Happiness is a fully charged battery. If you travel regularly, you know just how quickly your phone, tablet, mobile hotspot, and other gear can run out of juice. That’s why I consider it essential to take a portable battery pack, which lets you extend your runtimes without having to seek out an AC outlet.
But the fact is that not all portable battery packs are created equal, and there are certain things you need to take into consideration before choose the best one. Here’s our guide.
Before you make purchasing decision, list out all the devices you’ll charge using the bank, including the devices your family members have. What’s the use of receiving a nice looking package delivered by a delivery man, which contains something which can work with your iPhone but can’t charge your iPod?
The charge capacity is measured in milliampere hour(mAh). It’s the amount of energy a power bank can hold. The bigger the mAh the longer it lasts.
Now you need to understand one important thing, if a charger is rated as 10,000 mAh, “efficient” chargers can provide a maximum charge of 8000 mAh, because 20% of the energy is lost to reasons like voltage conversion and circuit resistance and self-resistance.
For example, when you own – 1,810mAh (iPhone 6) + 2,600mAh (Samsung Galaxy S4) = 4,410mAh, you got to buy a charger with a capacity of greater than 100/80*4410 = 5513mAh. On the safer side I would go with a charger with 8000mAh capacity.
The complete buying process boils down to the purpose of the charger. When are you going to use the charger? Is it during your office travel? During your hiking trip?
If you want to use it for a day-to-day purpose while travelling, assuming that you forget to charge your phone (2300mAh) in the night, a 3000mAh battery will get you through the day. But if you want to have portable charge for your hiking for 2-3 days continuously, you can go for an 8000mAh portable battery pack or more.
When it comes to portability, your external cell phone battery charger should be the size you can carry with great convenience. It should be lightweight, portable and pocket-friendly. The one I should consider which is slim and stylish therefore fits in together with my lifestyle.
5. Output current
Most portable battery pack manufacturers will disclose how many amps they can deliver: usually 0.5A, 1A, or 2A. Amperage tells you how quickly a battery pack can charge up your device. A charger with 2A output current will charge the devices faster than one with 1A output current. Most tablets also require a 2A charge output.
The input current is normally 1A. If you can strike a deal with input current too by finding one with 2A, it’s well and good.
A good charger will have built-in overload protection to make sure that the devices are never overcharged, sent too much electricity or short-circuited. These safety measures can alleviate any concerns about fire hazards that are possible with incompatible or inferior chargers.
7. LED charge indicators
The importance of LED charge indicators can’t be emphasized enough. Charge indicator will help in knowing the charge remaining in your battery pack. Without them it’s just like taking a shot in the dark. Most of today’s chargers have it.
8. Connecting cables
Most portable battery packs will come with some charging cables, though since they all function off USB, you can always use the charging cables you already own. Still, if you’re going to get new cables, they might as well suit your needs. Check out the cable length to see if the portable charger offers short cables (best for purses and pockets) or longer cables (ideal for desktop charging).
9. Customer support
The manufacturer should provide a prompt customer support. The electronics are pesky little things which need a plan B when they do not work. Good chargers have up to 18 months warranty or 12 months guarantee.
Finally comes the price. Trust me you don’t want to purchase a thing which breaks tomorrow. Once all the above are good to go, you should consider the pricing. It shouldn’t exceed your budget too much, but you also should think twice about a $10 brand-less battery pack that sounds like a great deal compared to a branded one which costs four times as much, because it’s often impossible to know if it cuts any corners in order to achieve the low price.