Go and Charge: A Guide to Cheap Portable Chargers

Knowledge Base

With the ever-increasing reliance on phones, laptops and other electronic devices, it has become more important than ever to have access to a charging point. As the world becomes more mobile and nomadic, it’s not always easy to have steady access to a reliably power outlet everywhere you go. This is where portable chargers come in. Wherever you are, you can have a source of energy that means you can work and play with your devices no matter where you are.


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.

Charging Speed

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.

Final Thoughts

Portable chargers are super useful for mobile professionals and those who find themselves frequently in the middle of nowhere but still need access to their laptop or phone. The security of having a reliable energy source in your backpack is not to be overlooked. A portable charger doesn’t need to be expensive to be good, and we hope this short guide has helped you narrow down your options.