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Laptops, phones, tablets, gaming handhelds, portable protein shake blenders—we’re all carrying around a ton of tech these days, and all those gadgets need power to keep humming along. If you’re traveling from home to the office and back again, you’re probably never too far from a power outlet. But, if you’re a traveler, ride public transportation, bike to work every day, or frequently find yourself beyond the convenience of a wall socket, you need a portable charger.
Today’s portable chargers (i.e., “power banks”) aren’t complicated. They’re essentially just ultra-portable, high-capacity batteries. But they’re not all created equal. Sure, you can find budget-friendly models at your local drugstore for under $20, while midrange alternatives are priced closer to $50 and up. The best portable chargers, however, add optional (we would argue required) features like fast charging, multiple power ports to accommodate the most popular cable types (including USB-C, USB-A, and even micro USB), and USB-C PD for powering heavier-duty electronics like Apple laptops.
These days, tech buyers tend to get what they pay for, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Some of the best portable chargers are available for less than $100. We’ll assume you don’t want to spend hours or days personally testing them all, so we’ve done the hard work for you. Over the past six months, we carefully researched and tested many top-selling portable chargers so you don’t have to. Ultimately, our expert gear editors agreed that the eight models below are our picks for the best portable chargers worth buying in 2023. Keep scrolling to see our full list.
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5,000mAh Kickstand Wireless Power Bank
For a quick and dirty solution, we love ESR's simply named 5000mAh Kickstand Wireless Power Bank. It's one of the smallest and most portable chargers we tested this year, measuring roughly four by three inches and less than an inch thick (only a little larger than a deck of playing cards). The trick is that it's designed to snap magnetically to the back of any MagSafe-compatible phone. The company claims 1,000g of holding force, so it's built to stay.
While most of the best power banks we tested this year featured a dead-simple design, we were impressed by just how straightforward this model was to snap onto our iPhones and move on with our day. There's no need to worry about awkwardly juggling two different devices connected by a USB cable. The kickstand was sturdy and allowed our phones to be used for optimizing viewing of YouTube, scrolling social media, and lobbing up video calls. We also appreciated the extra USB-C port that works for either charging a second device or the power bank itself from a wall socket.
The compact size, clever clip-on design, and capacity make this portable charger a "win" in our book for any iPhone user. But what truly sets it apart is the price. It's one of the best value chargers we tested this year, with a price of under $50.
Read more: Best MagSafe Wallets
USB-A, USB-C, 20000 mAh Fast Charge Power Bank
You might know OtterBox for its ultra-rugged phone cases and screen protectors. But it's also been quietly making some of the best portable chargers and power banks for years. The flagship model of its Fast Charge boasts a beefy 20,000mAh battery capacity that makes it the perfect accessory for long-haul flights. It features a simple design with multi-device support via dual ports, including a USB-A and (as the name implies) a Fast Charge USB-C outlet, too.
This model is bigger and heavier than our lightest picks, but our panelists were surprised at how compact it actually was, given its capacity. "This thing has more than enough juice to keep my Sony headphones, my OnePlus tablet, and my phone going for hours on my flight to Argentina," said one of our testers. We also liked that it offers USB-A and USB-C for maximum versatility, with the latter delivering more than 3X the charging speed of traditional USB-C ports. Like most OtterBox products, it's also built extra tough to withstand moderate drops and bumps.
What truly sets this power bank apart is the price. At roughly $55 for the top-of-the-line model, it's a steal, especially given its traveler-friendly 20,000mAh capacity. The 10,000mAh and 15,000mAh models are available for $20 less and $10 less, respectively. OtterBox also sweetens the deal with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
BoostCharge Pro Fast Wireless Charger
Belkin rarely disappoints with its solid catalog of midrange tech accessories that include everything from mice to keyboards to computer cables. Its portable chargers, like the BoostCharge Pro Fast Wireless Charger for Apple Watch + Power Bank 10K, are no exception. This Apple-centric model is purpose-built to support the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro (2nd generation). The sleek design is compact enough to be front-pocket-friendly, too.
Like many of our picks for this year's best portable chargers, we found this 10,000mAh Belkin model dead simple to use. Just plug your iPhone into the single USB-C port for up to 1.5 days worth of extra video playback time on the iPhone 14 Pro. In our experience, it also delivered on its promise of fast-charging the latest Apple Watch from 0 to 80% in under an hour. The LED battery indicator lights reveal the power bank's remaining juice at a glance.
All of our favorite portable chargers are Apple-friendly, but this option from Belkin is particularly well-suited to anyone who's already heavily bought into the Apple ecosystem. It's well-priced at around $100, putting it squarely in the midrange of power bank options we tested this year. Two bonuses we also like: Belkin includes a $2,500 Connected Equipment Warranty to protect against damage, and the packaging is 100% plastic-free. Well done, Belkin.
Read more: Best Apple Watch Charging Stands
Duo Wireless Charger Power Stand
Watching videos on the go is so much easier with a legit stand. Satechi's Duo Wireless Charger Power Stand is a portable charger/power bank that cleverly solves that problem. It's sleek, compact, and pocketable with a 10,000 mAh capacity, but adds a folding stand to the mix for versatility.
Though our gear experts tested several portable chargers with built-in stands, we kept coming back to the Satechi Duo for its simple, clever design and versatility in charging multiple devices at once. The pop-up stand and base offer two total wireless charging options, and a USB-C port adds a third place to charge your other devices. "This thing is perfect for long flights and my morning commute to work," said one our testers. Just set it on any flat surface, pop it open, and you can easily stream Netflix videos or catch up on TikTok while charging your phone. It's all wrapped in a curvy, modern design that feels like a clear step above most of the bland "black box" power banks we tested this year.
We've long been fans of Satechi, and the Duo Wireless portable charger is a good example of why. It's ultra-compact, looks great, boasts a clever design, and offers a "just right" battery capacity that should be perfect for most users.
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Power Bank Wireless Charger 36000mAh
Most power banks are built for "everyday" use around town, on morning commutes, or while traveling. GOODaaa ups the ante with its 36000mAh Power Bank Wireless Charger, built with a ruggedized case that's waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. It's the perfect companion for hiking and exploring the backcountry with a backpack full of tech. What's more: As the name implies, it charges via a standard wall outlet or the built-in solar panel. Under ideal weather conditions with enough sun, that extends its capacity almost indefinitely.
Straight out of the box, our gear-testing panelists found this model to be one of the biggest and heaviest of those we tested this year. It's unsurprising, given the chunky, ruggedized case and integrated solar panel. We tested this in wet conditions with light rain over the course of a few days in New Hampshire and found that it never missed a beat. We appreciated having the solar panel, but it is extremely slow to charge. We found it's better to rely on wall power as the primary power source and the sun as a backup in an emergency. Our testers also questioned the company's 36000 capacity claim. It did provide more charges to our largest smartphones than any other power bank we tested. But we're dubious about it providing more than four times the juice of any 10,000 mAh model.
Despite our skepticism about its capacity, this power bank lived up to its promises in every other way. It's solid, durable, versatile, and delivered more juice to our devices than any other model we tested this year. Plus, at roughly $65 with four different charging cables and a wireless charge pad (good for Apple AirPods), the overall value on this bad boy is hard to beat.
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25000mAh Portable Charger/Power Bank
Ugreen's simply named 25000mAh Portable Charger/Power Bank is built to provide maximum power in an ultra-portable, pocketable design. The capacity is just shy of some of the beefiest banks we tested this year, but not by much. Where this model excels is a still generously sized battery and lightning-fast charging and recharging. With 145W fast-charging built in, it's capable of fully charging a 2022 13" Macbook Air in just 90 minutes. With a compatible 65W PD charger, this power bank can also fully recharge from a wall outlet in only two hours.
Given its compact size, our team was pleasantly surprised at the generous battery capacity of this portable charger. It's just under the maximum allowable size approved by the TSA and most airlines, making this one perfect for travelers. Our favorite feature of this best-in-class power bank is the charging rates. It's insanely fast—much faster than any other model we tested this year. We especially love being able to top up multiple devices on the go via the unit's three ports, and it was one of the few that featured more USB-C ports than USB-A ports.
The 25,000 mAh battery capacity is just shy of our premium pick (the Goal Zero Sherpa 100PD below), and it lacks a color LCD screen. But the long list of other features, most notably the blistering 145W fast-charging capability makes this our pick for juicing laptops.
Sherpa 100PD Wireless Portable Power Bank
For the most power in a relatively compact, portable design, we love Goal Zero's Sherpa 100PD Wireless Portable Power Bank. It's bigger and heavier (1.5 pounds) than most portable chargers we tested this year. But, the tradeoff is that it boasts the maximum approved size for carry-on luggage by the TSA with a whopping 25,600 mAh capacity. Wired power is delivered via two standard USB-A ports and a USB-C port capable of 100W fast charging. Plus, the top panel supports 15W wireless charging, so you can theoretically charge four devices at once.
Our staff has long-term tested this model for more than a year, taking it literally around the world. It still looks and works like new. We can't deny that it's big. But, if you're a frequent traveler, this power bank will carry you through the longest flights and layovers without worrying about where your next phone top-up will come from. The built-in color LCD screen is an especially nice touch that makes it easy to keep tabs on your remaining power and how much battery is being consumed at any one time.
If you're looking for the perfect combination of power and portability, this is it. Plus, it's backed by the Goal Zero reputation, so you know it's built to last. Sure, it's big, and it's pricey, but if only the best will do and you're willing to splurge, this is easily the best premium portable charger of 2023.
M150 Portable Power Station
The largest portable charger we tested this year is also the most feature-packed. The all-new M150 Portable Power Station from Duracell offers more ports than any other in this year's roundup: two USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, all connected to a beefy 25,000mAh (or 150-watt) battery. Clever features include built-in cord storage and a tilting device holder with wireless charging. Plus, the included charging dock made it a snap to charge when you return home.
By portable charger standards, the M150 is a big boy. Measuring 6.4 inches tall by 3.1 inches wide and weighing nearly two pounds, it's about as large a design as we might still consider "portable." Still, it fits nicely in the stretchy water bottle holder pocket of most backpacks. Our team loved the cutesy-cool design of this model, which resembles an oversized Duracell battery. The four ports are well-suited for charging multiple devices simultaneously. But our team was won over by the thoughtful features, including the easy-to-use charging dock and built-in dimmable ring light that make this gadget suitable as a desktop accessory.
Most portable chargers are purely functional, designed to take on the road and hide away in a desk drawer when you return home. If you're looking for a power bank that goes beyond the bland "just an oversized battery" design of most portable chargers, the M150 is well worth a look. Sure, it's big and expensive, but it's also unlike anything else we tested this year—in a good way.
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10,000mAh Wireless Portable Charger
For a quick and dirty solution, we love ESR's simply named 10,000mAh Wireless Portable Charger. It's one of the smallest and most portable chargers we tested this year, measuring roughly four by three inches and less than an inch thick (only a little larger than a deck of playing cards). The trick is that it's designed to snap magnetically to the back of any MagSafe-compatible phone. The company claims 1,000g of holding force, so it's built to stay. Despite its compact size, it also boasts a 10,000 mAh capacity, enough to charge an iPhone 14 Pro Max 1.3 times.
While most of the best power banks we tested this year featured a dead-simple design, we were impressed by just how straightforward this model was to snap onto our iPhones and move on with our day. There's no need to worry about awkwardly juggling two different devices connected by a USB cable. This model clipped on and allowed our phones to be used like normal for watching movies, catching up on social media, or sending emails while charging. We also appreciated the extra USB-C port that works for either charging a second device or the power bank itself from a wall socket.
The compact size, clever clip-on design, and capacity make this portable charger a "win" in our book. But what truly sets it apart is the price. It's one of the best value chargers we tested this year, with a sale price of around $25 on Amazon.
42800mAh Solar Power Bank/Portable Charger
Most power banks are built for "everyday" use around town, on morning commutes, or while traveling. Mregb ups the ante with its 42800mAh Solar Power Bank/Portable Charger, built with a ruggedized case the company claims is IP67 waterproof, dustproof, and drop-proof. It's the perfect companion for hiking and exploring the backcountry with a backpack full of tech. What's more: As the name implies, it charges via a standard wall outlet or the built-in solar panel. Under ideal weather conditions with enough sun, that extends its capacity almost indefinitely.
Straight out of the box, our gear-testing panelists found this model to be one of the biggest and heaviest of those we tested this year. It's unsurprising, given the chunky, ruggedized case and integrated solar panel. We tested this in wet conditions with light rain over the course of a few days in New Hampshire and found that it never missed a beat. We appreciated having the solar panel, but it is extremely slow to charge. We found it's better to rely on wall power as the primary power source and the sun as a backup in an emergency. Our testers also questioned the company's 42,800 capacity claim. It did provide more charges to our largest smartphones than any other power bank we tested. But we're dubious about it providing more than four times the juice of any 10,000 mAh model.
Despite our skepticism about its capacity, this power bank lived up to its promises in every other way. It's solid, durable, versatile, and delivered more juice to our devices than any other model we tested this year. Plus, at roughly $30 on sale, the price is hard to beat.
What to Look for When Shopping for Portable Chargers
Portable chargers/power banks aren't especially complicated. They're basically oversized batteries with connected USB ports, screens (maybe), and possibly a few other features like built-in smartphone stands or flashlights. Here's what to look for when shopping for the best portable charger for you in 2023.
You're buying a portable charger for its battery. So, naturally, you want one with a capacity that's best for you. Don't think that means that you have to buy the largest power bank with the most milliampere-hours (mAh) you can afford, though. In most cases, a 10,000-mAh battery will be more than enough. If you plan to travel, especially on long-haul flights, however, you may want to consider something larger.
Keep in mind that the actual amount of power you can squeeze out of a portable charger relies on several factors, including the cable you use, the charging method you opt for, and the type of device you're charging. Ultimately, you'll never get the maximum capacity of mAh stated on the battery. It's just physics.
Power Bank Charging Rates
The charging rate for most power banks is measured in watts (not to be confused with watt-hours or Wh). The most common charging standard is the Power Delivery (PD) standard, supported by Apple and many other manufacturers. This allows you to use high-capacity power banks with fast-charging for blazingly fast charging speeds.
Pass-Through (or Pass-Thru) Charging
Pass-through charging allows you to charge a device (like a smartphone or tablet) while simultaneously charging the power bank itself. Some portable chargers allow this; some don't. It's typically supported by more premium models, though this isn't a concrete rule.
A word of caution: Pass-through charging can cause some power banks to heat up, even to the point of overheating, with more budget-friendly models. So, even if your portable charger supports this feature, use it with care.
In short, it is absolutely safe to travel with a modern portable charger or power bank. There are two important things to note, however. First, always pack it in your carry-on luggage; it can't be checked. Second, and just as important, is that the capacity of any power bank cannot exceed 100 watt-hours or roughly 27,000 mAh. If there's any question, call your airline to confirm. The last thing you want is to be denied boarding or forced to leave your new $100-plus power bank at airport security.
FAQs About Portable Chargers
What is the most reliable portable charger?
Most modern power banks are designed to be used indoors, away from rain and the elements. That means they tend to be as fragile as your smartphone or tablet. For a more reliable, ruggedized model, we recommend OtterBox's 20000 mAh Fast Charge Power Bank or, if you're cool with spending a bit more, check out Goal Zero's Sherpa 100PD Power Bank.
Is 10000 mAh good for a portable charger?
The short answer is yes. The best smartphones have a roughly 3,000-4,000 mAH battery, so a 10,000 mAh battery bank is more than enough to charge your phone at least 1-1.5 times. It's the ideal "just right" size for most users.
Which power bank is best for charging?
For transparent battery capacity with the most "juice" to keep your devices going on the go, we recommend Goal Zero's Sherpa 100PD Power Bank. The battery size is the maximum allowed by the TSA for travel. For the perfect balance of capacity, portability, and price, check out UGreen's 25000mAh Portable Charger/Power Bank.
How We Selected the Best Portable Chargers of 2023
Every year, our gear editors spend a lot of time adventuring, traveling, and adventure traveling, which means we're frequently away (sometimes far away) from electrical sockets for days, even weeks, at a time. So we wanted to find the portable chargers that could help us go the distance. We researched and personally tested dozens of top-selling models, comparing battery capacity, size, ease of use, wireless charging capability, bonus features, and, of course, price. In the end, we chose only the eight models above as our picks for the year's best portable chargers.
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