In a previous post we addressed many of the basic questions about power banks, also known as external battery packs or portable USB chargers.
We discussed what they are, a bit about their history, why they’re becoming so essential for travel and the most important factors to consider when buying one for the road.
If you don’t know much about power banks or aren’t well versed in the industry jargon, we recommend you go and read that article first, because otherwise this article may not make a whole lot of sense.
But if you already know your power bank ABCs and you’re looking for details reviews and comparisons between the best power banks on the market, then you’re in the right place and you should keep reading.
We haven’t personally tested all of the power banks listed below, but for the ones that we haven’t used, we have conducted an awful lot of research and pored over hundreds of user reviews.
With all this information at our disposal we’ve been able to narrow down the hundreds of candidates out there to a shortlist of the top 7 seven power banks for travel.
So without further ado, here are the 7 best power banks for travel.
Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.6 x 0.9 inches (6 x 9.2 x 2.2 cm)
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Weight: 6.4 oz (181.4 g)
Colour: Black, red, white
Battery type: Lithium ion
Input: 2A (max)
Smaller than a deck of cards and as light a baseball, with a charging capacity of 10,000 mAh, the Anker PowerCore 10,000 claims to be 20% lighter than other portable USB chargers with the same capacity.
The product certainly packs a powerful punch for its modest size and weight, making it an ideal companion for the lightweight traveller.
It’s also one of the most popular power banks on the market, with over 20 million happy users and counting. Anker claims to be America’s leading USB charging brand.
The unit stores enough juice to charge an iPhone 8 almost three and a half times or a Samsung Galaxy S8 two and a half times. It’ll charge most tablets once. Premium LG battery cells are used to ensure power, safety and reliability.
The charging technologies used are Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost, which combine to ensure fast charging speeds of up to 2.4 amps. Qualcomm Quick Charge is not supported.
If you’re curious about what these two technologies do, basically:
PowerIQ identifies the device that’s connected and uses this information to deliver an optimized, high-speed charge up to 2A.
VoltageBoost compensates when the charger encounters resistance due to long or old cables and ensures a consistent top-speed charging rate.
This power bank will bring most smartphones to a full charge in under 90 minutes, while most users report that it takes 2-3 hours to fully charge the power bank from the mains. That’s fast.
Four blue LED indicator lights are displayed after pressing the power button, which indicate the amount of charge left in the power bank.
The device has a single USB charging port, so you won’t be able to use it to charge multiple devices simultaneously, though that shouldn’t be an issue for most people in any case.
The Anker PowerCore 10,000 is not capable of pass-through charging, which is where you can recharge the power bank from the mains while simultaneously charging your device from the power bank (charging and discharging the unit simultaneously).
For peace of mind, the power bank is fitted with a MultiProtect safety system. It has an array of advanced safety features, in addition to basic safety features like surge protection and short circuit protection.
Adventure travellers will also be pleased to know that this power bank excels in terms of its sturdiness and durability.
The product has a rugged double-layer shell, with the inner layer built from fire-resistant polycarbonate and each unit must pass extreme shock, temperature and vibration tests before being shipped out.
The product also backed by a generous 18-month warranty, demonstrating that Anker have great confidence in their product.
Also included with the purchase is a micro USB cable, a travel pouch and a welcome guide. USB-C and lightning cables for iPhone/iPad are sold separately.
Anker’s customer service is reported by many people to be outstanding and most reviewers on Amazon seem to be pretty elated with most of the company’s power bank products.
If you have a device that’s doesn’t support Qualcomm Quick Charge, and you’re looking for a 10,000 mAh portable USB charger, this power bank is a difficult one to beat, although the Mi Power Bank Pro 10000 (reviewed at the end of this article) might take the cake for some people.
If you do have a device that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge, see the Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 QC below.
Dimensions: 2.48 x 3.94 x 0.87 inches
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Weight: 7.05 oz (200 g)
Colour: Black, white
Battery type: Lithium ion
Input: 5V = 2A
Output: 24 W (max)
The major difference between this power bank and the previous model, is that this can charge your devices even faster if they’re Qualcomm Quick Charge supported. It’s completely backwards compatible with all versions of Quick Charge.
You can check if your device is supported by downloading this PDF list of supported devices. If your device is not on this list, it’s probably not supported, although new devices are being added to the list all the time.
The Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 QC is only slightly larger than the previous model and about 19 grams heavier, which isn’t an awful lot.
Like the PowerCore 10,000, this portable charger is compatible with Android, Apple and the vast majority of devices that are charged via USB. The company points out that the product will not provide a high-speed charge for the Asus Zenfone 3.
Even though its nominal capacity is the same as the previous power bank, you might be able to squeeze a little bit more juice out of it for certain devices.
The power bank combines three different charging technologies (Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, Power IQ & VoltageBoost) to ensure blazing fast charging speeds.
It has a max output of 24 W and claims to be able to charge compatible devices up to 80% in just 30 minutes and four times faster than standard 1A chargers. You can recharge the battery pack in about 6-7 hours if the charging source has a 2A output or higher.
Like the previous model, it won’t support pass through charging. The company has disabled the feature due to the negative effect it has on the lifespan of the battery.
The PowerCore Speed 10000 QC has all the same safety features as the PowerCore 10,000, including temperature control and protection against short-circuiting and power surges.
As with the PowerCore10000, this external battery pack can charge iPhones and iPads but an Apple charging cable is not included.
The previously mentioned power bank in our list is perfect if you have a device that doesn’t support Qualcomm Quick Charge.
But if your device does support this technology and you're not averse to spending about 10 bucks extra, it makes more sense to buy a power bank that can take advantage, as you'll then be able to enjoy much faster charging.
Dimensions: 0.9 x 2.3 x 3.6 in (2.2 x 5.9 x 9 cm)
Capacity: 10,050 mAh
Weight: 215 g
Battery type: Lithium ion
First off, let us just clarify that we may be bit biased towards this power bank since it’s the one that we are currently travelling with.
The Asus ZenPower is a popular portable USB charger worldwide, but is especially esteemed in the Asian market. The company’s headquarters are based in Taipei, Taiwan.
Weighing in at just 215 g, which is slightly heavier than the Anker PowerCore 10,000 (181 g), this is another great credit-card sized 10,000 mAh power bank.
The product is less than an inch in thickness and only 3.54 inches in length, making it more than an inch shorter than most smartphones and almost identical dimension-wise to the Anker PowerCore 10,000.
It has a stylish, attractive look afforded by its lightweight, anodized aluminium casing. The unit is ergonomically designed to fit in the palm of your hand.
To protect the charger from scratches and impacts, a soft-touch sleeve called the ZenPower Bumper can be bought separately for it in a range of vibrant colours.
The power bank charges my Moto E4 smartphone, which has a 2,800 mAh battery, a little under three times. It charges the iPhone 6 plus over 2 times, the Zenfone 2 over 2 times and the Zenfone Go over 3 times.
With its single 2.4 A USB output port, the Asus ZenPower will charge most smartphones with high-efficiency in about 2 hours, which is relatively quick. Of course, the single output port means it can only charge one device at time.
The battery pack also supports the ever-elusive pass through charging, so you can use it to charge your device while it’s plugged into the mains.
Some users have reported that the charger’s autocut feature doesn’t work in practice, and that the battery pack continues to slowly discharge instead of cutting the current flow to a fully charged phone.
One minor drawback with this power bank, is that it takes quite a long time to charge from the mains via its micro-USB input port - usually somewhere between 6-8 hours.
However, this is the length of time that most people sleep for, so it shouldn’t be an issue if you charge it overnight.
You will have to use your phone’s charging cable to charge the battery pack from the mains, as the provided USB to micro USB cable is very short (about 7 inches long). However, this same cable works fine for charging your device from the power bank.
The Asus ZenPower also comes with inbuilt PowerSafe Technology, which has 11 layers of protection, namely temperature protection, input overvoltage protection, output overvoltage protection, short circuit protection, input reverse direction protection, over charge/over discharge protection, output overcurrent protection, Cell PTC Protection, adapter protection and finally JEITA Protection, which monitors ambient temperatures during charging and adjusts the current accordingly.
With JEITA Protection, the capacity of the battery decreases much more slowly over time, increasing the lifespan of the battery by 1.8 times.
The Asus ZenPower has an impressive 9 international safety certifications, as well as meeting the IEC 60950-1 standard.
In the box also comes a user manual and short (7-8 inch long) USB to micro USB charging cable. You also have a 6-month manufacturer warranty from the date of purchase.
As we mentioned before, this is the power bank we’re currently using, and we are very happy with it.
But admittedly there’s not a whole lot to set it apart from the other 10,000 mAh power banks that we’ve reviewed in this article, and it is about 10 bucks dearer than the Anker PowerCore 10000, which has similar specs.
If you’re looking for a 10,000 mAh power bank, we would say that this product would be a great choice if you prioritize advanced safety features, customization or really need to have pass-through charging.
Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches (10.8 x 3.3 x 3.3 cm)
Capacity: 5,000 mAh
Weight: 4.8 oz (136g)
Battery type: Lithium ion
Output: 5V = 2A
Input: 5V = 2A
The Anker PowerCore 5000 is an ultra-compact, portable and stylish power bank that simultaneously oozes both simplicity and sophistication, with an unusual, yet attractive cylindrical shape chosen to maximize space efficiency.
At just 4.2 inches long, it’s an inch shorter than most smartphones and will fit neatly inside any pocket or backpack compartment.
The unit is powerful enough to charge an iPhone 6s twice, a Samsung S6 1.3 times and an iPad mini 4 0.6 times. Charging it up via the micro-USB 2A input port will usually take about 4-5 hours, which is pretty reasonable.
Understandably for an external battery pack of this size, it has a single output port, so don’t expect to be able to charge more than one device at a time with it.
Like the Anker PowerCore 10000, it combines the company’s exclusive PowerIQ and Voltage Boost charging technologies to optimize charging speed, safety and efficiency.
The power bank comes in the box with a 2 ft USB-A to micro-USB cable, a travel pouch to carry everything in, and a welcome guide.
Not every traveller needs a 10,000+ mAh power bank.
If your mobile device already has a long-lasting battery, or if you don’t use your phone much while on the move, you can probably make do with a lower capacity portable charger.
So if you’re in this boat, and you’d also prefer an ultra-light and ultra-portable power bank, the Anker PowerCore 5000 is likely to be right up your alley.
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.8 x 0.9 inches
Capacity: 22,000 mAh
Weight: 14.53 oz (412 g)
Colour: Black, white, red, blue
Battery type: Lithium polymer
Output: 5V = 5.8 A (total for 3 ports)
Input: 5V = 2.4 A
The RAVPower is a slightly larger, significantly heavier and much higher-capacity power bank than the other ones on this list, so it will best suit the type of traveller that’s a device
addict power user.
At 6.5 inches in length, 2.76 in width and 0.9 in thickness, the power bank isn't much larger than the average smartphone, though it's certainly a lot chunkier (not pocket-friendly) and the weight is closer to that of a tablet.
With its colossal 22,000 mAh battery, the RAVPower 22000 will quickly charge an iPhone 7 about 8 times, a Galaxy S7 up to 5 times, and an iPad Mini more than 3 times. Once fully charged, there’s enough juice in this thing to get most travellers through an entire week, assuming moderate use.
In addition to smartphones and tablets, this external battery pack can also charge speakers and cameras.
The inbuilt Panasonic Smart IC frequency technology helps to provide a stable and higher current conversion. Note that it doesn’t support Qualcomm Quick Charge.
The power bank takes about 12-13 hours to recharge (understandable given its capacity) when hooked up to the mains, so it’s best to charge it overnight.
The product also supports pass through charging, so you can charge your device from the power bank while the unit is charging from the mains. However, the manufacturer warns against this practice, as it could reduce the battery lifespan of both the power bank and your device.
The high density Li-Polymer battery that this power bank uses are superior to traditional 18650 cells in terms of efficiency, performance and safety.
The battery supposedly retains 70-80% of its capacity after 500 charge cycles and is good for over 1000 cycles.
One cool thing about the RAVPower 22000 is that it has three iSmart 2.0 USB charging ports at one end, giving it the capability to charge three devices simultaneously.
iSmart 2.0 is a technology that minimizes charging time by adjusting the current and voltage. Each charging port puts out a maximum current of 2.4 A, so the total current output is 5.8 A.
The RAVPower 22000 is a high quality, durable product, with a UL94 V-0 fire-resistant thermoplastic alloy (PC-ABS) shell, which is also used by Mercedes Benz, BMW and other car manufacturers in their luxury cars.
As regards safety features, the battery pack has an MCU (multipoint control unit), which protects it from high-temperatures, over-charging and short-circuiting. It also has an inbuilt surge protection IC (integrated circuit).
Also inside the box is a user manual, two micro-USB charging cables, a carry pouch and a lifetime warranty card.
You get a 12-month warranty with this product, which can be extended for an additional 6 months if you register your product on the RAVPower website at product registration.
If you need a portable charger that can charge multiple devices simultaneously or that can handle bigger devices like tablets, iPads and cameras, and you can justify the price and weight of this charger, then it might just be what the doctor ordered.
This power bank would also be a practical portable charging solution for a travelling duo or couple who aren't particularly heavy device users, and who would be willing to share a single power bank between them.
Dimensions: 2.76 x 5.59 x 0.55 inches (14.3 x 7.5 x 1.5 cm)
Capacity: 5000 mAh
Weight: 4 oz (113 g)
Colour: Black, Blue, Green, Yellow
Battery type: Lithium ion
Output: 5V/2.4A (max)
The Dizaul 500 mAh Portable Solar Power Bank is the perfect companion for the outdoor-loving or offbeat traveller.
It’s made of eco-friendly silicone rubber and PC-ABS (polycarbonate acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a superior hybrid material which combines the strength and heat-resistant properties of PC with the flexibility of ABS .
At 5.59 inches long, 2.76 inches wide and 0.55 inches thick, it’s about the size of an ordinary smartphone, albeit a bit chunkier so it’ll easily slide into pockets, sleeves and backpacks.
It’s also remarkably light, weighing in at just 113 grams (4 ounces), which is significantly lighter than any of the other power banks reviewed in this article, and is comparable to the weight of an iPhone.
As this power bank is designed for outdoor use, it’s rugged, shock-resistant and water-resistant, so that it can continue to function properly in the rain. It has a football grain design on the back, which has an anti-skidding effect.
As the product name suggests, this external battery pack can be charged up using the energy of the sun. It achieves this via an inbuilt solar panel that almost takes up the entire surface area on the front face of the unit.
If you’re using solar power to charge this power bank, bear in mind that due to the limited surface area of the 5.5V/1.2 W solar panel, it will only recharge the unit at the very modest rate of 120 mAh.
This means that even an entire day spent in direct sunlight will not fully recharge the power bank and it’ll probably need to be kept in the sun for about two days to reach full capacity. The manufacturer does say that the solar charging is only really intended for emergency use.
For ordinary use, there is also the option to charge the power bank in the typical fashion, and recharging the product from a power outlet normally takes about 6-7 hours via the USB to micro USB cable that comes in the box.
The power bank has two USB output ports, enabling two devices to be charged simultaneously. The ports are protected with rubber caps that help to keep water out and ensure safe charging of your devices.
The battery pack can charge a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, GoPro cameras, GPS devices and more.
You can clip the included carabiner into the oval-shaped hole at one end of the unit, making it easy to then hook the power bank onto your backpack or hang it from a tent loop.
Other nice features of this portable USB charger are the smart LED indicator lights and the integrated emergency flashlight, which located near the power button in the top right hand corner.
Also included is a flexible LED light that can be plugged into one of the USB ports and is very useful as a reading light for nighttime when you’re camping.
If you’re going hiking or trekking in remote areas and won’t have access to a power outlet for an extended period of time, an ordinary power bank without solar charging capabilities might not cut it.
Power banks can quickly run out of juice during multi-day trekking scenarios (especially if you’re using your phone for navigation), and if you’ve no way to recharge them, they become a completely useless and redundant weight inside your backpack.
So if you love the backcountry or frequently find yourself off-grid when you travel, the Dizaul 5000 mAH Portable Solar Power Bank is well worth your consideration.
Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.9 x 0.5 inches (12.9 x 7.5 x 1.26 cm)
Capacity: 10,000 mAh
Weight: 8.5 ounces (223 grams)
Battery type: High density Li-Polymer
Input: 5V/2A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
Output: 5V/2A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
The Mi Power Bank Pro is another really solid 10000 mAh power bank made by Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.
Over 40 million units have been sold globally and the company claims that to be the global industry leader in portable chargers. A Xiaomi power bank is supposedly sold globally every 1.7 seconds.
In terms of size and dimensions, this portable USB charger is remarkably comparable to that of the average smartphone in terms of length and width, and isn’t a whole lot thicker, so it’ll easily slide into a pocket, purse or backpack.
It weighs in at 223 grams, which is marginally heavier than some of its competitors with the same 10000 mAh charging capacity.
At only 0.49” (14.1 mm) thick, the unit has an elegant, ultra-sleek, 180° ergonomic design and its scratch and fingerprint resistant, double-anodized aluminum casing affords it a polished, matte finish that is smooth to the touch and resistant to sweat, corrosion, daily wear, and physical impacts.
The edges of the power bank are CNC (computer numerical control)-finished, a process typically reserved for premium smartphones.
You’ll find the power button, four LED indicator lights, USB-A output port and the USB-C input port all in a row on the front face of the unit.
The Mi Power Bank Pro 10000 is also notable for its wide compatibility and is capable of charging a wide range of devices, including Android smartphones, tablets, iPhones, iPads, Kindle Fire, Fitbit Fitness Trackers, DJI camera drones, Bluetooth earphones and much more.
With its 10,000 mAh (actual capacity is 6,900 mAh) high density Li-Polymer battery, this external battery pack can charge an iPhone 6 4 times, an iPad Mini 1.4 times, a 3000 mAh Android phone 2.5 times and a Mi 5 2.4 times, via its single USB-A output port.
Compared to Lithium ion batteries, Li-Polymer batteries are safer, have better charging conversion rates and maintain a more stable discharge voltage.
This power bank has a conversion rate up to 93%, which is well above average for an external battery pack, and almost as high as conversion rates get.
The Mi Power Bank Pro 10000 fully supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 can charge QC compatible devices about 25% faster than most standard 5V/2A power banks.
In addition to 5V/2A charging, it also supports 9V/2A and 12V/1.5A charging and it will intelligently adjust power output up to 18 W, depending on the device connected.
The unit has a low-power charging mode as well, which is entered by double-pressing the power button. This is useful for safely charging low power devices like Bluetooth headsets and fitness trackers.
It can be recharged at 18W from a wall charger via the USB-C input port, so it only takes about 3.5 hours to fully recharge the unit, compared to 5-6 hours for most standard 10,000 mAH power banks, yielding time-savings of up to 40%.
The Mi Power Bank Pro 10000 supports pass through charging and some users claim it can do so without negatively affecting the battery life of the power bank.
Note that you can check the battery status by pressing the power button and checking the four white LED light indicators right next to it. Each light represents 25% of the battery’s total capacity.
The product excels in terms of safety, with 9 layers of circuit chip protection.
The USB smart control and charging/discharging chips built by Texas Instruments guard against overheating batteries, short-circuiting, input overvoltage, output overvoltage, output overcurrent, overcharging and over-discharging and incorrect insertion of the charger.
Imported battery cells are equipped with PTC protective circuits to protect against temperature and current excesses. There’s also a manual reset mechanism via the power button if the charging environment is unstable.
In the box also comes a one-foot long, 2-in-1 USB-A to micro-USB cable with a USB Type-C adapter piece tethered to the micro-USB connector for a wider range of charging options. A lightning cable for connecting to iPhones is not included.
The Mi Power Bank Pro 10000 definitely has a more impressive array of features than its rivals and still comes in at a very competitive price. The only way it falls short is in being slightly heavier than the other power banks we’ve reviewed here.
But if minimizing weight isn’t your utmost priority and you’re looking for a really solid, fully-featured 10,000 mAh power bank, we’d say that this is probably your best option.
In this guide we’ve provided you with specs, details and comparisons between what we believe to be the 7 best power banks for travel in 2018.
Hopefully we have given you all the information that you need to make an informed decision and you now have a much better idea about which power bank you'd like to purchase.
Obviously the product you choose will depend on many factors such as value for money, as well as your own individual needs and priorities as a traveller.
We can provide you with all the facts and information but ultimately only you can decide what power bank is right for you.
If you liked this article please share it with other travellers. If you have any questions about power banks please leave us a comment below and we’ll reply to you as soon as possible. And if you already travel with a power bank, we’d love you to leave us a comment with your recommendation!