The 5 best portable chargers for iPhones

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by Vanessa Spilios
best portable chargers for iphones

If you’re on the go without access to a power source, keeping your phone juiced up can be a challenge. Fortunately, the best portable chargers for iPhones take up minimal space, and some offer up to five full charges to your device, so you can continue to text, browse the web, and make calls, no matter where the day takes you. Among the features you’ll want to consider in an external battery pack are its capacity, how quickly it recharges, and its overall size and weight.

Battery capacity is measured in milliamp hour (mAh), and the best portable power banks for iPhones have capacities that range from 4500mAh to 20000mAh. The larger the number, the more power it can supply, which will impact how many times you can charge your iPhone. If you have a larger phone — or want to be able to power up your device multiple times before having to recharge the charger — you may want to choose an option with at least 10000mAh of capacity, but if you just want to top off your battery, you can get away with a capacity as low as 4500mAh. Unsurprisingly, a charger's capacity will affect its overall size and weight, so keep this in mind if bulkiness is a factor in your decision. Large-capacity portable chargers are roughly the size of a smartphone, while mini chargers are lightweight and often small enough to fit in a pocket.

Since portable chargers must first be charged themselves, consider how long this will take as you explore your options. Generally speaking, power banks with mid-range battery capacity (about 10000mAh) will take about three to five hours to recharge, while larger-capacity chargers can take 10 hours or more.

After evaluating features and benefits (and sifting through user-submitted power bank reviews), I’ve rounded up the five best portable chargers for iPhones.

1. The overall best charger

  • Dimensions: 3.8 x 2.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Capacity: 10000mAh

About the size of a deck of cards, this portable charger from AINOPE offers a good balance of mid-range battery capacity and compact size, making it a great option if you want to keep a spare charger in your pocket for everyday use or emergency situations. It offers 10000mAh of battery capacity, which affords you enough power to charge an iPhone 8 four times. The power bank has numerical LEDs that display the remaining battery level, and when you need to re-up, it has a recharge time of 3.1 hours. Also compatible with Samsungs and iPads, the power bank has one USB-A port and two USB-C ports for charging up to three devices simultaneously. It comes with a USB-C to C cable and a USB-C to A cable — which means you’ll have to supply your own USB-C to Lightning cable.

A reviewer wrote: “Using the stock iPhone USB-C cable, this thing charges my iPhone at the super-fast pace, went from 20% to 95 percent in around 40 minutes on my iPhone 12 Pro Max, battery still showed 70%. Plenty of capacity and speed for its size! Nice to keep in a glovebox or motorcycle saddle bag, super fast charge means you are done fast.”

2. The best value

  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 7.7 ounces each
  • Capacity: 10000mAh each

This set of two chargers makes it convenient to always have a portable battery backup for your iPhone, so you can put one in your bag and one in your car, desk, or anywhere else you want to keep a power bank on hand. Each charger has 10000mAh of capacity, and can provide an iPhone X with three charges, and an iPhone 8 with 4.5 charges. Dual output and input ports mean you can charge up to two devices at once, but note that you’ll only get a micro-USB cable in the package, so you’ll have to provide your own Lightning to USB-C cable. A button on the side of each charger lets you see the battery level in 25% increments, and recharging time for the power bank clocks in at about five hours. This pick is also compatible with Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones.

A reviewer wrote: “We've had good luck with this portable charger. It’s very slim, which I love, its’ easy to put into nearly any pocket of a backpack. It has 4 LED lights which is sufficient for seeing charge quality [...] Charges an iPhone 7 several times before needing to be recharged (I’m not talking about from 0 to 100% several times, I just mean we can plug in several times to "top off" when we get "low" like 30%, and it works fine). Two pack is idea for busy households. Definitely recommend.”

3. The best large-capacity portable charger

  • Dimensions: 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 12.1 ounces
  • Capacity: 20000mAh

If you don’t want to mess with recharging frequently, this Anker power bank has the largest battery capacity on the list — 20000mAh — and it can supply five charges to an iPhone XS and more than 4.5 charges to an iPhone 13. This pick also boasts Anker’s PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology to deliver an optimized charge, along with a trickle-charging mode for low-power accessories, which helps save battery. It’s also sturdy — the charger has been drop-tested for durability up to 1 meter, but keep in mind that it’s a bit bulkier than other options.

Also compatible with Samsungs, the power bank is outfitted with a micro-USB and a USB-C input port, as well as dual output ports that allow you to charge more than one device at a time. It features a battery level indicator, but note that recharging the power bank requires 10.5 hours with a 10-watt charger (and 20 hours with a 5-watt charger). You’ll only get a micro-USB cable, which means you’ll have to use your own Lightning cable.

A reviewer wrote: “Have not had this for long but have charged phone and/or iPads about a few times but never from 0%. My phone just died about 30 minutes ago. I plugged this in it took [about 2 minutes] to start up again and have been playing music and looking at Facebook. Thirty minutes later phone is at 28% and the charger still shows full charge. Best portable charger I’ve owned so far.”

4. The best mini portable charger

  • Dimensions: 3 x 1.8 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 3.8 ounces
  • Capacity: 4500mAh

This mini power bank from iWALK is small enough to fit in a pocket (the brand compares it to a tube of lipstick), and plugs directly into your iPhone to deliver a quick power boost if you're on the go without access to an outlet. The 4500mAh capacity is the lowest on the list, and it supplies an iPhone 8 with 1.5 charges and an iPhone X with one charge, which means you’ll have to remember to recharge the power bank itself more frequently. This highly portable power pack only has a single port, but it does have a built-in Lightning connector, which means you don’t have to supply your own — the only option on this list with that benefit. (However, it’s worth noting that because of that feature, it’s not compatible with Androids.) It also comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable for recharging the power bank. There’s no battery level indicator, and recharging time is not specified, but several reviewers mentioned it recharged quickly.

A reviewer wrote: “This charger is perfect for traveling. Small yet gives a full charge AND not having to worry about carrying a cord is a bonus.”

5. The best magnetic charger

  • Dimensions: 3.7 x 2.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Capacity: 5000mAh

This portable charger from Anker has a magnetic, wireless design that allows you to bring it on the go without having to tote along a cable — super convenient if you want a streamlined option. However, this option is only compatible for magnetic charging with iPhone 12 and 13 series models, and you’ll have to outfit your phone with a MagSafe case or remove the case entirely before pressing the power bank’s button to activate magnetic charging. That being said, the USB-C port means you can also use a cord to charge non-MagSafe smartphones (Lightning cable not included), as well as devices like wireless headphones and tablets.

The 5000mAh power bank can provide an iPhone 12 with 0.95 charges and an iPhone 12 Pro Max with 0.75 charges, according to the brand, so while it can’t supply you with multiple charges, it’s a good backup for emergencies or to give your phone a quick boost. In addition to being highly portable, it can also function as a magnetic charging base for your phone, so if you connect the phone and charger at night, you’ll wake up to full power on both devices. The LEDs on the side indicate the battery remaining, and the power bank comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable for recharging, which takes about three hours.

A reviewer wrote: “I bought this portable charger for road trips. With the constant use of music streaming to the car’s entertainment system and Apple Maps for directions, my iPhone doesn’t have enough power to last through a day of driving. This little device eliminates the worry of having the battery power run out [...] I recently drove for over 7 hours with this charger attached to the phone, and the iPhone 13 had close to a full charge when I arrived home. It attaches easily and securely to the back of the phone. (I use one of Apple’s magsafe compatible cases.)”

Also nice to have: a 1-foot Lightning to USB cable

Most portable power banks require you to supply your own USB-C to Lightning cable, and this one from Amazon Basics boasts a 4.6-star overall rating after more than 12,000 reviews. It’s available in multiple length options, including a modest 1-foot length that’s ideal for on-the-go use with an external battery pack. Not to mention, you won’t have to deal with remembering to bring your charging cable from home.

A reviewer wrote: “If you're looking for a short USB-C/PD to Apple Lightning cable, this is the perfect choice. The one foot length is great for short reach items like a portable battery pack so you don't have a super long line dangling around.”

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