When shopping for a power bank or a portable device charger there are a few essential things that you will need to know in order to make the choice that is best for you.
1. Power Input
The measurement used to gauge power input for portable power banks is amperes (A). This measurement indicates how quickly the bank will recharge from the mains or USB. Most units will rate somewhere between 1A and 2.4A. A higher number indicates a faster recharge.
2. Power Output
Also measured in amperes, power output is relative to device recharge speed. Currently, 2A is the industry speed standard for a smartphone recharge. 5.4A is preferable for charging multiple devices simultaneously. Although a lower amp power output may not damage your devices, you can expect your recharge to take a bit longer than it might from the wall or your desktop.
Storage capacity is the primary factor in determining the price of a power bank. Consider practical use before deciding on capacity. Will your portable charger need to handle heavy use? Is it meant for daily use or only for emergency back up?
Capacity is measured in milliamperes per hour, or mAh. A rating of 2,200 is great for a single emergency use, perhaps a smartphone or for similar, smaller devices. For a bit more, look for a capacity rating of at least 6,000 mAh. This would allow for at least two full smartphone or one full tablet recharge.
A typical daily user should be satisfied with about 10,000 mAh. This will allow for three full smartphone or two tablet recharges. For the super user, there are models available offering twice that capacity or more.
4. Number and Type of Ports
Porting options vary between units. How do your devices port? How often will you charge them? Do you anticipate that you will need to recharge two or more devices simultaneously?
5. Cables Included
Most commonly, a new power bank will include a USB to Micro-USB cord for input. Premium models offer a variety of additional cable options. Some models feature interesting cable storage solutions, integrated cables or carrying cases.
6. Quality Assurance
Buyers beware and look for a ratings plate! Quality assurance metrics on all models must be available from the manufacturer.
- Efficiency relates to temperature when in use. An over-heated unit is a hazard and will not live for long.
- Over Current Protection relates to minor surges in power input. This will save the battery from most terminal AC accidents, but it is always advisable to recharge the unit from the added security of a surge protector.
- Over Voltage Protection relates to batter power conversion during output. Without it, device batteries might come to harm.
Chargers without these assurances are a bad investment.
The physical dimensions a portable power bank, along with the colour and overall design are an entirely personal choice. Visualise using the bank and try to anticipate design elements that might either please or annoy you. There are hundreds, if not thousands of models to choose from, so have fun shopping!
Now that you have a better idea of how to select the perfect power bank for you, shop with confidence! You may never have to travel with a dead phone, camera, wireless headset or tablet again.