Best Portable Charger 2018: Which power bank should you buy?

Looking for a best portable charger for your phone, laptop or Nintendo Switch? You’ve come to the right place. We reveal five excellent power banks that can sort your endurance needs in an instant.

If you have a smartphone, Nintendo Switch or even a USB-C laptop that you use throughout the day, then the likelihood is that you need to invest in a good battery pack, too.

Related: Best budget phones

Battery life is arguably the biggest pain-point with regards to tech today, but these battery packs will alleviate any battery anxiety you might have.

We’ve included a selection of USB-C battery packs, plus those that support standards such as Power Delivery (vital if you want to fast an iPhone X or laptop) and Quick Charge 3.0.

Aukey USB-C 5000mAh Mini

Pros:

  • USB-C
  • Great size

Cons:

  • No specific charge indicator
  • Heavy

A great pocket charger, this Aukey pack boasts sufficient capacity for a full charge of most phones and includes both a USB-C input/output and a full USB-A port. It supports Quick Charge 3.0, has a clever indicator ring that flashes different colours depending on charge state, and is constructed from metal.

The metal does make it slightly heavier than we’d expect for a battery pack with this capacity, but it’s still small enough to fit alongside your phone in a coat pocket.

Buy Now from Amazon for £22.99

Anker PowerCore 13000 USB-C

Pros:

  • Lots of mAh in a small body
  • Light

Cons:

  • Can’t charge other devices via USB-C

Don’t need a hulking great big battery pack with all the bells and whistles, but want good capacity and plenty of ports? We’d suggest this PowerCore 13000 USB-C. This is the best of the sub-15,000mAh packs we’ve tested, thanks to its pocketable form and ability to stay cool.

There’s a USB-C input for charging up the pack, plus two extra 2A USB-A ports. That’s a great selection for such a small charger, but it would be nice if the USB-C acted as an output too.

The plastic construction is typical of Anker, and while it isn’t flashy, it’s light and durable. Even though it comes with a carry case, we haven’t picked up any dings or scratches by simply chucking it in out bag without the added protection.

Buy Now from Amazon for £26.99

RAVPower 26800mAh USB-C PD

Pros:

  • USB-C PD
  • Huge number of ports
  • Cheaper than Anker alternatives

Cons:

  • Ugly and heavy

It’s big, slightly ugly and very heavy – but at nearly £15 cheaper than the similarly specced pack from Anker, this is a great value option for charging a laptop.

It offers a huge capacity, and the USB-PD output can charge a compatible at 30W. It will also fast-charge an iPhone 8/8 Plus/X if you’re using a USB-C to Lightning cable – something few battery packs can manage. Other ports include dual 3w USB-A outputs and a micro-USB port for charging up the pack if you don’t have a USB-C cable knocking around.

You’ll need a USB-PD supported charger to charge this up at full speeds (we used the one that comes with the MacBook Pro); otherwise, you’ll be looking at about 10 hours for a full charge.

The charger can become warm to the touch while it’s charging, but there wasn’t much heat up when it’s the one doing the charging. The does change if you’re juicing up multiple power-hungry devices, but we didn’t feel it ever became too hot.

Buy Now from Amazon for £55.99

Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 PD

Pros:

  • USB-C PD
  • Not too heavy

Cons:

  • Lack of ports

The smallest, and cheapest, USB-C PD-compatible battery pack on test, and a solid choice if you want to give your laptop some extra juice. You won’t be able to charge a MacBook Pro at full speed, but it does work if you need some extra endurance on the go.

The 20,000mAh cell is plentiful and the plastic body helps it stay small and light. It does become slightly warmer than some of the competition when charging a laptop or Nintendo Switch, though.

Along with the USB-C port, there’s a USB-A 3w output too. A USB-C to USB-C cable is supplied in the box for charging, and there’s a case included too.

More ports would be nice, but for the size and power on offer here, you can’t go wrong.

Buy Now from Amazon for £44.99

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 USB-C PD

Pros:

  • USB-C PD
  • A beast in terms of power and ports

Cons:

  • Very heavy
  • Expensive, but not as much of the Mophie

Our pick of the bunch if you’re looking for high-capacity, quick recharge speeds, and the ability to charge a laptop or Nintendo Switch.

Anker’s flagship charger is a brute, with a brushed metal finish and a great selection of ports. There’s two Quick Charge 3.0 3A USB-A ports, plus a PD-spec USB-C input/output (up to 30W), and you can charge three devices at the same time.

The 26,800mAh capacity is massive too, and we managed to fully charge a MacBook Pro 13-inch and an iPhone X. You should also be able to charge an iPhone 8 about six times and a Nintendo Switch about four times before it requires a charge itself.

Recharging is quick, too, taking less than five hours with a Power Delivery-capable plug. Annoyingly, UK models aren’t supplied with a plug, whereas the US variants are. We used a MacBook Pro charger, but this one from RAVPower is a good pick too.

Buy Now for £69.99 from Amazon

Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL

Pros:

  • USB-C PD
  • The best looking of the bunch
  • Good size

Cons:

  • Could do with a few more ports
  • Seriously expensive

This is the priciest of the bunch and, arguably, offers the least value for money. Nevertheless, it still has plenty going for it.

This is 19,000mAh pack comes with one USB-C input/output along with a 2.4A USB-A port. That USB-C port supports Power Delivery, meaning this will juice up at MacBook (or Pro; but not at full speed), a Switch and fast-charge an iPhone 8/8 Plus/X.

The slightly soft-feeling fabric covering also makes it the slickest of the bunch. Not sure I’d buy a battery pack simply because it looks nice, though.

It’s a big pack – no surprise given its large capacity – but it’s quite light and about the size of a Pixel XL 2 or iPhone 8 Plus.

There’s a battery LED indicator on the top and an action button below it. For the price I’d have welcomed an extra USB port – like you’ll find on the Anker and RAVPower options – but considering both can be used as an output, this isn’t a huge loss.

Mophie is a reputable brand. Its Powerstation offers excellent looks and it works very well without becoming hot – but there are better value-for-money options out there.

Buy Now for £149.99 from Mophie

Omni 20 USB-C

Pros:

  • USB-C PD
  • Lots of ports

Cons:

  • Seriously bulky
  • Expensive

At first glance, the Omni 20 USB-C charger is a bit bulky and inconvenient. Despite being amongst the largest battery packs on this list, the battery capacity stops short of the quantity offered by the biggest Aukeys.

That said, there are a number of secondary features that the charger has that might make it a useful model for you to consider. It’s dual USB-C ports allow it to be used as a USB hub if you need extra ports on a laptop like the MacBook, while its screen gives you a host of extra information about how much power each of your devices is drawing.

If this extra functionality is helpful, then the Omni 20 USB-C is a great choice, otherwise you might want to opt for one of the cheaper packs on this list.

Buy Now from Amazon for £249

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