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A power bank is a small device designed for charging mobile devices on the go. You don’t need power or access to an outlet because the bank has enough power to give your phone a good charge. Make sure you understand how power banks work and the basics of using one before spending a dime.
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Are Power Banks Dual Voltage?
American and European systems use different voltages. Whether you take a hairdryer or an electric razor, you need an adapter when traveling outside the country. The plugs you find overseas might not be compatible with your devices.
As long as you have a USB charger, you should not have any problems charging your phone. Power banks usually are not dual voltage. They require an adapter to work with an outlet in another country. If you try to charge the power bank without an adapter, you risk frying it.
How Power Banks Work
A power bank has a built-in battery that provides extra power when you need it. You usually get a cord in the box that plugs into the base of the power bank. Leaving it plugged in overnight ensures the battery fully charges by the morning.
Some solar power banks are perfect for camping trips or when you spend a lot of time outside. Make sure the power bank has some sun exposure to recharge the battery. Power banks usually work with a USB cord to charge phones and other mobile devices.
Is Regular Charging a Bad Thing?
Note that power banks won’t replace a full phone battery. So use power banks only during emergencies. For example, your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and you run out of charge. Or the power goes out, and you need to use your phone.
The more often you use the power bank, the less charge you’ll get out of it. Depending on how often you use it, you might get up to three months out of a single charge. Checking the power bank every few weeks will help you see when you need to charge it.
How Long Do You Charge a Power Bank?
Charging a power bank usually only takes a few hours. Most models available today will fully charge in two hours or less. One of the biggest problems you face is that you can damage the battery when you leave it plugged in for too long. You should keep an eye on the screen and unplug it as soon as the battery charges. Some models can take 12 hours or longer to charge fully.
Can I Charge My Phone Faster?
When you use a power bank, charging your phone might take longer. If you want to charge faster, shut your phone off or turn it on airplane mode. Also, a wired power bank charges your phone faster than the wireless models. If your phone is charging using a power bank, use the screen to see when it reaches a full charge.
Can You Charge Multiple Devices on a Power Bank?
Yes. You can charge multiple devices on a single power bank, provided it has two or more outlets/ports for dual charging. Some cheaper models only have one port and require a USB cable to plug in your device.
More extensive models have two to three ports and can charge multiple devices simultaneously. Note that charging multiple devices will take power away from the battery and may require charging the power bank more often.
2 Types of Power Banks
Power banks come in both USB and solar models. Often called traditional power banks, USB models use a standard USB cable. You use the cable for both the power bank and your phone.
Your phone screen lets you know the battery is charging and shows you its battery life percentage. If you lose the USB cable that comes with it, you can replace it with any compatible USB cable. However, some users found that these power banks damaged their phone’s charging ports.
A solar power bank has a large solar charger with USB ports. Leaving the solar charger to harness enough sunlight can provide more than enough power for your mobile devices.
They often offer wireless charging that takes a little longer and wired charging via a USB cable that works faster. Some models also include helpful features such as built-in lights.
Consider a standard wired power bank if you hate carrying extra cables. Then, you only need a USB cable when you charge the power bank. You can do this at home or with an outlet at work.
To charge your phone, you place it on top of the power bank and wait for it to connect. A few models offer wired and wireless functions that let you enjoy the best of both worlds.
Can I Make My Power Bank Last Longer?
You can make your power bank last longer and get more out of it, even if you buy one of the cheaper models. Though most can last for up to 500 charge cycles or more, others begin wearing out after just 200 or 300 charge cycles.
Keep the power bank charged; don’t let it drain because the battery wears down. The longer you leave the battery uncharged, the greater the chances are that the power bank will fail. You also want to keep it in a safe place where it is away from hazards and avoid using it during extreme temperatures.
What Does mAh Mean for Power Banks?
mAH stands for milliamps per hour. It shows how much power your power bank can supply in an hour. It is one of the essential criteria to consider when choosing a new power bank.
A higher mAh will provide more power for your phone. It can also charge your devices more times before you need to recharge the battery.
How Much mAh Do You Need?
The amount of mAh you need depends on how you use the power bank. Small power banks have a capacity of 20000mAh or less. As cell phones usually have a total of 5000mAh or less, these smaller models are perfect for most phones.
If you want to charge your phone and other larger devices, go with a bigger model with a 20000mAh capacity or higher. You can think of these power banks as small generators.
They are often strong enough to charge laptops, tablets, and small appliances. You can even charge them with an adapter in your car. The downside is that they are much larger. They take up a lot of room in your backpack and are too heavy for use at remote campsites.
Which is Better, 10000mAh or 2000mAh?
Both 10000mAh and 20000mAh power banks come in handy in any situation, especially in emergencies. A 10000mAh power bank will charge most phones up to 10 times or provide 1000mAh of power every hour.
If you have multiple devices you want to charge during a trip, go with a power bank with more power. A 20000mAh power bank will deliver up to 20 hours of charging time before the battery runs out.
Smaller Capacity Issue
We wanted to mention a big problem related to small power banks. When you shop online, you’ll come across many models that claim they have a rating of 1000mAh, which is enough to charge a phone or another smaller device.
The product listings do not tell you that you only get an hour of charging. It usually isn’t enough to fully charge your phone. These cheaper models typically do not last as long and might stop working within a few months.
How Many Times Can I Charge My Phone?
To determine how many times you can charge your phone with a power bank, check the mAh capacity of your phone and the power bank. For example, most iPhone models have a battery capacity of 3,000 or more.
If you have a 10000 mAh power bank, you can fully charge your iPhone up to three times. Power banks with a higher mAh rating charge both iPhone models and Android phones more times. Android phones usually have a smaller capacity.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Power Bank?
Now that you know a little more about how they work, it’s time to consider the pros and cons of power banks. It will help you pick the right one and show you the problems you might expect.
Power Banks Pros
A power bank’s best advantage is that it doesn’t require electricity. So if you’re camping in the middle of nowhere and don’t have access to power, you can keep your phone charged with the power bank. You can also use it during a power outage, and you have to charge your phone.
A power bank also has enough power to charge your phone multiple times. So you might find it helpful to tuck a power bank in your trunk or glovebox. Checking whether your battery has a full charge every few weeks ensures you’ll have power when needed.
Some models even come with an adapter that lets you charge the power bank as you drive. If you plan to use the power bank for your phone and one or more other devices, you can easily find a model with dual charging options.
Some other pros of buying and using a power bank include:
- You can choose between the electric and solar-powered models
- Most power banks can fully charge smaller devices in an hour or less
- They can maintain full battery power for months with infrequent use.
- You can easily store smaller models in your car or bag.
- They can charge most devices.
Power Bank Cons
One of the primary disadvantages of power banks is that they can damage your phone’s battery. It happens more with cheaper power banks because they lack voltage protection. Or it might have a higher voltage that fries your battery.
Another issue is that some power banks have lithium-ion batteries. This battery can explode when you use it. You also risk the power bank damaging your phone’s charging port.
Don’t rely solely on a power bank to charge your phone. Instead, use a wall adapter or a USB cable and reserve the power bank for situations when you don’t have any alternatives. If you always use the power bank to charge your phone fully, you can cause enough damage to the battery. In some cases, the phone may stop charging completely.
Some other cons of power banks include:
- The battery can drain when you don’t use it.
- Some power banks require more frequent charging than others do.
- You will find some models that are too big to carry with you.
- You may need to charge a device for 12 hours or longer to get a full charge.
How Do I Know if My Power Bank is Good? 3 Signs
Buying a power bank is easy because many websites and stores sell them. When you purchase a suitable model, you save time and avoid some frustrations other users have. Consider different factors to determine if you have a good power bank.
1. Good Inputs and Outputs
One advantage of a power bank is that you can use it anywhere. When buying one for camping trips and vacations, ensure it has good inputs and outputs.
Those ports must be strong enough that your USB cables won’t fall out. It’s also helpful to look for power banks with more than one output. You never know when you might need to charge your phone and tablet together.
2. Charge Capacity
A power bank with a mAh rating of 5000 to 7000 is strong enough to power some Android phones and tablets. However, if you have an iPhone, you need one with a capacity of 3000mAh or more. The higher the rating, the more charging power it has.
To avoid damage to your phone’s battery, never use a power bank with a higher voltage than your phone. For example, you might pick a 5.5V battery because you think bigger is usually better. However, using that power bank to charge a phone with a 3.5V battery can cause severe damage. Not only does it overcharge the battery and weaken it, but it can eventually kill the battery.
Buying a New Power Bank
Before buying a new power bank, you want to consider some factors to ensure you buy a good one that works with all your devices. First, always pay attention to the overall size. While larger power banks are great for pool parties and outdoor events, they are often too heavy to take on camping or hiking trips.
As you compare models, you’ll find that brands offer power banks at different prices. So even if you can only afford to spend $50 on a new power bank, you can find a great option. Some of the bigger power banks with a higher capacity cost as much as $100 or even more.
Don’t forget to consider the best power bank type for your needs. For example, a solar model is great for outdoor trips but doesn’t have as much use during home power outages. A wireless power bank eliminates the need for USB cables but may not last as long as a wired one.
Using a power bank ensures you can charge your devices anytime, anywhere. But to get the power bank that suits your needs, you must consider several factors mentioned above. Make sure you pick a good one to get the most out of your power bank.