, we could now understand the most critical aspects of choosing and testing power banks. Next, we were off and running, choosing our top five power banks to test and review.
Features to Consider
Battery Type–Power Banks can have a wide range of batteries, from Lithium ion to the newer, safer, Polymer batteries. Know which type of battery is in your power bank as some airlines ban certain battery types in carry-on luggage. Be sure to check which batteries the FAA allows in both carry-on and checked-in luggage.
Number of Ports – The more ports your power bank has, the more devices it can charge at once. For example, two ports mean you can charge two separate devices simultaneously.
Capacity Rating – Capacity rating will let you know how powerful your power bank is regarding how many times it will be able to recharge your devices before needing to be recharged itself.
Charging Port Amperage – The amperage of the charging port will determine how quickly your device will charge. Some power banks offer two charging ports, and they may have a different amperage rating from each other. Be sure to know which of the two ports has the higher amperage if you need to charge a device quickly.
Because power banks come in a wide range of capacities, charging power, sizes, and weights, we wanted to be sure to include a graph with a side-by-side comparison of the five power banks we tested.
|Romoss Up10||Dulla 12000||Jackery 12000||Mogix 10400||Anker PowerCore 20100|
|# of Ports||2||2||2||2||2|
|Weight||9.3 ounces||12 ounces||10.4 ounces||6.6 ounces||12.5 ounces|
|Dimensions||4.4 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches||6.1 x 3.1 x 0.5 inches||4.3 x 3.1 x 0.8 inches||5.3 x 2.9 x 0.5 inches||6.5 x 2.3 x 0.9 inches|
How We Tested
We knew that comparing these five power banks would be a bit tricky because each is unique and different from the other regarding their power and charging ability as well as their size and weight.
In the end, we tested to be sure each unit held power for as long as the stated mAh capacity claimed it should, and that the unit charged our devices flawlessly.
We also wanted to compare how quickly they charged our devices and if they stood up to the amperage rating that was advertised.
What We Liked
- We liked that the Dulla 12000 is slim and compact, yet still has great battery power that can charge our phone repeatedly without needing to be recharged.
- We liked that the Romoss could be plugged right into a 110 Volt outlet to be charged, without needing to keep track of another USB cord.
- We liked that the Jackery 1200 and the Dulla 1200 have a built-in LED flashlight to help find cords, plugs, etc., in the dark.
- We liked that the Mogix is a US-based, family-owned company.
What We Didn’t Like
- Although the Jackery 12000 worked perfectly and charged our smartphone easily, it was bulkier than the others which made it less portable than the other power banks we tested.
- We didn’t like that most models didn’t come with a USB cord capable of charging Apple products. However, we already had the Apple-capable USB that came with our iPhone, so we just used that.
Not all power banks are created equal. There are a variety of features and technical specifications that you’ll need to understand to choose the best model for your needs. You will need to know what mAh stands for and how it affects your purchase. Also, you’ll need to understand how powerful (amperage) the output ports are and subsequently, how fast they will charge your devices. We compiled the information you’ll need to understand these and other specifications of power banks in this handy guide. We’ve done all the background work for you. All you’ll need to do is get reading…..and charging!