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Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, especially in mobile telephony.
Our smartphones work almost like personal computers.
With them we can check our e-mail or the latest news.
We can listen to music, make calls and share our photos and videos on social networks.
Their most problematic aspect is the battery.
Rare is the cell phone that can last a whole day without needing to be charged.
Sometimes even less.
Thanks to power banks, or portable batteries, we can now recharge our phone anywhere.
Here’s a selection of the best power banks of 2020 to guide you if you’re thinking of buying one.
- 1 The most important
- 2 The best power banks in the market: our recommendations
- 3 Shopping Guide: What you need to know about power banks
- 4 What care does a power bank require?
- 5 Purchase criteria
- 6 Summary
The most important
- The first step before deciding which power bank to buy is to be clear about what you are going to use it for. There are very small models to carry in your pocket, practical for a charge or two. If you need to make more charges, or are thinking of taking it on a trip, choose a model with more capacity.
- It is also important to know what devices you plan to connect to your power bank. In principle, any device that charges using a USB cable should be compatible with a portable battery. We are talking about mobile phones, of course, but also tablets, digital cameras or Bluetooth speakers.
- Knowing how many devices you need to connect at the same time will save you headaches. If you only need to connect one device at a time, a USB port will suffice. If you’re looking to connect multiple devices simultaneously, you’ll need one port per device. Make sure the connections are suitable for your devices.
The best power banks in the market: our recommendations
Nothing can be more annoying than running out of battery on your cell phone when you need it the most. It doesn’t matter if it’s a getaway in the middle of nature or a business trip. Portable batteries are an excellent option for not missing that important call. Here’s a list of the best power banks of 2020 to help you make your decision.
The favourite power bank of online users
Anker PowerCore is one of the smallest and lightest portable chargers with 10 000 mAh power storage capacity. This is equivalent to approximately 3.5 charges for an iPhone 8 or 2.5 charges for a Galaxy S8.
This power bank incorporates a safety system that will protect your devices from electrical shorts or overheating. It also includes a micro USB charging cable and a case that will protect it when you carry it with you wherever you need it.
Where to buy
The best power bank for its size/power ratio
The INIU is an ultra-thin, but high-speed power bank. In fact, it will fit perfectly in your pocket. It is also one of the best sellers because of its great power and energy storage capacity (10 000 mAh).
The model incorporates UPower technology, which intelligently identifies your device. In this way, and according to its requirements, the charger will adjust the current output up to a maximum of 3.0 amps.
Where to buy
The best power bank for its large energy storage capacity
The RAVPower portable charger is one of the most powerful on the market. It incorporates a large power capacity of 26 800 mAh and yet its size remains ideal for travel. It is compatible with the latest generation of smartphones and tablets, such as an iPhone 11 or iPad.
On a single charge, this power bank can recharge an iPhone 11 Pro about 5.2 times or a Galaxy S10 about 4 times, for example. This is almost twice as much charging as standard models. In addition, it comes with 3 iSmart USB ports that provide a total current output of 5.5 amps.
Where to buy
The best solar power bank
This solar power bank has an energy storage capacity of 20,000 mAh. It incorporates 4 smart USB power outputs that provide wireless charging of 10, 7.5 and 5 volts, depending on the need of your device.
It also includes a solar panel, flashlight, compass and a C-type laptop input port. As you can see, it’s an ideal model for camping, but it’s also a great option in the event of an emergency due to a natural disaster or unexpected power outages.
Where to buy
Shopping Guide: What you need to know about power banks
Mobile devices, especially cell phones, have become essential tools in our daily lives.
However, their battery life is often insufficient.
Having a good power bank can be very useful on many occasions.
In this section we tell you the most important aspects you should know before buying one.
What exactly is an external battery or power bank?
An external battery is a device that allows electronic devices to be recharged without the need to connect them to the mains.
It is the ideal accessory for a smartphone, laptop or tablet when you go on a trip.
They are lightweight, compact and easily transportable.
With a power bank you no longer have to worry about your battery running out in the middle of a business call.
You also don’t have to worry about your cell phone turning off just when you’re waiting for an important message.
Or about being left halfway through a game of your favorite video game.
How does a power bank work?
The most literal translation of power bank would be energy bank.
However, it is more common to use the term portable battery to refer to it.
Its operation is very simple. First, the power bank needs to be charged.
In this way, the portable battery stores energy and then supplies it to other devices.
When our device, for example a mobile phone, shows low levels of energy, it is time to use the power bank.
Instead of plugging it directly into the power supply, we use the cable to connect it to our portable battery.
This way, the power bank starts supplying power to the device and it will start charging.
Please note that not all mobile phones and tablets have the same connections. You must use the right cable for each device. Most commonly you will use the same cable that you use to connect to the power adapter.
It is important to note that the more USB ports on the portable battery, the more devices can be charged at the same time.
How do you charge a power bank?
As we said, for your power bank to work properly it needs to have been previously charged.
The higher the charge level of your portable battery, the more charge it can provide.
Most commonly, the power bank is charged via a USB cable. Some models include the cable in the same package.
You must connect the cable to the micro USB port on the battery.
The other end of the cable must be connected to a plug through an adapter.
For example, the same one you used to charge your smartphone.
There may be differences between models, so it is important to refer to the instructions.
How many charges can be made with a power bank?
A serious mistake is often made when calculating the number of recharges that can be made with a power bank. Many people think that it can be obtained by dividing its capacity by that of the device to be charged. This results in them believing that they have been cheated of the actual capacity of the battery.
Unfortunately no energy transfer process is 100% efficient. In the specific case of external batteries, their current efficiency is around 60 to 70%. Here is a formula that allows you to calculate how many recharges can be made with an external battery.
What is the mAh of a power bank?
The abbreviation mAh refers to milliampere hour.
The ampere is a measure of intensity.
The milliampere, therefore, is one thousandth of an ampere.
Without going into too much technical detail, the mAh of a power bank indicates the amount of energy it can store.
This is a really important aspect.
The greater this amount of stored energy, the more energy it will be able to supply later to the connected devices.
In other words, the more times you can charge your smartphone without having to recharge the power bank.
Keep in mind that the more devices you connect to the portable battery, the faster it will discharge.
What devices can a power bank be used with?
The most common use of a portable battery is with smartphones.
This is because the cell phone is a tool that virtually everyone uses every day. Many people make intensive use of their phone and need to recharge it frequently.
The problem arises when there is no power outlet nearby.
The power bank is an ideal solution in these situations.
However, although this is the most widespread use, it is not the only one.
Power banks can also be used with other devices that are charged similarly to cell phones.
We are talking, for example, about tablets, Kindle, digital cameras or GPS.
Some models are even capable of charging laptops.
Many portable batteries have a smart design.
They detect the voltage of the connected device to charge it as quickly and safely as possible. They also often include mechanisms to prevent overheating.
It is important to refer to the instructions to check the compatibility of our devices with the power bank.
What care does a power bank require?
First, it is important to keep it away from high temperatures.
Exposure to very high temperatures can damage it irreversibly.
Of course, as with most electronic equipment, it must not get wet. If it should accidentally fall into the water, you should not use it again.
When you are charging a device with an external battery, avoid putting one on top of the other.
Doing so may increase the temperature of both causing them to be damaged by overheating.
Otherwise, it is recommended to use them with the appropriate chargers. Make sure they are compatible with your battery.
How does a solar power bank work?
The difference between a traditional power bank and a solar power bank is that the latter incorporates a photovoltaic panel.
This is what is commonly called a solar panel and allows light to be transformed into electricity.
This way, when you place the power bank under the sun, it will automatically start to recharge your battery.
This system is ideal for excursions in nature or camping, where access to plugs is limited.
However, it is important to know that the charging time of the power bank using solar energy is very slow.
On the other hand, most portable solar batteries can also be charged by connecting them to the mains.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a solar power bank?
In short, the solar power bank is a good option if you are going to be exposed to solar energy for a long time. For example, during a long walk or during a camping trip, where you can leave it all day in the sun. Taking advantage of an unexpected access to an outlet to recharge the power bank is an idea to keep in mind. Let’s see a table of advantages and disadvantages:
- It allows you to charge it by taking advantage of the energy coming from the sunlight.
- It is very practical for long excursions or camping
- Normally, it also allows for charging by connecting it to the current
- Can be used as a traditional power bank
- Some models are water, dust and shock resistant
- They take longer to charge when using solar energy
- If there is not enough sunlight, you will necessarily have to use electric current to charge it
There is a wide variety of power bank models on the market.
Therefore, it is normal to feel a little lost when buying one.
To help you make the best decision, we have prepared this section. Here you will find some main factors to consider when choosing the best model.
The size of the power bank you decide to buy will depend on the use you are going to give it.
If you are planning to use it daily, you may need to be able to carry it with you at all times in a comfortable manner.
A small portable battery would be ideal in this case. Of course, the number of charges they can provide is more limited.
If you’re looking for multiple loads, you’ll need a higher capacity power bank. This usually means a slightly larger size.
However, there are portable batteries on the market that fit in your pocket and provide up to three charges.
If you are looking for a larger number of charges, you will probably have to bet on a larger power bank.
This factor is closely related to the previous one. Some models have a higher load capacity than others.
However, it is not as simple as matching size and capacity.
There are portable batteries of similar size with different capacities.
The important thing is to look at the manufacturer’s specifications, specifically the milliampere hours (mAh), which we talked about earlier.
The higher that figure is, the more loads you can provide. In other words, you will have a higher capacity.
It is important to note that it depends on the device you are going to load to calculate the number of loads.
Number of ports
The number of power bank ports you choose is no small matter.
We mean the number of connections you have that will allow you to connect more than one device simultaneously. If you only need to connect one device at a time, it will be more than enough if it has a USB port.
If you need to connect more than one device at the same time, you will need the power bank to have more ports.
It is often necessary to charge the cell phone and tablet at the same time, for example.
For this you will need a USB connection for each of these devices.
There are even portable batteries that allow you to connect laptops via AC connections.
The life of a power bank refers to the number of times we will be able to use it since we bought it.
This is also known as life cycles. Most often a portable battery has between 500 and 1,000 cycles.
This is the number of times we can charge and use it before it stops working.
Of course, this is an estimated number and it varies a lot depending on the model.
It also depends on our use of the power bank and external factors such as temperature. It is common for all batteries to decrease their charge capacity over time and with use.
It is important to find out about this aspect before buying one.
Power bank recharge time
The recharge time depends basically on two factors: the capacity of the power bank (mAh) and the intensity of the input current (mA).
We advise you to check which is the maximum input current that the battery can accept, as this will be a question that limits the speed of the recharge.
In general, these values should appear in the specifications of the external battery.
They should be clearly indicated in the user’s manual.
The intelligent charging system allows the battery to identify the amperage of the device that has been connected and to optimize the charging process.
Please note that not all power banks incorporate this system. In any case, more and more brands are making models that include it.
When buying a power bank you should also consider some extra options. It is interesting that you have more than one USB port. This will allow you to charge more than one device at the same time.
Other extras to consider are USB cables, instruction manual and protective case.
In general, manufacturers of external batteries do not sell them with a charger.
You can consider the fact that it is included as a plus when deciding on your purchase.
The same could be said for products that offer extras such as backpacks, instruction books or USB cables.
The cell phone is an essential tool in our daily lives. Frequently, due to its intensive use, the battery does not hold as much as we would like.
The power bank is an ideal solution for these cases.
It is also a very versatile instrument, as it allows a varied range of devices to be charged.
Before choosing your portable battery, you must decide in which area you are going to use it.
There are different options depending on whether you want it, for example, as a work tool for daily use.
If you prefer it for long journeys, hiking or camping, you will need to choose another type of model.
In any case, a power bank is always a really practical complement.
We hope that these tips have helped you to clear up your doubts about portable batteries.
If so, leave a comment or share this guide on your social networks so that no friend is left without power!
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