For any tech lover or frequent traveller, a portable charger is a must-have accessory. There are loads of models available, and the latest all support fast charging.
Other more specialised power banks can charge laptops, have USB-C ports, and support tech such as Qualcomm’s Quick Charge.
So the next time you want to enjoy your tunes all day via a Bluetooth headset, then want to get your game on later, you'll want to consider one from our list of the best portable chargers for your phone or laptop.
This is one of Anker's best portable chargers. With a whopping 20,100mAh battery inside, there's plenty there to juice up your phone or tablet multiple times before it needs a recharge itself.
It also comes with high-speed charging for your devices if they use PowerIQ or VoltageBoost. It won't be able to use Qualcomm's QuickCharge technology, but it'll still boost your device when you're on the go. And it comes at a very reasonable price.
It might be a tad clunky, but if you're after an affordable high capacity portable charger, then this iMuto power bank could be the one for you. With a 20,000mAh capacity, you'll have enough charge to juice your smartphone four times, and still have some left over in case of emergencies.
The one advantage the iMuto has over the Anker PowerCore mentioned above is that this can charge some MacBooks and laptops as well, but you will have to check if your device is compatible with the charger. However, given it's available for under $50 in Australia, this is a no-brainer.
With a premium look and built-in cable tips for both microUSB and Apple Lightning, the Mophie PowerStation Plus also features a second USB port so you can charge a second device, but you will need to get your own USB-C cable for that.
The Powerstation Plus offers 2.1A output and smart adaptive charging technology, giving your devices a quick top-up.
The Mophie PowerStation Plus not only comes in different colour options, but also various capacities in a rather premium-looking build. The PowerStation Plus Mini carries a 4,000mAh battery while the PowerStation Plus XL sports a huge 12,000mAh capacity.
Charging laptops alongside USB devices is very useful, but some models are not supported by the ‘universal’ power banks. The Dell Power Companion solves that issue, with a 18,000mAh or 12,000mAh (as tested) power bank with dual 2.1A USB ports, as well as laptop charging.
The unit plugs in between your laptop and its PSU, rather than having its own charger. This is a great setup, as it means the unit is always charged (though tops off the laptop first), and automatically kicks in if mains power is lost.
This portable laptop charger comes with both the large and small Dell power tips (and charges from either) – or there is also a USB-C version.
Using a large to small tip adapter, we were also able to charge an HP laptop, but this power bank was designed to work with Dell's offerings. In testing, the Power Companion outputted an outstanding 100% of its rated capacity via USB.
The Power Companion is more expensive than most laptop charging power banks, but is still a must-have purchase for on-the-go Dell laptop owners.
While most power banks for phones support 5V 2A fast charging, the Xiaomi Power Bank Pro steps it up a notch with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0.
The tech is only supported on some phones and tablets for now, but allows devices to charge at 9V or 12V, rather than just 5V 2A. Even better, the power bank itself can be quick charged with a compatible charger, for quick top ups.
The unit has a 10,000mAh capacity, and a single USB Type-A port. It also has a USB-C connection, but it only works for charging the power bank, not as an output.
Importantly, it does support passthrough charging, and can even charge itself from a phone. The power bank can also be used to charge compatible laptops that use USB-C.
The Mi Power Bank Pro managed to output a very impressive 99% of its rated capacity. It’s also one of the lightest and smallest portable chargers available at the moment, measuring in at 130 x 75 x 12mm, and weighing just 225 grams.
It may not have the highest capacity in our round-up, but the Jackery Force 260 comes in bright orange and in gold, if you don't like plain ol' black as a colour option. It also features two USB ports, meaning you can juice up two handheld devices at the same time in case everything's suddenly gone completely dead at the same time.
It also supports Smart Fit technology which does provide fast charging capabilities. And, with a 12,000mAh capacity, there's about 260 hours worth of extra power stored in the Force 260 to keep you going while you're out and about.
There's plenty of backup power here to not only keep your handheld devices a boost, but also give your laptop some much-needed juice if you're running low. The best part is that the whopping capacity comes in a relatively small form factor, so it's easy enough to carry around.
There's a USB-A port with Quick Charge 3.0 support, a regular 2.4A USB-A port and a 3A USB-C port for laptops. Devices compatible with the Qualcomm chipset will charge 75% faster, but you can plug in two devices into the USB-A ports and give them a boost simultaneously if needed.
No USB-C cable ships with this power bank, so if you think you'll need it to top up your laptop, then you'll need to buy it separately.
Rather than a flat form factor, the TP-Link TL-PB10400 has a tall, rectangular shape that measures in at 89mm x 44mm x 44mm and weighs 241 grams. While not great for slipping into a pocket, this portable charger does sit well in car and bag drink holders.
Hidden inside is a large 10,400mAh capacity, with four LEDs to indicate the charge level.
The power bank has dual USB ports, with one rated for 2A and the other for 1A. It charges via micro USB (and includes a cable), handling a 2A current.
One handy feature of the TP-Link is an inbuilt LED torch, which is activated by holding down the power button.
In testing, the TP-Link power bank outputted 98% of its usable capacity, and had no problems supplying over 2 amps. It also supports passthrough charging, though the side location of the micro USB input makes it hard to charge in a bag.
The TL-PB10400 is quite affordable at under $50 (shop around online), which results in a great mAh per dollar rating.
Not only will you be able to top up your smartphone a few times, thanks to the 10,000mAh capacity, you'll be able to slip this into any bag or pocket if you're rushing out the door.
There are two traditional 2.4A USB Type-A ports for your handheld devices and the power bank comes with a micro-USB cable to recharge the pack itself.
Belkin uses sensors to monitor heat and voltage in its portable chargers, so if it overheats, the device will shut down automatically and not harm your phone. It's also available in a few colour options, like silver and rose gold.
Portable backup batteries buyer’s guide
- Capacity: A 5,000mAh is a good starting point to get up to two full recharges from a smartphone, but a larger 10,000mAh model is best for tablets.
- Passthrough charging: This handy feature allows you to plug the power bank between your charger and device, and charge both at once.
- USB ports: Most larger-capacity models have two ports, which is very important if you need to charge more than one device at a time.
- Input charge rate: Typically, 1A or 2A (higher is better), this determines how quickly your power bank can charge itself back up again.
- Fast charge: Power banks supporting currents over 1A helps charge your device quicker, and is needed by some power-hungry tablets.
- Charger not included: While they all come with a cable, power banks generally need to be plugged into an existing charger or USB port to charge.
- Qualcomm quick charge: Only supported by some new phones, this tech allows devices to be charged up to four times faster than normal 5V USB.
- Form factor and weight: With many different shapes, some power banks are better suited to use in bags, or being carried around.
- Need a new portable charger? Compare the latest prices of mobile accessories on our sister site Getprice.
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