I have a crap on of people in my household, and for every one of those crumb snatchers comes a bazillion electronic devices all in need of a charge. I need the best battery pack possible to keep me charged and connected.
Tablets, phones, phablets and every apple device known to man inhabit my home.
External batteries are a must, so I grabbed a bunch to test and to help power starved parents everywhere stay connected. Here is the list
|Battery Model||Capacity||Number of Ports||Quick Charge|
|Jackery Bolt 6,000||6,000 mAh||3 (2 USB/1 Lighting||Y|
|Portable Charger RAVPower 26800mAh||26,800 mAh||3 USB||Y|
|Anker Astro E1 5200mAh||5,200 mAh||1 USB||Y|
|AUKEY 30000mAh Portable Charger||30,000 mAh||2 USB||Y|
|MAXOAK 50000mAh 6 Port Battery Pack||50,000 mAh||4 USB/1 20V/1 12V||Y|
|Anker PowerCore 5000||5,000 mAh||1 USB||Y|
|AmazonBasics Power Bank||16,100 mAh||2 USB||Y|
|Tylt ENERGI 5K+||5200 mAh||3 (2 USB/1 Lighting||Y|
|Anker PowerHouse||120,600 mAh ?||6 (4 USB/2 AC)||Y|
Jackery Bolt 6,000 – Best MFi Certified Battery Pack
Yes I’ll take built in cable management at the same price point as the competitors. You get the lighting connector as well as a micro-USB cable right off the bat. For someone silly enough to buy a phone with a proprietary connector, there is still the open USB port for a user supplied cable option.
All three connections are available to you for charging or powering compatible devices at the same time. Put that puppy on the arm rest and up to three people can jack in for uninterrupted selfies, streaming and gaming. I guess that’s why the brand is called Jackery. The other potential reason is just too weird.
The capacity of this battery is 6000 mAh, which will allow you to charge your IPhone 7 or Galaxy 7 fully once before the battery itself needs to be recharged. Again you are not limited to just phones.
Tablets, speakers, anything that can be charged with a USB connection is fair game for power. The battery is built to work with the quick charger specification and outputs 2.4amps form all connections.
My favorite feature of the Bolt is it’s size, being small enough to sit next to my latte without being conspicuous. While the company touts it as fitting in your pocket, it’s not exactly comfortable for charging in that manner due to the cable orientation.
Lastly, while not a necessary feature but one that is appreciated is the flashlight built into the battery which is super handy.
This battery is like having a small nuclear reactor in your pocket or bag. 26800mAh is a huge amount of power, and without nerding out on watt hours and the like, this battery can charge an iPhone 7 (that’s the standard size) approximately 9 times before needing a charge.
The Ravpower is an ideal power companion to the Galaxy S6 and S7 (should they ever work out it’s power issues) as well as the larger iPhone 6 and 7 plus versions, providing rapid charging 6 times over.
Rav batteries come equipped with their iSmart 2.0 charging system. This is a feature that makes me super comfortable, as the system performs a sort of voltage handshake ensuring your device gets the power it needs and nothing more.
While the electronics in most phones should have circuit protection while powering, why leave it to chance. I swear a surge from a faulty charger killed my Asus Zenfone 2.
Likewise, Rav has built protection into the battery itself ensuring that any poor electrical condition doesn’t destroy the battery, and more importantly your home.
The RavPower battery is charged by 5V 2A input. The specs say it will charge the device 50% faster with a charger meeting those specs. The reality is don’t hold your breath, plug it in at night and be happy with a full charge in the morning. Don’t expect something with that much juice to be ready to rock in a half hour.
If there is one major gripe I have with a multitude of batteries that didn’t make this list, it is the lack of a power indicator alerting me to the need to charge it up. The RavPower 26800 has a handy blue LED display indicating remaining charge. While a numerical display would be awesome, this method is helpful in showing charge capacity.
Anker Astro E1 5200mAh – Best Cheap Battery Pack
Equipped with Anker’s PowerIQ charging tech, the Astro allows you to suck the full 5200mAh of power into any device that’s equipped with a smart port. It allows for a safe rate of transfer identifying and matching the demands of the receiving device.
This is important to me because I’ve fried devices on batteries, chargers, you name it, so I’m very discriminating when it comes to what I connect to. Rated at up to 2 amps, it wasn’t uncommon for me to see charging at 2.2 amps!
This battery does not discriminate, meaning it doesn’t matter who your manufacturer is; Apple, Samsung, or less common brands stateside like Axon, you get the full available capacity thanks to the IQ technology.
I’m typically a “BIG” battery guy, but everyone is not as nerdy as me lugging around a huge backpack full of every gadget known to man. This battery is a small and well-designed piece of kit. It has a smooth ergonomic shape that will fit into any purse, backpack, or pocket. I can’t over emphasize the amount of big safe tech they put into this little battery.
So what can you expect out of this battery? Without going all electrical engineer on you there are some limitations of what you’ll be able to charge. Tablets whether android or Apple can be charged to a point, but more realistically this battery acts as a supplemental power source to bigger devices. I charged an old iPad 2 air to around 70% from 20%. Not bad.
But where it shines is with phones. My Axon Mini 7 is a battery hog, but with the Anker Astro I was able to reach full charge in about an hour with battery to spare. It takes about 5 hours to charge the Astro, but at under 20 bucks you could have two and plenty of power for the day. It also has my favorite features, LED’s to let you know exactly how much juice you have.
AUKEY 30000mAh Portable Charger – Best Battery Pack Under $50
There was a time when the Aukey Powerbank was the watt for watt the best portable battery on the market. She was queen of all she surveyed, and she deserved her crown with 30000 mAh of power to charge your life!
And while that distinction of highest output portable charger may no longer hold, this is still one mighty battery. The Aukey has a list of features which make it a safe and convenient offering for all of your portable devices, and that includes some laptops as well!
Aukey has their own proprietary circuit protection technology called AiPower capping output at a safe 5v, but able to output up to 2.4 amps as needed on a device basis. It also has one of the fastest quick charges around aptly named Quick Charge 3.0. This thing charged my crap Axon 7 Mini to full charge in 15 minutes from a battery charge of about 35%!
Physically, the battery is not much bigger than the other portable battery bricks made by its competitors. Of course, at 30000 mAh, you’re not going to put It in your pocket or a small purse. That’s OK, because this thing is going to provide power to the whole family in a variety of travel situations.
Just don’t plan on bringing it on an airplane in a carry on, since it exceeds the FAA’s 100 watt maximum. Getting permission to carry it on would just be a hassle, trust me, since I travel with Sony V-mount batteries, it’s easier to just pack them away.
So how long does it take to charge this thing? Well a portable battery with the capacity to charge an iPhone 7s, Huawei Honor 8, and an iPad Pro simultaneously without blinking is going to take a while. Using a 2.4a charger you’re looking at about 12 hours to full charge. Not bad at all. This is a damn fine battery.
MAXOAK 50000mAh 6 Port Battery Pack – Best Battery Pack 2017
I’m a fan of Maxoak. I use there V-mount batteries to power a host of professional video equipment, from high output LED panels, to cameras and monitors. I had no idea they offered this monster of a portable battery. You get a beasty 50000 mAh output spread over 6 ports. 4 USB ports at 2.1 amps, and two at 1 amp. You can charge using all 4 simultaneously and this thing won’t blink.
If that isn’t enough you get a 20 volt port and a 12 port volt. If you’re wondering why I’m so giddy over that last bit, it’s because it means you can charge your laptop from this battery. Any laptop that accepts a 5A input is a match for this powerbank.
I wanted to get busy testing this thing right away. I grabbed my trusty Axon Mini 7 which after an hour of use was down to 1% (I kid…but not really), my iPad Plus, and the wife’s Iphone 6 plus. I plugged them in simultaneously and let the Maxoak go to work. These three devices combine failed to stress this portable battery charger at all.
I use a USB Load inducer to test these batteries, and I try not to be too technical since we all really want something to work without having to be an electrical engineer. That said, this battery is friggin amazing. At the beginning of the article I put a caveat regarding manufacturer specs, and I’d say most batteries output 70-80% max of their stated capacity. Not this thing…your looking at 90%!
Even as I write this review, I have it connected to my Lenovo notebook whose battery has seen better days. I’ve been at it for hours and don’t feel the need to even look at the capacity of the battery. Charge time is a healthy 12 hours to full capacity.
This is another battery that won’t make it as a carry-on, but hey you’ll have juice for days when you reach your final destination.
Anker PowerCore 5000 – Best Small Portable Battery Pack
Oh my, look who’s on the list again, our good friends Anker. This small gem is my favorite value portable battery. The PowerCore 5000 is something I use every day, and I own 3 of them. They’re size to power ratio is just unbeatable, with the only caveat for me being that I seem to lose them more often than not.
At 5000mAh and one USB port it has limited uses, mainly being a useful external battery for cellphones, and supplemental charging to smaller tablets. However, it does both of these tasks very well and it’s size and price make it a hard deal to pass up.
I’ve found another sweet spot for this battery alongside my Sony A6300 mirrorless dslr. For some reason, I make abysmal choices in electronic devices when it comes to battery life. In video mode, this camera has about of half hour of usage time before the battery completely dies.
The PowerCore 5000 has become my go to power solution when I’m in the field shooting stills or videos with the camera. A little Velcro on the body of the camera and the battery make it a great solution for a small battery pack, in fact it’s a such a powerhouse for it’s size, it’s a contender for best batter pack.
This battery is super small, which is another plus even for a big battery guy. As I’ve mentioned my Axon 7 Mini is the ultimate drain hog. I can have the phone and this battery in my pocket and charge without a second thought. I bought an additional mini USB cable for that very purpose, to charge on the go with the batter concealed.
The only thing the Anker PowerCore 5000 is missing is the same QuickCharge tech present in their other batteries. I don’t worry about it with my devices because of the quality control inherent in the anchor line. It can output the 2.4a my devices need, and it charges in about 3 hours to full capacity. It definitely belongs on the 2017 best battery pack list.
This battery gets a lot of hate. It’s like the Beyonce of battery packs, and I just can’t figure out why. I can tell you this, it is beloved in my household as it was among one of the first portable power banks I ever purchased. Firstly, you should ensure you’re purchasing the correct product.
I purchased the 16,100 mAh bank. The battery has two USB ports which can be used simultaneously with a maximum output of 2.4 amps. It charges the ball and chains iPhone 6s quickly and fully with room left to spare. I’ve also charged my ancient Kindle 8” with my Axon 7 Mini with no problem.
The AmazonBasics has Apple MFi enabled and you can purchase an optional cord. We typically use the cords that came with our chargers with no problem. And while this battery doesn’t have any special technology attached to it, it does have Power Overload Protection which protects your devices from damage. Hey, we can call it PCP and make it sound fancy…or like your phone is going to take a bad trip.
Now, the one thing I will definitely complain about is charge time. It takes so long to charge that I’ve given up trying to quantify how long it takes. It doesn’t matter what the output of the wall charger, this sucker just takes a long time, especially relative to the power banks it its class.
The price makes up for this deficiency, as well as its performance which is quite good. It has a slender build that fit’s in a purse or jacket pocket. It also has my favorite feature, which is LED indicator lights. You know where you stand at all times with this battery. Is it perfect? No, but I’ve had mine for two years and have consistently used it to power all kinds of devices.
Tylt is an interesting brand. I tend to shy away from all-in-one brands that are of unknown quality. Competition is always welcomed and with its built-in cabling, the ENERGI 5K+ looks like it’s primed to give the Jackery a run for its money.
The capacity on the batter is rated at 5200mAh which at its size and feature set isn’t bad. It has both a lighting cable as well as a micro USB. There is a third USB port allowing to connect a device of your choice. All three ports output at 2.4 amps. My only concern is the quality of the cables. Should one fail, well that means you lose not only the efficiency this battery offers, but a large portion of the usability.
The battery is very capable charging both my Axon and our iPhone 6…as long as you tell it too. This I absolutely did not like about this battery. If you do not press the power button, then it is likely that the internal circuitry may not see the phone, and commence charging.
Aside from that caveat, I was able to charge both phones within an hour while reading my Kindle HD. The Kindle did not charge, but it did not lose any power either. This effectively drained the Tylt. Not a problem, as it charges in about three hours typical for a battery of this capacity.
The cables don’t seem as high quality as those on the Jackery, but as long as you’re not twirling them through the air, they should hold up just fine. This is a nice small travel battery that eliminates the need for bag full of cables. Not bad.
This is the external battery pack the apocalypse built. I’ve owned a lot of cool gadgets, but this thing may take the cake. Powerall provides two USB charging ports on a 12000 mAh battery. Our list is comprised of some pretty beasty power banks, so you may scoff at another one coming in under 15k mAh, only capable of handling two devices.
That is until you see the jumper cables. That’s right jumper cables. This little beauty is able to put out 400 crank amps, and jump a car in a crunch. That is super impressive, if not always super useful. Why you ask? Well most cars require more than that to get a jump, so you’re going to be limited to economy class cars for this feature to be effective.
The actual battery features themselves are pretty basic. The USB ports put out 2.1 amps of power making them capable of charging most android and Apple devices. The battery is a descent size and has a rubber coating that I think is supposed to be non-slip. Meh on that feature, as the rubber is kind of hard and slick.
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t put anything device I valued on this battery. It has a moffset style circuit protection which is prevalent on a lot of car audio equipment. I just don’t want 400 crank amps near any of my gear.
I also have to be honest in saying that I didn’t get to test the jump start capability, as my wife wouldn’t let me drain her battery.
Anker PowerHouse – Wish List Item Best Battery Pack List
Anker Muti-functional PowerHouse is a thing of beauty. When I’m playing filmmaker, there is always a shortage of power. Those days are gone. Once you get past the sticker shock, you realize you’re looking at a whole different class of “battery pack”. This thing is built like a tank, and heavy as one as well.
At a listed 434 watt-hours, I was ready to put this thing to the test. On location, I often use Aputure LS1s LED lights, and while they have a V-mount battery adapter, they are power hungry lasting no more than an hour on battery. I shot for 4 hours straight on this thing and not a blink!
It only has the one AC outlet, but it has a cigarette style AC output. If I’d had an inverter I’m sure I could have powered my other light as well. I was able to power a 55-inch Television, every laptop I own, and every tablet known to man. This battery is created for the off the grid adventurer and it does everything it says it can do.
The only question I had was whether it was user serviceable, especially considering the price point. From what I could tell that is not an option, so as the batteries die, you’ll have to replace what is a damn expensive battery.
However, you can take solace in an 18 month warranty. In the event of a power outage, this is the battery to have. It’s a wonderful device with more uses than I have imagination for. I hated to give it back, an I’m thinking I’m going to have to cough up the dough and buy one.