We’ve all made purchases we regret, especially when it comes to tech. But there is one object that is quite cheap and practical and has more than proven itself over the course of its life. This is the humble power bank.
As with all batteries, the lifespan of a power bank is limited. And technology is also advancing, so obsolescence is a consideration. Digging in a drawer, you might have an old 1,000mAh power bank that was enough to fill a phone ten years ago – a lot has changed since then, and modern power banks are arguably an everyday must-have. They are very cheap and have a number of uses. Not only should you own a power bank, you should also have a decent collection of them.
It can save you in an emergency
As advanced as modern phone batteries are, with heavy use most phones can be depleted in less than a day. Worse still, there may be times when you leave home after forgetting to charge your phone the night before. Or you might be left with a dead smartphone on a longer trip.
A power bank over your person can save you in these situations. Banks with a capacity of around 10,000 mAh can charge an average phone twice before it runs out. They are also quite small and portable. Ultra-portable 5,000mAh power banks are also available and will fully charge in most devices. Either one can slip into a backpack, purse or even pocket without causing any trouble. However, you should also pack a charging cable, since cheaper power banks usually do not have a wireless charging option. There are power banks with built-in USB-C or Lightning cable jacks instead of generic USB ports — but I find it best not to limit your options.
You will also be able to help other people when they need a quick charge. My wife’s phone spends a lot of time in the red so I often give her a portable power bank on the way out. I was also at a bar in Boston recently and the wireless charging pads they had built into the table didn’t work. Because I had a power bank with me, I was able to help a friend put enough juice into his phone to get himself home.
Eventually there are power outages. Your home may not have electricity, but your phone can keep you in touch with friends and family. Your phone’s internet will likely work, too, even if a storm has caused a lot of damage. It’s a vital lifeline, and a stack of fully charged power banks can keep it going for a very long time.
It extends the functionality of other objects
A power bank can help fix or upgrade other devices with battery issues. If your old phone can only hold a charge for a few hours, a power bank can help keep it working. If you’re a VR enthusiast who likes long sessions on the Meta Quest, a power bank is a great way to extend your gaming session while staying “wireless”. The same goes for PlayStation and Xbox controllers. If you don’t have a spare battery and don’t want to drag a cable across the room, a power bank can keep your controller going for as long as you need it.
Then you have objects designed to work with power banks. Many carry-on cases, backpacks and jackets have built-in cables and compartments for a power bank. Simply connect a fully charged power bank to the USB cable in this compartment and you’ll have a convenient power outlet somewhere on your case, bag or jacket to charge a device. There are also special devices that can charge objects like Apple Watches on the fly.
There are also things like camping trips and hikes to consider. Portable solar panels aren’t great, but packing a few power banks can help keep essential devices like flashlights, smartwatches, and navigation tools charged.
Perhaps surprisingly, it can also keep you warm. Heated coats and jackets that run electrical elements through are common. Plug a power bank into one, press a button and you have your own personal heater on your body.
They’re incredibly cheap
Money is tight these days, and non-essential electronics can be the first thing on the chopping block when trying to save money. However, power banks aren’t really expensive and offer a lot of value for a fairly reasonable outlay. You can get a quality power bank from a reputable supplier for less than $20.
Power banks become even cheaper when electronics are on sale. In some cases you can get between 25% and 50% discount. As such, occasions like Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and post-Christmas sales events are ideal times to stock up. They’re also something you really can’t have too many of.
If you only have one, you may forget to charge it and you won’t be able to use it when you need it. If you have several and keep them in a certain area, at least one is likely to be charging, and if you see the number of charged power banks dwindling, you may be reminded to plug in another one when picking the ones you’ll be using .
Sometimes smaller is better
It’s worth noting that in most cases you’re probably better off with multiple smaller power banks than with one large capacity power bank. Having a 40,000mAh bank capable of powering a laptop or charging a phone eight times might sound like a good idea at first, but you actually limit yourself as you grow up. While it costs more, multiple smaller power banks, ideally around 10,000mAh or so, are more practical. It’s more likely that at least one of them is charged. Especially since you can charge an empty one while using a fully charged one.
Then there is portability to consider. Larger batteries weigh a lot and cannot be transported as easily as smaller power banks. The weight might not feel like much at first, but after you’ve worn the bag your power bank is in for a while, you’ll notice it – especially if it’s also holding other devices like laptops and tablets. You are also prohibited from taking power banks larger than 27,000mAh on planes, making travel even more difficult.
It doesn’t hurt to have a few power banks nearby. They’re like a multi-tool or a smartwatch. They just make life easier. If you don’t have one, you don’t know, but if you do, you’ll wonder how you survived your life without it.
But why stop at one? As said, you are better off with multiple power banks. If you spot one on sale or have some cash to spare, pull the trigger and add it to your collection. You would need to build a battery hoard complex before you actually damage your finances, and the more you have, the more likely there is one ready when you need it. If you’re trying to expand your collection without breaking the bank, I can recommend the Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger. The fact that it still uses Micro-USB for charging is a minor downside, but it makes up for it with its compactness, capacity, and reliability. If you can afford to spend, the Zendure Power Bank 10000mAh Mini is ideal for those who prefer portability above all else.
Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger 10000mAh Power Bank Ultra Compact Battery Pack High Speed Charging Technology Phone Charger for iPhone Samsung and More.
Ideal capacity and quite portable at a reasonable price
Zendure Power Bank 10000mAh Portable Mini Charger Battery Pack PD 20W Power Delivery Quick Charge 3.0 USB C External Battery Pack for iPhone, Tablet, Switch, Samsung and More (Supermini)
Ultra compact power bank with good capacity.
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