Battery technology hasn't been moving forward as fast as any of us would like. So as much as some forms of devices are getting a little bit extra juice out of a single charge, the best way to know you're going to make it through a long day is to carry a portable battery with you.
There's some really cool options out there these days, from the sleek and compact to real workhorses that could get you through a weekend or even charge a laptop!
Here's some of the best options we've spotted out there you can buy right now.
Note to travellers: there are lots of laws now in place when it comes to carrying batteries on aircraft. The rules vary widely by country and by carrier, so make sure you check the rules before you fly, especially with some of the bigger battery models.
Typically the rules relate to ensuring you actually carry the battery onto the flight in your hand luggage, not in your checked luggage.
More than anything else, most people just need a top-up to get through the last part of a busy day - and one that can be tucked into a pocket, purse or small bag without taking up too much room.
This lipstick style battery still fits in 3350mAh of charge, which is most of a full charge on all but the biggest smartphones. It's a slow charger, at 1 Amp output, but for top ups when you know you just need that bit extra it's a great unit for leaving tucked away in a purse or small bag.
This is a bigger than the above, but it crams in 6000mAh of power and it includes built in Apple Lightning and micro-USB cables. It's a fast charger too, so you can top up quickly and get on with your day.
When you're packing multiple devices and doing serious digital work on the road, you need more than a lipstick case to get you through. Thankfully power banks packing over 20,000mAh capacity have become a lot more affordable in recent times, so it's easy to have serious backup power without dropping crazy money.
This powerhouse is a simple design that isn't too bulky but lets you get plenty of backup if you're working hard on the road. It can take a long time to recharge a beast like this, but the PowerCore can get itself back up to max in around 10 hours. A great price for this much juice.
Most batteries are still focused around traditional USB plugs, letting you worry about what kind of cable connector the device needs at the other end. But more and more devices are getting USB-C connectors, and having a power bank that directly supports this comes with benefits. Faster charging for one, and even being able to give some power to some laptops.
This clever brick of power not only offers up 20,000mAh that can be used for fast charging phones and tablets, but it can also handle USB-C laptops (with full support for USB PD standard), it also acts as a USB hub! You can connect two classic USB-A plug cables through to a USB-C laptop, for example. Really handy given many USB-C laptops don't carry traditional ports - this can do it all for you.
It doesn't carry the capacity of the ZMI, but it's smaller, still delivers fast charge support, and a lot cheaper.
If you're really roughing it, or you love the idea of converting the sun's rays into cold, hard current, then a solar charger might do it for you. A solar charger doesn't store the power itself, it just delivers throughput so anything connected will get a charge - but that does include any other power bank, so you can combo the solar up with a battery nicely.
Rated for 21W, it means you can get a pretty good charge going into two devices connected at once. It won't work in the wet (but the sun's not out anyway) but it folds up nicely and can handle rugged outdoor conditions.
Brute AC power!
Sometimes you want to carry backup power with you for something that needs an actual AC outlet. And this is the perfect solution. There's bigger units out there, but as far as true portable backups go, this is the sweet spot.
This is a beast. It's compact, has a capacity of 20,800mAh, but still makes room for a US AC outlet on one end. Plus it includes USB-C and even three USB-A outlets. All with quick charge support. A fantastic unit when you know you need to plug in a real plug and you'll be a long way from any walls.
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