Portable battery chargers, better known as Power Bank have become some great utility for smartphone users as it not only helps to keep your devices charged up while on-the-go, but also because they in spite of being handy and portable, can charge your smartphone and tablet multiple times depending on capacity.
However, do you know the basic features you need to keep in mind while going for a good portable battery charger? If not, then keep reading before grabbing one of the best power banks online. This article will guide on your key considerations when buying your power bank.
Power Bank Capacity
Capacity of a power bank is the primary feature of a portable battery charger, indicating how much electrical energy it can retain within itself and can utilize the same while charging your mobile devices.
The unit for measuring the electrical energy capacity of a portable battery is mAh. You might have come across figures 10400 mAh, 5200mAh, 2600mAh etc. They happen to be multiple of 2600 mAh because the base of a Li-ion battery cell is 2600 mAh.
But before elaborating what Li-ion battery cell is, let me wrap the capacity section up by mentioning that though the common conception goes like bigger capacity power banks are better, yet, it is a mistake as those who say these forgets that with capacity, the physical size of the portable charger also gets increased and so does the price.
So, go for the highest capacity that your budget allows.
Li-ion or Li-Po
Li-ion and Li-poly are nothing but two variation of the battery cells which are popularly used to constitute the best power banks. Most of the battery packs go for the Li-ion as they are cheaper but portable chargers being constituted with Li-ion tends to become much bulkier in comparison to the Li-Poly.
Not only Li-poly, being sleeker, can provide the provision to the manufacturers to manipulate the size and shape of the power banks further, they are safer in terms of usage as well. A Li-Po Battery can also retain its charge longer.
Input and Output current rating
Input and output ratings imply how fast your power bank and the devices gets charged. Typically, they come with a figure of 5V at 2.1 A and 5V at 1 A. Obviously, 2.1 A rating would make the device charge faster.
However, for a 2.1A rated power bank to get charged fast, you should also use a 2.1A rated wall charger as using a lower rated charger like a 1A rated wall charger that a usually more prevalent will be counter-productive.
Number of USB ports
Number of ports on a Power Bank plays the vital role if you are going to have a need to charge multiple devices simultaneously. Usually most of the portable chargers below 10000 mAh capacity (smaller capacity) does not come up with multiple output port option. The reason is obvious; they are simply not large enough to charge up more than one device at a time.
By the way, it is important to know the the number of output ports of a power bank affect output current when charging multiple devices at the same time. To get more clear about this, let’s take the example of the Mi 16000 mAh power bank, which comes with two USB output ports (whereas the 10400 mAh variant has only one output port) and claims to charge devices (smartphone or tablet) at 2.1 A at 5V.
However, this claim is only true when charging only one device at a time. When you use both ports at the same time, this particular power bank is capable of providing at max 3 A at 5 V (i.e. 1.5 A per port) instead of otherwise presumed 4.2 A. So, before picking one battery pack, especially if fast charging is a priority to you, then this aspect should be taken care of scrupulously.
It is a good idea to go through a reliable power bank review about a certain portable charger to get to know more about these specifications for that particular power bank.
Pass through charging
The last feature you might be seeking to make sure it is supported by your intended power bank is pass through charging. At this point you may be thinking what the heck is that!
It is simple, any power bank with pass through charging feature would be able to power up itself (self-charge) and at the same time be charging your smartphone(s).
Normally this feature is supposed to be present in every power bank as it seems rudimentary, but guess what, most power banks miss this all important feature. One power bank that offers this time saving feature is the Huawei 13000 mAh power bank.
Finally, in conclusion, one point is worth mentioning which is possibly the most crucial among all above, which is the brand. Never ever get allured with the look of a cheap Chinese or unbranded portable chargers as there have been many instances, where those power banks not only failed to charge the phone, but also damaged the devices severely. So be careful while balancing between quality and price, when particularly it comes to a power bank.
How to Buy a Power Bank in Infographic
Here is an infographic to guide on buying a power bank:
This article is based on a guest contribution