Power banks came like a holy answer to an age-old question, specifically, how can mobile users enjoy more time with their devices before they need to recharge? While regular days can be managed fairly easily, going on long trips, traveling or being stuck a long time away from home (like office meetings) can leave you starved for juice. If you’d like to watch videos or play a game, the time you have available before the phone shuts down is even shorter. If that’s what you’re usually dealing with, then it’s clear that you need a power bank. But what kind? And how big should it be? Stick around to find out how to get the best external battery for your needs.
Basic Power Bank Buying Guide for Beginners
Size and capacity
This goes without saying but the larger the battery’s capacity is, meaning how much energy it can store, the bigger it will probably be in physical size. So while you can get batteries with enormous amounts of extra energy, they will be bigger, weigh more and just be overall harder to carry around. In general, an external battery that equals the capacity of the one inside your mobile device should suffice, since you’re getting almost double the energy. We say “almost” because quite a bit of power is lost in transition, but you don't lose power with the right power bank.
Never underestimate or overestimate charging times
When deciding what power bank to get in terms of power, take into account the time it would take for your device to charge. Most make the mistake of thinking about how long it takes for their smartphone to fully recharge when plugged into a wall charger. A power bank will connect your device to a USB charging cable, meaning that it will charge considerably slower. Use this information to manage your expectations and avoid being underwhelmed by the efficiency of the power bank you choose, depending on what phone you have.
Power bank size
We’ve already touched on the subject of how getting the biggest external battery is not necessarily the best choice, but it’s also important to mention that once it’s used, it also needs a recharge. As expected, the larger its capacity, the more time it will take for the power bank itself to fully charge.
If you need it to be ready to go by the morning when you leave on your trip, having a huge power bank might be to your detriment. Keep this in mind when you choose one.
Always investigate if a power bank presents any extra features. If you find a nice looking power bank at about the correct capacity for your needs, but the price is a little steep, check to see if there aren’t any extra features. Maybe it offers more ports for multiple devices. But then again, maybe it’s just overpriced, so checking is essential to determining if it’s the right one for you.
The bottom line is that you can probably march into a specialty store and get the first power bank you see, and it’ll be usable. However, unless you do the appropriate research, you won’t be able to enjoy your decision in the long run.