Best power bank for iPhone in 2021 – CNET

Device-makers like Apple seem to love to come out with phones in ever-increasing sizes. That’s why a portable battery charger or power bank is often a more practical purchase for use with iPhones than battery cases, which increase battery capacity but tend to make a phone extra-heavy and bulky to carry around.

To that end, I’ve rounded up the best portable power banks and battery chargers that will add a little extra oomph to your iPhone’s battery life. Although they cost more, I personally like batteries that have a Lightning cable built into them, so I don’t have to worry about carrying around a charging cable for fast charging when I don’t have enough power. But I’ve also included some budget picks for those who want to spend as little as possible on charging their iPhone via power pack. 

While we have a similar list of best power banks for Android phones, any portable battery pack here without an integrated Lightning cable will work perfectly well when charging an Android smartphone (or any other portable gadget), so long as you provide a compatible cable.

So which is the best portable charger for an iPhone? Which is the best portable power bank for a charge on the go? Let’s find out. We update this list periodically, and we’ve anecdotally tested all of these models or their direct predecessors. 

Read more: The best USB-C PD chargers of 2021

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Mophie’s PowerStation Plus is a few years old and has been discontinued, which means you can find some great deals on it — just make sure you’re not buying a refurbished model. Although it doesn’t have fast-charging capabilities, it does have a fabric finish and houses a 6,040-mAh battery, as well as an integrated Lightning connector. Previously, if you bought one of the Apple-exclusive versions (it’s no longer available), the battery conveniently charged an iPhone and iPad with any Lightning cable, rather than Micro-USB. The version on Amazon charges via an included Micro-USB/Lightning cable. With the USB-out port, you can charge or recharge two devices at once.

The larger 10,000-mAh PowerStation Plus XL is also available on Amazon, but it’s thicker. The XL can be fully charged wirelessly on a wireless charging pad while the standard PowerStation Plus doesn’t have wireless charging.

Note: Ignore Amazon’s product description that says the smaller PowerStation Plus has Qi wireless charging — it’s not a wireless charger.

Read more.

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The Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000 mAh costs $16 on Amazon when you apply a $2 coupon at checkout. While it’s thicker than some of the portable chargers in this roundup, it’s incredibly slim for a 10,000-mAh portable phone charger, and it has a USB-C input for charging the battery, but no USB-C output. No cables are included.

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Aukey bills its PB-N83 Mini 10,000-mAh USB-C Power Bank as “the smallest and lightest 10,000-mAh portable charger.” I’m not sure it qualifies as the world’s smallest, but its footprint is smaller than a credit card. That said, it is 1.18 inches (30mm) thick and has some heft to it. Still, it fits easily enough in a pocket and has both an 18-watt Power Delivery USB-C port and Quick Charge 3.0 USB-A. The in-out USB-C port can be used as a pass-through port so you can charge the Power Bank and a device at the same time.

The PB-N83 is around $17. That’s a very good price for a fast-charging 10,000-mAh PD power bank. A USB-A to USB-C cable is included for charging and owners of new iPhone 12 models can use the USB-C-to-Lightning cable included with the new iPhones to quick-charge their phones via the USB-C PD port on the power bank. I charged the iPhone 12 Pro to about 60% in 30 minutes.

Aukey

This Power Bank from Aukey has both wired and wireless charging options. If you use the USB-C port, you can get 18 watts of charging. Go wireless and lay your phone on the charging dock battery and it will wirelessly charge at 10 watts, which is where the iPhone currently maxes out for wireless charging. You’re paying a premium, but this phone charger unit has a massive battery (20,000 mAh), a built-in kickstand and a digital readout listing the remaining charge. It comes with a USB-A-to-USB-C cable, but you’ll need to supply an adapter to charge it.

Aukey’s smaller wireless 10,000-mAh portable charger with foldable stand is selling for around $30 after you apply a $10-off instant coupon.

Anker

This Anker model is basically an oversized wall charger that plugs in like a power adapter. We used and liked the older 5,000-mAh version with dual USB-A ports, which retails for $26 to $40, depending on color choice. But the new model doubles the capacity to 10,000-mAh, and adds a USB-C port. That lets you charge two devices such as your phone and a secondary connected gadget (or two phones) simultaneously. There’s also a little LED indicator on the side lets you check the charge level at the press of a button. 

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MyCharge HubPlus Turbo is the company’s latest power bank with integrated foldable wall plug and both Lightning and USB-C cables. The wall charger is called the Turbo because it has Power Delivery and Quick Charge 3.0 (USB-C cable) that deliver fast-charging speeds, meaning up to 75% faster charging time than the standard 5-volt charger that comes with most iPhones. This wall charger has a 6,700-mAh battery.

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Nimble’s Champ portable charger uses recycled plastic in its construction. You have to pay a bit more for going green, but it is a nice, compact 10,000-mAh charger that features PD 4.0 fast-charging (18 watts) via its single USB-C port. Also, the coupon CNET25 will get you 25% off at checkout. 

Nimble also sells some higher-capacity battery packs.

The Atom XS comes in two versions: a smaller 800-mAh model and a larger 1,300-mAh model. These are designed to fit on a keychain and are about the size of an electronic car key. But be warned, they won’t fully charge your phone. The idea is to have them around for charging in case your phone dies and you need a spot of juice to get you through a few hours. 

Both Atom XS models have an integrated Lightning connector and won’t weigh your phone down while charging. At around $40 for the larger 1,300-mAh output variant (the one I’d opt for), the Atom XS is fairly expensive and you may be disappointed that it will only charge some of the larger iPhones to about 25%. But again, this all about the convenience of having a tiny battery charger for emergency charging purposes. A model with USB-C charging is slightly cheaper at $35.

What to look for

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a battery pack or power bank:

  • A higher power output rating (mAh, short for milliamp hours) means more charges — but also a heavier weight. 
  • For the latest iPhones (everything after the iPhone 7) you should buy a battery with at least a 3,000-mAh capacity, which should give you at least one full charge for a device. With the exception of the Atom XS, all of the models featured above hit that mark. 
  • Multiple integrated charge cables or USB-out ports will allow you to charge more than one device at a time.
  • These products all use lithium-ion (li-ion) rechargeable batteries, and should thus always be stored in carry-on luggage when flying. Airlines and regulatory agencies are increasingly banning lithium-ion batteries in checked baggage.
  • If you want maximum power output, opt for chargers with USB-C PD (power delivery) models, which should charge nearly every small device (smaller than a laptop), including a tablet or Nintendo Switch.

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