USB-C ports are becoming ubiquitous, with most new phones, tablets, and laptops adopting the versatile standard. With USB-C’s fast charging capabilities, you can juice up your devices faster than ever. But that speed means little when you’re nowhere near a power outlet.
That’s where portable USB-C power banks come in clutch. These compact chargers pack serious battery power, letting you charge up your phone, tablet, and other USB-C gadgets multiple times before you need to recharge the power bank itself. Plus, USB-C power delivery enables safe, high-wattage charging on-the-go.
In this guide, we’ll cover the key factors to look for when shopping for a USB-C portable charger. We’ll also share our top picks for the best USB-C power banks available now based on capacity, portability, charging speed, and overall value. And we’ll answer some frequently asked questions to help you choose the right model for your needs and get the most out of your new power bank.
So read on to power up your knowledge of USB-C portable chargers!
Key Factors To Consider When Choosing a USB-C Power Bank
With so many options on the market, it can get overwhelming trying to pick the best USB-C power bank for your needs. Here are the key factors and features to consider while shopping:
A power bank’s capacity determines how many times it can charge up your devices before needing to be recharged itself. Capacity is measured in mAh (milliamp hours). Higher numbers like 10,000 mAh or more mean more charges.
For comparison, most smartphones have around 3,000 mAh batteries. So a 10,000 mAh power bank could theoretically charge a phone over three times. Tablets and smaller laptops may require 20,000 mAh or higher capacity banks.
USB-C PD Output
USB-C power delivery allows portable chargers to output much more wattage than old USB-A ports. But not all USB-C ports are created equal. Look for power banks with USB-C PD output of 18W or higher to enable the fastest charging speeds. Models with 30W or more offer the best performance.
Lower powered USB-C outputs limit you to slow 5W charging. PD outputs allow your devices to charge at their maximum rated wattage, drastically speeding up charge times.
Number of Ports
More ports means you can charge multiple devices at the same time. At minimum, you’ll want a power bank with two USB-C ports so you can charge your phone and another device simultaneously.
Some models also add USB-A ports, allowing you to power small accessories or older devices lacking USB-C ports. But USB-C is preferable when available for fastest charging.
Size and Weight
If you plan to toss your power bank in your bag or pocket for on-the-go charging, slimmer and lighter models are preferable. But reduced size typically means lower capacity.
You’ll need to find the right balance of portability vs power for your usage. Plan how much you’re willing to carry weight-wise for your desired capacity.
Today’s power banks offer more than just battery packs. Premium features can include:
- Wireless charging coils to power up phones without cables
- Integrated cables so you don’t have to carry separate cables
- Flashlights or LED displays showing charge status
- Ruggedized designs for outdoor use
- Solar panels to self-recharge the power bank
Handy extras like these will drive up the cost. Decide which features would actually prove useful for you before paying a premium.
Expect to pay more for increased capacity, USB-C PD output wattage, and extra features. Budget-friendly models start around $20-30, but can have minimal capacity or slow USB-A only outputs.
High-speed PD models with maximum outputs and 20,000+ mAh capacity can cost over $100. Determine how much you’re willing to spend for the performance you need.
With any electronics, it’s wise to stick with established brands with good reputations. Reliable customer service and warranties can save you hassle if issues arise. Do research before choosing lesser known brands just to save money.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s get to our picks for the top USB-C power banks available today.
Top 5 USB-C Power Banks
Anker PowerCore III Elite
- Overview: Top-of-the-line model from leading brand Anker, offers maximum charging speed.
- Battery: 25,600 mAh
- Outputs: 60W USB-C PD, 18W USB-C PD, 12W USB-A
- Features: PowerIQ 3.0 charging tech, foldable plug
- Pros: Blazing 60W USB-C output, high capacity, premium quality
- Cons: Expensive, heavier than slim models
With a monster 60W USB-C output, the PowerCore III Elite can charge a MacBook Pro at full speed, while simultaneously charging an iPhone to 50% in just 30 minutes. The folding plug is a nice touch, eliminating messy cables. Of course, that power comes at a price – this is one of the most expensive models out there. But for seamless fast charging across all devices, the PowerCore III Elite is unmatched.
RAVPower PD Pioneer 30W
- Overview: Large capacity model with 30W USB-C output.
- Battery: 20,100 mAh
- Outputs: 30W USB-C PD, 18W USB-C, 12W USB-A
- Features: LED power indicator
- Pros: Good balance of capacity, speed, and price
- Cons: A bit bulky for pocket carry
While not the speed demon of the Anker above, the RAVPower PD Pioneer still pumps out a fast 30W from its USB-C port. And it comes packed with a hefty 20,100 mAh battery to fuel multiple charges. The LED indicator makes it easy to check how much juice is left. If you need lots of power without breaking the bank, this is a great option.
Aukey Omnia Mini
- Overview: Ultra compact and lightweight model.
- Battery: 10,000 mAh
- Outputs: 18W USB-C PD, 12W USB-A
- Features: Foldable plug, battery indicator light
- Pros: Very portable and stylish design
- Cons: Lower capacity than larger models
For a portable charger you can take anywhere, the Aukey Omnia Mini packs 10,000 mAh into a slim body comparable in size to a smartphone. Despite its small stature, it can still pump out 18W USB-C PD to charge phones and tablets at high speed. The foldable plug means added convenience. But the lower capacity means fewer charges between top-ups. Still, an excellent lightweight pick.
- Overview: Durable and ultra-portable model.
- Battery: 10,000 mAh
- Outputs: 18W USB-C PD, 12W USB-A
- Features: Rugged design, pass-through charging
- Pros: Crushproof construction, travel-friendly size
- Cons: No built-in cables like some models
If you’re hard on your gadgets, the rugged Zendure SuperMini can withstand abuse while charging your gear. Its tough exterior and 10,000 mAh capacity make it ideal for camping, hiking, or other activities away from power. Pass-through charging allows you to plug in the power bank and connected device at the same time. My only gripe is the lack of integrated cables found on some models. But for on-the-go durability, it can’t be beat.
Belkin Pocket Power
- Overview: Affordable no-frills model good for everyday carry.
- Battery: 10,000 mAh
- Outputs: 18W USB-C PD, 12W USB-A
- Features: Compact design
- Pros: Budget-friendly price, reliable brand
- Cons: No extra features like wireless charging
Sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles – you just need a straightforward portable charger. That’s where the affordable Belkin Pocket Power comes in. It provides 10,000 mAh capacity in a slim package comparable to an iPhone 12 in size. The 18W USB-C PD port allows for fast charging. And the trusted Belkin brand offers peace of mind. If you just need an everyday power bank without breaking the bank, it gets the job done.
So there you have it – our top recommendations for USB-C power banks across a range of capacities, features, and price points. Read on for more tips on choosing the right model for your personal needs.
How To Choose The Right USB-C Power Bank For Your Needs
With so many power banks on the market, choosing the right one ultimately comes down to a few key factors based on your particular devices and how you plan to use it:
- Consider your primary devices – Do you need to charge just a phone? Or also a tablet or laptop? Devices with higher battery capacities require more powerful banks.
- Determine how much capacity you need – Consider how long you go between recharges when traveling or away from outlets. Choose a mAh rating that can sufficiently refuel all your devices as needed.
- Decide what charging speed is necessary – Faster wall charging requires higher wattage USB-C PD output. But slower overnight charging may suffice if you mostly use a power bank to top off while sleeping.
- Determine importance of size/weight – If you have room to carry more weight, higher capacities in the 20,000+ mAh range can prove useful. But if you need pure portability, compact 10,000 mAh models shine.
- Think about extra features – Built-in cables provide convenience. Wireless charging gives flexibility. Rugged designs offer protection outdoors. Decide what’s most valuable for your use cases.
- Choose reputable brands that fit your budget – Quality varies widely. A cheap no-name power bank could damage your expensive devices. Spend what you can to get a reliable product that safely meets your charging needs.
Finding the sweet spot between performance, portability, and price ultimately comes down to analyzing your own habits and priorities. With the right USB-C power bank, you’ll gain the freedom to stay powered up wherever your devices go.
Using Your USB-C Power Bank: Tips and Recommendations
Once you’ve picked out the perfect USB-C power bank, it’s important to take measures to keep it working safely and efficiently:
- Read the instructions to understand the power bank’s features, operation, status lights, etc. Different models vary.
- Fully charge the power bank before first use to get the maximum battery capacity. Charge times vary greatly.
- Use appropriate cables like USB-C to USB-C to take advantage of fast charging capabilities, rather than slower USB-A.
- Manage heat while fast charging by not covering the power bank, and don’t charge in hot areas like direct sunlight.
- Recharge the power bank fully after each use to keep it topped up and ready to go. Partial charges can degrade battery health over time.
- Store the power bank properly when not in use by avoiding excess heat, moisture, dust, and other contamination.
- Clean the ports regularly with compressed air to avoid lint and debris buildup in the connectors that can prevent proper charging.
- Don’t attempt repairs by opening the casing – these products are not user-serviceable. Contact the manufacturer if issues arise.
Following best practices for charging hygiene and care will keep your USB-C power bank in optimum shape, always ready to provide backup power when you need it.
FAQs About USB-C Power Banks
Here we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about USB-C portable chargers:
Q: Why should I choose a USB-C power bank?
A: USB-C power delivery provides much faster charging speeds compared to old USB-A charging. USB-C banks can provide up to 60W power to charge laptops, tablets, and phones at top speed. USB-C is also smaller and more convenient than micro USB.
Q: What’s the difference between USB-C PD and regular USB?
A: USB-C is the physical port shape and connector type. Power Delivery or “PD” is the underlying fast charging protocol. For fastest charging, you need USB-C hardware and PD support.
Q: How many times can a USB-C power bank charge my phone?
A: Estimate the number of charges by taking the power bank’s mAh capacity and dividing it by your phone’s mAh battery rating. A 10,000 mAh bank and a 3,000 mAh phone = roughly 3.3 charges.
Q: Should I get a power bank with built-in cables or separate cables?
A: Built-in cables are more convenient, but not replaceable if damaged. Separate cables allow using thicker higher-quality cables but can get lost. Choose based on your preference.
Q: Can I charge a laptop with a USB-C power bank?
A: Yes, with higher capacity banks (20,000+ mAh) and high wattage output. Lower capacity banks may not be able to charge larger devices like laptops.
Q: Will fast charging damage my phone’s battery?
A: Modern phones are designed to handle USB-C PD fast charging. Just use the appropriate cable and charger and avoid excessive heat buildup.
Q: Is it okay to charge a power bank and device simultaneously?
A: Yes. Many banks feature “pass-through” charging which lets you charge connected devices while the power bank itself is plugged in and charging.
Q: How do I know if my devices are compatible with my USB-C power bank?
A: Most current model phones, tablets, laptops with USB-C ports support USB PD. But consult device specs if unsure.
Q: Can I take USB-C power banks on airplanes?
A: Yes, portable chargers and batteries under 100 watt-hours are permitted in carry-on bags on most major airlines. Just check regulations first for any restrictions.
Q: How long does a USB-C power bank last before needing replacement?
A: Most maintain around 70% of original capacity after 500 charge cycles. Higher quality banks can last 2-3 years or more with proper care before capacity diminishes noticeably.
We hope these tips have helped demystify USB-C power banks! Let us know if you have any other questions.
USB-C power banks provide portable charging power for all your devices that support the new standard – from phones and tablets to even full-size laptops. With the ability to output up to 60 watts of power delivery, USB-C banks can charge your gear faster than ever.
When shopping for a USB-C portable charger, be sure to evaluate your needs in terms of capacity, charging speed, size, and features. Consider battery size, USB-C PD output wattage, number of ports, and extras like integrated cables when comparing options in your budget. A little planning will ensure you get the right balance of portability and power.
We especially recommend models like the compact but mighty Anker PowerCore III Elite, the large capacity RAVPower PD Pioneer 30W, and ultra-portable choices like the Aukey Omnia Mini and Zendure SuperMini. With the ability to recharge phones multiple times and even charge tablets and laptops, the best USB-C power banks can keep you and your devices powered up anywhere.
Have you joined the USB-C revolution yet? We’d love to hear about your favorite portable chargers in the comments below! Feel free to ask any other power bank questions you may have too. And be sure to check back as we review the latest and greatest USB-C models hitting the market.