The best power bank isn't just a nice thing to have: these days, it's arguably an essential, given how much we rely on our smartphones, tablets and laptops.
At best, it's just annoying when you're out and about and run out of juice. For instance, you might fail to meet friends, miss an all-important work email, or be unable to use the train ticket you'd paid good money for.
At other times, it could literally be life-threatening, such as if you break down on the motorway and have no way of calling for help.
For this reason, we promise ourselves we'll charge up fully before leaving the house. But sometimes we forget. Sometimes life get in the way. And sometimes we actually do leave with 100 per cent... but a power-draining app, or use of geolocation, drains our battery so quickly, we run out of juice just when we need most.
That's when power banks become worth their weight in gold, allowing you to charge your devices when you're nowhere near a working plug. And the best news is, the great deals we feature below mean they're extremely affordable.
Whether you want to keep your phone topped up during a weekend away or need to keep multiple devices running during a busy day at conference, you'll find an option in our pick of the best power banks.
Unsure of what to bear in mind when choosing the best power bank for you? Skip down to the bottom of the article for a guide to how to choose the best power bank.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for other kinds of storage, head over to our guide to the best external hard drives and SSDs. Or if you're stuck making the decision between a laptop or a tablet, check out our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops on the market.
The best power bank deals available now
Our best power bank overall comes in a long, slim design that makes it easy to carry. The Anker PowerCore 20100 power bank boasts a generous 20,100mAh battery capacity, which is enough to charge multiple devices several times on a single trip. Specifically, you can expect to charge an iPhone 8 almost seven times, the Galaxy S8 five times, or the iPad mini 4 twice before you need to top the power bank up.
It has two 2.4 Amp USB ports, so you can charge two devices at once, and it charges fast if your devices use PowerIQ or VoltageBoost. It's available at a reasonable price. And as long as your device is compatible and lightness is not your main concern (it weighs about the same as a can of soup), this power bank ticks all the boxes.
If you want to know more about the Anker brand in general, check out our article on should I buy an Anker Powercore power bank?
Need more power than the first model on our list? The Anker PowerCore III Elite 25600 PD is its pricier successor, and offers a massive 25,600mAh cell capacity. That means you can charge an iPhone 11 more than five times, a Samsung Galaxy S20 more than four times, or provide a full charge to a 13.4-inch MacBook.
With a 60W USB-C port and two 18W USB-A ports, this power bank can also charge up to three devices at the same time. (Do note, though, that both USB-A ports share a total output of 18W.) Plus there's a trickle-charging mode, designed to provide optimized charging to low-power devices like earphones and Bluetooth speakers.
It's even heavier than its sibling, at 570g, and like we said, it's a fair bit more expensive. But otherwise this represents excellent value overall.
Keeping an eye on how much you spend? The IU 10000mAh Portable Charger has a lot to offer, for not much money at all.
This lightweight and super-slim power bank is lovely and portable. It offers both USB-A and USB-C outputs, allowing you to power the latest Apple and Android phones. It has a handy indicator to show how much juice you have remaining. And you can charge up to three devices at once, which at this price is quite incredible.
On the downside, it’s not as powerful as the first two models on our list, with just a 10,000mAh battery. But on the plus side, that means it’s capable of charging low-current accessoris, such as AirPods, Bluetooth headphones, fitness trackers and smartwatches, which some high powered power banks struggle with.
If you'll need to charge a lot of devices while on the move, the MAXOAK 50,000mAh Power Bank could be the option you're looking for. It boasts an impressive six ports and an astounding 50,000mAh power capacity to feed them.
Unfortunately, it's not compatible with MacBooks, but it can be used to charge laptops from Fujitsu, Sony, Acer, Asus, IBM, Dell, HP, NEC, Samsung and Lenovo.
The enormous battery capacity and multiple ports make this an ideal power bank for a trip with colleagues who'll need to charge their devices at the same time, or if you simply have a lot of devices yourself. Be aware, though, that this is the heaviest model on our list, and one of the most expensive.
If you're mainly after a power bank to keep your iPhone and/or iPad in juice, then the Mophie Powerstation Plus XL is a smart choice. It has a built-in dual-purpose charging cable with a Lightning adapter for charging Apple devices. The adapter can be easily removed if you want to switch it to micro USB, for example, to charge an Android phone.
Models range from a 6,000mAh capacity at the most economic end up to a more generous 12,000mAh, which is enough for more than four additional charges on your iPhone or one extra charge for a tablet. A second USB port means you can charge two devices at the same time.
The Anker PowerCore II power bank has a lower battery capacity than most options on our list, but it's also one of the most compact. Smaller than a pack of playing cards, it only has one port but still has enough capacity to charge an iPhone around three times.
If you need a power bank that you can comfortably slip into a pocket and use to quickly charge your smartphone a couple of times while you're out on the move, this offers a great balance between size and capacity.
If you have a lot of cash to spend, then the Omni 20 USB-C Portable Power Bank is an excellent option at the premium end of the market. It's not the most compact device, it does offers four ports (two USB-A and two USB-C) and serves as both a laptop charger and a USB hub, allowing you to potentially charge two laptops and two smart devices at the same time.
It charges fast – in under three hours when plugged in by itself. You can also charge the power bank itself while your devices are charging.
It’s a lot more expensive than most of the other power banks on our list, but if you need to use your devices a lot, the investment could pay off, by allowing you to work for longer.
The iMuto Ultra High Capacity portable charger is another compact power bank that offers high battery capacity at an affordable price. Storing 20,000mAh, it can charge an average smartphone over four times on a single full charge.
It's not the smallest power bank in terms of size, and it's quite heavy at almost half a kilogram. But at such an attractive price it's a good option for anyone who needs a decent amount of power to fall back on.
How to choose the best power bank
When choosing the best power bank for your needs, the first consideration should be battery capacity. Consider how long you’ll be on the move and how many devices you'll be using.
You'll also need to bear in mind how much energy those devices consume as a laptop or camera will need more power to recharge than a phone or tablet.
Once you've decided what battery capacity you need, the next factor is weight. Usually weight increases in line with capacity, so you might want to strike a balance and sacrifice some battery capacity for the extra portability that comes with a lighter power bank.
Of course, you need to make sure that the power bank you choose is compatible with the devices that you want to charge. If you're likely to need to charge several devices at the same time, you'll want to check how many charging points the power bank has. Many power banks come with two or three, but some power banks offer up to six.
For more ways to avoid running out of juice on the move, check out our guide to the best wireless chargers.
Which is the best brand for power banks?
We feel that Anker is often the best brand for power banks, which is why the Anker PowerCore 20100 power bank tops our list above. With its big capacity, fast charging and excellent value, it's a no-brainer unless you're looking for really high capacity or specific compatibility. There are a few devices the PowerCore 20100 won’t work with.