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The 6 Best Portable Battery and Power Banks You Can Buy Today

The Best Portable Battery Packs and Power Banks in 2023: Mophie vs Anker and More

In our always-connected, mobile-first world, keeping our smartphones, tablets, and other USB-powered gear charged up while on-the-go is more important than ever. Having a reliable portable battery pack or power bank tucked away in your bag can be a lifesaver, whether you‘re traveling, camping, commuting, or just trying to make it through a long day of heavy device usage. But with so many options on the market at vastly different price points, capacities, and feature sets, choosing the best portable battery pack for your needs can be overwhelming.

As someone who regularly tests and reviews mobile accessories, portable power is an area I‘m especially passionate about. I‘ve had my hands on dozens of power banks over the years, and have seen how the technology has rapidly evolved in terms of capacity, charging speeds, and features. While the perfect power bank will vary based on each individual‘s particular needs, budget and preferences, I hope to make the buying process easier by sharing my top recommendations and comparing two of the leading brands: Mophie and Anker.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Power Bank

Before we dive into my top picks, let‘s go over some of the key specs and features you should pay attention to when shopping for a portable battery pack:

Capacity – Measured in milliamp-hours (mAh), this tells you the total amount of power the battery can store. 5,000-10,000mAh is sufficient for a day trip, while 20,000-30,000mAh packs can fully recharge most phones 4-6 times. Higher capacity means more weight and bulk.

Portability – Consider the size and weight of the power bank and whether it will fit comfortably in your pocket, purse, or backpack. Slim, lightweight designs in the 3-5 ounce range are ideal for EDC (everyday carry).

Durability – If you‘re rough on your gear or plan to take your battery pack camping or to the beach, look for features like rugged, rubberized housings and covers for the ports. Avoid cheap, plasticky chargers.

Ports – For maximum compatibility, you‘ll want a power bank with both USB-A and USB-C ports, which can charge a wider variety of devices. Multiple ports let you charge two or three devices simultaneously.

Speed – Many newer power banks support fast charging protocols like USB Power Delivery (PD) and Qualcomm Quick Charge that can juice up your phone or tablet up to 70% faster compared to standard chargers. But you‘ll need to use a compatible cable too.

Brand Reputation & Warranty – Stick with reputable brands like Mophie, Anker, and RavPower that use name-brand battery cells (Panasonic, LG, or Samsung) and offer solid warranties. Avoid generic Amazon brands with no real company behind them.

Price – Expect to pay around $30-$40 for a high-quality 10,000mAh power bank and $50-75 for a 20,000-26,800mAh model with USB-C PD and 18W+ speeds. Budget models without name-brand cells may only last a few months.

With that out of the way, here are my current top picks for portable power banks:

Best Overall: Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL

When it comes to portable power, Mophie has been a leader and innovator for over a decade, starting with their iconic battery cases for the iPhone 3G all the way back in 2008. So it‘s no surprise that their Powerstation line of universal batteries are consistently a top pick among tech journalists and consumers alike.

The Powerstation USB-C XXL (20,000mAh) hits the sweet spot in terms of capacity, portability and price, especially if you own a lot of USB-C devices. With 18W USB-C PD input and output, it can fast charge an iPhone 11 up to 50% in just 30 minutes, or fully charge a 2018 iPad Pro once or a Nintendo Switch 2-3 times.

I appreciate thoughtful design touches like the built-in fabric loop, soft-touch finish that provides some grip, and the row of four LEDs to easily check the battery level at a glance. There‘s also a standard USB-A port that outputs at 12W (2.4A) for compatibility with older devices and accessories.

Compared to Anker‘s similar PowerCore Essential 20000 PD, Mophie‘s power bank has a sleeker, curvier design while being slightly lighter at 13.2oz vs 14.1oz. It also recharges itself faster, going from 0 to 100% in 4 hours with an 18W USB-C PD charger compared to 6 hours on the Anker. Both excellent choices, but the Mophie has a slight edge overall in my experience.

The main downside is that Mophie is often around $20 more expensive than Anker, with an MSRP of $79.95, but it frequently goes on sale for around $59. If you want the best though, it‘s worth spending a little extra, and Mophie offers a two-year warranty compared to Anker‘s 18 months.

Capacity: 20,000mAh
Weight: 13.2 ounces
Ports: 1 18W USB-C PD, 1 USB-A (12W)
Recharge Time: 4 hours w/ 18W USB-C charger
Warranty: 2 years

Best High-Capacity: Anker Powerhouse 200
For those who need maximum endurance for long trips or charging multiple power-hungry devices like laptops, Anker‘s Powerhouse 200 is an absolute beast. With a huge 57,600mAh battery pack, this can fully charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro 1.3 times, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2.5 times, or an iPhone 11 a whopping 12 times. And it outputs 60W through its USB-C port, enough to fast charge larger devices like the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

With great power comes great bulk though, as the Powerhouse 200 weighs in at a hefty 6.6 pounds. So this is more of a portable power station for road trips, camping, airplanes/trains or keeping in an emergency kit than something you‘d want to lug around every day. But if you need a gas-free generator that can reliably power or charge all your electronics off-grid, the Powerhouse 200 is a compelling option at $260. By comparison, the Goal Zero Yeti 200X with a similar 57,600mAh capacity and 60W USB-C costs $100 more at $359.95.

Capacity: 57,600mAh
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Ports: 60W USB-C PD, 2 USB-A, AC outlet, car charger
Recharge time: 6 hours w/ 60W USB-C charger
Warranty: 18 months

Best Budget: Anker Powercore Slim 10000 PD

If you want a reliable, well-built power bank with USB-C PD fast charging but don‘t want to spend more than $30, Anker‘s latest PowerCore Slim 10000 PD is an excellent value. It packs 10,000mAh of capacity and 18W speeds into an incredibly compact design that‘s about the same size as a large smartphone.

Anker‘s PowerIQ 3.0 technology intelligently detects your device to deliver the optimum charging speed, whether 5W, 9W, 12W or 18W. I was able to charge my Pixel 4a from dead to 50% in just 30 minutes. And while it‘s marketed as a power bank for smartphones and tablets, I had no problem charging my Nintendo Switch or topping off my 13-inch MacBook Pro in a pinch over USB-C. Just keep in mind 10,000mAh is only good for around one full laptop charge.

Build quality is excellent for the price, with a matte black plastic shell that doesn‘t attract fingerprints and clicky power/status button. There are 8 LEDs on the side to display battery level and charging status, which I much prefer over the usual 4 lights. My only minor complaint is that the USB-C and USB-A ports are a little too close together, so you may have trouble using both at once with wider plugs/connectors.

Still, at only $29.99, the PowerCore Slim 10000 PD is proof that you don‘t need to spend a lot to get a fast, reliable, and well-designed portable charger backed by an 18-month warranty these days. It even includes a handy travel pouch.

If you need a bit more oomph, Anker‘s PowerCore Essential 20000 PD is another fantastic budget option at $50 with double the capacity and an extra USB-A port. Just know that it‘s twice as heavy at 12.1oz vs the Slim‘s feathery 6.4oz.

Capacity: 10,000mAh
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Ports: 18W USB-C PD, USB-A
Recharge time: 3.5 hours w/ 18W USB-C charger
Warranty: 18 months

Best Ultracompact: Mophie Powerstation Mini

Sometimes you just need a little bit of extra juice to make it through the day, and that‘s exactly what Mophie‘s impossibly tiny Powerstation Mini excels at. At only 3.8 x 1.3 x 1.2 inches and 2.8 ounces, this adorable 5,000mAh charger is small enough to attach to your keychain or slip into that mini pocket in your jeans – the ultimate backup plan for battery emergencies.

Despite its diminutive size, the aluminum-clad Powerstation Mini doesn‘t feel at all cheap or flimsy, and thoughtful details like the soft-touch finish, charge status button, and LED "power meter" showcase Mophie‘s signature attention to detail and premium design language.

While the lack of USB-C and 12W max output means this won‘t fast charge your iPhone 12 or Pixel 5, it does have enough grunt to bring a totally dead phone back to around 40-50% without weighing you down. I also like how the tethered USB-A cable tucks neatly into a groove along the side when not in use. Just don‘t lose the included micro-USB cable for recharging the power bank itself!

At an MSRP of $39.95, the Powerstation Mini is definitely a bit pricey considering the specs, but Mophie gear frequently goes on sale at Amazon, Best Buy and B&H. I was able to snag one for around $25, which feels fair given the truly pocketable form factor and premium build. Just make sure you pick a color that matches your style, as it‘s meant to live on your person as an everyday essential.

Capacity: 5,200mAh
Weight: 2.8 ounces
Ports: Built-in USB-A cable (12W max)
Recharge time: 2 hours w/ 5V/2A charger
Warranty: 2 years

Best Rugged: Goal Zero Venture 35

Whether you‘re an avid outdoorsman or just accident-prone, it‘s smart to invest in a portable battery that can stand up to the elements and the occasional tumble. Goal Zero‘s Venture 35 protects its 9,600mAh Li-ion battery pack inside a rugged, rubberized case with an IP67 rating, meaning it‘s completely dustproof and waterproof up to 1m for 30 minutes.

The Venture 35 features two USB-A ports that share 15W of power and a built-in LED flashlight with low and high modes for navigating a dark tent or trail. Passthrough charging lets you top off devices while the Venture 35 itself is plugged in and charging, minimizing downtime.

While relatively compact considering the durability, 6.8oz is a bit hefty for a sub-10,000mAh power bank. And the lack of USB-C means you won‘t get the fastest charging speeds compared to PD models. But if you‘re looking for a power bank that can confidently handle rain, snow, mud and impacts, and don‘t mind paying a premium for the peace of mind, the Venture 35 fits the bill. A 24-month warranty is icing on the cake.

Capacity: 9,600mAh
Weight: 6.8 ounces
Ports: 2 USB-A (15W shared)
Recharge time: 4 hours w/ 5V/2A charger
Warranty: 2 years

Tips for Maximizing Your Power Bank‘s Performance and Lifespan

No matter which portable battery you choose, here are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most juice and the longest life out of it:

Keep your power bank charged – Lithium-ion batteries will slowly lose charge over time even when not in use. For optimum performance and lifespan, charge your power bank every few months when in storage and try not to let it fully deplete to 0% too often.

Avoid extreme temperatures – Li-ion batteries are happiest around room temperature (68°F/20°C). Avoid leaving your power bank in a hot car or in direct sunlight for prolonged periods, and don‘t try to charge devices when the ambient temp is below freezing (32°F/0°C).

Use good quality chargers and cables – To maximize charging speed and minimize risk of damage, make sure you‘re using the cable and wall charger that came with your power bank or one that‘s MFi certified. Avoid off-brand cheapies.

Don‘t leave devices plugged in – Once your phone or tablet reaches 100%, unplug it from the power bank to avoid trickle charging, which can generate excess heat. Most modern devices will cut off charging at 100%, but better safe than sorry.

Properly dispose of old/damaged batteries – Once your power bank reaches the end of its life (usually after 300-500 charge cycles) or suffers damage, don‘t just toss it in the trash. Li-ion batteries carry a risk of fire/explosion and should always be recycled or disposed of properly according to your local laws. Many electronics retailers like Best Buy and Staples offer free recycling drop-off.

The Future of Portable Power
While battery capacity and charging speeds have improved dramatically over the last few years, exciting new charging technologies loom on the horizon that could radically change the portable power game.

Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a semiconducting material that can sustain higher voltages and current than silicon, enabling smaller, lighter, and more efficient chargers. We‘re already seeing this in a new breed of 30W, 60W and even 100W GaN wall chargers that are 50% smaller than their traditional counterparts.

GaN could also enable "power banks" that fully recharge in under 20 minutes, which would be a huge convenience upgrade and further close the gap between the capacity of our devices‘ internal batteries and the capacity of the external batteries we use to keep them topped up.

Further out, several companies are working on over-the-air (OTA) charging that can deliver power wirelessly at a distance using RF, ultrasound or infrared. Imagine never having to plug in your phone, laptop, or power bank ever again – they would simply sip power from charging hubs in your home, car, office, or even public spaces.

For now though, tried-and-true USB battery packs remain one of the most essential mobile accessories you can own. By weighing the key factors like capacity, size, ports, and brand reputation, and spending enough to get a high-quality charger from the likes of Mophie or Anker, you can rest easy knowing you have the best portable power source to keep your devices fueled up no matter where your travels take you. I hope this guide has helped you narrow down the top contenders!