I once read that a good way to punish your teenager is to hide all of their chargers. That’s pretty funny to me, especially since my daughter’s phone was at 10% and her friend came to our house with 4% battery. I had to hook both of them up with a battery pack before heading off to do an errand. If we weren’t the type of techies to have battery packs fully loaded and stashed in every corner, they’d be up a creek 😛
The funny thing is that my daughter’s friend was in awe when she saw the chargers. She didn’t even know how they worked! Is that even possible these days for a teen to not be completely up on gadgets and keeping them charged? Or am I just way too tuned into that as a blogger? Either way, I thought it’d be good to outline the various types of portable battery chargers and some features to look out for.
Understanding Portable Battery Chargers
Most are familiar with phone cases that provide extra power. These can stay on all the time to also provide impact protection or you can get models that just clip on when you need it. It’s the standalone portable battery chargers that sometimes cause confusion. There are so many choices of size, weight, capacity, number of ports, etc. that it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to buy and carry along.
This depends on how much power you need and is indicated by the mAh noted on the charger. 2,000mAh to 4,000mAh is good enough for a full charge on most smartphones plus a little extra. If you plan on using your device a lot, will need power for more than one day, want to charge a tablet, or will want to charge more than one device, I would suggest you get at least 7,000mAh to 10,000mAh to prevent the “dead battery” scare. Larger capacity chargers take several hours to fully recharge though.
Sometimes you’ll see a 1A or 2.1A on the charger. This notes how much power goes out at once. 1A is fine but 2A will charge your device faster and is needed if you’re going to charge a tablet. Some devices let you charge more than one device at a time, offering two ports (with both an output of 1A and 2.1A). Most require you to bring along the right cables but there are some which have a cable (lightening or microUSB tip) built-in.
- Size & Weight
The smaller the charger the less juice it can hold. However, the opposite is not necessarily true. There are some fairly thin and light chargers that pack quite a bit of power but you’ll want to do a bit more homework to get a good one. Be sure to note the capacity, the output, and whether or not it fits in your purse, car cubby, or pocket.
Top Battery Chargers
Price can vary quite a bit but you can get some pretty decent chargers for less than $50. Keep in mind that some of the less expensive chargers come with a less than sufficient cable. If you notice a problem with charging the battery pack, try using a different cable. You can also pay more for extra bells and whistles if desired. Here are a few of the best chargers that we use regularly:
- Mophie (slim and light)
- MyCharge (versatile for recharging in the car)
- Powerskin (easy and with no extra cords)
- Custom Power Bank (powers two devices at one and pretty quickly)