The Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks for Phones 2020

Portable Chargers and Power Banks:- Whether you’re a glued-to-your-screen smartphone owner who can never make it through a day on a full charge, or you just need an occasional battery boost, USB power banks are a panacea for low-battery anxiety. After putting in 12 hours of research and 45 hours of testing, we’ve found the best portable Wireless charging power banks to meet a wide range of needs, Portable Chargers that offer peace of mind whenever wall outlets are out of reach.

Our Pick

TravelCard Charger

The best portable charger for a little battery boost

$30
This ultraslim power bank fits in a wallet or pocket, can charge most phones to at least a third full, and is available in Lightning, Micro-USB, and USB-C versions.

The TravelCard Portable Chargers is the best Wireless charging power bank for someone who wants to always have an emergency boost of power on hand. It has the lowest capacity of any power bank we’ve tested—it’s able to charge most phones only to around 30% to 50% full from empty—but it’s unmatched in weight (2 ounces) and size. It’s bigger and thicker than the average credit card but not by much, fitting easily in a wallet or pocket. It has a built-in USB-A cable for you to charge it up and a built-in output cable (either Lightning, Micro-USB, or USB-C, depending on which version you get) to top off your phone or another handheld device with a touch boost of power.

TravelCard Chargers
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Why we love it: If you require a USB power bank that you can carry around in your wallet or bag for backup assistance of portable power, Neither model fully charges most smartphones, but either one is good to have in a pinch. For reference, an iPhone XS requires around 2,700 mAh for a full charge, and these power banks offer only about 1,500 mAh apiece.

These Wireless charging power banks are impressively powerful for how small (not much bigger or thicker than a credit card) and lightweight (2 ounces) they are. And their built-in cables free up space you’d otherwise have to devote to separate charging cables. This feature puts them well ahead of other credit-card-style Wireless charging power banks that lack such a convenience.

The TravelCard Portable Chargers are totally straightforward to use: You charge them via the built-in USB-A cable and then charge your device using the built-in output cable (either Lightning or USB-C, depending on which one you get). A helpful notification light on the side of the charger next to the power button turns yellow when the battery is low and turns blue when it’s fully charged. The TravelCard Chargers even look like credit cards—sporting a sleek, metallic exterior—and the built-in cables are easy to pop into and out of their slots.

TravelCard Charger
The TravelCard Charger recharges itself via a built-in USB-A cable. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The TravelCard Portable Chargers’ 1,500 mAh capacity rating is the lowest of any model we’ve considered. They have slow charging and recharging rates too—power goes in and out at about 6 watts. That’s about a third of the charging speed that an iPhone X can handle, so the phone’s battery meter will tick up much more slowly. But we think what the TravelCard Chargers lack in power they make up for in portability, and these drawbacks are a small price to pay for the ability to suit a power bank and charging cable in your wallet.

Key specs:

  • Capacity rating: 1,500 mAh (5.4 Wh)
  • Weight: 1.7 ounces
  • Tested input: 5.8 watts (built-in USB-A cable)
  • Tested output: 7.1 watts (built-in Lightning cable) or 5.9 watts (built-in USB-C cable)

Our Pick
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Jackery Bolt

The best power bank for everyday carry

$25
This portable power bank has two built-in cables (Micro-USB and Lightning), can charge most smartphones twice from empty to full, and fits comfortably in most pants pockets or purses.

The Jackery Bolt has been our favorite Wireless charging power banks to carry every day, for several years running, for a reason. It’s as powerful as it is portable, fitting a high-capacity battery—capable of nearly two full charges for the latest smartphones—into a small package. You can also easily slip it into a small purse or most pants pockets—except maybe your tightest-fitting jeans. The two built-in output cables (Micro-USB and Lightning) mean you don’t need to carry a cable to charge most devices, but the Bolt also has a fast-charging USB-A output port if you want to use your own longer cable. It comes with a built-in flashlight, which may be a neat bonus.

Jackery Bolt Charger
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Why we love it: Even if you’ve never had a USB power bank before, the Jackery Bolt is hopeful to make you a convert. It’s small and compact—roughly the size of a bar of soap—and it weighs only about 5.8 ounces, both of which make it an effortless addition to the existing contents of a purse or backpack. Plus, its built-in Lightning and Micro-USB cables—which smoothly slide into and out of their tiny holsters—negate the need for you to carry around a tangled mess of various cables. If you want the benefit of a longer cable, though, you can still use one with the Bolt’s USB-A output port.

The Jackery Bolt has a capacity rating of 6,000 mAh, which is enough for it to charge an iPhone X several times over. The Bolt is easy to use and has four pinpricks of blue light along the side that helpfully tell you how much power the bank has left. It also has a little built-in flashlight that doesn’t take up any extra space and can come in handy if you’re digging through your bag to find your keys. This feature, which none of our other power bank picks have, also means that you don’t have to use your phone as a flashlight and further wear down its battery.

Jackery Bolt Portable Chargers and Power Banks
In addition to its built-in Lightning and Micro-USB cables, the Jackery Bolt has a USB-A output port, a Micro-USB input port, and a handy built-in flashlight. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Flaws but not dealbreakers: In our testing of the Jackery Bolt’s maximum output, we measured 11.9 watts from the USB-A port, 12.1 watts from the Lightning cable, and 13.8 watts over Micro-USB. That’s about as fast as you can charge most devices from traditional USB, so until Jackery releases a Bolt with USB-C support in this size, we think it’s a fair trade-off. The Bolt’s recharging speed is also fairly slow (we measured up to 8.7 watts), but again it’s a reasonable compromise for something that’s highly stowable and portable.

Key specs:

  • Capacity rating: 6,000 mAh (21.6 Wh)
  • Weight: 5.8 ounces
  • Tested input: 8.7 watts (Micro-USB port)
  • Tested output: 12.1 watts (built-in Lightning cable) and 13.8 watts (built-in Micro-USB cable); 11.9 watts (USB-A port)

Our Pick
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Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux

The power bank with the fastest possible charge

Able to charge even large phones like the iPhone XS Max or Samsung Galaxy S9+ from empty to full almost three times, this soap-bar-sized power bank offers the fastest charging speeds of any model we tested.

The Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux Portable Chargers lacks the built-in cables that set the Jackery and TravelCard models apart, but its capacity (10,000 mAh, or enough to fully charge an iPhone XS more than three times) is a lot higher. Plus, in addition to a USB-A output port, it has a USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port that enables charging (both input and output) up to 18 watts—nearly twice as fast as most Wireless charging power banks we’ve found with built-in cables. This means less time waiting around for your phone, tablet, or another device (and the facility bank itself) to charge. It’s about the same size and weight (6.8 ounces) as the Jackery, and its rounded edges make it even easier to slide into a pocket or pouch for portable power on the go.

Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux Portable Chargers and Power Banks
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Why we love it: Even without the built-in cables we so prize in our other picks, the Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux Portable Chargers is a great choice, as it makes up for its deficiencies with faster charging and more power. This model’s rated capacity is 10,000 mAh—more than three full iPhone XS charges’ worth, and higher than anything else we tested—and its USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port puts out 18.8 watts of power, enough to charge all of the latest phones at top speed.

With a measured input of 15 watts, it can also recharge itself more quickly than any other power bank we tested, so you can get charged up and out the door even faster. Its USB-A port puts out a little less power than those of our other picks—10.8 watts, compared with the Jackery Bolt’s 11.9 watts—but the difference isn’t noticeable in most cases. Like the Jackery Bolt, this Anker power bank is about the same size and shape as a bar of soap. And at 6.8 ounces, it weighs about as much as an iPhone X and not much more than the Jackery Bolt.

Its sleek, jet-black exterior and softly rounded corners make it easy to hold or slide into a pocket. Subtle grooves in the plastic act like the ridges of a fingerprint, giving the power bank an even grippier texture. And four little lights next to the power button tell you how much charge it has left.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: A major drawback of the Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux Portable Chargers is its lack of built-in cables. We always prefer having built-in cables oversupplying and transporting our own cables, which take up extra space, get tangled, and are easily misplaced. But we have yet to find a power bank with built-in cables that are as small and sleek as this power bank but also offer the faster charging of USB-C PD input and output. If you require the fastest possible charge and the essential capacity of any power bank we tested—and can go to carry around a separate charging cable or two—this is a great option.

Key specs:

  • Capacity rating: 10,000 mAh (36 Wh)
  • Weight: 6.8 ounces
  • Tested input: 15 watts (USB-C PD port)
  • Tested output: 18.8 watts (USB-C PD port) and 10.8 watts (USB-A port)

Our Pick
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Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000

The best power bank that doubles as a wall charger

$30
This power bank charges itself from a fold-out AC plug or a Micro-USB input port, and it powers your devices on its two USB-A output ports.

The Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 Portable Chargers is handy if you want a single, reliable charger that you can plug in the wall to charge your devices overnight and then pack up and carry with you during the day. Its 5,000 mAh capacity is similar to that of the Jackery Bolt, enabling you to fully charge a phone like the iPhone XS more than once, and its two USB-A ports offer fairly fast charging for two devices at a time. We also appreciate that it offers Micro-USB input in addition to a fold-out AC plug—an important feature that’s missing in other two-in-one models we considered. If you want a power bank that doubles as a wall charger, this is the best option we’ve found.

Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 Portable Chargers and Power Banks
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Why we love it: The Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 is the most reliable power bank we’ve noticed that’s also a good wall charger. Rather than having a wall charger that you leave at home and a separate power bank that you carry, you can rely on a single gadget that does double duty. It’s easy to use: Flip open the AC plug and stick it in a wall outlet to charge it, wait for the three little battery-status lights on the side to light up, and then take it with you for hours of portable power. And you don’t have to worry if your power bank dies while you’re out and about, because you can charge it from any wall outlet.

The PowerCore Fusion 5000 is a relatively small portable charger—about the size of a standard tape measure—and you can easily stow it in an accessories pouch or a large pocket. Its rated capacity (5,000 mAh—enough for a bit less than two full iPhone XS charges) is similar to that of the Jackery Bolt. Each of its two USB-A output ports can send plenty of power to your devices, charging them faster than any other USB-A ports we tested: We measured 12.5 watts when it was plugged into a wall outlet and 15.5 watts when unplugged, so either way, it can charge your phone a lot faster than the 5-watt charging brick that comes with an iPhone. You can recharge the PowerCore Fusion 5000 via the AC input plug (which sends 11.4 watts of power to the unit from a wall outlet, according to the test we ran with a Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor) or the 9.9-watt Micro-USB input port, which is convenient if you want to recharge it from a laptop or some other USB power source. Given this model’s capacity, that means it should take 1.6 hours to charge itself over AC or almost 2 hours over Micro-USB, according to our tests.

Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 Wireless charging power banks
The Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 excels as both a wall charger and a power bank. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Flaws but not dealbreakers: We would have loved to see a USB-C output port included in this model since USB-C is faster and frequently common. We know the technology exists because a pricier Anker model (and the discontinued Jackery Portable Chargers we tested) has this capability. Another big drawback of the PowerCore Fusion 5000 is that it’s less portable than something like the Jackery Bolt: It has a chunkier shape that’s not as easy to slip into a pocket, and its lack of built-in cables requires you to pack an extra cable or two to charge your devices. As far as two-in-one Wireless charging power banks go, though, it’s still fairly compact.

Key specs:

  • Capacity rating: 5,000 mAh (18 Wh)
  • Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Tested input: 11.4 watts (built-in AC plug) and 9.9 watts (Micro-USB port)
  • Tested output: 12.5 watts (USB-A port when plugged in) and 15.5 watts (USB-A port when unplugged)

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How we tested

Weight

We used an Escali Primo Digital Scale to verify the advertised weight of every power bank.

Size

Rather than measure the length, width, and depth of each power bank—which would have been tedious and not terribly meaningful to most people—we considered size in terms of whether a power bank fit inside a wallet, a pocket (we tried a variety of pants, skirt, and jacket pockets), or an accessory pouch.

Look and feel

We took note of each power bank’s bulk and its exterior texture. We considered how easy and intuitive its features—such because the power buttons, charging-status lights, built-in cables, fold-out AC plug, or flashlight—were to use.

Charging output of USB-A ports

We then turned up the amperage of the load tester as far as it could go without overloading the power bank and recorded the volts and amps we measured with the PortaPow to calculate the maximum output (watts).

Charging output of USB-C ports

We measured USB-C output by connecting a half-charged power bank to a Total Phase USB Power Delivery Analyzer, an Apple USB-C cable, and a MacBook Pro. We then used the Total Phase Data Center program, checked over the power profile and any errors, and recorded the volts and amps (to calculate the result in watts).

USB-C recharging speed

We measured USB-C input by connecting a totally drained power bank to a complete Phase USB Power Delivery Analyzer and a 60 W MacBook Pro charger. We then ran the Total Phase Data Center program, checked over the power profile and any errors, and recorded the volts and amps (to calculate the input in watts).

Micro-USB recharging speed

We measured Micro-USB input by connecting a fully drained power bank to a PortaPow USB Power Monitor, an Anker PowerLine Micro-USB cable, and an Anker PowerPort 2 wall charger plugged into a wall outlet. We then recorded the volts and amps we measured with the PortaPow to calculate the input (watts).

Nintendo Switch compatibility

Because this popular gaming console is notoriously finicky when it comes to charging, we plugged each of the power banks into a half-charged Switch to make sure they could charge it at least partially. All of our picks (except the original TravelCard Charger, which has only Lightning output) passed this test.

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