Watching your phone or tablet steadily lose power with no power outlet insight can be very stressful. You’ll desperately reduce how much you use your device in hopes that the power will last until you get to an electrical socket. Fortunately for you, there are options that can help you forgo this stress: portable chargers. These extra batteries allow you squeeze out more juice from your phone. Portable chargers come in a wide variety of sizes, models, battery capacities, and price range. Some others come with special features that enhance their functionality.
Buying a portable charger will help you get through a long day without bothering about finding a power outlet to charge your smartphone. Buying an excellent portable charger shouldn’t be very expensive. To assist you in selecting a cheap, yet efficient portable charger, we have compiled this list of the best portable chargers under $ 20 and $50. These are nice portable chargers that will not break your bank account.
Furthermore, we have provided you with a buying guide. From the buying guide, you will discover the essential features that can help you with making the right buying choice.
First, let’s consider the mini-buying guide to see an overview of these handy devices.
- Features to consider in Good Portable Chargers
- Best Portable Chargers 2020 (Under $20)
- Best Portable Chargers 2020 (Under $50)
- Guide to Buying the Best Portable Chargers (under $20/$50)
Features to consider in Good Portable Chargers
Buying a portable charger can be a difficult task. There are several portable chargers (power banks) on the market today, and each one claims to be the right choice. In this section, we will briefly consider some of the essential factors to consider before choosing a portable charger.
Size and Capacity
This is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a power bank.
In most cases, the bigger the battery of the portable charger, the higher the capacity of the portable charger. Additionally, a larger capacity means more juice, and more ports included in the device.
For folks that want a mini-power bank, it should be noted that it will not hold as much charge as a larger power bank. They are usually small and excellent for a charge or two before they need to be charged.
If, on the other hand, you require a portable charger that will last for a day or more, you might need a bag to carry it around.
In our review of the best portable chargers on the market under $20 and $50, most of the small-sized devices have a maximum capacity of 3,500 mAh.
If the charger has a higher value, it usually comes with a larger size. Hence, do not expect it to fit in your jeans. Some portable chargers are big enough to power laptops and several tablets; however, they are big and more expensive than what you might want to spend on a power bank.
Type of Charging
There are different types of charging; however, the most common types are the Pass-through charging and wireless charging.
Pass-through charging is great because it lets you charge smartphones and other devices while the portable charger is also being charged. This feature is especially useful if you need to charge both devices simultaneously.
Wireless charging, as the name implies, allows you to charge your devices without using a cable. It is often more expensive than the other types of charging.
Other factors to consider before choosing a portable charger include:
- Fast charging
- Input and Output ports
- Types of cells
- Power bank output charge current
In the main buying guide, these factors and others will be discussed.
Now, let’s consider the best portable chargers under $20 and $50. We shall see their features, pros, cons, and other things that make them excellent devices.
Best Portable Chargers 2020 (Under $20)
The Aibocn 10000mAh is good-looking portable charger that is arguably the best-looking on our list. It comes with a beautiful, shiny, lacquer finish that looks great and repels stains and fingerprints. Although it doesn’t feel especially comfortable to hold, we find it manageable.
One attraction is the flashlight that comes at the end of the device. On the body of the device, there is a micro-USB input port that is used in charging the device itself. At the other end, there is a pair of USB ports that allow you to charge two devices at a time. There are also four LED lights that indicate the amount of juice left, and if the device is charging.
Although it looks great on the outside, there is a wide variation in the quality of Aibocn 10000mAh on the market. Most units that we tested have rattling sounds in them and face overheating problems.
We believe this is due to poor quality control by the company. Furthermore, considering how cheap it is, it’s not really surprising that it faces such problems.
Nevertheless, we observed that the customer support is quite outstanding and responds to complaints as soon as possible.
It is easy to carry around. Although it might be a tad larger than its counterpart and heavier, we found this difference to be quite little. It will fit into your pockets, even if it might feel a bit heavy.
The Aibocn 10000mAh comes with an ‘intelligent charging’ technology. This technology protects the device from overcharging, short-circuiting, and overvoltage. Furthermore, it ensures that your battery lasts for a long time.
With its great price, nice design, and fingerprint repellent casing, it is an excellent device for the medium-power user.
Look and Design
The design and look of the Poweradd Slim 2 5000mAh is rather disappointing. It is by no means horrible; however, we feel the manufacturer could have done more in this department. It looks a tad plain. Fortunately, it comes in a wide variety of colors. Thus, you can choose a color that would add some zing to the appearance.
It has a narrow, long body in a hexagonal shape. The advantage of this is that you can pick it up easily. It is generally made of plastic, although there is a metallic strip that interrupts the plastic casing. There is the USB output and micro-USB input ports at the end of the device.
As we pointed out earlier, it is made of plastic. Nevertheless, it feels solid and well-constructed. It might not appear as fancy as some of the others on this list, but considering the low price, this isn’t very surprising.
The Poweradd Slim 2 5000mAh comes with an impressive amount of power, especially when the size is considered. At this size, you will be hard-pressed to find a similarly powerful portable charger at such a low price.
The output port is rated 2.1A; hence, you can rest assured that your device will charge really quickly.
The micro-USB port for charging the device is rated 2A. Therefore, it charges quickly, as well.
An interesting feature is the smart charging technology that detects your device and adjusts the charge safely and optimally.
As a mini-charger, it doesn’t offer as much juice as several of the other portable chargers on this list. However, it still delivers decent charging performance. It holds a relatively large capacity and impressive charging speeds.
With its 5000 mAh of battery, the Anker PowerCore 5000 can charge your smartphone more than twice. It isn’t recommended for tablets, though. Nevertheless, it can also charge these, albeit to a low capacity.
It comes with an output charging speed of 5V/2.0A. Thus, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by how quickly the Anker PowerCore 5000 charges your devices.
As it comes with just one output, all the amperage is concentrated on the charging device, providing a more pleasant and faster charging experience. It is recharged via a micro-USB input port and can charge from 0% to 100% in about four hours.
Design and Build
THE Anker PowerCore 5000 comes in a cylindrical shape similar to that found on many mini-powerbanks on the market. We found it easy to hold and use on the road.
It comes in a small size, which fits into your bag comfortably. It can even fit into your pocket, though we found it rather uncomfortable.
The ports are clearly marked, and there are three LED indicators that show the current status of the portable charger.
It is made of plastic and has a smooth finish. Despite the plastic build, it is strong and will likely last for a long time.
The RAVPower 6700mAh has a length of 3.5”, width of 16″, and thickness of 0.8″. Therefore, size-wise, it is a relatively small and compact charger. It weighs 4.8 ounces, which is lighter than many of the portable chargers on this list. You can carry it around in one hand and even put it in a large pocket.
All the controls and functions of the charger lie on one side. These include parts like the USB Output port, micro-USB input port, LED power indicators, and a power button.
Unlike the portable charger above, the RAVPower 6700mAh automatically starts to charge when a device is plugged into it.
The construction of the RAVPower 6700mAh is another reason why it is so highly rated.
It comes in an aluminium alloy body and has an anodized finish. Hence it is very durable and will last for a long time.
The power capacity of the device is rather average; however, you will find it super useful in charging smartphones.
It has charging speeds of 2.4A, which means most of your smartphones will be charged at the maximum speeds.
You will not be able to charge several devices at a time since it comes with a single charging port.
The Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger has a capacity of 3,350 mAh. While this is what the manufacturer lists as the capacity, after heat generation and other factors, it ends up providing just 3000 mAh in reality. Nevertheless, the 3000 mAh capacity is still enough to power your smartphone.
If you seek to power larger devices, for example, tablets, then it would be better to get a portable charger with a higher capacity.
The Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger has an output charging speed of 5V/1A; hence, you should not expect fast charge times. It can adapt and push output up to 1.1A if the smartphone requires it.
Input charging is better than output charging; hence, you can expect a full charge in just about three hours.
Design and Build
The Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger ditches the cylindrical shape found in most other portable chargers for a cube design. Notwithstanding the change in design, it is as portable and comfortable to carry around. It can be kept in your pocket comfortably for extended periods.
The central body of the Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger is made of aluminium, and the side panels are of plastic. Overall, the device is sturdy and well-constructed.
The Jackery Mini 3350mAh Portable Charger doesn’t come with an auto-charge function. Thus, you have to press the power button for it to begin charging.
It comes with several safety features like Short Circuit protection, Voltage protection, and Temperature control.
Best Portable Chargers 2020 (Under $50)
Design and Size
The Anker PowerCore 20100mAh is a portable device, and this is very impressive considering its large capacity. Anker has been in the business of making power devices for a while now, and the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh sees the company switch up their game, especially with regards to design and performance.
The Anker PowerCore 20100mAh comes with rounded edges that make it easy to carry around. With a weight of just about 350 grams, it is relatively lightweight. The weight is not heavy enough to be noticeable in a bag; however, it isn’t comfortable enough to be carried around in your back pocket.
The Anker PowerCore 20100mAh doesn’t have plenty of things going on the sides of the device. It comes with a power button and four indicator lights. The lights are to show you how much charge you have left in the device. Although it isn’t very specific, we found it rather effective in gauging the amount of juice left in the device.
On one end of the device is a pair of USB ports that allow you to charge two devices at a go. Right by this pair is a micro-USB slot for charging the charger. There are two versions, one with the micro-USB slot, and the other with a USB-C version input.
We tested the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh with several phones, and we got impressive results every time. It took about two hours and 10 minutes to charge our iPhone XR to 100%.
Since it comes with a whopping 20100 mAh of battery, you can rightly expect the portable charger to charge your phone several times before it runs out of juice.
The Anker PowerCore 20100mAh does its job without any bells and whistles. It is safe to use as it comes with Anker’s MultiProtect Safety System. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about overheating or similar problems.
Design and Feel
The Anker PowerCore 10000 comes with a nice, updated design from what existed in older models from Anker. It features a textured grippy outer casing. Hence, you can hold it, even in wet conditions, without feeling like it is slipping from your hand. It is scratch and fingerprint resistant as well.
It features a rather prominent clickable button. When in use, or when charging, it has a six-point indicator. We like the placement of the button and the indicators. It allows you to know the status of the portable charger rather easily. Additionally, it comes with a 4-point indicator on its side.
The Anker PowerCore 10000 weighs just 195 grams. Therefore, it is lighter than many portable chargers on the market. However, except you have really deep pockets, it might be pretty hard placing it in your pocket.
Unlike the bigger model above, it comes with just one output port. The advantage of this is that the Amperage is focused on the device being charged.
The Anker PowerCore 10000 is made of plastic. Nevertheless, it is a durable and well-constructed power bank.
As the name implies, the Anker PowerCore 10000 comes with a battery capacity of 10,000 mAh. Although there is a lower output capacity, this is negligible.
One reason why Anker portable chargers are so highly rated is that they feature Panasonic battery cells. These cells have nice conversion rates and will last longer than your average portable charger.
During our testing, we observed that the output capacity of the portable charger is around 8,000 mAh, although this will vary for the device you’re charging.
We noticed that we could charge our phone three times before the portable charger went out of juice.
As for charging, we noticed that the Anker PowerCore 10000 can be fully charged in about six hours. However, to achieve this time, you must use a 2 Amp wall charger or higher.
The Jackery Bolt 6000mAh comes with a battery capacity of 6000mAh, which makes it one of the least powerful portable chargers on this list. However, it comes with Panasonic battery cells and an output of 2.4 Amps. Thus, it will charge your phones really quickly and will last for a time. Additionally, minimal power reduction is noticed due to the superior output port.
It is mainly designed to charge smartphones, and it does this well. It can charge your smartphones twice. If you plan on using it for a larger device, then you should know that it won’t last as long as using it for smartphones.
The Jackery Bolt 6000mAh can charge your devices in three ways. You can opt to use the micro-USB for your micro-USB compatible devices. You can use the Lightning cable to charge iPhones and other compatible devices. There is also the USB charging port that grants you the freedom to plug in a cable and charge from there.
Since you have a wide variety of options, anyone can charge using the device.
Furthermore, as the portable charger comes with a pair of cables, you avoid the stress of taking cables along with you wherever you go.
You can charge up to three devices at a go using the Jackery Bolt 6000mAh.
Design and Construction
The Jackery Bolt 6000mAh is a relatively small device, which isn’t very surprising considering the small battery capacity. It isn’t bulky and can be placed in the pocket. It also weighs just 5.3 ounces, which makes it lightweight and easy to take around.
It comes with an Aluminium center body flanked on either side by plastic.
It comes with a flashlight that can be switched on by tapping the power button. It also comes with safety features like temperature control, overcharge control, and short circuit prevention.
The Aukey 10000mAh comes with a battery capacity of 10,000 mAh, and with that amount of power, you can use it to charge smaller devices, including smartphones. After the conversion of power, you have approximately 8,000 mAh of power left to charge your devices.
However, if you opt to use the Quick Charge port or the USB-C port, you should expect lower values of power output.
Nevertheless, we observed that this portable charger delivers nice charging performance.
Design and Build
The Aukey 10000mAh comes in a rather compact size. It has approximately the same thickness as most Samsung smartphones. The battery isn’t thick; hence, you can slip it into your pocket without any hassle. If you don’t have a bag with you, you can still carry the device around with ease.
It weighs around 9 ounces, which is relatively lightweight and very convenient.
There are a pair of USB-A ports, with one of these using Quick Charge 3.0, while the other is the standard type of USB output. Aside from these, there is the USB-C port that comes with an 18W charging rate.
The USB-C port charges Power Delivery compatible smartphones at their top charging speeds. Hence, you can get your low smartphones up and running as soon as possible.
Design and Build
Right off the bat, let’s establish that the Flux Portable Charger comes with a rather boorish, industrial design. If you are into aesthetics and if that is a serious consideration, then you might want to look away from this device.
It comes with two grey corners and tops it off with a cheap-looking power button on the side. It also comes with ridges on the side, which we suppose is to help with gripping the device. However, it doesn’t add to the appeal, at least in our opinion.
While the design is largely disappointing, where the Flux Portable Charger shines is the build quality. It feels strong, sturdy, and durable. Both sides of the charger are made of aluminium, instead of the generic plastic found on the casing of other types of portable chargers. It comes with a pair of built-in cables as well.
Size-wise, it is one of the slimmest on this list. Putting it in your pocket is no hassle at all. However, keep it away from stuff that can scratch it because it is not designed scratch or fingerprint-resistant.
Power and Performance
The Flux Portable Charger comes with built-in cables and doesn’t allow you to plug in your cable. One of the cables is a micro-USB cable, and the other is a Lightning cable. It is quite disappointing that there is no USB-C cable on the device. You can charge two devices at once; however, doing this will reduce the amperage.
Guide to Buying the Best Portable Chargers (under $20/$50)
The ten products reviewed above are some of the best portable chargers you can buy right now. By considering these, you will have narrowed your choice to the best on the market. You might wonder what factors influenced our choices, or you might want to choose your own portable charger aside from those we have reviewed. Well, in this section, we have provided several factors that ought to influence your buying decision. These factors, when considered and applied, can help you make an educated choice.
If you see a portable charger listed as having a 10,000 mAh capacity, does this mean that it will charge your 2500mAh smartphone battery up to four times? Well, you might say ‘yes, of course.’ However, you would likely be wrong.
For smartphones, the power rating is calculated at 5 volts. However, for portable chargers, it is calculated at 3.7 volts. What does this mean for your charging? It means that there is a step down in charge cycles. Thus, you cannot directly convert the capacity and use it as a gauge of how many charges you will get from the portable charger.
Fortunately, there is a way to calculate it.
For the 10, 000 mAh power bank, the total energy will be 10000 mAh x 3.7V = 37,000 mWh. Now, we will convert the capacity at 5V. This gives us 37000 mWh/5V= 7,400 mAh.
Aside from that, you must also consider other factors that can affect the energy of the portable charger. These include the resistance and heat loss, among others.
Thus, don’t be confused when your power bank fails to provide the expected number of charges.
The power indicator is one feature that we have discovered many folks tend to overlook and view as unimportant. However, it is an essential feature that will affect how much you enjoy using your portable charger.
The power bank loses charge as time passes. Hence, your portable charger should have the ability to indicate when the power drops. If it lacks this important feature, and if you are not careful about charging and recharging cycles, you might pick up your portable charger one day and discover that it is an empty shell.
Power indicators, often in the form of LED lights allow you to know several things. They tell you when the device is charging, if it is on, and the amount of juice left in the battery.
Turning these indicators on varies across models. For example, some models require to be shaken while others have a button to switch on the indicators.
Input and Output ports
In most cases, especially for portable chargers designed for smartphones, the portable charger gives a 1A output current. This output is often sufficient for many smartphones since they do not require a large amount of energy.
However, with smarter phones come different needs and the importance of a more impressive input and output port.
The type of port of your portable charger has, affect the compatibility with other devices, as well as the charging speed.
From our review above, we can see that most of these portable chargers come with a standard micro-USB port for input and a USB-A port for output. Others come with the USB-C port, which is faster than others.
USB-C ports are also found on most smartphones today. Therefore, as you choose a powerbank, ensure that its ports are compatible with your phones’. If you are using an Apple device, then you should look for a portable charger that offers Lightning ports.
The number of ports is also an important consideration. If you have several devices plugged into the portable charger, you should note that it will not give the maximum current to each port.
For most products on the market, the higher the price, the better the quality. The same thing goes for portable chargers. You will often get whatever you pay for. Expensive portable chargers usually come with more features than cheaper models.
However, to get a portable charger with decent performance, you do not have to spend a fortune. Some options come at a low price but still offer nice performance. For example, the products reviewed in this article all come below $50, but they still deliver excellent charging performance.
When buying, you should be careful not to opt for portable chargers that will not serve you properly. In fact, some of these super-cheap models can be dangerous and can damage your electronic devices.
In choosing, strike a balance between quality and price.
An essential factor that will affect your choice of portable charger is the speed at which it will charge your phone. The output of the battery is measured in voltage and amperage. The amperage is the essential consideration for the speed of charging.
Current, or amperage, refers to how much electricity is transferred from the portable charger to the smartphone. The wattage is a combination of the voltage and amperage.
To ensure that the portable charger provides a faster charge time, many manufacturers adjust the voltage or amperage.
There are some essential things to consider if you are contemplating buying a portable charger with fast charging.
These things include the charging circuit of the smartphone, a portable charger, and cable that supports the charging circuit. If any of these factors is missing, then your smartphone won’t charge at optimal speeds.
There are several charging standards on the market. Some of the most popular ones are Power Delivery, Adaptive Fast Charging, and Quick Charge.
For each of these standards to work, the connecting cable, and the circuit system of the portable charger must be in sync with the circuit of the phone. Power Delivery is found in some of the portable chargers reviewed above. It allows for fast charging, and even allows power to flow both ways.
Type of battery
There are two main types of batteries. These are lithium-ion and lithium polymer. Lithium-ion is cheaper and heavier. Lithium polymer batteries are lightweight and tend to last longer than their counterparts. However, they are also more expensive.
While it might be hard work choosing the right portable charger, we hope that this review and guide of the best portable chargers under $20 and $50 will assist you in selecting the right device.