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11 best portable chargers and power banks: Top up your battery life while on the go

Never run out of juice again with one of these practical gadgets

David RS Taylor
Tuesday 18 May 2021 12:15
<p>Make sure you can get in touch with friends, get home and take those much-missed group selfies into the early hours with a proper portable charger</p>

Make sure you can get in touch with friends, get home and take those much-missed group selfies into the early hours with a proper portable charger

As the world begins to open up again, the problems and pitfalls of social life we were once used to will hit us hard and fast. Organising more than two people to meet in one place; calculating whose round it is (wondering if Gary will keep getting that expensive whisky each time); and making sure your phone is properly charged.

The latter is one of the biggest issues we all face when an evening goes on for longer than expected. The panic that washes over you as you rifle through your pocket, put your face to the screen and see 3 per cent flashing in red is an almost universal torment.

Make sure you can get in touch with friends, get home and take those much-missed group selfies into the early hours with a proper portable charger.

Not all portable chargers, or power banks, are created equal: some have super powerful batteries (the more milliamperes per hour, or mAh, the better), while others are lightweight, and yet more have functionality that you didn’t know you needed but now couldn’t do without.

How we tested

We’ve tested each of the below for speed, weight and power. Without this round-up, we would’ve been without our phones more than once while sitting outside in the rain an hour’s walk from home.

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The best portable chargers for 2021 are:

  • Best overall –Moshi iongo 5K duo: £69.95,
  • Best full system –Nolii, £59.97:
  • Best portable multi-charger – Belkin boost charge USB-C PD power bank 10K: £34.85,
  • Best charging power and speed – Anker powercore III elite 25600 PD: £85.99,
  • Best slimline charger – Moshi ionslim 5K USB-C: £54.95,
  • Best subtle charger – Mophie powerstation mini: £29.95,
  • Best for a more premium feel – Native Union jump+ powerbank: £85,
  • Best for wireless charging – Anker powercore III 10K wireless: £49.99,
  • Best for uninterrupted streaming – Belkin power bank 10K + stand: £19.99,
  • Best quick and slim charger – Anker powercore slim 10000 PD: £35.99,
  • Best for a mix of lightness and capacity – Mophie powerstation plus: £49.95,

Moshi iongo 5K duo

Best: Overall

  • Dimensions: 8.9cm x 5.1cm x 2.8cm
  • Charge ports: USB-C, Lightning
  • Battery: 5,000mAh

For the second year in a row, the iongo 5K duo reaches top spot with IndyBest. It has both USB-C and lightning cables built-in, so no fuss trying to wrap an extra cable around it, and a magnetic cover made of vegan leather snaps over to protect all the wiring. It looks great, is the most compact charger on the list, and has enough juice to fill your phone twice over. Plus, it offers “pass-through charging”, meaning you can recharge it and your phone at the same time.

Nolii couple battery

Best: Full system

  • Dimensions: 11.2cm x 6.5cm x 0.9cm
  • Charge ports: Lightning
  • Battery: 3,000mAh

While the portable charger from Nolii is great in itself, charging reliably and quickly, as part of their overall system, it’s tough to beat for iPhone users. Nolii’s modular ecosystem of iPhone accessories really does make life simpler. The battery clicks onto the back of your phone case, holding fast and meaning no swinging charger if you need to make a phone call. The patented couple system means you can switch the battery out for modules like a cardholder or exercise band.

Belkin boost charge USB-C PD power bank 10K

Best: Portable multi-charger

  • Dimensions: 14.3cm x 7.46cm x 1.65cm
  • Charge ports: USB-A, USB-C
  • Battery: 10,000mAh

The boost charge series is one of the best power bank ranges available, and this USB-C option is the best of the bunch. It offers an 18W power delivery output, which can fast charge both iPhones and USB-C devices from 0-50 per cent in around 30 minutes. You can also charge another device at the same time thought the 12W USB-A port.

Anker powercore III elite 25600 PD

Best: Charging power and speed

  • Dimensions: 18.35cm x 8.23cm x 2.39cm
  • Charging ports: USB- C
  • Battery: 25,600mAh

The powercore III elite is a beast. Hidden inside its bulky frame is a 25,600mAh battery ready to refill an iPhone 11 more than five times, or give a MacBook a full charge with no hassle. You can also charge three devices simultaneously, thanks to the 60W USB-C port and two 18W USB-A ports. The power delivery tech also means your charging is sorted in no time at all.

Moshi ionslim 5K USB-C

Best: Slimline charger

  • Dimensions: 17.5cm x 10.9cm x 1.5cm
  • Charge ports: USB-A, USB-C
  • Battery: 5,000mAh

The ion slim 5K is a very well-named product. At 8.5mm thick, it’s the slimmest charger on the list, with the durable, aircraft-grade aluminium body fitting nicely in your pocket. Like all Moshi products, it looks sophisticated and delivers a strong performance, ans the 5,000mAh battery will easily deal with a couple of phones at a time.

Mophie powerstation mini

Best: Subtle charger

  • Dimensions: 13cm x 6.8cm x 1.1cm
  • Charge ports: USB-C
  • Battery: 5,000mAh

Mophie makes lovely portable chargers, and the power station mini is a fine example of the brand’s design ethics. The fabric finish is different to most rivals and adds a subtlety to its looks that means it’ll be much less obvious that you’ve not planned your night ahead of time when you need to charge your phone in the middle of the dessert.

Native Union jump+ powerbank

Best: For a more premium feel

  • Dimensions: 14.75cm x 7.25cm x 2cm
  • Charge ports: USB-A, USB-C wireless
  • Battery: 12,000mAh

Native Union is known for its quality products. In fact, you’ve probably seen the Hong Kong brand’s reinforced, weaved cables with neat, anti-tangle leather belts, or night cables with a weighted knot at the end to keep the charger on the bedside table. This level of luxury and sophistication has been transferred to the power bank market.

The jump+ is a solid, premium portable charger, with fast charge power delivery and Qi wireless capability. For a wired charge, the cable is characteristically strong, comes with a leather strap and is Apple MFi certified. You’ll never need another portable charger again. It’s currently unavailable, but we hope it’ll be back in stock soon.

Anker powercore III 10K wireless

Best: For wireless charging

  • Dimensions: 14.9cm x 6.8cm x 1.9cm
  • Charge ports: USB-A, USB-C, wireless
  • Battery: 10,000mAh

Anker claims to have more than 55 million customers. It’s not a surprise, as its products regularly appear on lists like this one. The powercore III wireless is one of the best wireless portable chargers around: the Qi-certified wireless charging runs at 10W, almost as quickly as when wired. Speaking of, you can do that with this charger too, and charge your device wirelessly while you recharge the power bank itself.

Belkin power bank 10K + stand

Best: For uninterrupted streaming

  • Dimensions: 15cm x 7.6cm x 2cm
  • Charge ports: USB-A, USB-C
  • Battery: 10,000mAh

Sometimes, the simplest designs are the best. It’s true here: a good quality Belkin charger is given an extra lease of life with a simple attachment that pulls out and holds your device at the perfect angle for viewing. You’ll never need to wait to watch those TikTok compilation videos again.

Anker powercore slim 10000 PD

Best: Quick and slim charger

  • Dimensions: 14.9cm x 6.8cm x 1.4cm
  • Charge ports: USB-A, USB-C
  • Battery: 10,000mAh

Anker delivers again with the powercore Slim. The power delivery charges an iPhone 12 to 50 per cent in half an hour, while the slimline body helps with portability. It’s the brand’s slimmest 20W charger, and you can tell, fitting lightly and easily in a handbag or rucksack.

Mophie powerstation plus

Best: For a mix of lightness and capacity

  • Dimensions: 6.9cm x 13cm x 1.5cm
  • Charge ports: Lightning, USB-A
  • Battery: 6,040mAh

The powerstation plus does the business both in terms of portability and power, offering a 6,040mAh battery in a light but durable case and a cleverly-integrated lightning cable. Mophie’s classic fabric finish makes this a stylish and powerful option for any iPhone user.

Portable charger FAQs

How small and light should it be?

There’s a balance to be found between portability and power: something super-small and lightweight is ideal to carry with you but may only give you a couple of hours’ extra juice. If you want to recharge your laptop, you need a bigger battery that’s powerful enough to handle the energy-hungry computer. It’ll also govern how quickly the recharge happens.

What connectivity options are there?

You need to make sure the charger is compatible with your needs. If you have an iPhone and that’s what your charger is for, then consider one with a lightning cable built-in so you don’t need to carry a separate cable as well. Or, if you’re an Android user, check if your phone has microUSB or the more recent USB-C as the port to plug into. Generally, USB-C is faster.

Most portable chargers have a USB-A (the larger connector we used to call USB until USB-C came along) as their output ports, though some opt for USB-C instead. Again, make sure what cable your device came with, but USB-A is still the most widespread charging cable.

What capacity should I go for?

Again, that comes down to the portability. The higher the capacity, the bigger the battery. Try for 5k (that’s a 5,000mAh battery) as a minimum as that will offer around two charges of a phone battery.

How about a battery case?

This is a highly effective way to be sure you don’t forget your portable charger, as it’s attached to your phone, but it does bulk it up.

How about solar?

This is a niche but pretty cool way to go. Some consist of solar panels alone, so can only charge during daylight hours, ideally in sunlight. Others have a battery so you can charge the panel in the day and use that to charge your phone at night.

The verdict: Portable chargers

Each charger on the list caters brilliantly to different needs, but for the right mix of portability, looks and charging power, the Moshi iongo 5K duo is the best option. For a solid, premium feel, the Native Union Jump+ Powerbank does the trick.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.