Should I buy a power bank for my phone?

Power banks have become a staple of the mobile phone market, perfect for users who like to travel, or those who are worried about running their phone batteries down. There’s so much variety on the market, with costs, capacities and features different from product to product. Finding a power bank for your phone can be quite daunting to look into, but our handy guide should be able to help out.

What is a power bank?

A power bank is a portable charger, typically used for charging a small mobile device, such as a phone or a wireless earbuds case. Portable chargers can be around the size of a portable hard drive, with charging capacities varying, depending on model and brand. Power banks are typically seen as accessories to mobile phones; however, for older model phones with dying batteries, they’re almost essential.

Two powerbanks

What is the best power bank?

Getting the best power bank depends greatly on a few factors: how much you’re willing to spend, what capacity you’re after, and what you want your power bank to be capable of. Portable chargers are widely available both online and from physical retailers, but make sure you find one that’s perfect for your needs. Below you’ll find the factors you should consider when power bank shopping.

Power bank prices

Power bank prices typically range between $15 and $100, depending on what they’re capable of and what their capacity is. Higher-capacity power banks may cost more.

Power bank capacity

Power bank capacities can range drastically and are typically measured in mAh (milliamp hours). The higher the price, the higher the mAh number typically is – and the higher the mAh number, the more battery life you’ll get out of the power bank. If you’re looking to get a lot of use out of a power bank, you should consider one with a large battery, otherwise, you should be fine charging your power bank up on a casual basis, and using it from time to time.

Keep in mind that your power bank’s battery life can decrease over time, just like your phone battery. Consider replacing your power bank when you start to notice this.

Power bank capabilities

Normally a power bank is capable of charging a phone, although some power banks are capable of charging multiple devices at once, and some are capable of charging larger devices, such as iPads. A power bank with more functions will typically cost more, although this cost is usually tied to battery capacity.

When shopping for a power bank to charge larger devices, make sure you’re looking for high wattages (such as 19W). Make sure the capable wattage is equal to or greater than your laptop’s required wattage, which varies from model to model.

Prepaid and postpaid phone plans

If you’re on the hunt for a power bank, consider shopping around for a new phone plan as well. Below you’ll find a selection of postpaid and prepaid plans.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use Canstar Blue’s phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans on offer from mobile providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Is it safe to use a power bank?

Power banks are completely safe, although, in the rare chance of a malfunction, they can catch fire or cause burns. Make sure your battery isn’t in a situation where it can get too hot (such as being in the sun for too long), and try to avoid dropping the battery, in case it breaks and leads to a malfunction.

Can a power bank charge a laptop?

Most power banks will be unable to charge a laptop due to the difference in wattage when compared to smartphones, although there are power banks that are capable of charging a laptop or larger device. Make sure they have cables compatible with your laptop, and look out for their capable wattage.

Are power banks allowed on flights?

According to CASA (The Civil Aviation Safety Authority), as long as the battery is installed in a device, it can be carried in either checked or carry-on baggage – as the power bank is its own battery-operated device, it is allowed on flights.

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