How To Pick The Best Power Bank For Travel

April 7, 2018

Packing bags, seeing new places, and sharing those memories later with our friends is what puts a big smile on our face. Traveling is always exciting and for some of us it is a major part of our lives. What is not so exciting is when things do not go according to plan. There are many surprises you may face when traveling, some may cause an inconvenience and others may ruin your holiday. I am not sure where does having your camera or phone run out of battery sits for you, but for me it is the latter.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem and it is called a “power bank”.

The purpose of the power bank is to store the electric power, which you can then transfer to your portable device, that needs charging. Most often people use power banks to charge mobile phones, cameras, eBook readers, GoPro cameras, laptops, and other portable gadgets.

Having a great power bank that fits your needs should be amongst your top preparation tasks before you travel. It is indispensable when:

  • You want to make a phone call, but your phone battery is flat
  • You want to take pictures, but your photo camera is out of battery
  • You want to capture those magical moments with your action camera, but the battery is dead

I guess we all agree that having a good power bank by your side is important, however with so many options available on the market, which one is the best when traveling?

The answer is boring, but true: it depends. In order to pick the power bank that fits you best, you need to first understand how it will be used. Some of the good questions you may want to consider:

  • What portable devices do I take with me when I travel?
  • How big are their batteries?
  • How long may I stay without access to a power socket?
  • Do I need to charge multiple devices at the same time?

Now that you have a good idea of your personal needs, let us step through some of the main aspects to consider when choosing a power bank.


Any battery capacity, including the one in your power bank is measured in milliamp hours or ‘mAh‘. In simple terms, the higher the mAh rating is, the more electric power can the battery store. Most portable power banks range between 3000 and 20000 mAh, but how much do you need for your devices?

The easiest way to figure out the capacity you require is to check the battery of every device you are planning to carry with you that may require charging. If you sum up individual capacities, you will get the total capacity required to be recharged. To give you a rough idea:

  • Mobile phone batteries ~2000 mAh
  • Action cameras ~100 mAh
  • Tablet ~8000 mAh
  • DSLR camera ~1500 mAh

Now that you know your total mAh value, you need to consider a power bank that matches or exceeds that value.

Power Bank Re-charge Time

It is important to understand that once the power bank has its electric storage depleted, it needs to be recharged. Power banks may take different time to restore their energy supply as it depends on their capacity and charger’s amp rating (i.e. amperage).

If the time to recharge is important, I recommend getting a power bank that has at least 2.1 amps of electric current when being charged. This will significantly shorten the recharge cycle time.

Size, Shape, And Weight

Power banks come in different weights, sizes, and shapes. Weight and size is almost always directly related to the power bank’s capacity. The more electric power it can store, the bigger it usually is. There is no way around this.

This leave the shape as the only variable to consider. Most of the time power banks come in either a normal, squared, or slim profiles.

Consider how and where you will carry the power bank. Once you know, you can decide if the slim profile is really required as often it comes at a premium.

Connections And Ports

The last two things you need to keep in mind are the connection types and ports. You need to check all your portable devices to ensure their connection types (e.g. mini USB, micro USB, lightning, etc.) are compatible with the power bank. Some power banks come with integrated cables, so you need to make sure they will fit your devices.

In terms of ports, you will find that there are power banks with multiple USB ports to allow parallel device charging. This may be really handy if both of your devices are running out of juice and you need to charge them at the same time.

Choosing the best power bank is all about your personal circumstances and the information above is sufficient for you to make a good choice that will fit your needs. If you want to learn more details and discover the best power banks on the market, please feel free to check out the complete power bank review. Happy traveling and never run out of power!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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