As electronics become more and more important in our lives, the need to keep them powered-up becomes even greater. That's where power banks come in. But with so many on the market, it can be tough to choose the right one for your needs. In this article, we'll help you figure out which power bank is right for you, and teach you how to buy it.
Match the charge capacities
When looking to buy a power bank, one of the most important points to consider is what type of device will be charging and how many times. For example, a typical smartphone takes between 500mAh and 1,500mAh to charge, whereas a tablet will take 2,000mAh to 7,000mAh. That being said, not all devices are created equal; some smartphones will take more than 1,500mAh and some tablets more than 2,000mAh. So, it is important to determine beforehand how much charge the device needs. In addition to capacity, another thing to look for is the power bank's output current. The higher the output current, the faster the device will charge. Most power banks have an output current of between 1A and 2.4A. However, if the device cannot take the maximum current (2.4A), the power bank will only provide what it can handle (1A or less).
Number of ports
The first power banks had a single output port, but with people using them more and more and wanting to charge multiple devices at the same time, many of the larger power banks come with two and sometimes more ports. Just check that the output current capabilities for each port - are they enough. Also remember that if multiple devices are charged at the same time, the power bank may not give the maximum current to each port.
Size & weight
When it comes to size and weight, there are a few things you need to consider. The greater the capacity of the power bank, the larger and heavier it will be. So if you're looking for something to take traveling with you, you'll want to go for a model that's small and lightweight. Another thing to keep in mind is that the power bank itself will add some weight to your luggage, so if you're already struggling with packing everything you need, it might be best to opt for a smaller model. Weigh your options and decide what's important to you before making your purchase.
Lithium-ion vs lithium polymer
There are two main battery technologies used with power banks: lithium-ion and lithium polymer. Although very similar in most respects there are a few minor differences. Lithium-ion batteries have a high power density, lack of what's called the memory effect (when batteries become harder to charge over time), and their significantly lower cost than lithium-polymer. Lithium-polymer batteries are generally more robust and flexible, especially when it comes to the size and shape of their build. They also tend to last longer. So, when it comes down to it, which battery technology you should choose really depends on your needs and budget.
When looking to buy a power bank, it is important to remember that you will need to charge the power bank itself. The larger the power bank's capacity, the longer it will take to charge. Keep this in mind when making your purchase. Another factor to consider is the type of charging connector your device uses. Most power banks use a standard micro-USB connector, but there are some that use USB-C or Lightning connectors. If you have a device that uses a different connector, be sure to check the specifications of the power bank before purchasing. It is also worth noting that not all of the charge that enters the power bank is converted to stored charge. There is an efficiency factor of possibly 80% or more, meaning that it will take longer to charge a large power bank than a small one.
How to charge the power bank
The best way to charge a power bank is to use the original charger that came with the power bank. Unfortunately, not all of us have a collection of power banks and chargers lying around. If you only have a 1 amp charger and the power bank has a capacity of 5000 mAh, then it will take five hours to charge - well a little longer because not all the charge that enters the power bank is converted to stored charge, there is an efficiency factor of possibly 80% or more. So, if you need a power bank in a hurry, be sure to find one with a capacity that is compatible with your charging device.
When you're looking to buy a power bank, don't forget the leads. In other words, make sure you know what kind of connectors the power bank has and what devices you want to be able to charge with it. Not all power banks come with leads, either for charging devices from the power bank, or for charging the power bank itself. In fact, especially the budget power banks may not come with leads, assuming you will provide your own. So it's important to factor in the cost of cables if you're looking for an affordable option. If you're not sure which leads you need, just check with the device manufacturer—they'll be happy to tell you exactly which cables you need in order to charge your device(s) using a power bank.
Some power banks come with an added light. This is often a torch, and it can be really helpful in a emergency. It's also great for finding things in the dark, or for reading without having to disturb others. The light is usually activated by pressing the on/off button two or three times in quick succession. Whether you need this function or not is a personal choice - but it's definitely handy to have!
Portable chargers, or power banks, have become an incredibly popular way to keep our devices powered up while on the go. But with so many choices on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are five tips for choosing the right power bank for your needs.
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