Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Best Portable USB Battery Packs – Reviewed & Compared

In the modern world, it is almost vital that we have charge on our phones at all time. We never know when that important job interview email will come in, or when we might get lost and need to pull up Google maps, or who will try calling us and worry because we aren’t answering.

Phone manufactures, however, don’t seem to be creating phones with our need for more battery power in mind. Instead, they tend to stuff them with features that, while potentially cool, just end up really draining our phones out of even more precious juice.

This is where charging banks come in

These are small (or sometimes large) devices that you can carry around with you. When you need to start charging your phone, all you have to do is insert your phone into the device (mostly through a cable) and then your phone will start charging.

These charging banks have a few advantages over buying spare batteries for your phone and keeping them around. The first one being that you would have to be lucky enough to have a phone that you can remove the battery on. The second is that when you buy a new phone, chances are that all of your spare batteries will be useless. However, with a charging bank, they can fit any phone (or in fact, pretty much anything that can be charged by USB), meaning that a one time purchase will ensure that your electronic devices can remain charged for the rest of your life.

The only question then is which power pack should you buy? Really, there are five main devices on the market, with each one having their own advantages and disadvantages. This article attempts to help give you clarity on which one of these main five to buy.

Poweradd Pilot 2GS

Poweradd Pilot 2GS

Costing $19.99, the Poweradd Pilot is a pretty cheap option when you consider what consequences (such as missing important calls) can happen if you let your phone run out of power.

The Poweradd Pilot 2GS has a 10,000mAh battery, which is enough to charge most modern phones up to 4 times before the bank itself needs to be charged.

One thing that you need to consider when making the decision to purchase a power bank is its size; after all, you will need to be carrying it around along side your phone for when you need to charge. The Poweradd Pilot 2GS is a plain, rectangular shape, which means that it will be able to fit into any handbag (or some pockets), and it’s size, 5.4 inches by 2.9 inches, means that it won’t be taking that much room, as it is just slightly bigger and thicker than most modern smart phones.

One advantage to buying the Poweradd Pilot 2GS over other power banks is the twenty-four month warranty. This means that this device could actually be quite a big investment, as if it breaks for any reason, it is simple to get a replacement.

This is especially vital as one difficultly with this product is that a lot of people do report problems with it. Not enough to break devices, but things such as the battery pack becoming very hot while charging, status LEDs no longer working, etc.

The Poweradd Pilot 2GS, like many other power banks these days, actually has two USB ports on it. This means that you can charge up to two devices, e.g. your phone and a tablet, at the same time. One port also provides a lot more power than the other, meaning that you can also choose which device gets charged up the fastest.

The only other downside is that this device does not stop charging once your phone, tablet, or other electronic device reaches a full charge. This means that you might not want to leave devices charging over night with it, as once the power reaches 100%, the Poweradd Pilot 2GS battery pack will still carry on trying to send more battery juice to your phone, draining the battery pack.

One other small problem with the Poweradd Pilot 2GS is that the battery pack it self can take a long time to charge, with a total charging time of up to 14 hours.

Kmashi 10000mah

One potentially great thing about the Kmashi is its shape. Wherever it is actually good or not depends on how you are thinking of carrying your portable USB battery pack around.

It is a much smaller rectangle than the Poweradd Pilot 2GS but to compensate for this, it adds quite a bit of extra thickness. This means that it might actually be easier to fit into inside pockets on a jacket, as long as you don’t mind there being an obvious bulge.

It is also slightly cheaper than the Poweradd Pilot 2GS as well, coming it at only $13.99, a saving of six dollars. Despite this extra cheap price, the Kmashi has the same amount of battery juice as the Poweradd Pilot 2GS charging bank.

The Kmashi also takes a lot shorter time to charge itself than the Poweradd Pilot 2GS, taking only a maximum of eight hours before it achieves a completely full charge.

However, this faster charging time for the Kmashi 10000mah does not transfer over to a faster charging time for your electronic devices. Although the USB ports are advertised as being the same speed as the ports on the Poweradd Pilot 2GS, they actually output a lot less power.

Because of the two USB port on most power banks, many people actually carry on charging their devices through them when charging the powerbank itself, allowing only one plug socket to be used for charging two devices. However, this is not possible with the KMashi 10000mah, as the moment it is plugged into a power source to charge, it stops providing charge to other devices.

One other thing about the Kmashi 10000mah is that its power button works differently to other electronic devices you might be used to. Whereas the default and typical behavior is to have a long press for turning a device on, this one will not turn on if you hold down the power button. This does also mean that you need to be careful when you put it into a back pack, as if another object bumps into it, the device might turn on and start giving away some of its extra charge, leaving you with a less full power bank when you do go to use it.

JETech Portable

JETech Portable

The JETech Portable is more expensive than either the Kmashi or the Poweradd Pilot 2GS, but you get a lot of power for the price of $38.99.

Firstly, it has over double the battery as the previous two, with a massive 22400mAh battery. This means that you simply do not have to charge the battery bank as often as the others.

As well as this, instead of just having two ports to charge USB devices on, the JETech Portable actually has three different USB ports, and unlike others, all three of them run on the highest voltage, meaning that you can charge up to three different devices at full speed, instead of having to decide on which one of your devices gets the benefit of the faster USB plug.

For notifications about current battery levels, the JETech Portable uses a simple LED light system, but whereas on other battery packs this LED light can very with accuracy, the JETech can actually give you a pretty decent idea of how much charge, exactly, you have left, meaning that it is less likely for you to have the surprise of finding out that you can’t actually charge up your device.

Of course, there are some downsides to this massive capability. One big one is because of the massive 22400mah battery. The charging time for the JETech Portable can reach as high as twenty-two hours, meaning that if you are looking into portable USB battery packs in preparation for a holiday, you will want to make sure that this one arrives at least a day before you go away so you can make sure it is fully charged.

The other thing to consider is that it, because of the increased size, it is a lot larger and heavier than comparable battery packs, meaning that you do need to also consider how portable you want it to be. It is a lot bigger than many smart phones, and significantly heavier.

There is one other small, great feature on the device though. In an emergency, the battery pack can also become a flash light. This means that the JETech Portable is actually a perfect device for any hikers or people who like to go camping.

EasyAcc Classic 10000mah

EasyAcc Classic 10000mah

Costing just one dollar more than the Poweradd Pilot 2GS, the EasyAcc Classic 10000mah earns it’s extra dollar price with it’s looks and size.

Lighter and smaller than the Poweradd Pilot 2GS, and still using the same standard rectangular design, the EasyAcc is one of the most portable battery chargers for most everyday users in this article. It is even possible to hold up along side with your phone for taking calls due to it’s light weight.

As standard for most battery banks, it comes with two distinct holes, one for charging a phone and one for charging a tablet.

One thing about most battery packs is that they do look pretty ugly. However, with the EasyAcc Classic 10000mah there are a range of colors available. This is also great if you are looking into power banks for a family holiday, as you can ensure that each family member has their own different color Portable USB Battery Pack.

Of course, it contains a 10000mah battery, but it also comes with an intelligent chip that is designed to give your electronic devices charge faster while also making sure that the devices don’t over charge or short circuit. In fact, some mobile phones can get a full charge within three hours using this device.

For some reason, the manufactures of the EasyAcc Classic 10000mah haven’t decided to include an normal plug adapter with the battery pack, meaning that you will need to use your own phone charger for giving the EasyAcc Classic charge. One additional problem with this is that many phone chargers actually limit the voltage that they can pull from a power source, the iPhone charger especially. This means that you might also have to consider getting an additional plug just for your EasyAcc Classic Portable USB Battery Pack.

Also, although it is smaller than the Poweradd Pilot 2GS, it it heavier. This means that it will weight down any bags it is put into, or make any clothing pockets that you put it in feel very uncomfortable and weighted towards one side.

Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5

Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5

And lastly, the fifth choice you should consider for your portable battery needs is this beauty. Although it does cost $36.99, and doesn’t have as large of a battery as the JETech Portable, in some ways it is a lot better.

The Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 has a 16000mAh battery, which means a lot more juice than all of the other portable USB battery packs, save for the JETech Portable. However, the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 is no where near as big, bulky, or heavy as the JETech Portable. In fact, it’s on a comparable size to all of the other 10000mAh power banks.

Anker are the most popular external battery provider on Amazon, and there are many good reasons for this. One of which, and included with the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5, is their amazing PowerIQ chips. These chips will actually detect what kind of device you have plugged into your phone, and the battery pack will adjust itself to charge up the device in the best way possible, by providing the voltage and ampage that the device expects.

Furthermore, the other great advantage of this PowerIQ technology, missing in most other external power banks, is that it will stop charging your phone or other device once the charge has reached 100%, meaning that you won’t be wasting power with the Anker 2nd Gen Astro ES, nor will you run the risk of damaging your phone by charging it too much.

Anker also provide the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 with an 18 month warranty, meaning that if you have any problems at all, it is quick and simple for you to get a replacement.

The Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 is also amazing for people who go hiking, do extreme sports, or otherwise expose themselves to environments where they are likely to drop or fall on any electronic equipment they have brought out. The Anker 2nd Gen Astro ES has been designed with durability in mind, and the materials have all been designed to withstand drops and falls, meaning that you can easily protect your investment.

The Anker 2nd Gen does come in a range of two different colors, black and white, but really, chances are that no one else will be seeing your battery pack but you. Do keep this in mind though if your plan is to go on holiday and provide a Portable USB Battery Pack for the whole family, as it is very likely that the battery packs will all get mixed up unless you put labels on them yourself.

So, which one?

With everything being equal, really, the best choice for your battery power needs is the Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5. As well as buying a brand trusted by many Amazon customers, you are getting a large and yet still portable battery that can charge your devices over many times. You will also have the benefits of an 18 month guarantee, as well as the safety in knowing that the PowerIQ technology will give your devices just the charge you need.

However, if you are buying on a budget, then there are three main choices, the EasyAcc Classic 10000mah, Kmashi 10000mah or the Poweradd Pilot 2GS. If you don’t mind it’s more pencil like shape, the Kmashi 10000mah is the way to go, and not just because it is cheaper than the others. The extra money spent on the other two devices isn’t really worth it, unless you must have a flat rectangular form for your USB battery pack.

The EssyAcc Classic 10000mah is what you want to go for if you do need a rectangular shape to fit into your pockets and bags. The 24 month warranty means that this is an investment that will keep giving for at least the life cycle of your current phone.

And lastly, if you are sure that you will need as much power as possible, maybe because you plan to do a lot of extended traveling away from any form of plug socket, you really should go for the JETech Portable, due to it’s large battery and it’s ability to charge up to three devices at the same time. You will be able to keep going for days without having to find a traditional power point if you purchase this portable USB battery pack.

Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.


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