The search for the best power banks for our mobile phones doesn’t have to be a painful one. There are quite a few different models available and a similar amount of factors to consider.

How many times would the power bank charge my phone / tablet / iPad before it dies, how heavy is it, is it water-proof, shock-resistance, etc.?

To save you from this headache, we’ve searched high and low and came back with our list of the top 5 power banks to help you make the right choice. All of those power banks – except one – are between $15-20, too!

But first, what is a power bank ?

Simply put, a power bank is a portable battery, decent enough to charge your mobile / cell phone, iPad, tablet, for at least 3 times. This power bank should have a USB port for charging it, and another for plugging the USB cable to charge your Android or Apple phone.

How to choose a power bank for your phone / tablet ?

Power banks are rated by their mAh or “milliAmp-Hour”. An average recent mobile phone would require 2500mAH for a full charge from zero.

So, the simple rule is the more mAH the better. Problem is, with more power comes more costs and weight. Strong power banks are usually heavier and require longer time to be fully charged.

Are power banks for ever?

Sadly not. As they keep charging other phones and tablets, the life of power banks gets sucked as well. In fact, the more you use your power bank, the less powerful it becomes.

A brand new powerbank may charge your iPhone 7+ for 3 times. After a year, if will struggle to recharge it for 2 times. This average will be lower if you use your power bank in hot / very cold weather.

Power bank charger instructions

Power banks have a limited number of recharge times or cycles. They are usually 500 or 1000 or more. That translates to a power supply accepting to be re-charged for 500 times only. After that, it’s a good paperweight.

Having said that, the smart frugal user should use all the charge in the power bank, then recharge it to the max. This will make your power bank last longer and to deteriorate over a longer period of time and usage.

And if you ask me, a power bank is a nice gift idea for Christmas. It may become a life-saver fr a traveling friend stranded in an airport with no compatible power plugs. So, without further ado, may the best power banks introduce themselves.

1. KMASHI MP816 10000mAh Power Bank [#1 best seller on Amazon]

This is priced the same as the Pilot X1 and is a very popular bank. It has a nice little row of LED indicators to tell you how much charge remains. Still, it has a few problems that can’t be overlooked.

While it’s plugged in to charge itself — it takes between six and seven hours (with a 2.1 Amp AC charger) — and you can’t charge another device with it while being charged.

The size of the KMASHI MP816 Power Bank is neither BIG nor small

The size of the KMASHI MP816 Power Bank is neither BIG nor small

Another downside is that a 5-volt AC adapter is required to use the MP816, but it comes without it (Still you can use your phone’s charger to charge it but it will take toooo long).

While a USB micro cable is included, it won’t fit Samsung’s Galaxy S7 (You need to use the same cable that came with the Samsung).

The MP816 is a little larger and heavier than the Pilot X1. It still fits in your pocket.

In spite of all this, the MP816 gets the job done and many users have bought it (Amazon link) and they are quite happy they did.

This power bank’s price is $14 at the time of writing those lines.

2. Lumsing High Capacity 10400mah Power Bank

The Lumsing High Capacity Power Bank is BIG

The Lumsing High Capacity Power Bank is BIG

This BIG Power Bank resembles a harmonica with its long, smooth contoured body, which means it’s a bit larger than your iPhone or Galaxy.

Lumsing gives you a cute little string pouch to stash it in, though.

For a cool $20 (Amazon link), this high capacity power bank is a safe bet for three big reasons: you can charge two mobile phones at the same time, seven out of ten users prefer it, and the manufacturer has a good repetition when it comes to replacing defective units.

Unlike the MP816, you can connect your device to the Lumsing while it charges itself. It comes with a USB cord but no AC adapter.

You’ll have to pay extra for that. If you need the Apple 30-pin adapter, you’ll have to pay separately for that, too.

3. RAVPower 3200mAh Portable Charger / Flashlight

At barely three ounces, the RAV charger resembles a little LED flashlight. It’s just over four inches long and less than an inch thick. (Amazon link)

Oh, wait: it looks like a flashlight because it is a flashlight. The lens features two flash settings and one strobe setting. It has a single amp charging speed, though.

RAVPower acts as a Power Bank and a Flashlight

RAVPower acts as a Power Bank and a Flashlight

So while it’s even cheaper than the Pilot and MKASHI, it won’t match or outperform them — except that it can do 1000 charges.

Its iSmart technology claims to auto-sense the needs of every device that gets connected to it, and then charges it faster than the standard USB chargers.

However, it takes only four hours to fully-charge itself. The flashlight charge lasts for over eight hours, which is pretty amazing. Oh, and it comes in 5 colors.

4. Anker PowerCore 20,100mAh Ultra High Capacity Powerbank

This is where things get just a little pricey, but not really. The PowerCore is forty bucks, but it’s Anker’s newest power bank and their best to date. Upwards of 85% of users are more than satisfied with its efficiency. Once again, it comes with a USB cable and no AC charger. (Amazon link)

This bank charges itself in 10-20 hours — it depends on the 1A-2A charger you hook it to. For best results, get Anker’s Quick Charge 2.0 USB Wall Charger.

When it’s ready, it charges your iPad mini twice, your iPhone six times, or another phone — like the Galaxy S6 — five times. The PowerCore’s lithium ion battery holds a fifty percent charge for a month.

That’s serious! Anker loads it with a 50-75% charge before shipping, so you can use it fresh out of the box.

5. Poweradd Pilot X1 5200mAh Power Bank

Power banks don't have to be ugly.

Power banks don’t have to be ugly, as Poweradd Pilot X1 5200mAh Power Bank comes in Black & White color

In white or black, a two-dollar difference, the super-compact Pilot X1 (Amazon link) appears to be the runaway winner. Its lifetime spans over 500+ re-charges, so expect it to last a while.

It’s a little larger than your iPhone and comes with a Micro USB cable and AC adapter. It comes in under six ounces (170 Gram) and 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) for maximum portability.

It has a charge indicator and can charge the Samsung S6 1.5 times and can push the iPad charge from 0% to 48%. It’s a good combination between price, size, and performance.

Before I wrap it up, here is my top 5 mobile battery charging tips

1- Charge wisely, when battery is about to die

Charging the battery every night will only make it last shorter than expected.

Monitoring the battery charge level is a big headache, but the fact remains…

…charging the battery too early will only make it lose charge faster!

2 – Reduce screen brightness

More brightness comes at the expense of the battery charge.

So, if you do not need that extra brightness, save it for when needed.

From Settings -> Brightness, choose between 50% to 70%.

The lower the better of course.

3 – When you do not need them, disable GPS / Location, Bluetooth, Data

Those features eat up more battery juice.

Disable them if you do not need them.

4 – Fetch when needed

Turn off push notifications and push mail, or make the fetch intervals longer.

Unless emails are very crucial to your survival, take a longer break from updates.

On iOS, go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data, and choose Every 30 Minutes or even Hourly if you do not mind the delay.

5 – Use either WiFi or 4G, not both at the same time

Fetching data through WiFi drains the battery less, compared to 3G / 4G connectivity.

If you need to download large files or have many software updates pending, do it while connected through WiFi.

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